King Of Beggars (1992)
After achieving success in a variety of contemporary films, Stephen Chiau and Gordon Chan decided to transpose his unique brand of comedy to a period setting, spoofing the trend of wired up martial arts films that were popular at the time.
Chow plays a spoilt rich kid who never the less has a good heart, and becomes a better person after his riches are stripped away. It's a reinvention of the story of Beggar So, a popular character in kung fu tales - the backstory provided by him here is entirely new & fictional though.
The film is not as outrageously slapstick as some of Chiau's other films, perhaps focussing more on developing a strong story. There are some very funny bits, but it's not as laugh-out-loud funny as some of his films... there are sections that are quite serious, in fact. As usual, it's probably the chemistry between Chiau and Ng Man-Tat that provides the funniest moments.
Cheung Man again plays the leading lady - and again her acting is forgettable. Norman Tsui is the main villain of the piece, and he is a great bad guy in the over-the-top tradition of martial arts films.
Production values for the film are fairly high, with some nice use of locations in China. It's not exactly a lavish film, and looks cheap compared to some more contemporary films - but that's because it was.
Action from Yuen Cheung-Yan has some good moments, though it's not particularly amazing (and there are some rather visible wires).
Overall verdict is that it's a good film, but not amongst Chiau's very best. Definitely worth a watch for fans of the man though.