HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night, The
Show Goes On, The
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
   
 
  Enchantress, The Cosmic Couple
Year: 1984
Director: Chu Yuan
Stars: Mary Jean Reimer, Max Mok, Liu Yung, Wei Chiu-hua, Lo Lieh, Yueh Hua, Norman Tsui Siu-Keung, Goo Goon-Chung, Yim Chau-Wa, Cheng Miu, Yeung Chi-Hing, Philip Kwok Tsui, Kei Kong-Hung, Eric Chan Ga-Kei, Chiu Man-Yan, Kwan Fung, Wong Chi-Ming
Genre: Martial Arts, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: While investigating a string of strange deaths at a picturesque area known as Moonlit Sky, young swordsman Feng Xiwu (Max Mok) discovers a beautiful, mysterious, lute-playing maiden named Shuiling (Mary Jean Reimer). It’s love at first sight as he follows her to an enchanted cave. Unfortunately Shuiling turns out to be the daughter of Shui Tianjiao (Wei Chiu-hua), a flesh eating Japanese ghost hell-bent on destroying nothing less than the entire universe. All because she was once betrayed by her lover, legendary martial arts master Lan Tianyu (Liu Yung), who has withdrawn to a monastery to atone for his sin unaware he has a daughter. Aided by Taoist ghost buster Master Ku (Lo Lieh - well into the comedy character actor phase of his long and varied career) and klutzy sidekick Ku Didi (Yim Chau-Wa), Feng aims to free Shuiling from her mother’s control, but the ghost is so powerful he enlists further help from an array of super-beings and eventually the gods themselves.

A little piece of history this. The Enchantress was the last movie Chu Yuan directed for Shaw Brothers. Indeed the legendary Hong Kong studio ceased making movies altogether by 1985 and, save for distributing the occasional comedy, concentrated on producing television shows. Yuan had been directing for fourteen years by the time he joined Shaw Bros. in 1971. Though he continued doing so after leaving he never scaled quite the same heights again and became better known as an actor in Police Story (1985) and Days of Being Wild (1991).

This is the sort of movie where characters move like human ping-pong balls or shoot laser beams from their hands. Where Lo Lieh turns invisible by removing his robes and wields a death-dealing umbrella. Those HK film fans who prefer movies where shirtless tough guys brawl in rock quarries over who killed their teacher may well balk at the unashamedly fantastical tone, the more open-minded should have a jolly good time. The special effects are pantomime-level compared to Golden Harvest’s groundbreaking Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983) (in fact Lo Lieh name checks Zu in one cheeky line of dialogue!), but that is all part of its charm and the set-pieces actually exhibit a great deal of zest and imagination.

Yuan uses candy-coloured lighting and cel animation to create strange parallel worlds, plus those incredibly well-crafted Shaw Bros. sets seeped in magic mists. He crams an incredible amount into eighty-eight minutes with nearly a dozen major characters and still scope for supporting turns from Yueh Hua (as the all-powerful immortal Master Purple Robe), Norman Tsui Siu-Keung (being decapitated), Philip Kwok Tsui (camping it up as a drunken master possessed by a lady ghost!), comedy character actors Cheng Miu and Yeung Chi-Hung as a pair of Abbott and Costello type Shaolin monks, and Chiu Man-Yan and little Kei Kong-Hung, that amazing kung fu kid from Shaw’s Demon of the Lute (1983), as members of the “Galaxy of Seven Stars” - a sort of Chinese intergalactic justice league.

The sheer volume of weird and wacky supporting characters compensates for Max Mok ranking among Chu Yuan’s least charismatic leading men. Mok was and remains mostly a television actor, though he made memorable appearances in Shaw’s excellent Holy Flame of the Martial World (1983) and Journey of the Doomed (1985), which was the studio’s very last martial arts movie. He is best known for playing Jet Li’s sidekick in the classic Once Upon a Time in China II (1992).

Co-star Mary Jean Reimer (sometimes billed as Yung Jing-Jing) previously starred in two superlative Shaw Bros fantasies: Buddha’s Palm (1982) and Little Dragon Maiden (1983). She married legendary studio director Liu Chia-liang, earned herself a law degree and today hosts programs for HK Commercial Radio. Actress Wei Chiu-hua had a classical beauty well suited to period costume epics like Patrick Tam’s New Wave classic The Sword (1980) and John Woo’s Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1978).

However, the biggest name here is Liu Yung. Originally a bit-part player at Golden Harvest - you can spot him in The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972) - Yung became a Shaw Bros. star after the popular Chien Lung series of movies: Emperor Chien Lung (1976), The Adventures of Emperor Chien Lung (1977) and The Voyage of Emperor Chien Lung (1977). He headlined many Shaw movies, notably Secret Service of the Imperial Court (1984) and Sex Beyond the Grave (1984), and in recent years turned director with Baroness (2000).

Occasionally The Enchantress grows too frantic and cluttered for its own good. Despite the back story weaving the familiar theme of karmic atonement for past sins, unlike Tsui Hark with Zu, Yuan fails to coalesce the numerous adventures into anything truly meaningful. The seemingly cosmic story boils down to one big scrap between various ghosts, ninjas and almighty super-beings. Nonetheless, this moves at a rattling pace and has moments to cherish like the floating white cat; the ghost with extendable arms; Lan Tianyu performing an amazing kung fu exorcism using giant Buddha statues and flying Jingong lanterns; and one seriously trippy journey across outer space. Though agreeable to long-time HK film connoisseurs the action is stagy and old-fashioned compared to the New Wave films that would soon consign films like this to a distant memory.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4283 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

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

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: