I did a post on the early part of Stephen Chow's film career what seems like ages ago. It was from the start of his film career in 1986 and ran through 1991 and there were 25 films mentioned. That's a lot for 5 years, huh. In the last 23 he's slowed down some, especially lately, and he's only made 31 more films. I'm guessing a lot of people in the US heard of Stephen Chow after his 2001 hit Shaolin Soccer or the even more popular 2004 film Kung Fu Hustle. After those proved to be so popular some of his films turned up in US editions. His previous films were only available at the Asian video stores, and mostly on VHS tapes. I saw some of his movies from those places. I also saw a lot in the theatre. About 1996 the local Asian Cinema Group started showing a lot of Asian films, including a good number from Hong Kong, in various places around the city. They eventually settled into a small neighborhood theater just a few blocks away from my house. In 1997 I saw 16 of Stephen Chows films on the big screen and over the years I managed to see many more. I have most of the better ones on dvd. I'd say a good lot of his work is worth seeing. He's mostly an actor but he does get behind the camera, writing and directing several of his films. He's slowed way down in the last ten years. He's super popular in Asia and you can get most all his films on dvd from one place or another. Sevreal years ago I ordered a few of his films from Asian film dealers overseas, this was before there were any US editions. You can see a lot of them on YouTube. I'll post a link in the title. Make sure you turn on the Closed Captions if it doesn't have visible subtitles.
Fist of Fury 1991 II - Stephen is a boxer who's targeted by the brother of the boxer he just beat in a fight.
All's Well, Ends Well - A romantic comedy about some couples. There's still plenty of the goofy comedy you expect from Stephen's films.
Fight Back to School II - Stephen is back undercover in a high school. Ng-Man Tat is also undercover at the school.
Justice, My Foot! - Here's a comedy about a shyster lawyer who wins by any means. Because of his ways his children all die before they reach one year old. It's a harsh place, that old China. Anita Mui plays his wife.
Royal Tramp - Stephen in a Wong Jing film that would be one of the top five grossing films in 1992. It's a period piece based on a novel. There's comedy and political intrigue and more comedy. Sometimes the comedy is pretty low-brow but it's still funny for the right person. You really need to see several Chinese comedies to see where they are coming from style wise.
Royal Tramp II - Continues the story. I enjoyed both of the movies when I saw them in the theater and they were the ones on the short list of dvds when they started coming out.
King of Beggars - Here's another one I enjoyed in the theater. Stephen is spoilt son of a powerful general. He's lazy and can't read but he can kick everyone's ass in martial arts. In a complicated story he's turned into a beggar and eventually saves the life of the Emperor.
Fight Back to School III - Wong Jing directs the 3rd movie in the series. It's not quite as entertaining as the others but it still entertains in it's goofy way.
My Hero 2 - Only a guest cameo in this one. Haven't seen it.
Flirting Scholar - I haven't seen this but I will check it out on YouTube.
The Mad Monk - Another one I haven't seen myself. No copies on YouTube have English subtitles.
Love on Delivery - This zany romantic comedy is the first movie that Stephen Chow directed. It's very much the Makes-No-Sense style of comedy mixing martial arts and romance with plenty of physical comedy.
Hail the Judge - Here's a period piece directed by Wong Jing. He's the masters of the Makes-No-Sense comedy.
From Beijing with Love - Here's a spy movie parody about a stolen donosaur cranium.
A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box - The first of a two part adaptation of the classic Chinese novel Journey Into The West. You can read it in English here. It's pretty wild and whacky. There's the usual comedy stylings of Mr Chow and a bit of romance. I saw these in the theater and really enjoyed them. They were the first of the dvds I got from overseas stores.
A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella - The rest of the story.
Out of the Dark - Another one I haven't seen yet. Stephen is a ghostbuster guy who fights some ghosts in an apartment building. Supposed to be more violent and gorey than his usual work.
Sixty Million Dollar Man - Stephen is blown up and they recreate him from a pair of lips and his brain. It's pretty silly but not my favorite of his films.
Forbidden City Cop - This is the first of Stephen's films that I saw. I thought the scene with the old warriors on the roof was hilarious. Especially the comb over gags. The story is set in ancient China and Stephen is a cop in the Forbidden City. There's some dumb gags and plenty of good ones.
The God of Cookery - Stephen is a stuck up chef who takes a tumble and becomes a better man. Plenty of wild cookery done martial arts style. Nice part for Karen Mok. She's appeared in several of his films.
All's Well, Ends Well 1997 - Another one I haven't seen. Stephen is a spoilt son who's brothers trick him into believing he's won the lottery when he hasn't. He gambles with a gangster and looses a million bucks. He pretends to be retarded to get out of trouble and discovers he likes the benefits.
Lawyer Lawyer - Silly antics in the legal profession. Stephen is the 3rd worst lawyer in Hong Kong. He must defend his apprentice who's charged with murder.
The Lucky Guy - Haven't seen this one yet. I'll be checking out the movie on YouTube. Stephen is a waiter in a coffee shop. There's romance and some problems with the landlord who wants to raise the rent a lot.
King of Comedy - Haven't seen this yet either. Stephen is an actor who hasn't caught a break yet. Suppoed to be a bit more of a drama than most of his films.
Gorgeous - There's just a small cameo for Stephen in this Jackie Chan romantic comedy. I liked the movie pretty much. Not a big action film at all.
The Tricky Master - A parody of gambling films written and directed by Wong Jing. Pretty crazy and a lot of fun.
Shaolin Soccer - One of my favorite Hong Kong films. Romance, comedy, kung fu and soccer. I loved it and I don't even like soccer.
Kung Fu Hustle - This one too is on my movies I like a lot list. Everything about it is perfect.
CJ7 - I liked this one too. A kid finds an alien critter and takes it home. The kid and his dad, Stephen, are really poor but they love each other and that's what counts. Lots of good CGI and some of the sets are magnificent.
Shaolin Girl - Haven't seen this but Stephen is only a producer. I'll make time to watch it some time but who knows when that will be.
Dragonball Evolution - Not seen. Stephen is the producer and the subject matter doesn't drive me to seek it out.
Jump - Not seen. Stephen was the writer and producer of this comedy that seems to be about jumping.
CJ7: The Cartoon - Stephen produced and wrote this cartoon version of the movie. I haven't seen it, other than watching a few clips on YouTube that aren't in English. Looks like it might be ok but who knows what the story is about.
Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons - Another adaptation of the Journey To The West story with Stephen in the role of Producer, Director, Screenwriter and Action Choreographer. We watched this one Friday Night Movie night middle of last year and I loved it.
Sadly, other than some voice overs for CJ7: The Cartoon Stephen hasn't acted in anything since the CJ7 movie in 2008. Oh, well, I have all his best movies on DVD so I can at least watch those occasionally. Hope you take a chance on some of his movies on YouTube. I've heard there are some on NetFlix's streaming service too. They don't have that many of his films on dvd but they have some of the better ones.