Witch from Nepal
- 1h 29min
A Hong Kong man vacations to Nepal where a local tribe imbues him with magical powers which he must use to fight a growing evil.A Hong Kong man vacations to Nepal where a local tribe imbues him with magical powers which he must use to fight a growing evil.A Hong Kong man vacations to Nepal where a local tribe imbues him with magical powers which he must use to fight a growing evil.
Director Ching Siu Tung (from the beautifully erotic "A Chinese Ghost Story" series) loves to demonstrate a dream-like, supernatural-fantasy filled with mythical magic and rampantly high-flying stunts. The Honk Kong feature "Witch From Nepal" mostly provides on that quality. Arresting visuals amongst a thickly misty atmosphere is captured by fluently inventive photography, vividly penetrating lighting and a lingering score of adaptable moodiness. The flashy stunt work is over-the-top and fanatic, but staged with skilled rigour by Ching Siu Tung and the same can be said about the intense martial arts sequences (like the final thunderous showdown). Accompanying the no gravity bound leaps, are plenty of swoosh sounds. Some things did get laughable, because of the very serious nature placed upon something very silly and slight in detail. However they're one or two impressively creepy sequences involving a dog out-of-its-league and definitely the murky graveyard ambush. Covering the screen are many stylish images that rattle along, which are well-organised and illustrated handsomely. These aspects help a lot, but want makes this one a very ordinary offering, is that it's pretty slow to get to the business end. The premise idea (which maybe looked better on paper) is sidetracked by uninteresting filler and succumbs to a meandering pace. It takes a good hour or so, to break out of that pattern. The plot is hazy and extremely convenient in stretches, but really hurting it is a real lack of urgency and very little concentration on the offbeat developments. FX is cheap and dated, but looks able enough and it's worked into the feature with decent restraint. The always-formidable Chow Yun-Fat is in what you call a star vehicle does a fine job. The delightful Kit Ying Lam and stunning Emily Chu supply reasonable support. Dick Wei's does the action well and his wild appearance (albeit with the hokey cat screaming/roaring that became grating) is sound enough as the demon warrior.
The film richly looks the part with its mystical awe and swiftly frenetic stunts, but fiddly uneven story telling brings it down a couple of notches. Undemanding fantasy-action fodder.
- May 12, 2007