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  Magic Warriors Spread a little wackiness as you walk by
Year: 1989
Director: Chong Yan-Gin, Lee Tso Nam
Stars: Lin Hsiao Lan, Chan Yin-Yu, Alexander Lo Rei, Moi Cheung-Kwan, Chen Shan, Lee Hoi-Hing, Jue Gwan-Yeung, Yeung Hung, Woo Hon-Cheung
Genre: Martial Arts, Weirdo, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Continuing the proud Hong Kong/Taiwanese tradition of wild and wacky children’s fantasies, Magic Warriors begins as garbled narration recounts the curtailing of the cosmic battle between good and evil when Wu Cham (Alexander Lo Rei) abandons his celestial brother Hsiu Lo Se (Alexander Lo Rei with beard) to marry a reformed evil sorceress. Years later, kung fu superhero Little Flying Dragon (genre perennial Lin Hsiao Lan, playing a boy once again) rescues ‘his’ peasant sweetheart from a river-dwelling, acid-spewing Creature from the Black Lagoon look-alike. After a quick wrestling bout, the creature changes back into the sorceress in her blonde glam-metal fright wig. Turns out she needs that old black magic standby: “virgin’s blood” to cure her sickly offspring Golden Boy (Chan Yin-Yu) - whose cute blonde hairdo leaves him looking more like Heidi or Goldilocks.

Using his amazing magical powers Little Flying Dragon kindly cures the child, earning the parents’ gratitude. Mere seconds later the happy family are attacked by a fiend in green dreadlocks called Kid of the Worst (Chen Shan), leader a gang of colourful monsters including a talking snail (Jue Gwan-Yeung), a hideous Fly Witch wielding a giant pair of scissors, the scarlet coiffed Red Hair Weirdo and a living garbage heap called Dirty Ghost who has a sack that somehow doubles as a rocket-launcher! These groovy ghouls work for the so-called King of Evil - believe it or not, a talking pin cushion that resides in a bat-shaped cave with glowing blue eyeballs - who is out to conquer the universe. Wu Cham is dunked in an acid pool to emerge a bleached skeleton while mom is hypnotised into a zombie minion. What King of Evil doesn’t know is they’ve hidden a treasure map inside their only offspring (?!), pointing the way to the one super-weapon that can end his reign of terror. Escaping together, Little Flying Dragon and Golden Boy combine their considerable martial arts magic in search of the Jade Frog.

Following Child of Peach (1987) and Magic of Spell (1988), this marks the third time round for a mind-boggling plot that would be recycled yet again with Twelve Animals (1990). Remarkably, everything still works a treat and co-directors Chong Yan-Gin, who made Aloha Little Vampire Story (1988) with child star Chan Yin-Yu, and Lee Tso Nam, who made Kung Fu Wonderchild (1986) with Lin Hsiao Lan, add a few fresh twists to the well-worn story. The ever-childlike Hsiao Lan finds an able sparring partner in plucky little Yin-Yu, as Little Flying Dragon has his/her hands full with the rambunctious tyke. Scenes you’re unlikely to see in a mainstream kids movie: Golden Boy douses enemies with a jet-stream of pee, gets drunk on a dozen barrels of wine, goes crazy with cartoon magic powers, and tricks stoic ninja movie star Alexander Lo Rei into quaffing a cup of urine!

The stream of consciousness structure leans heavily towards toilet humour and is aimed squarely at ages eight and under but includes the usual Kinko Films idiosyncrasies: cartoon special effects, scary monster makeup, rampant gore and strangeness, with brightly coloured explosions every five minutes. Yan-Gin and Tso Nam deftly blend wire fu with fluid optical, prosthetic, puppet and cartoon effects to create an inviting, multi-textured fantasy realm where imagination rules and anything is possible. Children can delight in Little Flying Dragon blasting balls of multicoloured flame or transforming into a golden cartoon phoenix while Golden Boy conjures a big snowy white yeti or a memorable array of goggle-eyed puppet friends straight out of Sesame Street.

With Alexander Lo Rei doubling as fight choreographer the action is even more frenetic than usual. Especially amidst the epic showdown at the lavishly surreal Devil’s Palace where the king of evil morphs into a horned demon with extendable arms and a Tina Turner fright wig. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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