Newest Reviews
At First Light
Free Ride
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Art of Self-Defense, The
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
  Iceman Cometh, The Time TroubleBuy this film here.
Year: 1989
Director: Clarence Fok Yiu-Leung
Stars: Yuen Biao, Maggie Cheung, Yuen Wah, Sarah Lee, Alvina Kong, Jing Chen, Elvis Tsui, Po Tai, Corey Yuen
Genre: Comedy, Martial Arts, Fantasy
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The era is nearing the end of the Ming Dynasty in China, and a princess is brutally raped and murdered by the wicked Fung San (Yuen Wah), right under the nose of the Emperor's military commander Fong Sau-Ching (Yuen Biao). Ching is in disgrace and is ordered to be executed, but at the last moment the Emperor has a change of mind and offers him twenty days to track down Fung San and bring him to justice. This proves tricky as Fung San, Ching's older brother and fellow ex-monk, and has set his sights on stealing the black jade Buddha which, when combined with the artefact known as the Wheel of Life and Death, will propel him to any time period he wishes. And so it is that the two adversaries meet with unexpected consequences...

Well, not all that unexpected I suppose if you've seen Highlander, which The Iceman Cometh was compared with when it was released. You'll have guessed by now that this isn't the Eugene O'Neill The Iceman Cometh, it's a different one scripted by Johnny Mak and Stephen Siu, also known as Time Warriors internationally and Ji Dong Ji Xia in China. As a fantasy it starts off fair enough, with its hero and villain trading insults in a snowy landscape after the jade Buddha has done its best in transplanting them to another century, but we're not sure which when they both of them topple into a ravine in the midst of combat where they have both been injured.

What happens next is that an expedition of scientists from a Chinese university uncover two frozen bodies when one of the researchers takes a tumble into their resting place. It is here we realise that the story, hitherto perfectly straight faced, will not be taking itself too seriously when one scientist suggests that the fact that the two perfectly preserved bodies are in an embrace means proof of homosexuality in the China of three hundred years ago. More goofy scenes follow when the bodies are taken to Hong Kong, stored and almost stolen by a group of idiot crooks, leading to the both of them being thawed out.

Yuen Biao proves an engaging figure as he embarks on a fish out of water storyline familiar since Tarzan's New York Adventure back in the nineteen-forties. At first mistaken for one of the homeless, he gets himself some more modern clothes and stumbles across a prostitute calling herself Sister (a chain-smoking Maggie Cheung) who is reluctantly the victim of a sado-masochist in the back of his car. Believing that she is being attacked by a pervert (not an unreasonable presumption), Ching "saves" her, beats up the pimps and she takes him to her apartment as a bodyguard. What follows is a lot of broad comedy as Ching acclimatises to the wonders of electricity and unwittingly drinking from the toilet bowl.

The trouble with The Iceman Cometh is that is aims for too many targets. For a long stretch in the middle it settles for laughs, which do occur to be fair, but if you were expecting a non-stop frenzy of martial arts action then you won't be satisfied with what's on offer here. In reality, there are only two or three genuine fights, and it's mainly the ones at the opening and the finale that are as spectacular as you'd be anticpating. The villain is offscreen for ages, and only shows up after about an hour to do more raping and murdering which doesn't sit well with the jokey tone of much of the rest of the film. Cheung in particular seems to be in another story altogether as her selfish would-be model fools the naive Ching into doing her bidding, only being drawn into the main plot when Fung San kidnaps her. But if you don't mind the uncertainty of style, the movie is well-acted and unsubtly amusing.

[The Hong Kong Legends DVD of this entertaining title features interviews with its stars, trailers, and an informative commentary by Bey Logan]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3944 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: