Running on Karma

dir. Johnnie To
Hong Kong, 2003

A former monk working a extremely muscly stripper named Big (Andy Lau) runs away naked from a police immigration raid led by Lee Yung Fee (Cecilia Yeung). While he is being chased, he runs into another group of police who are pursuing a Indian rubber-man murder who has just escaped from custody. Just before he is arrested, we find out that he can see what happened in the past life of people or animals who are just about to die (their Karma.)

As he contributed to their suspect getting away, the cops beat up Big for no reason. Lee Yung bandages his wounds and gives him some new clothes. She is then asked to join the group investigating the murder case. The boss of that group is a real hard-arse and makes her run after the car. On the way back from the murder scene, he makes Lee Yung get out on the freeway to walk back and get her camera.

At the scene Big surprises Lee Yung and then explains what really happened there. On the street he gives a demonstration of his skills with a KLEENEX(TM) and one-finger pushups.

Lee Yung agrees to let him help on the case, so she gives him the key to her scooter (unwisely) which he immediately crashes (he said he could drive it after playing an arcade game.) The serious police investigation is inter-cut with shots of Big continuously crashing the scooter.

The police catch the murderer, but Big tells Lee Yung he can't see her again and returns to China. There is a very funny sequence in a nightclub where Big shows off his skills and makes the women on the table scream with delight with his big muscles.

Even though he has told her not to see him, Lee Yung visits Big's former monastery to find out what really happened to him. The rest of the movie concerns whether Lee Yung is doomed by her Karma or if Big can just keep saving her all the time.

I really liked this movie even though it was very silly. Seeing Andy Lau in a big muscle suit is funny in itself and mostly convincing, except for some shots (in particular when he is being beaten in the interrogation room and you can see big chunks taken out of the foam rubber.) For some reason it looked real in the body building competition though.

Although it started to get confusing towards the end of the movie, the rest is funny enough that you don't mind that it takes a serious turn. I would recommend this movie to people who like comedies, but want to see something a little less over the top than a Steven Chow movie.