Oh, the joys of Hong Kong cinema!
One of the routine complaints about the films made in Hong Kong is their propensity for slapstick. The Chinese seem to love absurd physical humor and it pops up even in some fairly serious HK films.
Its quality varies enormously as well – one could point to some hysterically funny work by Tsui Hark, Jackie Chan and his frequent collaborator, Sammo Hung. But then, one could point to some that just go too damn far – by Tsui Hark, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. Well, you get the point.
As rare as SF cinema is in Hong Kong film (IMDB doesn’t even have a separate Hong Kong SF category), it is also subject to the same problem, leaving some of those few interesting efforts almost unwatchable: Future Cops and Kung Fu Cyborg come to mind.
And in the end, whether you think a film goes too far depends to a large extent on your own personal tolerance for baggy pants comedy.
That said, I Love Maria is a joy to watch. We’ve got a powerful gang with their own robot enforcers; we’ve got a beautiful female robot (modeled on the false Maria from Metropolis); we’ve got a nerdy inventor, his shady gangster friend (played by the film’s producer, HK legend Tsui Hark) and a nebbishy reporter played by Tony Leung, of all people; all of them on the run from the police. And, as you’d expect, there are epic robot on robot battles, car chases, and silly attempts at romance with the beautiful but seemingly robotic Maria.
Wow. It’s fun. It’s silly. And it has robots.
Find me some popcorn.