Royal Tramp (1992) / Action-Comedy
aka Lu Ding Ji

MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG-13 for violence
Running Time: 106 min.

Cast: Stephen Chow, Ng Man Tat, Cheung Man, Chingmy Yau, Sandra Ng, Vivian Chan, Paul Chu, Damian Lau, Elvis Tsui, Fennie Yuen, Brigitte Lin (cameo)
Director: Siu-tung Chin, Wong Jing
Screenplay: Wong Jing
Review published January 5, 1999

While I haven't always been a fan of Stephen Chow's (The Tricky Master, Shaolin Soccer) rather broad and uneven sense of humor, nor am I a Wong Jing (City Hunter, High Risk) nut, Royal Tramp is one exception where both men put it all together for a satisfying and funny whole.

Chow plays a chronic teller of tall tales who gets caught up in a civil war between the current regime and the rebels who want to restore the Ming Dynasty. Along the way he assumes various guises and positions catapulting him all the way to the top rungs of the empire.

There's lots of great fun to be had in watching this parody of kung fu flicks. Chow and the rest of the cast are a joy to watch, and the film gave me more belly laughs than most American comedies. One caveat: some of the humor doesn't translate well into English, though.  There are also quite a few in-jokes that only people who are into the Hong Kong action genre will pick up on, so this film isn't meant for everyone. Still it's an impressive and energetic endeavor that delivers some very funny moments and nice action sequences. Highly recommended for all Hong Kong kung fu action fans, and Stephen Chow fans in particular.

-- Followed the same year by a markedly dissimilar Royal Tramp 2.

Qwipster's rating:

1999 Vince Leo