Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
H-Man's Weird Fu Reviews 
Author Message
Burning Godzilla
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:01 pm
Posts: 5159
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
So at the Kung Fu Fandom Forums, the mutual review theme for February is the supernatural. This has led me to review a number of films that can be classified as "Weird Fu." So, here are my reviews from that fórum, for anyone interested:

Wolf Devil Woman (1982)

Starring: Pearl Chang Ling, Sek Fung, Wang Hsieh, Wan Siu-Man, Ho Hing-Nam

Director: Pearl Chang Ling

Action Director: ???

Pearl Chang Ling is an interesting figure in the history of the Jade Screen, as she seems to have been a particularly ambitious woman in the Taiwanese film industry. While women like Hsu Feng and Sharon Yeung Pan Pan turned to producing when their respective genres (70s wuxia and Girls n' Guns) had more or less run their course, Pearl had only appeared in a handful of movies before she appeared in a series of of vanity projects that she herself wrote, produced, directed and starred in. While her initial movies look like pretty typical genre fare for the 70s, these later projects appear to be among the most bonkers movies being made at the time. Three of those movies form what Thomas Weisser refers to as a "conceptual trilogy," partly due to the fact that they were released in some territories as the Wolf Devil Woman series, while two of the movies were released in other places as the Phoenix the Ninja series. All three of them were Chang Ling's pet projects, and deal with her avenging the death of her parents in one way or another.

The story for Wolf Devil Woman is inspired by the same tale that gave rise to The Bride With White Hair and Li Bingbing's character in The Forbidden Kingdom. There's a evil cult led by a man in a golden wizard costume, complete with a cone-shaped Merlin hat with a red skull-and-crossbones that I think Pearl's young nephew cut out of construction paper. The sorcerer is known as the Devil (who is dubbed by a man with a strong Texas drawl), and when we meet him, he is crucifying and torturing some random victim via voodoo/Maoshan magic, in which he sticks pins in a doll and even places the doll's head in boiling water. Two of the Devil's followers, a swordsman and his wife, get fed up with their master's antics and take to the hills with their newborn child to find a better life. They are tracked down by one of the Devil's generals, who looks to be wearing a Halloween mask of Bela Lugosi-by-way-of-a-fanged-gorilla, and his army of ninja. Outnumbered, the two escapees stab themselves, covering the baby in their blood (meant to keep the child warm), and then ram their heads into a wall of ice until an avalanche occurs. The baby is rescued from a snowy grave by a pack of wolves, who proceed to raise her in whatever way a pack of wolves could raise a human.

Twenty years later, the baby has grown into a wolf woman, meaning that she growls, kills small rabbits with her mouth and devours them raw, and can perform wire stunts as needed. She also has a curvature of the spine from walking around on all fours for most of her life. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the snowy mountain where she lives, a young swordsman named Rudolph (yes, that's how he's named in the credits) and his annoying sidekick Rudy (I swear I'm not making this up) is looking for a plant called 1000-year-old ginseng. This special ginseng is the key to surving the Devil's freezing spells (very similar to the Jinxes freezing attack in Jet Li's Kung Fu Cult Master), which is important, since in the past 20 years, the Devil and his armies have been on a killing spree, massacring any kung fu master who doesn't agree to join him. Rudolph and Rudy meet the wolf girl, whom the former names "Snow Hibiscus." He teaches her language and uses his kung fu chiropractor skills to correct her spine. She eventually informs Rudolph that she herself ate the Thousand-Year Ginseng when she was a little girl, which is bad news for everybody back home. Rudolph does perk Snow Hibiscus's interest in his quest by revealing a chamber in her snow cave where the frozen corpse of her (human) mother is.

Long story short: Rudolph is kidnapped by the Devil's men, who subject him to the hypnosis skills of the Devil's female witch companion. He becomes the Red Devil, a servant to the our faux Merlin. After some fish-out-of-water scenes involving Snow Hibiscus, she learns the truth of her parentage and swears revenge against the Devil and his army of ninja.

This is one of those movies that looks totally awesome when reading a plot synopsis of it, but the actually movie falls a little short of one's expectations. I mean, Thomas Weisser gave the movie a four-star rating in Asian Cult Cinema and Keith Allison of Teleport City said, "With a decent helping of comedy, tons of martial action (most of it average but enjoyable swordplay), and Cheung Ling in a little wolf outfit, you simply can't go wrong with this film. After all, it has all those things in spades." I didn't quite feel the same way. After the first 10 minutes or so, the movie sort of drags until the final 20 minutes, which are admittedly extremely entertaining. But too much time is spent with the "domestication" and integration of Snow Hibiscus that I found myself busying myself with other things while waiting for the action to kick in again.

And then you get to those glorious final moments, where Hibiscus puts on a nice white dress (I can only assume Rudy paid for it) and whips out her signature weapon, a long, fur-covered cord with dessicated animal claws at each end. She tracks the evil ninja through forests, deserts and other terrain, hacking every last one of them to pieces with her weapon. Sometimes she wraps the cord around a poor sucker's neck and yanks his head off. There's one doomed sap whom Hibiscus literally tears limb from limb with her bare hands. All of this is filmed with wires and quick cuts, much like the way that Ching Siu-Tung filmed his wuxia films during the 90s. Purists should indeed beware, but people who simply like "weird fu" will certainly get a kick out of all this.

She finally storms the Devil's lair, who unleashes his army of zombies (which hop around like guanxi). The idea is that the Devil collected dozens of kung fu masters from his raids and imprisoned them. He then placed golden needles inside Maoshan-enchanted dolls, which paralyzed them. I assume that being the one to place the golden needle in them also meant that if he removed the needles, they would become zombies. That's what happens. So you have this final showdown where Snow Hibiscus is ripping these hopping zombies to shreds with her claw weapon while Rudolph, now on our side again, is flying around on wires shooting golden arrows (as in arrows made of gold, which he just happened to have on hand near the convenient forge) at the zombies, which is also their weakness. The Devil also keeps part of his lifeforce inside of a doll, which results in the tragic lesson of "if you're going to make a Chinese equivalent to a horcrux to house your soul, don't keep it in plain sight of everybody."

So there's a lot of weirdness and bizarre supernatural shtuff on display, plus some animal dismemberment for [bad] measure, but I wish it was spread out a lot more uniformly through the film, instead of clumped together during the first and last 20 minutes of the movie.

_________________
I wrote a book!

My new blog: O Catedral de Kaiju - Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985


Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:07 pm
Profile YIM WWW
Burning Godzilla
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:01 pm
Posts: 5159
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Matching Escort (1982)
aka: Wolf Devil Woman 2; Venus the Ninja; Wolfen Ninja; Fury of the Silver Fox

Starring: Pearl Chang Ling, Meng Fei, Wang Hsieh, Sek Fung, Peng Kong
Director: Pearl Chang Ling, Si Ma-Peng
Action Director: Su Chen-Ping

The first "follow-up" to Wolf Devil Woman doesn't have the supernatural elements that the previous film does, but it's just as over-the-top violent and is crazy in its own way, and even better in some respects. The problems with pacing that marred Pearl Chang's "masterpiece" are largely absent (save an unnecessary six-minute comic interlude involving Pearl and a group of beggars) and the action sequences are spaced at more uniform intervals, although things kick into overdrive during the last 30 minutes. Pearl continues as director and star, although writing and producing duties have been relegated to others, which is probably for the best. And once more, the overarcing theme of the movie is "Don't kill Pearl Chang's parents, because she *will* get bloody revenge on you."

So there's a kung fu noble by the name of Fang who lives in quiet solitude with his household, including his young daughter, Chu (who'll be played as an adult by Pearl Chang Ling herself). Chu grows up forced to wear heavy metal shoes, which strengthen her legs to the point that, by the time she reaches adulthood, she can fly, jump high into trees, and even run on water! Her father is visited by some men one day who ask him to join their cause in dethroning the emperor. He turns down the offer, leading the men to say, "Screw that!" and murder the entire household. Only Chu is able to escape, thanks to her flying skills.

Chu becomes a vagabond, but unlike women who dress like that in most kung fu movies, the villains are still able to see through the disguise and are on her tail. During one chase sequence, Chu falls off a cliff and into a secret cave! The cave is inhabited by a former kung fu clan leader who was violently betrayed by his own twin brother. For twenty years he has been mixing concoctions from the giant mushrooms and flowers that grow in the cave, with the hope of making a potion that'll restore his broken legs and allow him to get his revenge. The man eventually agrees to become Chu's teacher and she learns not only kung fu, but is subjected to various poisonous plants and vapors that render her immune to the effects of most poisons. That's an oddly specific kung fu ability, you know. I can't possibly imagine it coming in handy later.

At the end of Chu's training, her master conveniently expires, leaving her to take revenge for the both of them. Not conveniently, they don't happen to be looking for the same person, so we get an extra action sequence with the purpose of wrapping up that particular subplot involving her master. Chu then teams up with the 3rd Prince (Meng Fei) and his servant, Peanut (I suppose having a Chinese name that translates to Peanut is more plausible than being a Ming Dynasty Chinese named "Rudy"), to dish out the kung fu revenge that only an angry woman with a sword can deal out.

So no zombies, ghosts or voodoo dolls in this movie, but we do get lots of people being slashed to ribbons with Pearl's sword. The fight choreography was provided by Su Chen-Ping, who worked on a few obscure Taiwanese movies during the 70s, and is probably best known by fans for King of Fists and Dollars. I suspect he also worked on Wolf Devil Woman, since both films have that same proto-Butterfly and Sword approach to choreography: lots of flips, quick cuts, wires, and the like. Don't expect much hand-to-hand from Meng Fei. He usually just wacks people with his fan until the end, when he also whips out his sword and slices his way through a literal army of ninja. Speaking of ninja, Pearl's sword style in this movie is heavily influenced by Japanese chambara movies. Except for the final duel against a villain who wears a Nintendo Power Glove, the fights are over very quickly. Chang whips out her sword (gotta love how her scabbard also has a blade at the tip), twirls it around a little bit, parries an attack or two, twirls it around some more, and then several people just keel over dead with blood spurting out of God knows where. I'm assuming that Pearl's martial arts background was a little limited, so this approach to swordplay is probably a best fit for her skills.

So if you want to see a lot of bloody swordplay and Pearl Chang Ling learn kung fu inside a cave full of giant papier mâché flowers from a guy who do backflips but is unable to actually walk, then Matching Escort is the film for you.

_________________
I wrote a book!

My new blog: O Catedral de Kaiju - Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985


Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:09 pm
Profile YIM WWW
Burning Godzilla
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:01 pm
Posts: 5159
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Miraculous Flower (1981)

aka: Phoenix the Ninja; Wolf Devil Woman 3

Starring: Pearl Chang Ling, Rose Kuei, Chung Wah, Wang Hsieh, Peng Kong, Tien Yeh
Director: Fong Ho
Action Director: ???

Much like Matching Escort, this movie is more of a conventional wuxia pian with a few moments of total bizarreness and graphic violence to keep things original. It's considered the third movie in Chang Ling's Wolf Devil Woman "trilogy," although it predates the first two movies by a year. However, on the version I watched, which was ripped from an Ocean Shores VCD, it was picked up for distribution a year after those two movies, which would probably explain the difference in titling. It was also picked up at some point by IFD films for distribution, thus gaining the title Phoenix the Ninja. Wolf Devil Woman and Matching Escort had also gotten some degree of distribution from IFD, and were given ninja titles as well. This movie is easily the least "ninja" of the trilogy, since there is but one masked assassin who shows up during a fight in the second act. But that's neither here nor there.

We begin with a young woman named Leng dragging the body of her mother through the snow. As she does so, we're treated to some flashbacks of the girl's mother giving her instructions prior to her passing, which includes:

- Looking for the Happy Fairy;
- Retrieving a box at the top of Mount Ermei;
- Burning the walking stick she's carrying afterward.

At some point, Leng ditches the body and heads into town, where she meets a wandering scholar named No-Stain (Chung Wah). The two strike up a friendship and he offers his father's estate to Leng as a new home. She turns him down and continues on her journey. While sleeping in the ruins of an old house, she ovehears some men planning a raid on No-Stain's home. She sneaks away and warns the household in time for them to protect themselves against the forces of the spear-wielding Lonely Fly. To show his gratitude, No-Stain's father takes on Leng as an adopted daughter.

While living with her new family, Leng discovers that No-Stain is actually a martial artist. He teaches her some palm techniques and how to fly, which will come in handy later. She eventually leaves the home and resumes her search for the Happy Fairy. Reaching Mount Ermei, Leng find the box, but loses it and the walking stick to a hooded thief. She then meets the Happy Fairy, who teaches her kung fu and tells her the story of her family. Leng is actually May, the daughter of a martial arts noble who was murdered by a number of conspirators who wanted his signature weapon, the Bowel-Cutting Blade. May recovers the blade and find the list of conspirators in the box, which the Happy Fairy was hiding. She sets out to avenge the murder of her family...again.

Miraculous Flower is bereft of much of the irritating comedy that marred Matching Escort and Wolf Devil Woman. Because of that, Pearl Chang's character is a lot more tolerable and likable during the non-fighting scenes. The story is pretty conventional wuxia stuff and Chang Ling is once more out for vengeance, even if it's not clear from the outset (well, sort of). There's talk of the martial world and different groups fighting for supremacy, but many of the villains show up almost only to fight Pearl Chang and be killed almost immediately. That would probably be the major flaw in the story, plus the film stops before we learn what exactly the final fate of our heroine is. I do like that the script combines the exposition sequences with the training sequences, which is a far more economical mode of storytelling.

There's quite a bit of action, which is of the same standard as the other movies. It's not exactly at the level of the Chang Cheh-directed Venom Mob wuxias made at the same time, but it's fine for what it is. There are lots of wire tricks and swordplay, with a few villains wielding weapons like assault blades and spears to give the action a little more variety. In some of the later fights, there are some vertical wire spins and running across rooftops that made me think of a test run for the action sequences in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The most unforgettable sequence is the finale, which is set inside of a collapsing magma chamber (shades of Star Wars Episode III) against a monk who rips his own guts out at one point. If you can find another movie where that happens, I'd certainly like to know!

_________________
I wrote a book!

My new blog: O Catedral de Kaiju - Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985


Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:10 pm
Profile YIM WWW
Burning Godzilla
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:01 pm
Posts: 5159
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Magic of Spell (1988)

Aka Child of Peach 2

Starring: Lin Hsiao-Lan, Chen Shan, Yeung Hung

Director: Chiu Chung-Hing

Action Director: Chiu Chung-Hing

Magic of Spell is the second in a trilogy of Taiwanese fantasy films based on the Japanese folk tale of Momotaro, or the Peach Boy. According to the story, an old, childless couple receive a giant peach that was sent from Heaven. While opening the peach, a little boy is discovered inside who declares himself to be their new son. The boy is named Momotaro, or “Peach Taro” (Taro being a common boy’s name), and he’s raised by the old couple. Meanwhile, the region is being terrorized by an army of oni, or demons. So Peach Boy teams up with a trio of talking animals—a monkey, a dog and a pheasant—and invades the demon fort. He defeats them, brings back their plundered treasure, and lives happily ever after with his family. I personally find it odd that the Taiwanese would mine Japanese folklore for their bizarre fantasy excursions, but I can only assume that the story had shown up in Taiwan in the form of manga or anime and were popular with younger audiences who lacked the WW2-era anti-Japanese baggage that older Taiwanese people would have no doubt had.

This story continues the adventures of Peach Boy (played by actress Lin Hsiao-Lan of Heroic Fight and Kung Fu Wonder Child) and his animal comrades. There’s an evil old man named Elder (Chen Shan?) who wants his youth and power restored. For the record, the old, wrinkly mask the actor wears is simultaneously goofy and creepy. So he sends his faux-Taoist sorcerer son to procure the ingredients necessary to make a youth-restoring bath. Said ingredients include the blood of virgin boys, and the flesh/pulp of the 1,000-year-old Ginseng King (played by a kid dressed as root), or the flesh of Peach Boy. The sorcerer tries to get Peach Boy, but only succeeds in killing his mother instead. The sorcerer and his cohorts—a white lady ghost (apparently played by a man), a gill man, and a strong guy carrying a boulder—then try to kidnap the Ginseng King. It flees and finds protection with Peach Boy. Peach Boy and his friends, Dog Boy, Chicken Boy (played by an adolescent girl) and Monkey Boy, invade the Elder’s palace and lots of magic and fighting ensues.

One of the weird things about Asian movies is how violent they are, even when the target audience is obviously children. Early on, the Elder’s army of samurai ghosts are kidnapping children to use their blood for the youth-restoring ritual. The mothers try to plead with the soldiers for their children, but are mercilessly cut down onscreen by the bad guys. In an American movie, the plot would deal with the attempt to save the children before being exsanguinated, with them being rescued in the end by the heroes. No such luck for the poor souls in this movie. Exit children, stage left. That’s like if the witches in Hocus Pocus successfully drained all the children’s lifeforce at the end. Can you imagine how traumatizing that would be? And this film doesn’t even bat an eye at this horrible atrocity (which is portrayed offscreen, but heavily implied). Lots of people die on both sides, sometimes even gratuitously, which you’d never get in a children’s film made in this hemisphere. Try showing this in a theater today. Those hysterical mom’s organizations—those same people who wanted to ban sweatshirts with snowmen imprinted on them because they thought it was some secret cocaine lingo—would have their heads explode after having a heart attack.

Fans of the supernatural and outright bizarre will find a lot to enjoy here. You have laser-shooting Buddha statues, a bazooka-wielding fish man, gender-bending on an epic scale, an evil albino ghost who almost literally screws the life out of one of the good guys, bathing in blood, ginseng-powered kung fu, a giant boulder monster, a Pheasant Boy (played by a girl) whose arm turns into a pheasant head which pecks the eyes out of its enemies, and all sorts of other crazy stuff. There’s a fair helping of kung fu, including some katana action from Lin Hsiao Lan, choreographed by the director himself, Chiu Chung-Hing, and his Stuntman Team. I looked up his credits on the HKMDB and he had done some assistant action director work on Yuen Woo-Ping’s Miracle Fighters. I think that particular experience inspired him to make this trilogy in Taiwan, since he choreographs the weirdness with similar verve to that seen in those Yuen Clan sorcery films. The fighting is frequently sped up and wired-up, but in the context of the film, it sort of works. We’ve definitely seen better—Yuen Woo-Ping and his brothers did a better job of balancing utter weirdness with some excellent fight choreography-- but there’s just so much going on, that either you get caught up in the strangeness, or dismiss the film outright.

_________________
I wrote a book!

My new blog: O Catedral de Kaiju - Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985


Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:12 pm
Profile YIM WWW
Burning Godzilla
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:01 pm
Posts: 5159
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Child of Peach (1987)

Starring: Lin Hsiao-Lan, Chin Tu, Pang San, Wong Chung-Yue, Yau Mei-Fong
Director: Chiu Chung-Hing, Chan Jung-Leung
Action Director: Chiu Chung-Hing

Child of Peach is the first film in the Taiwanese "kiddie" fantasy trilogy about Peach Boy, or Momotaro in Japanese, which places the folk hero in a faux-Japanese/Chinese setting and fills it with wire-fu and the sort of strangeness that defines Chinese comedy. It's also rather violent, so if something sounds weird in my description, just repeat to yourself, "It's only a kid's film. It's only a kid's film."

In the Himalayas, there's a magical peach garden inhabited by a magical swordsman and his wife, plus their newborn son. Joining them is a tiny little fairy and three magical animals--a pheasant, a dog and a gibbon--who can turn into acrobatic kung fu kids as the plot demands. I must point out here that the pheasant, whose alter-ego is played by a female actress, goes by the name of "Little Cock." It's only a kid's film. It's only a kid's film. Trouble brews when the evil Devil King shows up in the Garden and steals the powerful Sword of the Sun, which immediately renders the garden a desolate, snowy wasteland, and kills the swordsman and his wife. The fairy places the baby inside a giant peach and sends it to Japan...or China...or Asiaville. Something.

The peach is found by an old, childless couple and raised as their own son. Meanwhile, the Devil King goes to hell and frees his mother and her zombie followers. The zombie grandma (as she's referred to in the movie) begins a reign of terror in the land, slaughtering entire villages and burning them to the ground (It's only a kid's film). A local warlord, an overweight samurai named Melon Knight, gets his best men together to defeat the Devil King. He's joined by a Peach Boy, who has grown up rather quickly due to the fairy's magic. Can they defeat the villain and save the random princess who's been kidnapped because, well, of course there has to be a kidnapped princess!

This is a pretty loopy film, but much (not all) of the wire-fu action is reserved for the final half hour, much like Wolf Devil Woman. The fighting itself, brought to you by director and occasional Yuen Clan collaborator Chiu Chung-Hing is passable. It's not as undercranked as it would be in the next film, Magic of Spell, and there are some decent acrobatic moves. But until then, there's a lot of comedy that the filmmakers try to mine from the bickering old couple and an extended comic interlude involving a giant, flying and pissing peach. There's some comedy mined from Pang San, who plays the fat samurai, which is of the stereotypical "He's fat, and that's funny variety." But he does get to bust out a few choreographed moves and he does walk away with the hawt princess in the end, so that's ok.

Then you get to the final act, and seams keeping the weirdness begin to burst. You have a human-sized Peach Man that our hero and his (remembering that "he" is played by a "she") animal pals can enter into and control like a Power Rangers Megazord. Little Cock's (It's only a kid's film) method of attack is bend over forward and fire explosive rockets out of her back. You can bet that one major villain character will be blown to pieces before the film's over. And let's not forget a "blowing contest" between Peach Boy and a villain who controls the wind, where both of them blow on opposite sides of a hollow pole until the one of their heads explodes...It's only a kid's film.

_________________
I wrote a book!

My new blog: O Catedral de Kaiju - Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985


Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:48 pm
Profile YIM WWW
Burning Godzilla
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:01 pm
Posts: 5159
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Magic Warriors (1989)
aka Child of Peach 3, Prince of Phoenix

Starring: Lin Hsiao-Lan, Chen Shan, Alexander Lo Rei, Lee Hoi-Hing
Director: Lee Tso-Nam, Chuang Yan-Chien
Action Director: Alexander Lo Rei, Lee Hoi-Hing

Although one of this film's alternate titles suggests a second sequel to the 1987 "kiddie" fantasy Child of Peach, it's not quite that. It's more of a spiritual successor. The impishly-cute Lin Hsiao-Lan is back in a male role as a supernaturally-powered kung fu fighting boy, but this time goes by the moniker of Xiao Fei Long, or Little Flying Dragon. Her (his) outfit is still the same, and Lin still wields a katana as her (his) principle weapon, but Peach Boy's animal sidekicks are gone, as is the giant magical peach that helps him from time to time.

The story is alternately simple and complex, very reminiscent of Kung Fu Cult Master. Years ago, there was a huge war between the forces of Heaven and the forces of the Devil (who'll eventually be played by Lee Hoi-Hing, who did the action choreography for Iron Monkey 2). During the war, a swordsman fighting for heaven, Wu Cham (Alexander Lo Rei), deserted his side to marry an evil witch from the side of the Devil. They went into hiding, where they had a blond-haired Chinese child. Both Heaven and Hell spent so much time looking for the forbidden couple that they eventually forgot about the war, and peace was established. However, as is par for the course in these things, the child of this union could tip the balance in the war between good and evil.
Fast-forward ten years, where Little Flying Dragon is gallavanting around doing nothing of importance. He saves some women from a killer gill man, who turns out to be Evil Witch in disguise. Evil Witch needs some mortal energy to cure her sick son, and takes Little Flying Dragon home to help. Unbeknownst to them, they are being followed by the Snail Spirit, who works for Devil King and his son, Kid of the Worst (Chen Shan in a turquoise wig). Snail Spirit reports back to his master, who gathers his other Spirit underlings (including a female fly spirit and a guy in a red wig) to launch an attack on the home of Wu Cham and his wife.

A huge fight breaks out and Wu Cham is badly wounded. Little Flying Dragon is left to care for the little boy after his parents are whisked away to the Devil King's castle. Wu Cham is unceremoniously dipped in a vat of acid and reduced to a skeleton, while the Fly Spirit uses mind control powers to find out where the two are going. Little Flying Dragon prepares a Lone Wolf-esque baby cart for the boy and they arrive in a city, where a rich noble transforms them into gorillas with the intent of killing them and serving them to his guests. And that my friends, marks the first 35 minutes of so of this insane little project.

So a lot goes on in this movie, with the forces of Heaven and Hell constantly trying to kidnap the little boy (only in an Oriental film could the forces of Heaven be construed as secondary antagonists). Near the last act, the duo finds Wu Cham's older brother (also played by Alexander Lo Rei), and some more hijinks ensues before they finally storm the Devil's castle and administer the kung fu justice.

Fight-wise, this film has more and better martial arts than the previous two movies, which I imagine could be expected from Alexander Lo Rei and Lee Hoi-Hing, each of whom has a pretty petigree in that area. Yes, there is a lot of wirework and over-the-top fu, but as a children's fantasy, it's pretty excusable. Lo Rei gets to perform some nice bootwork, especially in his role as Wu Cham's brother. Chen Shan also gets to fight quite a bit, although his moves are little more muted. His signature weapon in this movie is a whip. Lin Hsiao-Lan fights with a pair of axes in the finale, which makes for a nice change of pace from the katana she wields earlier (and the other films). There are also lots of bombs and explosions used in the fights as well. It feels like a 90s Ching Siu-Tung film made two years earlier on smaller budget and written by a 10-year-old kid running his own D&D campaign.

When the characters aren't fighting, they're engaging in vulgar comedy (pee drinking, a naked kid's bum shooting liquid poo into a character's face, the like) and all sorts of supérnatural shenanigans. There are teleportation spells, lots of spirits (in addition to the ones I mentioned, there's a Mushroom Spirit and an Evergreen Spirit on the side of Heaven), magic potions that transform people into gorillas, kung fu used to heal people, Lin Hsiao-Lan vomiting a fountain of blood as part of the healing process ("It's only a kid's film"), and more. It's just that insane and for that, I recommend this to anyone interested in the most bizarre films that cinema has to offer.

_________________
I wrote a book!

My new blog: O Catedral de Kaiju - Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985


Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:04 pm
Profile YIM WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 6 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  

Forum hosting by ProphpBB | Software by phpBB | Report Abuse | Privacy