21 January 2009 | clenchedbrain
I'm surprised by the relative obscurity of this film, as it easily matches the first of the series for pure entertainment value. There doesn't even seem to be a Hong Kong DVD of this title at the time of writing. Since there were more sequels to come in this franchise, it seems safe to guess that it wasn't a box office flop, so the lack of DVD is strange. Maybe they are going to treat us to a box set. The film is the usual combination of martial arts, horror, fantasy, sorcery and slapstick. Lam Ching-Ying is awesome, yet again. He pulls off the serious elements with conviction, even with stupid fake eyebrows plastered on his forehead; and he does the slapstick with a great deadpan expression. A shame his fighting skills are under used, but there are a few really sweet moves by him in this flick. I would say that the horror and violence are definitely stronger in this one, which is cool by me. The plot is decent; the cast pretty good; action is almost relentless, and the effects have that unique charm that CGI could never match. The comedy is the usual hit and miss affair, although a lot of it is genuinely funny, and well choreographed. You wouldn't be watching a Hong Kong horror vampire kung fu flick if you didn't put your face in your palm a couple of times at the cheesy gags. I don't have much in depth to say about this one, it just seems that critical comment is thin on the ground, so I thought I'd add my voice. Highly recommended; and if you like films of this type: essential. Bring on the DVD.