3 June 2005 | Libretio
Old-fashioned mixture of kung fu and horror
HUMAN LANTERNS (Ren Pi Deng Long)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Shawscope)
Sound format: Mono
A vengeful craftsman (Lo Lieh) sets two warring noblemen (Lau Wing and Chen Kuan-tai) against each other by abducting their loved ones and peeling their skin, which he uses to embellish a series of prize-winning lanterns.
Old-fashioned kung fu thriller with horror asides, distinguished by balletic fight scenes and expansive widescreen cinematography, in typical Shaw Brothers style. Ni Kuang's screenplay (co-written with director Suen Chung) is fairly detailed, and the pace is fast and furious throughout. But the film is weakened by pantomime performances and generic post-sync dialogue, and by an uneasy combination of martial arts mayhem and Hammer-style horror. Beautiful sets and costumes.
NB. The film played uncut on its original theatrical release, though most subsequent video prints have been censored, eliminating nudity and graphic violence. However, the UK DVD (issued by Momentum Asia in 2005) appears to be intact.