Curry and Pepper Review: This is a buddy-cop comedy from Stephen Chow
Curry and Pepper is a buddy-cop comedy starring Jacky Cheung and Stephen Chow (respectively). The two are best friends and partners in the police force, but are looked down upon by their superiors. They eventually become the cover story for a news reporter (Ann Bridgewater). They both start fighting for her affection and their friendship starts to break apart. Meanwhile, a Terminator-like arms dealer (director, Blacky Ko) is causing havoc and it’s up to them to bring him to justice.
As much as I love Stephen Chow movies, I gotta admit that some of his earliest films aren’t the best. Most of them aren’t terribly memorable (anyone remember When Fortune Smiles?) and even then, they aren’t that funny either. Sure, they have their moments, but these aren’t the films that best represent Chow’s talents as a comedian. But still, I would probably consider Curry and Pepper (Vo Quyt Day Mong Tay Nhon) the best and funniest of his pre-All For the Winner films. It’s probably the only one of his earlier films that had me laughing from beginning to end.
This Hong Kong comedy (phim hai hong kong) definitely thrives from the pairing of Jacky Cheung and Stephen Chow. They’re both charismatic actors and they both work well off each other. They’re characters are both very childish and immature (especially Chow as Pepper) which makes it very funny when they’re in peril. Really just about every scene that feature both actors is comedy gold, but I think the funniest scenes in the movie involve them arguing. Even at the most inappropriate times, it’s funny to watch them yelling at people. There are even a few scenes where I didn’t know if I was supposed to be laughing or not.
Of course, this film is full of buddy-cop movie tropes. They start off as best friends, and then they start to hate each other, but they become friends again because of justice and blah, blah, blah. You’ve seen this story before. But Curry and Pepper is still a very different movie. Not only does it feature a ton of swearing (both in English and Cantonese), but Curry and Pepper also stands out from other films of the genre because of its tone. This movie is mostly light-hearted, but this film has quite a few incredibly dark, gritty, and sometimes sad moments.
The action in this movie, choreographed by Blacky Ko, is actually pretty impressive. There are some great shootouts and car chases featuring a few painful stunt falls. The ending is very intense and suspenseful, but it’s somehow still hilarious. So much danger surrounds our main characters, but it’s so funny that these two totally unqualified people are our heroes. They’re still cracking jokes in between the madness and it’s excellent.
It may seem like your typical buddy-cop comedy on the outside, but it really is a truly unique movie thanks to the action, comedy, and even some dark overtones. There are even a few scenes that are pretty damn intense for a comedy. It isn’t the best Stephen Chow movie (phim Chau Tinh Tri), but it’s a terrific preview of his later and greater work. If you love both actors, you’ll probably love this movie too. Also, look at how young they are!