Newest Reviews
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Old Guard, The
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
Love in the Afternoon
Black Water: Abyss
Wild Blue Yonder, The
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
War of the Wizards
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Newest Articles
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
  Kung Fu vs. Acrobatic I can't believe it's not Buddha
Year: 1991
Director: Taylor Wong
Stars: Andy Lau, Joey Wong, Nat Chan Pak-Cheung, Cutie Mui Siu-Wai, Yuen Wah, Tso Tat-Wah, Lau Shun
Genre: Comedy, Martial Arts, Weirdo, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Hapless Hong Kong ad agency men Fai (Andy Lau) and Chi (Nat Chan Pak-Cheung) are sent to mainland China to buy illegal antiques for use in a campaign to sell hair tonic. Whilst escaping an ambush by trigger-happy Chinese soldiers, the boys stumble inside a vast subterranean cavern guarded by booby-traps and manage to revive Princess Yun Lo (Joey Wong), a mystical martial arts maiden imprisoned for seven hundred years since the Yuan Dynasty. The beautiful princess and her ditzy, but devoted handmaiden Hsiu Mun (Cutie Mui Siu-Wai) pass on a sacred martial arts manual from whence Fai learns the all-powerful kung fu style known as “Buddha’s Palm”, endowing him with all manner of cel-animated superpowers. Such abilities come in handy when he brings the girls back to modern Hong Kong. What Fai doesn’t know is another of the cavern’s formerly frozen occupants has followed him here. Villainous martial arts master Tien Chian (Yuen Wah) is in love with Princess Lo and wields unstoppable extendable kung fu feet.

The “Buddha’s Palm” is a mythical ultimate kung fu move that spawned a subgenre of outlandish martial arts fantasies dating all the way back to silent cinema. Stephen Chow Sing-Chi last wielded it onscreen at the climax of his Kung Fu Hustle (2004), but Taylor Wong gave Hong Kong film fans the palm’s definitive screen treatment with the bonkers Shaw Brothers classic: Buddha’s Palm (1981). Wong returned to the genre with Kung Fu vs. Acrobatic wherein he spoofed the whole phenomenon. Which is a little like George Lucas following Star Wars ten years later with Spaceballs!

Kung Fu vs. Acrobatic has all the right ingredients for a lively, engaging romp - Joey Wong playing yet another lovely lady ghost, Yuen Wah with giant supernatural cartoon feet, and (in the most infamous scene) the sudden appearance of a mystical hammer-wielding cartoon ninja turtle - but serves them up in lazy, haphazard fashion. Chief culprit is veteran schlockmeister Wong Jing whose shapeless screenplay doles out low-rent sitcom humour (a “boing!” sound effect accompanies every gag) and crass characterisations. Fai and Chi never rise above the level of self-serving dolts. While Chi uses his newfound superpowers to avoid paying his gambling debts, Fai puts his to good use by starring in a Buddha’s Palm themed hamburger commercial. Reduced to mere window dressing, Joey Wong smiles prettily whilst presumably drumming her fingers offscreen, although she re-teamed with Taylor Wong for the supernatural love story Fantasy Romance (1991).

Taylor Wong was born into a motion picture family. His father Wong Yiu had been a prominent Cantonese filmmaker in the 1960s. After getting his start in television, Wong signed with Shaw Brothers in 1980 and dabbled in a variety of genres with teen romance Behind the Yellow Line (1984) and the courtroom drama Law or Justice (1988) among his most critically-acclaimed works. Away from Shaw Brothers Wong had fruitful working relationship with Chow Yun-Fat, resulting in the ghost romance Spiritual Love (1987) and acclaimed triad thrillers Rich and Famous (1986), Tragic Hero (1986) and Triads: The Inside Story (1989). However after re-teaming with Andy Lau for another larky fantasy adventure, Three Swordsmen (1994), Wong lost the plot with his truly bizarre patchwork action/rom-com/rape-drama/superhero flick Deadly Dream Woman (1992) before ending his career with the sex comedy Girls Unbutton (1994).

Wong’s knowledge of Chinese film history is evident as he kicks off the film with vintage clips from old Buddha’s Palm movies and casts genre veterans Tso Tat-Wah and Lau Shun in in-joke minor roles. But the film is a lacklustre, oddly disheartening send-up of movies that were far wittier and imaginative. At least animation fans can enjoy some Who Framed Roger Rabbit style antics with the aforementioned cartoon ninja turtle, while Yuen Wah shows off his hitherto unheralded break-dancing skills.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2503 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

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


Last Updated: