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Dae Hyeon Kang
Absolute Wackiness (and Hilarity) From Start to Finish
Twenty years ago, two brothers battled for supremacy in the kung fu world, with one securing the demon 6-string lute, the playing of which kills all martial artists in its hearing. The other brother seems to have disappeared, and nobody knows where he is. Martial-arts expert Fong is given the task by her Master of retrieving the magic bow and arrows, the only weapon that can defeat the demon lute; along the way, she picks up friends and allies, including a trickster-pickpocket beggar and his very young son, Fong's drunken erstwhile classmate Old Naughty, and birthmark-scarred Yuan, who is hiding more than he knows. Can they succeed in their quest to find the magic weapons before the evil masked villain does? How can they fight his evil minions, which include a super-charged empty carriage, a vicious giant disco ball, and a bald guy who grows alarming amounts of very red hair and then super-sizes his axe and lance? And why, oh why, is the menacing theme music always the chorus of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"?
As you might guess from the above, this is one crazy caper, classic kung-fu style that is! Despite multiple minion-deaths, there's not a serious moment in the piece - or if there is, I never saw it. This was one of the films made by the famous Shaw Brothers, and was shown at Montreal's Fantasia Festival as part of a tribute to Run Run Shaw, who died earlier this year. Not seen for some 30 years, the print was at times a bit scratchy, but I can't say that I noticed any significant jumps that would suggest that a lot of footage was lost; then again, the whole thing was so wacky that such missing bits wouldn't necessarily be noticed as gone at all anyway. Lots and lots of fun; but I would really like to know why the old Scottish air provided the theme music for this film....
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