HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Hell and High Water
Possessor
Flint
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Patrick
Cemetery
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Skyfire
Upright
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Agency
Blue My Mind
Thumbelina
Proxima
Aprile
Assassination Nation
Golden Key, The
Image Book, The
On Body and Soul
Unhinged
Eyewitness
Girlfriends
Danger Within
Rent-A-Pal
Battle in Outer Space
H-Man, The
Painted Bird, The
Finding Steve McQueen
Ropes
Five Easy Pieces
Peninsula
Nuclear
Queen of Hearts
   
 
Newest Articles
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
   
 
  Chinese Evil Technique That ol' black magic called lust
Year: 1985
Director: Yu Hon-Cheung
Stars: Shih Szu, Cliff Ching Ching, Ko Keung, Suen Lam, Yau Kwok-Tung, Su Chu, Chang Yi-Tao, Chiang Tao
Genre: Martial Arts, Weirdo, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Having already learned how to turn invisible and split in two a beautiful martial arts maiden (Shih Szu) further hones her abilities under the tutelage of an Old Taoist Wizard (Cliff Ching Ching). Who, judging from his behaviour, seems more interested in taking her from the transcendental to the horizontal if you know what I mean? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Karma being what it is elsewhere the Old Wizard’s philandering wife seduces a handsome male disciple (Ko Keung). Together they steal the Dragon Incantation Manuscript, a tome laden with mystical kung fu secrets. Caught in the act the wizard’s wife is inadvertently slain by her husband’s energy beam. He then sends his top female student along with a male sidekick grappling with unresolved romantic feelings to the mortal realm where the treacherous disciple uses his newfound magical powers to take over a brothel. He also pranks an old man with a compulsive gambling habit in order to then hypnotize his daughter into bed. As far as evil plans go, this is pretty low stakes. Evidently world domination is less important to this super-villain than getting laid. Anyway, mystical mayhem ensues.

Roles in acclaimed films like Heroes of Sung (1973) and the international co-productions Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974) and Supermen Against the Orient (1974) made Shih Szu a superstar at Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers studio throughout the Seventies. After making her last film for the studio (A Deadly Secret (1980)) she returned to her native Taiwan and wound down her career with a handful of special effects laden fantasies. Chinese Evil Technique was the sequel to Shih Szu’s earlier hit Chinese Magic (1983). Both films seem to have been heavily inspired by Yuen Woo-Ping's trailblazing fantasy comedy Miracle Fighters (1982), but are comparatively far less lively and witty. The directionless story meanders all over the place though the magical set-pieces remain eye-catching and inventive.

Typically for an early Eighties martial arts fantasy the production design, fight choreography and special effects are chaotic, colourful and downright surreal, often combining trippy cel animated sequences, flying paper charms and claymation creatures. Along with a fascinating mix of acrobatics, camera trickery and traditional Chinese stage magic. Pang Tai-Wai’s cinematography is evocative enough to lament that most available prints are cropped, degraded and sourced from a dodgy VHS. However while Yu Hon-Cheung, who also has the similarly trippy The Dwarf Sorcerer (1974) and Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery (1982) under his belt, does a decent job staging the fantastical sequences he wastes far too much screen time on superfluous subplots and side characters. At one point the film becomes a harrowing drama about a young woman rendered suicidal after her rape. This is not what most would expect from a film billed as comedic martial arts fantasy.

Indeed Chinese Evil Technique has in common with its predecessor an eccentric preoccupation with sexual politics, even though the film itself is not at all explicit. It is worth mentioning that the previous instalment climaxed, for lack of a better word, with Shih Szu and her leading man mastering ultimate mystical power by means of spectacular shag. Here however the plot goes out of its way to shame characters who indulge in any form of sexual activity, whether voluntarily or against their will. You have the heroine repeatedly chastened by her ostensible love interest, who wrongly believes she is willing to sleep with her master to increase her magical power; a lengthy and pointless scene where the Old Wizard pranks a group of prostitutes (they deserve to be humiliated because they have sex for money, get it?); and a climax that insists a rape victim can only 'redeem herself' by means of self-sacrifice. Even though her loving fiancé (Yau Kwok-Tung), among the few laudable characters in the film, argues otherwise. On the other hand the denouement involving the hitherto unheralded evil-eliminating magic properties of menstrual blood adds a weirdly feminist subtext.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 164 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: