Sunday, December 27, 2015

how do you solve a problem like maria?

Sorting out the arena for the upcoming fully illustrated print version when I found this languishing unfinished and unloved in a draft pile so thought I'd polish it off and pop it up.

Apologises for the shortness or any made up stuff but it's been about 9 years since I started this review.

Anyway, enjoy!

I Love Maria (AKA Roboforce, 1988).
Dir: David Chung.
Cast: John Shum, Tsui Hark, Sally Yeh, Tony Leung and Lam Ching-Ying.

The misleadingly monikered and frighteningly fashioned Hero Gang, led by the evil Terry (Lam) and the sadistically sexy Maria (Yeh, the one in The Killer that's not Chow Yun Fat) is conducting a rather revolting reign of terror against Hong Kong's banking sector with the aid of a seemingly unstoppable robot named Pioneer I.

First on the scene is ace reporter and general sexy man TQ Zhuang
(Hong Kong's very own David Tennant, Leung looking about six in this) who is then unceremoniously fired for forgetting to remove his lens cap and getting a photo of the robot during the robbery.


This still has bugger all to do with the movie but popped up during an 'I love Maria' image search...gotta love Google.

Although the Pioneer I is a perfectly built killing and robbing machine Terry decides that to be truly effective it really needs to have huge chrome breasts and a curvy metal arse so he decides to build a brand new robot in the (basic) form of Maria, naming it Pioneer II.

Imagination isn't really his strong point obviously.

Meanwhile beleaguered copper cum robotics research boffin Curly (the frighteningly Danny Baker-esque Shum) who has just been accused of taking backhanders by his superiors has decided to drown his sorrows in a local bar where he comes across (insert innuendo here) a former Hero Gang member Whiskey Joe (groovy goateed cult director Hark) who - by a strange coincidence - has also been accused of betrayal, in his case by his former gang pals.

Unfortunately their evenings fun is curtailed when the Hero Gang decide to send Pioneer II into the bar to kill Joe.

Which is nice.

Something, something, laugh now, something.

Luckily the robot is much more female than anyone could imagine and, while chasing Whiskey, ladders it's tights causing it to have a massive breakdown in the street giving Joe and Curly chance to bundle it into the back of a van and head off to Curly's shed in an amusing attempt to repair and reprogramme the it.

Because altering the program of a sentient machine with chrome globes is dead easy to do, obviously.

Well it must be easier than shackling it to a radiator and sticking things in it.

Tho' Joe does have a huge girly crush on the real Maria so he might be tempted. 

"Can you beat the Daz doorstep challenge waaaahhhh?"

But guess what?

Yup they do indeed succeed in their mission (oh ye of little faith) and Pioneer II is ready to accept their bidding.

Now is it just me or if you had a sexy robot girl that obeyed your every command, would the first thing you'd do to road test it really be to attacked the bad men's base?

Oh, just me then.

So our heroes, armed only with frighteningly bad hair and teeth and a big box of Daz join forces with Zhuang to complete their mission and bring down the Hero Gang.

"Help mah Boab! it's the sighbaaahmon!"

The scene is set for a power-packed final showdown between the Hero Gang, Pioneer I, a martial arts expert who is desperate to join the good guys - named Brian or something - there's always one isn't there? - (Ching-Ying) , robot Maria (all spruced and shiny), the real Maria, a dwarf clown, our heroes and the evil crime boss.


Transformers: robots in mah mooth.

David Chung's lo-fi romp is a fairly harmless way to spend an hour and a half, in parts funny and exciting but with the added bonus of the constantly frowning (and strangely attractive in a maths teacher-ish kinda way), all singing, all dancing Sally Yeh not only in shiny chrome pants but also - at some points - with her breasts encased in a tough black rubber bra thing.

And all whilst wearing a spray painted swimming cap.

Erotic does not do it justice.

If that's not enough to get your pulses racing (well you're here so you can't be that picky) there's also Hong Kong's very own (tho' slightly less dead eyed) Sam Raimi, the god-like Tsui Hark, showing that his on screen talent for comedy matches his obvious behind the scenes skills and it's Hark, alongside chubby funster John Shum that give us one of the best cinematic comedy double acts since Myers and Loomis in the original Halloween.

And you can't give higher praise than that.

Well you probably can but it's almost 2 AM and I'm rather drunk so that will have to suffice.

Beats the rampant rabbit I guess.

Harder to find than your real dad but (unlike your sister) well worth making the effort to hunt down, especially if you're a fan of action based chic flick comedies with added big robots.

And at the end of the day who isn't?

Not another fucking Fantastic Four reboot!

Can I just add that I lied about the dwarf.


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