Royal Tramp 2: Special Edition
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (17th March 2008).
The Film

The saga/stupidity continues with 'Royal Tramp 2'. This time, Stephen Chow is given the responsibility to see the king's daughter, director Wong Jing's then-girlfriend Chingmy Yau, safely married, but many, many things get in the way. The movie involves a sect, the leader of which wants to kill the king and his favorite servant, who happens to be Stephen Chow.

In this movie Stephen Chow has one of the best hats I've ever seen. It's in in the first movie, but you see it more prominently here. The other jokes work well, but some of the quintessential Wong Jing gags are silly and don't really elicit too much laughter. (That and the few misogynistic jokes hanging around don't, either.) Sex and body parts have a lot of focus for him, making his jokes very infantile and rather unfunny. The movie, compared to the first one, has less toilet humor and concentrates more on slapstick.

Mr. Chow, on the other hand, plows through dialogue and bad situations, always keeping his utterly clueless grin, while you laugh and what he's doing. Apart from Mr. Chow, Chingmy Yau and the rest of the main cast returns. However, Paul Chiang and Brigitte Lin are fine additions. They are just more of the who's who in this movie. The acting is typical of this style movie and serves the style well.

Martial arts choreographer Ching Siu-tung once again greatly helps the movie. A few of the action sequences are fairly breathtaking, and with the inclusion of Brigitte Lin, they're very elegant to watch. The plot is a mess and if you can follow it perfectly, you're a smart person. There are many tangents and pointless trains of thought; this is nothing out of the ordinary for Stephen Chow movies ('Tricky Brains' anyone?).

Given this is the second part of one long story, it can't really be missed if you've seen the first movie. It's also pretty funny on its own, but there are many gags and references to the first part. Together, they make a very nice epic comedy, though probably not one that most people can sit through one after the other. If you enjoy nonsense comedies or if you enjoy Stephen Chow, this is a very nice watch.

Video

1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Again, grain is the biggest culprit when it comes to print problems. There are no specks or big scratches, and the print seems pretty clean. The grain, however, takes away fine detail and leaves the contrast and picture a bit soft. Colors are good enough, though, and the picture looks very nice overall. It's nothing detailed and clear, but the print isn't the best. To tell the truth, I was a bit disappointed by the picture considering the other work Fortune Star (the Hong Kong companies re-working and distributing this movie) has done with this collection.

Audio

Cantonese and English Dolby Digital 5.1 track are available, like the first movie. Also like the first movie, it's mostly front-loaded, with most of the sound coming from the center. A few positional effects are sprinkled here and there when necessary, but it carries none of the weight it probably should and the surround and rear effects are quite sparse. The dialogue is clear, if a little bit muffled, but audible. The track doesn't have the oomph it could have but that's expected. Overall, it's an adequate track.
Like the first part, English, English HoH and Spanish subtitles, and not dubtitles, are here for those who need them. Also like the first part, written words and signs are not translated, taking away the enjoyment of a few gags.

Extras

Again, the main extra is an audio commentary by Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan. Mr. Logan knows basically everything about Hong Kong cinema, and you get just a taste of what he knows here. He talks about the movie, its actors, the story, the director and everything else. He talks about the many pop culture references scattered throughout the movie. Like the commentary in the first movie, this is incredibly informative. He also translates the writing in the movie that are not subtitled (like the things written on the ground or on walls). All I can say that if you're a fan of Bey Logan, you won't be disappointed with this track. Some of the information is repeated from the first movie's track, but overall, this is above par for a Bey Logan track. (I have to say that he does make a mistake, saying that Damian Lau made his movie debut with Johnnie To's 'The Enigmatic Case', when a year earlier, he was in John Woo's 'Last Hurrah for Chivalry'. The latter movie was released about 7 or so months before 'The Enigmatic Case', which, coincidentally, is Johnnie To's feature directorial debut.)

Next is an Interview with co-writer/director Wong Jing (10:52). He talks briefly about the story how he changed it from the books and how it differs from the first part and about comedy. He also mentions working with Stephen Chow, Chingmy Yau and Ching Siu-tung. His comments aren't the most insightful and actually I disagree with some of them. Either he doesn't know his own movies or the messages he has in them is so hidden, I can't find them. He does provide a few interesting bits of information when he talks about how tight the schedule was while filming 'Royal Tramp 2' and 'City Hunter' at the same time. This interview, by the way, is taken from the Hong Kong set, released by IVL.

The Original Theatrical Trailer (3:51) is long, but sets up everything, while showing tons and tons of jokes.

Some Start-Up Trailers are also here: 'The Shaw Brothers Collection' (1:34), 'Police Story' (2:00) and 'Police Story 2' (1:46).

Packaging

This comes in a 2-disc amaray case, with secure clips. It is only available as with 'Royal Tramp'. Read the review for the first film here.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: C Audio: C+ Extras: B Overall: B+

 


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