Kung Fu Wonder Child
Ever since I read the short and extremely favorable
review in Asian Cult Cinema a few years ago I have been dying to see this
film. Fantasy films with female fighters, hopping vampires, sorcery, ghosts,
zombies and flying just sounded like my kind of film especially one with
a very young Yukari Oshima in it. It is not an easy film to locate this
is actually a Taiwanese production and that tends to make films more difficult
to find but finally with the help of a friend I was able to see it.
I must admit to being a bit disappointed
perhaps my expectations were too high but it is not nearly the deliriously
over the top film that I had been hoping for, but it was still an enjoyable
low budget fantasy romp full of good deeds and evil intentions. There are
in fact hopping vampires and zombies and ghosts and much flying about
but with a budget too low to give them much justice.
Much of the film is actually comedic in nature
full of magic pranks and tacky humor (dog urinating on unconscious man/vampire
falling face first into a cow pie sort of thing) than an action fantasy.
After a slow build-up the last thirty minutes finally gets fairly serious
and there is some fun action towards the end.
A very petite Taiwanese actress by the name
of Lin Hsiao Lan starred in a few of these Taiwanese fantasy films during
the 1980s (Magic of Spell being another) and she has some nice kung-fu
moves though much of the kung-fu in this film is augmented with wires.
She and her grandfather work in a Taoist school and temple as a cook and
his assistant. Lin works around the temple doing chores but spends most
of her time with her two student friends using her knowledge of magic that
she has picked up to play tricks on people. Unknown to her, there is a
great evil lurking within the temple with plans to gain great powers. Fortunately,
where evil resides so sometimes does good and her grandfather turns out
to be much more than a cook.
Yukari enters the story all dressed in white and
flowing locks and she is looking for her sister and grandfather who have
been kidnapped by the evil one and stuffed in a jar. Yukari, Lin and the
grandfather all team up to try and save her family and defeat the evil
before he is too strong. Magic spells and kung-fu are utilized to fight
the evil one and his servants red headed twins and a blue zombie with
Though the film didnt really meet my expectations,
it is a nice example of the low budget comedy/fantasy films that were being
made around that time. It is also great of course to see Yukari in one
of her earliest roles a few years before becoming a star in Angel. She
looks great, has some nice scenes (though she is clearly not the focus
of the film) and its great to see her in a non-Girls with Guns flick.
My rating for this film: 6.5