Seven Foxes

In the early 80’s one of the oddest collaborations in film history took place. Brigitte Lin, the cinematic sweetheart of Taiwan and already a huge star for ten years throughout Asia teamed up with the infamously schlocky director Chu Yen Ping for five films – Fantasy Mission Force, The Demon Fighters, Golden Queen Commandos, Pink Force Commandos and Seven Foxes. In three of these films Sally Yeh was to co-star with Brigitte, but Sally at least had an excuse as she was at the beginning of her career – but what to make of Brigitte. She was clearly at a turning point in her career – a scandal had tarnished her image – and these films may have seemed like leaky lifeboats in a stormy sea. Of course, she also looks like she is having a hell of a good time making these insanely quirky movies! Perhaps after years of being confined by her squeaky clean roles in Taiwanese weepies and gentle comedies, these films were like being released from a prison.
Brigitte, Sally and Derek Yee
By almost any film standard these are dreadful films. A film purist would either walk out after ten minutes or suffer a catatonic shock. The plots are idiotic and often totally illogical, the sets and designs are hokey and as cheap as fifty cent perfume, the editing strikes one as haphazard and crude, the costumes were likely bought at a garage sale in the steppes of Outer Mongolia, the writing has all the polish and subtlety of a rusty wrecking ball – but damn if these films aren’t a hoot for the most part. What other director would have a character cut off her arm with a sword and then attach a gattling gun as a replacement (Pink Force Commandos) or have a ninja jump out of the stomach of a pregnant woman (Demon Fighters)?
I would recommend the first four films mentioned above to anyone with a sense of humor and a sense of the bizarre – bad films – but in a very entertaining way. Unfortunately, the same can not be said about Seven Foxes – this is a bad film in every sense of the word. Though the dates for these films are difficult to pinpoint – have seen 1982 and 1983 given as well as 1984 and 1985 – I think this was the last one and it feels as if Chu Yen Ping had run out of steam. This film does not capture the genius lunacy of the previous films and it is much less ambitious in its scope.

A very wealthy fellow, Sun Yueh, is dying of cancer and has two wishes. One is to find his long lost son and the second is to have a professional killer finish him off. So he places an ad for his son and has his servants hire a killer to bring his life to a quick end. Three men all show up claiming to be the son and all three of them are phonies. One of them is Derek Yee (Magnificent Warriors and future fine director) along with his girlfriend Brigitte. Both of them are thieves – at the beginning of the film they rob a casino – and are now out to fleece the dying man. Sun Yueh doesn’t know who to believe so he has them all stay over along with his step-daughter, Sally Yeh, and puts them through various tests – one of them being a version of treasure hunt in which they have to steal horses and gas pumps among other articles.

Sally, Sun Yueh and Brigitte
Sun finds out of course that it was a misdiagnosis and that he will live – but the killer is out to get him and can’t be recalled - and anyone else in the house is in danger as well. The first half of the film is total goofball comedy – almost like a silent Max Sennett comedy full of pratfalls and the second half becomes almost a slasher film with the killer chasing them all through the house. But none of it is very good.
Both Brigitte and Sally look great throughout – Brigitte wears some very chic hats – and Sally begins the film with a torrid flash dance like routine dressed in hotpants, vest and bow tie that was quite fetching. If that is enough to hold your interest, this VCD may be worth picking up sometime.


My rating for this film: 3.5