Witch from Nepal (1986) Poster

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Enjoyable Hong Kong Supernatural Fluff
rcoates-661-2224924 April 2010
I have the feeling that some viewers go into this one with unfair expectations. If you think it's going to be an action flick just because Chow Yun Fat is the star, or think it's going to be horrific just because it has the word "witch" in the title, you're probably going to be disappointed.

One problem western viewers may have with Witch from Nepal is its inconsistency of mode. The beginning and end are action and horror oriented, while most of the middle portion has the leisurely pace of a romantic drama. Once the viewer adjusts to the unfamiliar genre hybrid nature of the proceedings, however, there's more than enough cuteness, action, and spooky stuff to keep an open-minded audience pleasantly occupied.
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Watchable nonsense but the utter lack of sense makes it something you'll watch once
dbborroughs28 August 2008
Chow Yun Fat stars in a film about an artist chosen to take up the mantle of the protector of a magic necklace and knife in a small village in Nepal. A movie that has a good performance from Chow, some excellent, but nonsensical action sequences, and drive that keeps you watching to the end even though there's a point about half way in when the film stops making any sense what so ever. To be honest the film is close to being a complete and utter mess, but at the same time you can't help but watch because you keep hoping that the film will make sense at some point. It never does. Rationally I should hate the film, but there is there are a couple of things that make it intriguing, the fact that Chow fights some zombies during the later part of the film, something I never thought I'd see in one of his films, that make me begrudging like its incomprehensibility. I can't really recommend it as such, but those who want to see an amusing bit of Hong Kong Nonsense will have a good time.
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Minor disappointment from Ching Siu Tung
Bogey Man24 June 2002
I really love magic cinema of film maker Ching Siu Tung, the martial arts director/choreographer and director genius of films like A Chinese Ghost Story series, Swordsman series, Terra Cotta Warrior and Duel to the Death, his debut. His films are as fast paced and over the top at the fight department as you'll ever experience in any film. So I was very curious to see Witch From Nepal aka Nepal Affair as it is one of his earlier works as a director, and I'd read some positive comments about the film.

Then I ordered the DVD from Hong Kong at ridiculously low price and watched the film. It stars Chow Yun-Fat as Joe, an artist who is visiting Nepal with his incredibly beautiful girl friend Ida, played by more than sweet Kit Ying Lam. Soon Joe meets mysterious girl Sheila, played by Emily Chu, and he learns that with the help of the girl, he has become able to commit supernatural things with the power of his mind, like lifting things on the table and do other things with the power of thought. That is fine with Joe as he plays with his new skill (watch the funny dinner scene!), but soon things start to go to wrong direction as Joe falls in love with Sheila and some very evil force/demon/The Warrior (played by Dick Wei) is after Sheila..

So what if the story seems not to make too much sense? These films are not watched and made because of believable story and plot; these are fantasy films without any need to follow rational rules but many people seem not to understand or accept this for some reason. They should not watch these films (applies to horror films, too, of course) because they don't understand those films and thus cannot review them noteworthy and find the films' real merits. Witch From Nepal is a combination of horror, fantasy, martial arts and mere action, but the result is not as great as I was hoping.

There are great fight scenes and action choreography, and the director's early wire work is fantastic. Camera angles are weird and the photography is great and original, so the film looks fine, and Ching Siu Tung shows once again his abilities as visually talented film maker. There is one memorable horror sequence, that ranks very high in the most scary moments in Hong Kong cinema, and the scene is near the end, where a misty cemetery becomes possessed and soon zombies start to wake up. And these are not hopping ghosts and ghouls like in Mr. Vampire (very great film!), but similar to Italian flesh eaters and so they reminded me of Lucio Fulci's work in zombie films. That scene is very fantastic with all its horror atmosphere and possessed evil and is not likely to be easily forgotten.

There are, however, many negative points in the film, too, and that's why this was a minor disappointment for me. The demon/warrior is some cat like human, so he sounds like cat, too. But as he screams all the time he's in picture, it becomes first very irritating, and then laughable, as it is meant to sound scary and threatening. The film is also occasionally too slow moving after the very promising and interesting first 30 minutes. The films looses its interest and becomes boring to watch. The last fight and last 10 minutes are again pretty interesting and very stylish, so it saves the film from leaving a total taste of disappointment in the mouth.

The music is okay, but occasionally reminded me DISTANTLY of Fabio Frizzi's music in Lucio Fulci's immortal Italian horror films, but I'm not saying Witch From Nepal copied Frizzi or something; it is just interesting to hear such a similarities that are probably purely coincidental and non-intended. The main merits of the film are photography and great fantasy elements which together create the atmosphere of the film, and because of those merits, this film is worth watching for Hong Kong fans.

Witch From Nepal isn't as near as great as Ching Siu Tung's masterpieces, but still an interesting piece in his filmography and among many Eastern fantasy films. I'll give this 6/10 and am glad I've seen again one Ching Siu Tung film more.
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Hong Kong craziness with Chow Yun-Fat.
BA_Harrison11 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
While visiting Nepal with his girlfriend Ida (Kit Ying Lam), commercial artist Joe (Chow Yun Fat) is unwittingly appointed leader of a Himalayan tribe and entrusted by pretty villager Sheila (Emily Chu) with the protection of a magical pair of fossilised testicles* sought after by an evil panther man (Dick Wei). As Joe comes to terms with his situation, and masters special powers given to him by Sheila, he falls for the Himalayan cutie, which naturally upsets ballet teacher Ida.

Witch From Nepal is a hot mess of fantasy, romance and action that rarely makes sense, but which still manages to be very enjoyable thanks to its sheer craziness (and the presence of two Asian hotties in Kit Ying Lam and Emily Chu). Directed by Siu-Tung Ching, who would go on to make the far more cohesive classic A Chinese Ghost Story, the film features numerous scenes that are so silly that they couldn't fail to entertain - if you've ever wanted to see Chow Yun-Fat battling to protect ballerinas from zombies in a creepy graveyard, then this is the film for you.

Other satisfyingly silly scenes include Joe being carried away by a stampeding elephant, Sheila launching the poor guy off a high balcony in a wheelchair, Sheila imbuing Joe with magical powers by summoning a spirit from cigarette smoke and power sockets, the artist adding sugar lumps to his tea using his mind, the panther man tearing a guard dog in half, Sheila setting herself on fire before causing Joe's house to explode (followed by a sex scene in the rain), Joe driving through a wall, somersaulting his jeep, and being transported by his glowing set of gonads to Nepal to claim a magical knife, an elevator that goes haywire, and a climactic battle that sees panther man going out in spectacular fashion: Joe, knife in hand, harnesses the power of steam to launch himself at the bad guy, causing his foe's teeth to fall out, eyes to erupt, and face to come off!

6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for the atmospheric Fulci-esque zombie sequence, which ends with panther man launching metal fence spikes like spears into Joe's car.

*At least that's what they look like to me.
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Awful, but with one saving grace.
leighm6 August 1999
As a die-hard Chow Yun-Fat fan, I had to see this film just to be completist. Unless you're in the same category, forget it. An embarrassing attempt at a mystic fantasy, this film seemed to be made by people who couldn't decide whether they really wanted to take it seriously or not. As a result you have a film which is so bad that it's scary - not only because of the enchanted testicles which the main character wears around his neck, either. The final battle atop a skyscraper is okay, but the film's only real (albeit momentary) saving grace is the steamy sex scenes between Chow Yun-Fat and Chu Po Yee.

This film is rated as Category II (not for children).
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The responsibility is all yours.
lost-in-limbo12 May 2007
Joe and his girlfriend Ida are on safari in Nepal, and he comes across the beautiful stranger Sheila. Unknowingly to him, his been chosen to take over the possession of a very important necklace and ancient knife that was held by mystical chief, which if the former item gets in hands of evil could be disastrous. After a bad accident and returning to Honk Kong, he encounters Sheila again and through her he miraculously recovers. Also he has gained some supernatural powers, and Sheila happens to be there for him. They fall in love and Joe harmlessly dabbles in his new abilities, until the actual demon comes looking for him and a battle eventuates for those powerful belongings.

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.
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