Jiu Pin Zhi Ma Guan: Bai Mian Bao Qing Tian
1994 / 106m - Hong Kong
Hail the Judge poster


June 21, 2004


July 08, 2021


A slightly deceptive Jing Wong film. With Stephen Chow and Man-Tat Ng headlining the project and Wong directing, you would probably expect a roaring comedy. While that's definitely part of Hail the Judge, it's surprisingly more straight-faced, especially during the first half of the film.

Chow plays Pao Lung-Sing, a corrupt magistrate, who inadvertently sentences a woman to death. He vows to better his life, but that is easier said than done. Until one day his luck changes. He catches the prince in a brothel and, by helping him, gets one final chance to save the woman's life.

There's a lot of wordplay here, which went pretty much all over my head. It's kind of obvious that the translation strained to do justice to all the puns. But even then, the first hour is surprisingly serious. The sillier and more visual comedy is kept for the finale, which is more in line with other Wong/Chow collaborations. Certainly not a bad film, but not the all-out craziness you might expect it to be.