From the description in the book Sex and Zen and
a Bullet in the Head, this was a film that sounded utterly ludicrous, but
a huge amount of fun. And it is. The film is deliriously insane – anything
goes - and the special effects are so cheesy that I couldn’t help
but love them. This film has cult classic written all over it, except for
the fact that the actors are all fairly well known. Perhaps only in HK
could you get actors of the stature of Chow Yun Fat, Maggie Cheung, Sibelle
Hu, Dick Wei and Chin Siu-Ho to be in a film like this.
This film is like Indiana Jones on a bad LSD
trip – full of bullets exploding out of your body, a woman cutting off
a chunk of her naked breast and feeding it to a man to cure him of an evil
spell, a man ripping into his own stomach with his bare hands to haul out
thousands of tiny worms, a hundred children being crushed to death and
their virgin blood being collected and many more technicolor nightmares.
In other words this film is a complete hoot.
It begins with Chin Siu-Ho preparing to get
amorous with a young woman when Dick Wei breaks into his apartment and
interrupts him. Wei warns him that he can’t have sex or the onset of the
blood curse will accelerate. Blood curse or no blood curse there is a naked
woman in front of Chin and so he ignores Wei. The proceedings come to a
quick halt though when a bullet comes shooting out - yes out - of
Chin’s leg – a real mood breaker!
Chin goes to his friend Wisely (Chow Yun Fat)
and tells him his story and asks for his advice. Chow sagely puffs on his
pipe and along with his assistant Sibelle listens to Chin’s amazing tale.
Chin relates that the year before he and a large party were in northern
Thailand where he saw this native girl rising from the water –like a Goddess
at a wet T-shirt contest - and he was immediately entranced.
So when he discovered later that she was about
to be sacrificed to the Ancient One – a living rotting corpse that turns
into an Alien looking creature upon tasting human flesh – he attempts to
rescue her. He is captured though and the rest of the party slaughtered
and the high priest, Tsui Kam-Kong, puts a blood spell on him and shoves
bullets down his throat. In a year’s time the bullets will start exploding
and move their way up to his heart upon which the seventh bullet will kill
him. Wisely advises him to go to Thailand and confront the Ancient One.
Tagging along with him is cub reporter, Maggie
Cheung, a spoiled rich kid who turns out to be fairly handy with automatic
weapons and booby traps (she studied Viet Cong tactics in school!). Maggie
is simply effervescent in this film – bubbly like good champagne – and
a delight to watch. In the opening scene we are introduced to her when
she conks a policewoman (Kara Hui Ying-Hung) on the head and replaces her
disguised as a nurse in a police hostage situation. All to get a good story.
She somehow continues to get in and out of trouble – even being possessed
at one point – throughout the film.
Chin, Maggie and Wei face down the evil one –
and in one incredible scene Chin and Wei have an acrobatic fight against
a group of rope swinging monks while climbing up a giant Buddha – and eventually
Chow Yun Fat shows up with bazooka in hand.
I don’t think there was a down moment in this
entire film and no matter how strange things become it is impossible not
to be completely charmed by this crazy little film.
Not important to most people – but for those Nina
Li fans of which I am one – look for her appearance in the opening scene
as one of the three girls drinking champagne. This may well have been her
very first film.
My rating for this film: 7.5
For the most part the transfer is simply stunning
– the colors are rich and the picture very sharp. There are a few occasions
such as in the last fight that takes place in the cave where the flesh
tones appear somewhat blanched and the film is murky, but this is minor
compared to how most of the film looks.
Distributed by Universe
Trailers include one for this film plus Triads
the Inside Story, Eighth Happiness (great trailer), Flaming Brothers and
Witch from Nepal.
Subtitles are very easy to read and can be
seen in Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English, Japanese, French,
Bahasia and Korean
Information on Chow Yun Fat and Maggie Cheung
It is very heartening to see this wonderful
little film in such good shape.