The Demon Fighter

After years of starring in weepies and light family comedies in Taiwan, in the early 1980’s Brigitte Lin entered into a few collaborations with Taiwanese director Chu Yin-Ping. These films - Golden Queen Commandos, Pink Force Commandos, Fantasy Mission Force and this one (that I know of) – were to say the least light years away from what she had been doing previously.
Chu Yin-Ping is somewhat of a legend for putting out amazingly low budget schlocky films that often make little logical sense but are brimming with ideas and attitude. In almost twenty years of filmmaking, Chu has made over 100 films. I wonder what possessed Brigitte to break so radically from her past? Perhaps she realized that the days of the weepies were coming to an end or possibly that she was getting too old for them. At any rate we should be grateful because even though these films have their cinematic limitations, I would not be surprised if the tough independent action/fantasy characters that she portrays in them influenced Tsui Hark into using her for some of the great roles that lay ahead of Brigitte.

I wish I could find out what year this film was made in (I am just guessing 1983). There are certainly elements of the film – particularly regarding Brigitte – that reminded me of Tsui Hark’s Zu Warriors, but I don’t know which came first. This film also stars Adam Cheng who also appeared in Zu as Brigitte’s love.

This film is about as delirious and demented a kung fu flying film as one can possibly hope to find. It has wonderfully imaginative sets and lavish costume styles that range from Pharaoh to Rajah to American Indian to Ali Baba and looked to be scavenged from the leftovers of many other films. Other visual splendors include a ninja exploding out of a woman’s womb, walking up trees, slithering under doors, burrowing beneath the sand, a religious cult intent on taking over the world, half animal/half humans, a serial killer called Mr. Orchid that has an orchid shine in its brain when it is ready to kill and so much more. Chu just throws everything into his films without apparently being overly concerned with making much sense. After having given up on ever understanding the plot of this film, I was quite surprised when it actually is sort of tied together at the end. Not really – but sort of. There is enough going on of visual interest though to keep you watching. Brigitte alone is worth watching this film for – she is unbelievably lovely – like a sumptuous MGM princess on parade.

Again the plot is quite baffling – but burnt down to its essentials – this is basically it. Legend has it that Warrior Chu (Adam Cheng) disappeared from the world after his female student was killed by enemies many years previously. He blamed himself and walked away. Don’t worry about getting to know  the numerous characters you are introduced to in the first ten minutes – because by the fifteen minute mark they are all dead and you are then introduced to another completely different set of characters! Most of those initial characters are killed by this ninja on speed – who first literally hides himself in a woman’s womb – and comes exploding out – to deal brutal death all around him. He has been sent by the evil one (Carter Wong I think) to track Warrior Chu down and kill him.
It turns out that Warrior Chu is not exactly living a life of pain and poverty and in fact has set up a lovely community with beautiful gardens and even more beautiful women roaming about. Another slinky, sexy woman – in love with Chu – lives in a cave, with mist constantly covering the floors and flowers that give off acid and attendants to help her bathe. From time to time a mysterious, shrouded lover appears to caress her body.
Brigitte makes her first appearance as it should be – being carried in a sedan – bedecked in jewels and fancy clothes – as composed as the early evening moon. It turns out though that she is going to be sacrificed to the Gods – but Warrior Chu – never one to see a beautiful maiden go to waste – saves her and sets her up in his house. It turns out though that Brigitte is no beautiful wallflower – but is soon among the clashing of swords and killing alongside Chu. There are other – more secret aspects to Brigitte’s character – which brought vague memories of Asia the Invincible to me.
It’s all just good insane fun – with an endless stream of images and ideas being thrown at the viewer – many of them not necessarily competently done – some horrific editing – and threads of the film that are completely forgotten about – but if this sort of thing doesn’t bother you too much, this film might be worth tracking down. Unfortunately, the only version I know of is the Ocean Shore dubbed one.

My rating for this film: 7.5