film & game reviews, the retro way.
LOVE ON DELIVERY
Ng Man Tat
Released in 1994, Love On Delivery (aka King Of Destruction) is a Hong Kong comedy starring Stephen Chow as a naive delivery boy who tries to impress a girl by learning martial arts from a wise master, who may not exactly be the all-knowing badass he claims to be.
Christy Chung plays Lily, a Judo student whose teacher (Joe Cheng) keeps hitting on her. This prompts her to kiss a stranger to get him off her back. The stranger in question is candid delivery boy Ang Ho-Kam (Stephen Chow) who suddenly finds himself falling in love with her. The problem is he just doesn't cut it when it comes to holding his own. After struggling to purchase Jacky Cheung concert tickets to take Lily out on a date (Cheung cameos in the film), he fails to defend her against the Judo master making advances so she breaks it off with Ang, calling him a coward. Defeated, Ang meets a shop owner called Tat (Ng Man Tat) who claims to be a martial arts expert and is willing to teach him, for a price. The price turns out to be all of Ang's money since Tat proves to be a very obvious conman. Can Ang learn... anything about self-defense before Lily gives up on him entirely?
One of Stephen Chow's earliest comedies as (co-)director, Love On Delivery marked his second collaboration with long-time partner-in-crime Lee Lik-chi and its quick pacing in terms of jokes helped establish a new wave of slapstick spoof comedies in the vein of the 70's Michael Hui classics, but with a more modern edge. Chow's trademark style of comedy is very much in full force here, as is his deadpan demeanor. The visual gags get goofier and goofier as the movie goes on and every character is sillier than the next, with the likes of The Terminator, Rocky and Kamen Rider getting spoofed along the way. Tat's effortless scamming of Ang is the highlight of the film as it leads to some truly hilarious confrontations including Ang's discovery of the Fire Spin move which consists of simply grabbing someone then falling down a flight of stairs with them.
About halfway through, the film sees Ang sport a Garfield mask and fight his nemesis, the mean Judo teacher, but the real challenge he has to face is a professional fighter played by Ben Lam who challenges him to a big match after wooing Lily. The fight in question is, of course, a complete farce (think Charlie Chaplin's boxing short film) and provides lots of laughs. This is easily one of Chow's funniest movies and it holds up surprisingly well. Some of his more well known works feel a little overrated at times but Love On Delivery delivers (pun intended) in the most important department: the jokes themselves. One would've liked for Christy Chung to do a little bit more in the second half of the film, since her character was meant to know martial arts as well, but other than that the film makes the most of its fun, energetic cast.
If you're looking to discover the works of Stephen Chow and Lee Lik-chi, then the brilliantly anarchic Love On Delivery is not a bad place to start. It's refreshingly not as gross-out as some of Chow's other films, and the slapstick is supported by a genuinely very funny script, which is not always the case.
A good time.