11 February 2017 | ckormos1
A touch of things to come
1982 Matching Escort or Venus the Ninja or Wolf Devil Woman 2 or Venus the Ninja Wolf or Wolfen Ninja or Fury of the Silver Fox
2/3/1982 Taiwan with Pearl Cheung Ling, Mang Fei, Wang Hsieh, Peng Kong, Sek Fung and Yu Chung-Chiu
It starts with a child being tortured to wear weights on her ankles. In this movie world if you grow up with weights around your ankles then the laws of gravity are repealed by the time you grow up. Next Pearl gets into an argument with a stranger over her peaches. Father intervenes and insists the young man leave. Suddenly spooky music plays but nothing actually happens until father says "Just kill him". He instructs Pearl to keep the jade amulet and if she gets into trouble to take off her shoes and keep running. I am sure this advice will prove to be wise before this is over. Pearl escapes but many are after her. She is immediately captured and remembers to take her shoes off but not until making a big dramatic scene about it. The leader who ordered her captured is displeased. He gives his men the customary three days to capture her. She is soon captured by a clan of beggars.
I usually start my reviews with a description of the opening scenes. This is so we know we are talking about the same movie. If you are a fan of this genre you know that many of these movies were retitled to profit from the VHS rental business. My copy is labeled in the opening credits as "Fury of the Silver Fox". Of course, any or all of these subsequent titles are meaningless to anything going on in the story. Notice that an alternate title is "Wolf Devil Woman 2". There is also a Pearl Cheung Movie titled "Wolf Devil Woman" that one might think came first but the release date is actually after this movie. Another reviewer here mentions a third film in this series (not by title) but I am unaware of any such movie. Perhaps if he reads this he can come back with the title but that review was ten years ago. My copy is also dubbed in English but I don't recognize any of the voice actors. For the most part, they avoided the cartoonish or exaggerated voices that can kill one of these movies. The resolution is poor but the color is good and there is no evidence of VHS such as tracking lines so I suspect there must be a laser disk version out there somewhere.
Overall, even as a hard core fan of this genre, I was ready to toss this movie into the recycle bin by 16 minutes into it. Since I hardly touched my beer, I let it go until at least the bottom of the first can.
The first problem with this movie is "Can she fight or not?" There is no consistency in her abilities. Next, the gravity defying stunts wear out fast. Also Mang Fei pops up out of nowhere to save her too often. I keep hanging in there, hoping for a good fight but all I see is Pearl flying away.
At about 45 minutes Pearl is learning from some old master in the beggar clan. The villain kills a guy with a flying guillotine built into his glove. I pop open another beer and try to finish it and this movie simultaneously. The second can and second half are often better.
In 1982 the martial arts movie genre was dying of exhaustion and about to be reinvented. The four directions of reinvention were Jackie Chan, the Yuen clan, bullet ballet, and fantasia. After watching this movie I can see in it the roots of such films as The Chinese Ghost Story and The Bride with White Hair. For that reason alone I have to recommend it for fans only.