Thursday, September 11, 2014

"The Boxer's Omen" (1983) d/ Kueh Chih Hung

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If you thought last night's review sounded slightly weird, just wait 'til you wrap your minds around tonight's movie, a 1983 Shaw Brothers tale of kickboxing and mysticism as directed by Asian horror king Kueh Chih Hung, of puppets and wind up toys passed off as special effects, a soundtrack that borrows directly from Flash Gordon (1980) and Phantasm (1979) among others,  and then there's Johnny Wang Lung Wei as a paraplegic with extraordinary range of motion in his limbs...look,  I'd never be able to document all the lunacy within Sze To On's bizarre screenplay in a mere intro paragraph, nor would I ever attempt such a blatant impossibility,  without first undertaking my own introspective spiritual journey, involving lots of early 70's era Amboy Dukes, a gas mask full of Dutch Treat nuggies, and a special lady I know who does this thing I'm especially fond of,  without ever using her hands. Sidetracked again...

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In this episode of Black Magician vs Food, we'll hear Somjai Boomsong query, "Are you gonna eat that?"
After brutal Thai boxer Bu Bo ("Bolo" Yang Sze) leaves his brother Chan Wing (Wang Lung Wei) permanently crippled in a kickboxing match, Chan Hung (Phillip Ko Fei) is visited by the spirit of his twin brother (Elvis Tsui), who just so happens to be a dead Taoist Abbot striving to attain immortality despite the witchcraftian interference of a pesky Black Wizard (that looks like an Asian mash up of magician Doug Henning and eighties wrestler Ultimate Warrior), who's highly salty and vengeful over the murder of one of his disciples/ pet bat, who's been reduced to a hopping wind up bat skeleton by the monk's gung fu magic. When Hung  (who pukes a live eel into the bathroom sink one evening, mind you) decides to assist the Abbot, who's been poisoned by eye needles, manages to dispatch the responsible Wiz in a dizzying, often nauseating hail of WTF,  three of his students take up the cause.

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"This egg could use a Glade Air Wick. For real, it smells in there."
From here on out, it's colored lights, detached floating heads strangling folks with dangling veins and muscle sinews, pillowy Asian bobblers squashed up against glass, cyclopean lo-fi laser-shooting poodle demons, hydrocephalic monster puppets hatching out of goopy Alien rip-off eggs, wind up spiders that might have left even Fulci himself snickering, gaudy-yet-mystical locales in Thailand and Nepal, troops of attacking crocodile skulls, Saran wrapped suicide by kukri knife, and nude sorceresses reanimated by the sewing of corpses into dead crocodile carcasses and group eating/regurgitating/re-eating of rotten fruit, 'nanner peels,  maggot-ridden chickens, entrails and assholes, with the gross blend all stuffed into the woman's mouth. The final magical showdown sees Hung's ears and nose infiltrated by fuzzy demon caterpillars while he's held down by a pair of skeletal arms, but he somehow manages to strip the sorceress of her flesh, causing her to melt into a blue puddle full of maggots. I could elaborate further, but you get the idea. Hung defeats Bu Bo somewhere in there, too, but with everything else going on, you probably won't notice.

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"I'm alive!!! That last chewed up chicken shitter you put in my mouth must've done the trick..."
You'll recognize Ko Fei from things like Seven Man Army (1976),  The Killer Meteors (1976), Bandits, Prostitutes and Silver (1977), and The Dragon, The Hero (1979), though he dates back to the studio's early days with roles in The Deadly Duo (1971) and The Water Margin (1972) as well. The muscle-bound Bolo/Yang Sze has had a long career in action films, squaring up against everyone from Bruce Lee to Jean Claude Van Damme over the years. Be forewarned, if you've got a working gag reflex, this movie will test it often. And if you're getting zooted while viewing (couldn't blame ya), you're probably gonna wanna skip the munchies phase afterwards. In a sub-genre known for its propensity to turn gross in a moment's notice... Seriously, this movie is like the Star Wars of gross Asian shit. Not for everybody, Boxer's Omen scores a WTF deuce on the rating scale.

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"At least my good fashion sense remains intact!", notes Wing (Johnny Wang).
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