Wong Jing (director)
208 min total (length)
13 November 2023 (released)
15 November 2023
This epic two-part Wuxia comedy is a non-stop action thrill ride with plenty of crude humour thrown in for good measure and of course, incredible stunt work! Spectacular action and breath-taking visuals make up for an overtly complex and convoluted plot that isn’t always easy to follow, while star of the film Stephen Chow once again displays his immense talent for comedy and slapstick!
Forget about going into lengthy details regarding the plot(s) here, or we’ll still be at it come Christmas! While we’re talking two separate movies (hence the release comes as a 2-disc set), namely ROYAL TRAMP and ROYAL TRAMP 2 (both made back to back in 1992), the stories merge and we start with our unlikely hero, Wei Xiaobao (Stephen Chow, a quick-witted bard entertaining patrons in a brothel in which his sister Wai Chun-fa (Sandra Ng) works. As it so happens, one of the visiting patrons is Chan Kan-nam (Damian Lau), leader of the revolutionary ‘Heaven and Earth Society’. When the police ambush Chan, Xiabao jumps to the rescue and wonders whether Chan might consider teaching him some nifty karate tricks in return – as a thank you for having saved him. Deal done, though there are conditions involved if Xiabao wants to be accepted as an apprentice into the Heaven and Earth Society: he is ordered to infiltrate the Imperial Palace (undercover of course) and steal the so-called 42 Chapter Book. What begins as a straightforward assignment soon descends into slapstick chaos when Xiabao accidentally enters the eunuch room and is saved from having his private parts chopped off by the head eunuchs, who doesn’t lose any time and drafts the hapless Xiaobao into working for him…
Along the insane adventure which is about to unfold, Xiabao is now tasked with spying on the dowager Empress Lung-er (Sharla Cheung) and stealing the precious book from her. Unfortunately for Xiabao, his path also crosses that of Emperor Hong-hei (Deric Wan) and his fickle sister, Princess Kin-ning (Chingmy Yau), who initially assume that Xiabao is an eunuch because only eunuchs are allowed to be the Empress’ bodyguards…meaning that Xiabao, who has the roving eye when it comes to the female sex, has to pretend he is an eunuch but for how long can he succeed? Not for long, as we will find out in Part 2! Suffice to say, Hong-hei and Kin-ning have their own agenda and ask Xiabao to spy…for them!
Adding to the overall chaos, the entire group has to ward off the scheming So Chuen (Brigitte Lin) – Divine Lady of the Dragon Sect – and above all, General Oboi (Elvis Tsui), who hatches various plans to overthrow the Emperor. Oh, and did I mention the randy, one-armed nun (Helen Ma)? This is great and fast-paced fun on a grand scale, based on the popular ‘The Deer and the Cauldron’ novel by Louis Cha. The film’s lewd humour may not be everyone’s cup of green tea and it’s fair to assume that some of the humorous elements got lost in translation. Still, Stephen Chow’s capers more than make up for it and he’s perfectly supported by the likes of Chingmy Yau and Elvis Tsui.
Director Wong Jing has done a stellar job and the stunt choreography, courtesy of Ching Siu-tung (‘A Chinese Ghost Story’) rounds up the adventure.
THE ROYAL TRAMP COLLECTION has just been released on Blu-ray in a stunning 4K restoration and looks glorious! The first print-run (2000 copies) are presented in a Limited Edition O-card slipcase with Collector’s booklet. Other bonus material includes various audio options, interviews, and trailers.