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Kung Fu Chefs (2009)

J-pop star Ai Kago enhances lightweight HK cooking film!

KUNG FU CHEFS (2009) brings to mind such Hong Kong cooking movies as Tsui Hark's Chinese FEAST (1995) and Stephen Chow's GOD OF COOKERY (1996), but is considerably lower-budgeted. This one incorporates kung fu fight scenes, thanks to a contrived subplot involving decades-old sibling rivalry and a nephew's urge for revenge. The fight scenes are well-staged (by two of the venerable Yuen Clan, Yuen Cheung-Yan and Yuen Shun Yi) and give veteran kung fu star Sammo Hung a chance to show he can still strut his stuff after forty years in the business, but they interfere with the cooking scenes which are the real reason to see this movie. As master chef Wong Ping-Yee, Sammo whips up quite a few mouth-watering dishes. My favorite is the scene in which he makes scrambled eggs in a fashion I wish my local diner would adopt.

The fight scenes are well-staged (by two of the venerable Yuen Clan, Yuen Cheung-Yan and Yuen Shun Yi) and give veteran kung fu star Sammo Hung a chance to show he can still strut his stuff after forty years in the business, but they interfere with the cooking scenes which are the real reason to see this movie. As master chef Wong Ping-Yee, Sammo whips up quite a few mouth-watering dishes.

How do you show taste? Ang Lee did it by focusing on color, lingering on color and texture. Kar Wai Wong shows steam, succulent steam. Greenaway (in his kitchen movie) turned the kitchen into a divine machine. Tampopo wove a whole thing about movie genres into the taste of the noodles. Babbette by contrast with cold gruel. "Grande Bouffe" just showed obsession. "Sweet Movie" gives us taste in the form of a nude orgasmic woman drenched in chocolate made with sugar aged with the corpses of children. There are more complex devices...

Director: Wing-Kin Yip
Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Vanness Wu, Cherrie Ying

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