Peacock King (1988) Poster

(1988)

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8/10
A great deal of fun in a pre CGI way
dbborroughs28 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Manga based Chinese film about two men, Lucky Fruit and Peacock who are the only two people who stand between humanity and the resurrection of the Hell King by the evil Raga and the daughter of the Hell King.

Old school action fantasy horror film mixes stop motion, forced perspective, wires, rubber and other non computer effects for use in a slam bang fantasy film. This is a movie that just starts and goes and never worries about all the details, it just pulls you along like a crazy friend who has this idea of how to do a road trip. It may not be the perfect road trip but you can't say you're not having fun. With Monsters that run the gamut from something from John Carpenter's The Thing to Korda's Thief of Bagdad to Krull to schlocky 1980's glowing eyes horror films this movie is a great deal of fun for people who don't mind less then perfect monsters. The martial arts sequences are well done even when they sprinkle in magical aide. Best of all are the characters who seem to all belong together and who banter about with a nice level of wittiness that doesn't fall into cliché or stupidity.

I just really like this movie in a rainy afternoon popcorn sort of way. How good is it? I'm thinking of replacing my perfectly fine dollar VCD with a more expensive DVD copy so I can have more options where I watch this.

Worth a bowl of popcorn and a soda.
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7/10
Underrated fantasy film
phillip-583 September 2007
A lot of people seem to misunderstand this type of film. It is fantasy, based on a famous Japanese Manga and various Japanese legends. It was very popular in Japan (making a huge star of Gloria Yip in this her first film), average in HK and poorly received in the rest of the world. Glad as I am to see it in such a good print I was surprised HK Legends released this film above others (like Pedicab Driver, still not released). It is not a straight kung fu film and to expect protracted one on one human fight scenes is to miss the point of such a film. Enjoy it for what it is, fantasy with reasonable (for the time) special effects and Yuen Biao as an actor.
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8/10
Best collaboration between HK and Japanese cinema
ebiros216 June 2009
This was one movie where acting of Hong Kong actors and Japanese actors interaction went extremely smooth. Usually in HK movie made in Japan have HK actor doing lion share of the dialog, and Japanese actors are relegated to small roles where they speak only few simple Japanese words. Not this movie. It's amazing that the actors just went playing their role as if it was done in their native language, and somehow it all looked natural.

When you look at this movie its really difficult to tell who's the Japanese actor and who's from Hong Kong. Genetically, all Asians must be pretty close to one another.

In Cantonese version Yuen Bao is the main character, but in the Japanese version Hiroshi Mikami is the main character. They wrote the script very cleverly that the two characters are interchangeable.

Based on a comic by Makoto Ogino, Peacock King, or Kujyaku Oo is a good translation of the original comic into a movie. The original comic's ordinary person, or situation suddenly morphing into a demonic entity is also translated well into this movie.

I liked Narumi Yasuda's acting as a department worker suddenly finding herself embroiled in the world of Vajirayana Buddhism vs demons of the underworld.

World looked really peaceful and healthy in Japan around the time this movie was made. It truly was the best of times.

Really well made movie of its kind. It's a treat to watch.
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8/10
Peacock! Heh Heh Heh Heh!
ThyDavideth20 September 2018
Peacock King is about two monks who are on a quest to stop some demon from entering the earth realm, I think. Eh! The story was relatively comprehensible but I was still somewhat perplexed for some unknown reason. Nam Nai Choi is one of my favorite directors ever because of his other films Story Of Ricky, 7th Curse and The Cat so I am going to be lenient with this one. Why i like this one is because of the cinematography in which is Choi's greatest strengths considering he was a cinematographer for Shaw Brothers, the special effects were actually cool as ****, the monsters were creative and the action was fun. And Gloria Yip, too, which I have a desire to put my nuts in her adorable face and butt! The pacing was sluggish but I don't care. Not his best movie but it is wacky fun.
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6/10
Uneven, weird, and fun effects-filled fantasy horror
Leofwine_draca6 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Those expecting a kung fu epic – an expectation fuelled by the presence of martial arts supreme Yuen Biao – should look elsewhere, as PEACOCK KING is a plot-driven story centring on an epic battle between holy men and demons. Although Yuen Biao takes centre stage as the fighter/wizard monk, his kung fu is in short supply and his battles against other men limited to one scene only. Instead, this is a film where Biao performs flying kicks on evil demons, spins in the air, and uses all manner of magic spells to do his dirty work. The film is based on a Manga animation, so it has some of the same kind of rubbery feel to it as THE STORY OF RICKY – and it's no surprise that director Ngai Kai Lam also helmed that other film. While Lam isn't much when it comes to the fight scenes – the one kung fu battle here is poorly shot, bring back Sammo Hung – his taste for the eccentric and the gory comes to the fore when the demons arrive.

The film is chock-full of special effects and they're surprisingly decent for a '80s movie. There's a ton of back projection – most impressive of all is a massive rising "fortress of hell" which grows out of the ground for over three FULL minutes – and all kinds of fireballs and lightning strikes which look great. The demons themselves – ranging from tiny to massive – are achieved mostly through stop motion, a dated type of effect which I nevertheless enjoy whenever I see it put on screen. The effects are entertaining in a similar way to the effects used in the first two EVIL DEAD films.

The storyline is in the typical adventure mould, although a little more confusing than most. Biao teams up with with a Japanese rival monk (Hiroshi Mikami, having no fun in the 'straight man' role) and the pair travel Asia battling all manner of monsters. Also lurking around are some familiar Hong Kong actors – Eddy Ko, Philip Kwok, Pauline Wong – and a delicate Gloria Yip, then only 15 years old, as the spectral Hell Virgin (yes, I don't know what that is either, but it doesn't matter). Better still is Gordon Liu as a typically tough bald fighter; his battle with Biao, although not perfectly shot, is one of the movie's highlights.

The film's tone ranges wildly from offbeat comedy and general weirdness (Yuen Biao battling a reanimated dinosaur, JURASSIC PARK eat your heart out!) to drama, even a little romance. Imagine an Asian version of GHOSTBUSTERS but with faces ripped off and people impaled and torn to pieces or crushed and you'll be close. Things culminate in a genuinely spectacular showdown in the fortress of Hell, where our heroes battle the massive King of Hell, a huge humanoid chap who steps on people and breathes ice. He reminded me of Talos in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, and he's a very good effect! Back projection is used here and it's perhaps the most convincing I've ever seen it done. All in all a great climax to what is an uneven but generally good movie.
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7/10
A rather fun action fantasy from Hong Kong and Japan.
OllieSuave-00728 May 2016
This is a rather fun little action fantasy film from Hong Kong and Japan, about two monk brothers, Kôngquè (Biao Yuen) and Kujaku (Hiroshi Mikami), separated at birth and later reunited to fight the King of Hell.

The pacing is not really fast, but there are some engaging and entertaining scenes where Kongque and Kujaku try to blend in the modern days in Hong Kong and fight off the evil witch Raga (Siu-Fung Wong) and save their friend, Ashura (Gloria Yip). Ashura is unwittingly the apprentice of Raga and is the daughter of the King of Hell.

There are plenty of mythical elements and magical action, though the special effects were pretty average to me. A nice good vs. evil story line nonetheless, and some decent martial arts action.

Grade B-
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5/10
Incomprehensible story, some impressive special effects
gridoon20 April 2005
Yuen Biao is a great, underrated martial artist, and personally I prefer to see him fighting against human opponents with his body (which he does ONLY ONCE, after a full hour, in this film) rather than weird stop-motion animated creatures with supernatural fireballs (which he does a lot more often here). The ambitious, large-scale special effects and sets of "The Peacock King" are worth seeing (even if they show their age sometimes, and they're not as good as those of the same director's "Seventh Curse"), and when the Hell King himself appears at the end, he looks pretty impressive. But the story, which has Biao as a sort of adventurer-exorcist-demon hunter who tries to prevent the end of the world with the help of his equally skilled brother, is just incomprehensible claptrap. (**)
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5/10
A Nutshell Review: Peacock King
DICK STEEL10 April 2012
This was amongst the reasons why growing up in the 80s was cool, with Hong Kong cinema at its heydays and with just about every genre that's covered. And for a kid growing up during the era, Peacock King, in my memory, was one hell of a special effects extravaganza and showing off, at the time, what the East could do with special effects that the West have already accomplished, with fantasy monsters coming to life with stop motion rubber suits and the likes, similar to films such as Ghostbusters or Clash of the Titans, which if viewed today looks dated, but still contains a lot of charm.

Alas, The Peacock King somehow didn't withstand the test of time. A kid would have found the premise very interesting, dealing with hell's gates and a hell virgin who held the key to the destruction of mankind once she heralds the return of the hell king, and it is up to two monks to stop every conceivable devil in his or her tracks. Conveniently, given that this is a Hong Kong-Japan co-production, the location of the hell's gates happen to be in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and in Tibet, where the monks Peacock (Yuen Biao) and Lucky Fruit (Migami Hiroshi) meet by chance when they're sent by their masters Ku Fong (Eddy Ko) and Ji Ku (Ken Ogata) respectively, to stop hell virgin Ashura (Gloria Yip in her debut) chaperoned by the evil witch Raga (Pauline Wong Siu Fung) to fulfill the former's destiny.

However the storyline if viewed today, as an adult, consists of plenty of unnecessary sub plots and loopholes, and characters who don't really serve a purpose. For instance, there's the retail store's Okada (Yasuda Narumi) who's in this film just to balance the female quotient, being more than a bother since she hangs around the monks and in my opinion seems more like a liability with her non-powers as well as potential to trip things up. Moreover, her character also presents an unlikely romance with Lucky Fruit, so there isn't really a point to get her over to Hong Kong or Tibet once the Tokyo story arc is over.

Then there's the waste of Gordon Liu's character Kubira, a warrior sent on an assassination attempt on our heroes, if only to allow for a backstory to tell of how the two lead characters are linked together in a twist of fate, and to provide for more credible fight sequences using bona fide kung fu, balancing out the over-reliance of special effects here. But Kubira's introduction gives additional time to Ken Ogata as the latter comes to the aid of his disciple during the final act, in addition to brining a lot more unnamed characters into the fray for that increase in body count.

Director Lam Ngai Kai may be questioned for his choice of inserting random English language music to make this truly a one of a kind international production, but really the soundtrack stuck out like a sore thumb. Some filler scenes could also be done without, since they pose a lot more unnecessary questions - an airplane shot means the heroes travel by air, but how would they pass customs with their weapons, and the bringing of a Hell Virgin as a passenger? Hmm. But I suppose such is the charm when watching it as a kid as you rarely question these points and take things at face value, in it for the many special effects shots that pepper the movie.

And in all honesty, for that time, they were well done, with grotesque looking monsters given some air time to up the eerie quotient. Some are done for the sake of, such as Peacock's exorcising of a few critters on the streets of Tokyo, while others look really rubberized, such as the dinosaurs in the shopping centre arcade. Raga's transformation was perhaps the highlight, showing off the creativity of the filmmakers in making something really functionally ugly, while the design of the Hell King was kept quite simple - that of a giant, bald man.

One would have expected the role of Peacock to provide a lot more visibility to Yuen Biao, but sadly this wasn't really the case. He shares screen time with Lucky Fruit's Migami Hiroshi to contrast the opposites of both men - one the relaxed joker while the other a little bit more uptight, to have to learn to cooperate with each other given an adversarial introduction, in order to combine their strengths to save mankind. Gloria Yip as the Hell Virgin also didn't have much to do here, other than to act cute when away from Raga and happen to be frolicking the Ocean Park theme park with Peacock, for him to be convinced that she's nothing but an innocent child who's ruined by Fate to do the inevitable. There's not much of a character development in any character here other than the perfunctory scenes, given that much of the 80 minutes got dedicated to battles, mostly CG enhanced rather than to showcase real moves, which is a pity.

Revisiting Peacock King somehow marred that wonderful film that I had in my mind no doubt created by being awed as a kid. Watching it today made me realize it's quite a weak film with only dated special effects to boast about. and I wonder since some older classics have been remade by Hong Kong filmmakers, whether anyone had thought about this manga inspired movie to be given an update as well. One can only hope.
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3/10
Disappointing
sarastro71 July 2005
If you watch this movie to get some kung fu action out of Yuen Biao, you'll be pretty disappointed. Except for a couple of evasive flips and spins here and there, the is only one fight sequence in this movie, and it comes about an hour into it. This is a supernatural tale, neither funny nor scary, but with lots of pretty bad special effects.

The story is unclear and messy; yet another example of the fact that Hong Kong commercial cinema has never discovered the importance of a clear plot. Action, helpless women and funny effects seem to be all they think the audience wants.

Also, an already weak story is completely destroyed by the horrid English subtitles. Why can't they get someone who actually knows the language to at least rephrase the subtitles into something that makes sense? My theory is that the English subtitles are not for Western audiences at all, but for those Asians who happen not to speak Mandarin or Cantonese or any of the other five Asian languages this DVD was subtitled in.

Anyway, a main reason to watch this movie is Gloria Yip, perhaps the cutest Asian actress of all time. But she hardly has any lines here, nor much of anything to do - you should catch her in Flying Dagger (1993) instead, or Saviour of the Soul (1992).

All in all, this movie really hasn't got a lot going for it. Amazingly, it spawned a sequel, Saga of the Phoenix, where the entire cast returned. I haven't seen it yet, and, truthfully, I may not bother, because it looks like it's more of exactly the same.

Peacock King is yet another movie in which Yuen Biao is pretty much wasted. Why has he done so many bad movies? Was it just bad luck that none of them were hits, or does he actually like this kind of thing?

My rating: 3 out of 10.
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Initially baffling, but the second go was an improvement
semprini-218 October 2001
Despite reasonably pitiful special effects, this was still quite an entertaining martial arts movie. Quite a good amount of fighting, acceptable acting and an unremarkable plot, this was an acceptable way to pass the time.

If you like Yuen Biao or Hong Kong martial arts movies, you will probably get enough entertainment out of this without being blown away. The first time I saw this I think I must have been pretty tired as I fell asleep. The second time it seemsd a lot better...!!

I think it deserves a 6 out of 10 which is pretty good going.
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