Near the end of 1942 a cholera epidemic raged in Peking, killing many of its inhabitants. People say four bandits stole the cure from the Japanese and saved the city. That’s all the synopsis you’re getting, because I can’t go into it more without giving away a spoiler that’s key to the story, but basically that’s what this film is about. For some reason they neglected to mention the Chef’s wife in the title. I guess it would have made it too long, but she was as big of a part of the operation as the others.
Let me just start off this review by saying the following two things:
First, this review will contain some only semi-accurate details because to tell the whole story would mean giving spoilers that are important to the story, just as I said above.
Second, this movie was fun as hell, incredibly stylish, brilliantly acted and I fully plan on watching it again tonight. Yes, it was just that good!
The funny parts of this film are genuinely funny, which in and of itself makes it completely entertaining. Once the group captures a Japanese microbiologist and his military escort, they start playing psychological games with them, and even resort to some really bizarre forms of rather amusing torture in order to get him to give up the cure they found for the cholera epidemic. Unfortunately, there’s a new strain of the disease that the cure the Japanese developed doesn’t work on, and as the disease spreads through the Japanese army, the biologist and his escort are desperate to get the potential cure back to their people so they can stop it before it costs them the war.
Most of the film takes place in one big building in the middle of town. From what I could gather, it’s a restaraunt slash playhouse that everyone thinks is owned by the Chef. It’s a beautiful building, both inside and out, and has plenty of space inside for all the craziness that goes on.
The performances in the film were just…wow. The comedic timing as well as the physical comedy aspects of the film were both simply amazing, but what I think stands out more in this film than anything else is the cleverness of the writing. The story is so brilliantly conceived that it makes it an absolute joy to watch. I would imagine that once you know what’s going on that it would take a bit of the surprise value away, but it wouldn’t diminish your enjoyment of the film in the least.
For special features, this new release from Well Go USA contains a making of featurette, a blooper reel and the film’s trailer.
Judging by the things the actors were saying during the end credits, they really respect the old classic films, and you can really see that in the way this film is crafted. Do yourself a favor and grab yourself a copy of this one and add it to your collection. You’re gonna love it, and the rewatchability of it is staggering.
If you’d like to find out more about this new release from Well Go USA, you can check out its page on their website here.