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I Love Maria
Year: 1988
Tsui Hark and Sally Yeh
Director: David Chung Chi-Man
Producer: Tsui Hark
Action: Ching Siu-Tung
Cast: Sally Yeh, John Sham Kin-Fun, Tsui Hark, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Lam Ching-Ying, Lam Kwok-Bun, Paul Chun Pui, Dennis Chan Kwok-San, Kirk Wong Chi-Keung, David Wu Dai-Wai
The Skinny: Screwy sci-fi action comedy that's cheap and cheesy, but also harmless and fun. Watching this film may cost you a few brain cells, but you'll probably be so amused that you won't notice.
by Kozo:
     This Tsui Hark-produced lark is basically the Hong Kong approximation of cheesy Japanese science fiction. Sally Yeh stars as the Maria, the evil moll to a mob boss (Lam Kwok-Bun). She also stars as another Maria, which happens to be a robot created in the other Maria's image. Maria the robot is supposed to do the bidding of Maria the evil moll, but somewhow the construct is reprogrammed by John Sham and Tsui Hark (in a very funny performance). With all-new programming, Maria the robot starts to fight for good, ultimately leading her into a confrontation with Maria the evil moll.
     I Love Maria is a mixture of buddy comedy, Japanese science-fiction clichés and even Fritz Lang's Metropolis. It's also light, wacky and quite fun if you're in the right mood. There's not a lot to truly recommend about this film except for the sheer wacked-out slam-bang quality of the whole thing. John Sham and Tsui Hark use their supremely odd looks to great comic effect, and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai turns in an able supporting performance as a bumbling reporter. Ching Siu-Tung's action is fine, though not to the degree of his usual kung-fu choreography.
     On the negative end, the film features some truly horrid special effects. The rubber snakes from Green Snake look postively real compared to the styrofoam rubble that populates this picture. However, to knock the movie for its low budget would be cruel. The filmmakers and actors gamely play along with the movie's obvious B-grade charms, and not an ounce of pretension can be found. I Love Maria doesn't pretend to be anything but what it is: totally harmless and utterly amusing sci-fi camp. With crappy special effects. (Kozo 1996)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

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