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整蠱專家 (1991)
Tricky Brains

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 09/04/2015
Summary: Not bad

It isn’t often that a movie delivers exactly what one expects after a look at the cast and the artists behind the camera. “Tricky Brains” is one that does. It is essentially a series of related skits that hang on a threadbare and often ignored plot with Ng Man Tat acting goofy as Yan Chi, Andy Lau as his son, rising young executive Chi Man Kit and Stephen Chow acting sly and goofy as Jing Koo. Koo is a trickster who gets big money for example, to have a cheating spouse sent to a mental institution. Rosamund Kwan as Lucy is all refined elegance and understated, almost perfect beauty with very little to do. Kit wants to marry her; her father wants her to learn his business from the ground up and former suitor Macky wants to get back into the picture. He is upset that Lucy is interested in a low born striver like Kit much more than in any newly kindled feelings for her. Chingmy Yau struts through her best friend role in short skirts and tight tops and has on terrifically funny scene in a restaurant with Chow when he lets the inaccurate information that he has AIDS slip. She keeps up with Chow, one of the great physical comedians of our age, so well that the viewer can’t tell who the scene was written for.

Like many Wong Jing films, “Tricky Brains” is too long, even including the footage that was obviously left out in a couple of very abrupt cuts from an exterior crowd scene to the Chi abode, transitionless transitions without even a “meanwhile, back at the apartment”. The final duel between Koo and the Ultimate Tricky Expert, a new claimant to his throne, just plods along wasting some funny bits that get lost in cinematic padding. The Super Glue gag was spot on the first time it was used in the last act but didn’t do anything when it was appeared again two minutes later.

There are enough laugh out loud moments in “Tricky Brains” to make it worth seeing.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 09/30/2007
Summary: Good and somewhat overlooked CSC comdey

Lucy (Rosamond Kwan) has just come back to Hong Kong from Europe and taken the position of a clerk in the company owned by her dad (Baau Hon-Lam ) in order to learn the ropes from the bottom up. She's operating incognito, though she has an old friend, Banana (Chingmy Yau), who is in on the secret. As time goes on, she meets and falls in love with co-worker Kit (Andy Lau), who shares her feelings. Although Kit has recently been promoted, and his dad, Yan Chi (Ng Man Tat), also works at the company, he is from humble origins and Lucy has not let him in on the secret that she's the boss's wealthy daughter. But Kit is a humble, sincere, genuinely nice guy, so it looks like everything's going to work out for he and Lucy.

But Lucy had another suitor before Kit. And Macky (Waise Lee) is not going to step aside, especially not for someone as far below him on the social ladder as Kit. Macky tries to pursuade Lucy's father that Kit comes from a troubled past and indeed used to be a triad. When the dad isn't convinced, Macky turns to the handsome tricky master, Jing Koo (Stephen Chow Sing-Chi), for help in eliminating Kit as a rival. Jing Koo inserts himself into Kit and his father's household by passing himself off as Yan Chi's unknown son from a brief affair twenty years ago and begins his campaign to give Kit the appearance of not only having been a triad, but not having moved far from that rough world.

And that's a lengthy description of a plot that's really not so important, as it's just a loose framework on which Wong Jing hangs one joke after another. There is very little of the pathos found in most of these type comedies, including most of Chow Sing-Chi's, which act to humanize the main character, in this case Jing Koo, and act as a setting for the jewels - the jokes. There is some, but this is mainly a structure designed to give Chow Sing-Chi and Ng Man Tat room to strut their stuff, and they take full advantage. Even Andy gets involved, though on a limited basis since he's the straight man.

The jokes fly fast and furiously, and if you're watching with someone who understands Mandarin, they'll be laughing in more places than you because of some of the missed translations and jokes that don't translate well. And I strongly suspect that those who undertand Cantonese will be laughing more than the Mandarin speakers.

Although I wouldn't put this in the upper realms of Chow Sing-Chi and Ng Man Tat's work, it doesn't fall short by very much. They're both on top of their form and Andy Lau does a good job of playing the likeable Kit without using any saccharin. As for the ladies, Rosamond Kwan is here only as a flower vase. And though Chingmy starts out with what looks like will be a strong role, maybe something akin to her role in Royal Tramp, by the time the thing is a third over she's been relegated pretty much to the role of eye candy. It's as if Wong Jing (who also appears in the movie as one of the group's co-workers) consciously decided to immortalize Chingmy's beauty by dressing her up in expensive clothes and filming her, even if it had little to do with the actual movie. If this was indeed his intention, then I say, "Thank you Wong Jing; thank you very much!" Because feasting on this eye candy is enough to pull a person out of insulin shock.

I give it a 7.5 and recommend it. Especially if, like me, you miss these crazy Hong Kong comedies.

Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 09/11/2004

Very good Stephen Chow vehicle. Andy Lau and gang add strong acting to the good pacing of the movie. A must if you are a Chow fan or enjoy slapstick romantic-comedies. 9/10

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 07/18/2003

Pretty good for a few laughs. Features some slick and innovative "products." My biggest complaint is the loose plot. To me, 99% of HK movies move too fast, and this is no exception. They don't allow time to fully refine the situations.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 07/11/2002
Summary: Average, not so bad though.

Although this film is extremely trashy (no surprise for Wong Jing & Stephen Chow), it’s surprisingly pretty good in a way (the jokes were fresh back then). But that’s probably because Andy Lau’s presence helps keep the film in a reasonably sensible comedy flow, instead of turning stupid…not to say that ‘mo lai tou’ is absent from this.

For Andy Lau it’s a step in the wrong direction, for Stephen Chow it’s just the same old routine, but Wong Jing has come up with an interesting enough idea making a film about practical jokers. It just goes to show that sometimes Wong Jing can surpass his usual bad ideas and rip off films, and actually make something half descent...though his good films can still be counted on two hands in my opinion (this is not one of them though).

Probably one for Stephen Chow fans only, comedy fans in general would probably do better to miss this one. This is a long forgotten film anyway, and this’ll be the last time I ever see this one I think. Not sure now if this one is still available these days.


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 09/26/2001
Summary: Mo Lei Tau!

TRICKY BRAINS (1991) - Mo lei tau! Stephen Chiau + Wong Jing is a dangerous combination :-) Chiau plays the "Manly Tricky Master", a private practical joker (like a private detective, but with less detective work). He is hired to 'play tricks' on Andy Lau by a jealous colleague, and infiltrates the Lau/Ng man Tat family home to cause mischief. It takes quite a while for the plot to start moving, with much of the first half hour just being gags, but when it does it's quite a nice story with a little bit of heart. The comedy is broad and silly, and sometimes rather contrived, but had me laughing quite a lot. Much was certainly lost in the subtitles though - even I could spot that there was quite a bit being said that wasn't translated. Andy Lau struggles at times as Chiau's foil, not naturally being a Mo Lei Tau kind of actor, but Chiau and Tat carry him quite well. Wong Jing has a recurring cameo that's quite good, and Rosamund Kwan and Chingmy Yau provide the female balance to the cast. Worth a watch. Mei Ah DVD is pretty sucky, being a bare bones disc with burned in subs.

Reviewed by: spanishninja
Date: 06/11/2001
Summary: I think "Dirty Work" ripped off from this

Tricky Brains is a pretty good comedy that never fails to amuse me when I'm bored or tired. This movie is just loaded with gags, which range from corny to downright funny. Stephen Chow plays a role that possibly only he can play, that of a trickster-for-hire (Norm MacDonald subsequently proved me wrong in "Dirty Work", which was equally good, although he played a revenge-artist, which was somewhat different). He takes business from both good and bad people, and in this movie, his job happens to involve ruining the lives of Andy Lau and Ng Man-Tat's characters. Not to spoil any surprises, but Stephen Chow proves to be effective playing cunning bad guys or sympathetic good guys with equal efficiency. Of course, being a comedy, you know everything is going to work out at the end, but the fun is getting there! On with the other stars, I thought Andy Lau did a really good job here, as just an ordinary working guy, instead of the knight of gamblers or some mega-superstar. He shows here that he has a knack for comedy (although he wasn't in many comedies afterward). The requisite role of Stephen Chow's girl for this movie is played by Chingmy Yau, who showed some good chemistry with Chow (not to the calibre of Sharla Cheung Man or Karen Mok, perhaps, but good nevertheless). Notable Wong Jing supporting cast is in full force here as well, such as the guy who played the bad guy in "God of Gamblers", the guy who played Chow's nemesis in "God of Gamblers 2 and 3" (also playing Chow's nemesis here), and even Wong Jing himself has a small role as well. Needless to say, if you're into comedy and don't really care about artistic value, don't hesitate to give this one a try. Rating = 8.5/10.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Yellow Hammer
Date: 05/10/2001

Jing Koo (Stephen Chow) is a master of performing heinous tricks on people. Chi Man Kit (Andy Lau) is a newly promoted assistant manager at a very large corporation, run by Lucy's (Rosamund Kwan) dad. Banana (Chingmy Yau) is Lucy's best friend and a co-worker at the corporation. Macky (Waise Lee) is also a manager at the company and used to be Lucy's boyfriend. In order to get back into Lucy's graces, Macky employs the services of Jing Koo. As part of an elaborate scheme, Jing Koo becomes the long lost son of Mr. Chi (Ng Man-Tat), the dad of Kit and thus becoming the brother of Kit.

When Jing Koo finally feels guilty about putting the Chi family through so much, he terminates his 'contract' with Macky. However, Macky then decides to hire another 'trick master', played by John Ching. The ending scene of tricks played against each other is quite hilarious.

This movie is Stephen Chow's brand of comedy, known in Chinese as 'moleitau' (nonsense), at its best. Not for everyone's tastes though.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/28/2001
Summary: Ok

Not one of Chow Sing Chi's best but has some laughs in it. I was suprised to see Andy Lau star in this with Stephen Chow, especially when i thought they only worked together on
God of Gamblers 2

Because i am a big fan of Chow Sing Chi's and have seen heaps of his movies, this was a disappointment to me, but maybe not to others!!


Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: sarah
Date: 01/24/2000
Summary: born to defence

Tricky Brains

I liked this one. It’s very funny. I loved the I Am Naked suit. This is my favourite kind of Sing Jai Movie, where he is being too smart for his own good, rather than too naïve. Its more convincing and more amusing as you don’t have to spend the whole movie feeling sorry for him. He and Andy Lau and Tat So make a charming family. The sheer exhuberance of the food-fight scene is quite infectious, as is the hilarious lounge-room Chinese Opera performed with vacuum cleaners etc.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

One of the more popular recent(ish) comedies. Stephen Chow playsa mean who tricks people for a living. Complications arise when he finds he likes some of the people he's been hired to destroy.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

While watching this film, I kept waiting for the plot to begin so I could tell you what this movie was about, but the movie was already 1/3 over before they decided to give it one! The 1st 1/3 is spent introducing each character and going through a series of situation gags and tricks. The (ever so thin) plot goes like this: Jung Koo (Stephen Chow) is the "Handsom" Trick Expert. He makes his living as a trickster for hire. Kit (Andy Lau) is a mild-mannered office worker that gets promoted to manager. Banana (Chingmy Yau) is Kit's collegue at work who loves playing tricks on people. She introduces the new clerk, (who is actually the bosses daughter sent to spy on the workers) Lucy (Rosamund Kwan), to Kit. Kit's father (Ng Man-Tat) learns from an old flame that she had his child and raised him to an adult. Yep, you guessed it, his son is Stephen Chow (who's actually the trickster Jung Koo). Jung Koo has been hired by buisiness exec Macky (Waise Lee) to play tricks on Kit and his father, but mainly to spoil the relationship between Kit and Lucy. Finally after Jung Koo accomplishes his task, he feels guilty for playing tricks on Kit and his father. Banana discovers his ruse and persuades Jung Koo to fix all his wrongdoings. Meanwhile, Macky has hired "The Ultimate Trickster" to keep Jung Koo from fixing things. The final showdown takes place at the engagement party for Macky and Lucy. I won't spoil the ending because it's the best part of this movie, but you can probably guess how it ends. This movie isn't nearly as funny as some of Chow's others, but there are a few jokes in it that should make the movie worth watching. Chingmy Yau looks cute as always and Rosamund Kwan looks breathtaking. I would rate this movie much lower if neither of them appeared in it. If you are a fan of Stephen Chow then I think you'll be slightly disappointed that the movie didn't have more gags and jokes. Then again, Stephen Chow fans have learned to live with disappointment. Overall rating, 6.5 of 10.

[Reviewed by BB]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Typical Wong Jing/Stephen Chow/Ng Man-Tat effort, with even more tastelessness and political incorrectness than usual.

[Reviewed by Iain Sinclair]