Thursday, February 14, 2013

The God of Cookery: Celebrating Chinese New Year!

I couldn’t celebrate the lunar new year without referencing a Stephen Chow film and none better or ludicrous to be more exact than one of his better works as in The God of Cookery.  As with most of his movies, the over the top - slapstick, buffoonery, & foul language are all part of his magic elixir. The God of Cookery is a story of conceit, betrayal, redemption, & for food that is! For those that attended last years NY Asian Film Festival and got a chance to screen the  Malaysian film - Nasi Leemak which was another food inspired fantasy/comedy, you will see many similiarities and influences taken from this Chow film.

Stephen Chow plays the arrogant & celebrated chef known as the God of Cookery.  He has a walk on water persona and operates a successful business with his empire of restaurants besides the mass distribution of low quality instant food.  He is also a much heralded judge of cooking competitions offering an iron clad system of dismissing other chefs with futility in the heat of the battle during judgement time. But every king is destined to be dethroned as ‘Bull Tong’ acts as a mole as Chow hires him out of pity to become his lowly assistant but little does the God of Cookery know that deceit and his ego gets the best of him as a new God of Cookery is named with Chow finding himself in handcuffs as he gets framed for serving low end quality beef which got many sick at his restaurant.

With his tale between his legs, Stephen Chow finds himself in the famous Temple Street Night market as the 2nd main character enters the story, Sister Turkey (Karen Mok) who runs a hawker stand serving noodles as well as also serving as a laison with the local triads. Sister Turkey saves Chow from self destruction and the local gangsters get into the mix too. With a new recipe in tow for the explosive pissing shrimp beef ball which promises the freshness of beef with the sweetness of shrimp, Chow & the gang have a new dish to hawk on Temple Street to bring back his reputation as well as redemption from those that double crossed him. The kitchen of the ‘Chinese Cookery Academy’ in Mainland China will provide some assistance to Stephen Chow as well as the presence of some chinese deities!

I think you will either love or hate this film. As with most of his films, Chow brings out the inner evil cockiness in his characters, strips them down completely, then rebuilds his role with more reverence and hero like characteristics often involving references to the Shaolin Temple and Kung Fu in general. Of course, there is always a love story sprinkled in there somewhere!  For being such a beautiful lady in real life, the makeup & costume made Karen Mok look pretty damn hideous in the film!    

For those more familiar with Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer & Kung Fu Hustle, you will see many comedic elements from the God of Cookery that all his films will possess: the parodies, the overacting, overexaggerated physical comedy & violence, and the foul language! Here, Chow’s Kung Fu is cooking and he does a darn fine job exploiting that! And man, I’m fiending for some good BBQ pork over rice right about now! For all my money, I’m in it to win it with this Stephen Chow gem. Go see this!

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