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God of Cookery (1997)

Cast: Kok Tak-Chiu, Lo Kar-Ying, Ng Man Tat, more...
Director: Li Lik-Chi, Stephen Chow
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Tai Seng
Genre: Comedies, Foreign, Hong Kong
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

Fans of the Iron Chef and kung-fu films may enjoy this flamboyant and outrageous comedy starring flamboyant Hong Kong funnyman Stephen Chiau. Shifting tones from surreal to hilarious and often combining both as the film progresses, its schizophrenic sensibilities and irreverent humor lend to its bizarre kung-fu film meets master chef film story line. Though the film parodies many standard elements and characterizations present in Hong Kong films, viewers need not be familiar with these staples to enjoy the film's absurd and razor sharp humor. Chiau plays the character of the overwhelmingly despicable and weasely God of Cookery to the hilt, gaining power-mad pleasure by humiliating and embarrassing any and all whose culinary skills he sees as lesser (or greater for that matter) than his own, until his inevitable fall from grace after a shady business deal. Playing the role of a pathetic has-been with equal zeal, Chiau actually manages to mold the previous monster into a sympathetic has-been, making his efforts to regain his rightful title an amusing and hilarious uphill battle. The final exhilarating culinary face-off -- in which he struggles against his former protégé turned backstabbing adversary -- must be seen to be believed, becoming a hyper-stylized battle in which egos flare and spatulas fly. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

"Very delicious!" by beatricearthur August 25, 2005 - 10:51 PM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
While the characters may be less than loveable, this film is a success as a comedy. I found myself literally laughing out loud during several of the more ridiculous scene - as another reviewer noted, Nancy Sit's judging is memorable, and Karen Mok, as the street-tough Sister Turkey, has a musical number in Temple Street that had me rolling on the floor... Comparisons to Tampopo are understandable, but this film can stand on its own as an excellent tongue-in-cheek jab at the idea of elitist cuisine.

Rent Tampopo instead! by rpmfla April 25, 2005 - 7:58 AM PDT
2 out of 6 members found this review helpful
My main problem with this film stems from the first 20 minutes or so. I found the main character so unlikeable that it was impossible for me to have any sympathy for his character when things go badly for him.
From reading all the positive reviews on this site, perhaps my expectations were too high, but I found God of Cookery to be a big disappointment.
Another querky film which deals mostly with food, Tampopo, is one of my very favorite films. God of Cookery is not in the same league.

Cross between Iron Chef and Tampopo made into a HK comedy with wire-fu elements by hneline1 December 29, 2003 - 11:03 PM PST
8 out of 10 members found this review helpful
God of Cookery is like a cross between Iron Chef and Tampopo made into a HK comedy with wire-fu elements. I alternated between laughing out loud at the surprising humor and drooling over the beautifully presented dishes. I love the wire-fu with kitchen instruments and the satire that mixes many genres into this film (triad gangsters, business dramas, street rumbles, romance, kung fu, musicals, forgiving gods). My favorite characters are the Eighteen Brassmen of Shaolin Temple -- brief but memorable as the heavies who keep our hero from escaping the temple.

Director, writer and actor Stephen Chow is smooth as the egotistical, riches-to-rags chef, and Karen Mok is funny as the scarred and streetwise food vendor who isn't afraid to fight with the local gangster over rights to sell "pissing shrimp" and "beef balls" in their alley. However, I think that Nancy Sit almost steals the show as the judge of the 28th God of Cookery competition -- I love her bossy haughtiness while admiring cooking techniques like "dog beating sautéing" and "sorrowful hand", mixed with a wanton ecstasy when tasting the heavenly results.

I highly recommend this film if you like food movies or HK comedy. There is no English dubbing, only Cantonese and Mandarin, so get used to reading subtitles. The subtitles are sometimes funky but good enough to understand the dialog and at times quite hilarious due to a not-completely-native English translation. There are a few Extras in English on the DVD, such as a smattering of biographies, but nothing more than usual.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.31)
183 Votes
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Movies for Foodies
I love food and I love watching movies about food. These are movies that inspire the palate, inspire the imagination, and wax poetic on all things culinary and gustatory.
My 13 Favorite Films.
just a few of my favorites, the list could have easily been 50 films.

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