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Flying Dagger

(from left to right) Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Cheung Man, Jacky Cheung and Maggie Cheung.
Chinese: 神經刀與飛天貓  
Year: 1993  
Director: Chu Yen-Ping  
Producer: Wong Jing  
Action: Ching Siu-Tung, Ma Yuk-Sing, Dion Lam Dik-On
Cast: Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Cheung Man, Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Jimmy Lin, Gloria Yip Wan-Yi, Ng Man-Tat, Chan Hung-Leet, Yuen King-Tan, Yuen Cheung-Yan, Lee Ka-Ting, Goo Bo-Ming, Law Leet, Dicky Lui, Ching Siu-Tung, Pauline Chan Po-Lin, Fong Fong, David Wu Dai-Wai, Lo Lieh
The Skinny: This all-star wacky wuxia is questionably funny, though it does have its share of fun action sequences and amusing star turns.
by Kozo:

Screwy wuxia from the two of the most tasteless talents in Asia: Wong Jing and Chiu Yen-Ping. Tony Leung Ka-Fai stars as Chung, the "Big Dagger" of the "Big and Little Flying Dagger" team. The other member is Lam, played by ultra-cute Taiwanese popstar Jimmy Lin. They're bounty hunters who are after jiang hu bad guys, and are entreated to capture Nine Tails Fox (Jacky Cheung), a rascally scoundrel who supposedly rapes and pillages.

Our heroes also have competition, namely "Big and Little Betwitchment", played fittingly by Cheung Man and Gloria Yip, which means romantic shtick and sexual innuendo aplenty. Nine Tails Fox is also somewhat randy himself, which leads to fight sequences in a brothel and the use of aphrodisiac as a weapon. Fox also has "farting" powers and multiple furry tails (hence the "Nine Tails" name), and is married to Flying Cat, who looks like a woman but acts like a cat. Played enthusiastically by Maggie Cheung, Flying Cat screeches, yowls and climbs trees with abandon. She also gets off on one of the bad guys licking her face, which is a good representation of the film's sense of humor. Flying Dagger isn't art, that's for sure.

Then again, expecting art from Chiu Yen-Ping and Wong Jing would be like expecting Disney to respect the rights and cultures of others; basically, it just isn't going to happen. Thankfully, Flying Dagger's extreme amounts of comedy - while predominantly unfunny - aren't gratingly annoying like some similar films (think Holy Weapon), and there are occasional moments where the humor really works. This is probably due to the silly antics of HK Cinema luminaries Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Jacky Cheung and Maggie Cheung. No one here is above embarassing themselves for their paying audience (or possibly their own paychecks), and their game performances prove enjoyable.

The film can also be enjoyed for the action, which has its share of decently choreographed, energetic moments. Ching Siu-Tung and pals Ma Yuk-Sing and Dion Lam earn their pay, and the costumes and set design are pleasing. For wacky throwaway fun, Flying Dagger can be a good diversion. You just have to turn your brain off, ignore the more egregious moments (the constant mugging can be annoying), and forgive the fact that Jimmy Lin always gets to save the day. Lin also has zero embarassing moments, meaning he basically got to show up, act cute, and get away with the lion's share of the onscreen heroism. A lot of things may be wrong with Flying Dagger, but catering to the "Tiger Beat" crowd is probably the worst thing that the filmmakers could possibly have done. (Kozo 1996/2002)

Notes: • In this film, you will find music lifted from the following films: Death Becomes Her, Quigley Down Under, A Fish Called Wanda, and Heathers. Not content with stealing ideas, the fine people behind this film have decided to steal whole soundtracks.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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image courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen