Episode #27: Fight Back to School
Listen to Episode 27 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.
SUMMARY - In Fight Back to School, Star Chow (Played by Steven Chow) is the leader of a special unit within the Royal Hong Kong Police. When the latest drill reveals his inability to keep his team safe, Star risks being removed from the force. The captain decides to test this young officer’s skills through an undercover mission. Star must work to recover missing firearms that are hidden within a school by posing as a student.
Screenplay by Gordon Chan and Barry Wong; Directed by Gordon Chan, and released in Hong Kong on July 18, 1991.
The opening shots show Stephen Chow suiting up in tactical gear with a very serious tone, but looking back, he may be playing Game Gear as part of his prep.
A more obvious joke is taking out the chap stick before masking up, and other parts shortly thereafter clearly give off the comedic vibe.
The beginning part has a lot of good scenes, but it starts to waver after going to the school.
There is an emphasis on telling jokes and letting them play out for as long as possible, rather than progress the plot.
After a while, we meet Uncle Tat, who is also working undercover as a janitor at the school. He's constantly chewing something to fend off smoking cravings and also pretending to have Parkinson's to avoid doing much work.
To avoid getting kicked out, he has to study or cheat, so here's Uncle Tat helping with a pop quiz. Trust us, it makes more sense in the movie.
They also get the entire force to help look up answers and radio them back to Tat. It's a goofy, fun sequence, but again, very long.
You can't have a movie without a love interest and that's filled by Miss Ho, who is in charge of that group of students.
There are a lot of students, but we don't get to know too many of them, aside from Turtle and his mom/grandma.
For a movie that's called "Fight Back to School" there isn't a whole lot of fighting. There are a couple very short action sequences, but the emphasis is more on the comedy most of the time.
The climax of the movie happens in this giant maze that has been set up inside a gymnasium at the school for an upcoming event. Gangsters chasing around Star and crew.
We also loved the chief character ("Scissor Legs") played by writer Barry Wong.
It would have been great if there were characterization and also a bit more mystery solving in the narrative, but maybe the sequels cover that ground.
Still, it was great to see bloopers during the credits and also a Game Boy sighting!
Awards Talk: At the Hong Kong Film Awards, it was nominated for Best Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Screenplay but came away empty.
TRUE CRIME & POP CULTURE
This week we didn't have a crime segment, and we've covered a lot of July movies from around this time, so most of the focus was around TV
Here's some info on those lesser known TV shows that aired around this time.
The Trial’s of Rosie O’Neil
We also dive into this TV Guide from the week of the movie and got some more info on the Golden Years mini series
It's not a great use of journalistic commas in that title.
What else were you watching back then?
Perhaps this caught your eye, too. Airing this day on MTV was a special about the Premiere for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. We found someone that uploaded all of the non-music, non-movie clip parts from the event, so check out part 1 above (if still live on YouTube) and enjoy.
RANKINGS & RATINGS
Nikki 1-5 star scale - 2 out of 5
Jon 0-4 star scale - 2 1/2 out of 4
Would you watch it again? - Yeah, for sure! It was a fun time despite its faults. However, we'd be more likely to try out the sequels or explore other Hong Kong movies from that era to get better acquainted with their cinematic contributions.
If you want to watch Fight Back to School, as of this recording in August 2021, it’s available on Hi-Yah! (which has a module on Amazon Prime), YouTube or imported DVDs. Check your local listings.
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