New Miracle Fighters (1988)

Directed by: Kwan Hung
Written by: ?
Producers: ?
Starring: Fong Ching, Lin Kuang-Yung, Chin Tu, Lin Mei-Ling, Goo Chang & Yee Yuen

Connecting itself title-wise to Yuen Woo-Ping's 1982 fantasy comedy The Miracle Fighters, over in Taiwan one-time director Kwan Hung (mostly an action choreographer on the likes of Beach Of The War Gods for Jimmy Wang Yu) did not set out to craft battles between sorcerers akin to Yuen Woo-Ping's movie. In fact the connection is so weak that you're lead to think it's a desperate move for attention. Because there's precious little that holds your attention in New Miracle Fighters.

A very threadbare plot sees a Taoist priestess (Lin Mei-Ling) help out a variety of characters after good fortune by granting them access to a boy genie trapped in a bottle. These characters have initial luck and ultimately wealth but it all backfires in a variety of ways. Catching the attention of King Of Hell and his deputies, the underground gang ponders whether the priestess have broken the rules and deserve a one way ticket to hell herself...

What's clear is that there's little or any 1982 connection by setting the movie in the modern world but the genre- and plot-template has a playfulness and color to it that can matter. Taiwanese special effects cinema really could crank it and things look promising at least design-wise as Hell is showcased. The King Of Hell is putting on a show so smoke is generated by stage crew, they work with current technology like portable phones, relax on the treadmill when not in session and seeing as we're so quickly introduced to the stakes and quirky design of the movie, the low budget SHOULD be easy to overlook.

Problem is, Kwan Hung and crew are not very skilled at taking the next step and pretty unfocused, unfunny and flat cinema follows as characters summon the genie, scare the crap out of loan sharks, drunks and a whole lot of threads keep being introduced without a main one to drive matters. One can't demand The Child Of Peach-energy out of everything but little means plus lack of skill backfires on the makers of New Miracle Fighters. What it does in hope of being noticed is to feature age old, high pitched banter between both living and dead characters but this is a desperate plea that falls flat. Not even featuring adults or even kids to perform this, most of this tomfoolery is performed by old men. There's simply not enough genre and elements-infatuation ultimately to attach to in New Miracle Fighters since it doesn't break out using its own set of skills. Was not destined to either.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson