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Fernando Fernán Gómez,
José María Prada
Nutty superhero sleaze from the mighty Shaw Brothers
I gotta say, I'm a huge fan of these older Hong Kong horror and trash outings. Even at their most silly, I love their energy and the abundance of craziness that goes into seemingly each and every one. Oily Maniac does a good job, telling the tale of a crippled man who gains the ability to turn himself into the awesome Oily Maniac, who looks a bit like the Toxic Avenger, but is made of tar and able to travel around in the form of an animated oil slick. Its an unimpeachably ace premise, and the special effects are more than up to the task. The main costume is hokey but pretty cool and the moving oil effects are great to watch. Sure its obviously animated and you could say it looks silly, but at least its not cgi. In fact even if it were cgi it would look kinda silly and it wouldn't have a fraction of the crazy charm. Director Huo Meng Hua, of Mighty Peking Man fame (another awesome film) gives the film a good pace and the action scenes a good thumping impact. There is a fair amount of unintentional amusement here which helps, and though the film is sadly lacking in gore the Oily Maniac does clobber or throttle his way through plenty of people. There's a good quantity of sleazy female nudity here to make up for the lack of gore, though no full frontal. Danny Lee does a great job as the hero, and the rest of the cast, including Shaw Brother's female star Lily Lee and the also pretty appealing Chen Ping, is pretty good. Altogether this is a lot of fun, though I did crave more substance, or more craziness. The film is wacky, and the villains hissable but I thought the spark of derangement that elevates these films to genius status was slightly missing. More gore would have helped, or more twisted, tasteless shenanigans. A bit more straight up random destruction from the titular maniac would have helped too. Still, these are only minor problems, for basically this is a whole lot of fun. If the crazier side of the Shaw Brothers appeals to you then this is a recommended film.
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