HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dead
Death at Broadcasting House
Huracan
Ghost Strata
Call to Spy, A
Tailgate
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
   
 
Newest Articles
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
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
   
 
  Flying Dagger Fantastic Mr. Fox
Year: 1993
Director: Chu Yen Ping
Stars: Tony Leung Kar-Fai, Jacky Cheung, Sharla Cheung Man, Maggie Cheung, Jimmy Lin, Gloria Yip, Ng Man Tat, Chen Hung-Lieh, Kingdom Yuen King-Tan, Yuen Cheung-Yan, Lee Ka-Ting, Lo Lieh, Pauline Chan, David Wu
Genre: Comedy, Martial Arts, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Big Dagger Hon Cheung (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) and his nephew Little Dagger Hon Lam (Jimmy Lin) are bounty hunters who despite their mastery of martial arts keep losing top-dollar fugitives to Big Bewitchment (Sharla Cheung Man) and Little Bewitchment (Gloria Yip), a flirty female duo not above romancing the Daggers to stay one step ahead. When a powerful warlord offers a generous bounty for the outlaw that allegedly raped and killed his daughter along with forty servants, both teams spring into action determined to bag the bad guy first. That outlaw is Nine Tail Fox (Jacky Cheung), a happy-go-lucky fox spirit (yes, he does have nine bushy prehensile tails that double as weapons!), crackpot inventor and notorious thief who along with his formidable martial arts mistress, Flying Cat (Maggie Cheung), realises he has been set up and will not go quietly.

This wild and wacky wu xia swordplay film united two kings of Asian schlock: Hong Kong writer-producer Wong Jing and Taiwanese director Chu Yen Ping, the demented genius behind Golden Queens Commando (1984), children’s kung fu film Shaolin Popeye (1994) and most recently martial arts basketball comedy Kung Fu Dunk (2004). Both filmmakers were experts at tailoring lightweight but high-profit yielding concoctions around popular youth idols and film stars. Sprinkle some comedy, a dash of kung fu, throw in some gravity-defying wire-work, a lot of romantic banter and job done. Who cares about the plot? Two decades later, Wong is still at it with among others, Treasure Inn (2011), proving the formula still packs in the crowds in Asia at least.

For many English fans of martial arts cinema, Jing’s slapstick farces were nigh on unbearable, an affront to those who liked their fight-fests straightlaced and stoic. Yet while critics labelled these films as parodies, humour had always been a distinctive aspect of Chinese swordplay sagas going back to old Taoist fables. Like spy spoofs in the 1960s, this delirously over-the-top style of martial arts fantasy had grown so prevalent in Hong Kong cinema it became hard to discern parodies from more serious examples. These days with the genre mired in solemnity under the auspices of mainland directors like Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou, one is liable to feel nostalgic about films where Maggie Cheung miaows and claws trees while practicing cat-style kung fu or Jacky Cheung disables one villain with a supersonic fart. Or maybe that’s just me...

With Wong Jing on script duties the humour is undeniably puerile with numerous sex gags and scatalogical references. Things reach a crescendo of bad taste when a poisoned Chun is called on to have repeated sex with Big Bewitchment so she’ll give birth a mutant baby he must then cook and eat! Others are considerably funnier, including the primitive home security system that comprises an elderly hermit in a cave sketching everything that happens, a ridiculous scene involving a gay sadomasochist performing songs by KC and the Sunshine Band, plus the heroes’ hilarious encounter with the villains Die First, Die Hard and Never Dies, whose names reveal their eventual fate. Whilst the convoluted plot only grows sillier as our heroes assemble at an inn run by veteran funnyman Ng Man Tat (eventually unmasked as a master detective) and unite against a freaky transgender Japanese ninja couple (Pauline Chan and David Wu - he’s a woman, she’s the man) deployed by the mystery villain, the real reason to watch are the insane action sequences. Choreographed by veteran filmmaker Ching Siu Tung alongside Ma Yuk-Sing and Dion Lam Dik-On, the wire fu action is wildly fantastical and packs a visceral punch, reaching a highpoint with Maggie Cheung’s incredible treetop fight - a phenomenally well executed set-piece. Chu Yen Ping does a fine approximation of the HK New Wave style (blue filters, wild angles, frenetic editing)

Luckily, Flying Daggers has the benefit of an exuberant, enthusiastic cast who perform as if Wong’s script were comedy gold. No surprise the two biggest stars - Jacky Cheung and Maggie Cheung (no relation) - deliver the most charismatic performances, though Tony Leung is on fine form as the unflappable martial arts hero whose only embarrassment is being a virgin. Although the lacklustre Jimmy Lin is eclipsed by all this big name talent, this being a Taiwanese co-production it is the pop idol who bags the bad guy and saves the day, much as he did in the similarly star-studded Butterfly and Sword (1993). Evidently Lin had one heck of an agent. Music lifted from such disparate Hollywood films as Death Becomes Her (1992), Quigley Down Under (1990), Heathers (1989), and A Fish Called Wanda (1988) although Lin performs the song that plays over the closing credits accompanied by humorous outtakes.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2063 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: