Thunder Of Gigantic Serpent (1988)

Directed by: Charles Lee
Written by: Benny Ho
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Pierre Kirby, Edowan Bersmea, Danny Raisebeck, Dewey Bosworth, Danny Lee, Su Hui-Lun, Leung Sau-Gun, Ng Fung, Paul Chang & Chi Kuan-Chun

IFD went through trends, mainly ninja and kickboxing trends that resulted in tons of re-edited Asian action movies with Westerners such as Richard Harrison and Pierre Kirby cut into them for the purpose of selling internationally. Perhaps part of the major package deal or deals that landed them several crucial, classic and fun Taiwanese movies (or it was too hard to pass up), the acquisition of Hsu Yu-Lung's giant monster movie King Of Snake (1984) made IFD tackle that genre for one movie. With Pierre Kirby inserted to walk alongside Hsu's already special and partly energetic madness as the formula hunt is on and Mosler (or Mosla) the snake grows, it's one of IFD's most distinctive mash-up's of something bought and their own.

A scientist (Danny Lee) has developed a formula that will be able to grow organic material to hundreds of times its original size. He walks away from the project as the military favours different solutions for it rather than fixing world hunger. The experiments on a frog is successful but a group of terrorists ordered to steal the formula by Solomon (IFD's inclusion, played by Edowan Bersmea) attacks the lab, leaving many people dead but the box the formula is in ends up in the hands of the girl Ting Ting (Su Hui-Lun) and her pet snake eventually gets to use it as its home. There it grows bigger and becomes a threat to the city. But all it wants is to rescue Ting Ting from the clutches of Solomon's men. Good thing (IFD) got Ted Fast (Pierre Kirby) available to strike back at Solomon and company...

While the genre is different for IFD, the cut and paste technique is their usual. With about 10 minutes of footage (mostly action and some awkward, hilarious dialogue) with Kirby, Bersmea and some seemingly very stoned actors, most of the time is dedicated to King Of Snake. Which is fantastic because when the original is not as readily available as this re-structure of it, you can still draw quite a few conclusions about the low budget but ambitious genre work Taiwan attempted in 1984.

Hsu Yu-Lung crafts a very basic frame and doesn't come at the material with a lot of style. Obviously scoring high on the ludicrous meter as we see Mosler in his natural stages actually responding firmly to human interaction and getting a grown woman to dub little Ting Ting (IFD's contribution), this will work against and for the movie. Created as a children's movie mostly, the scenes with Ting Ting and Mosler (a very lifeless creation when big) are awfully cute and irresisistable so making it through very basic direction and storytelling isn't that hard. Breaking the children's mold with bloody gunplay (poorly staged), the genre schizophrenia isn't jarring but not very energetic when simply put not being all about the snake. And it IS ambitious as the special effects direction pushes as much as it can working with a very low budget and very stiff looking creature. There's good looking composite shots and action here with the military trying to take out a Mosler on a rampage (meaning innocent lives are lost in quite a large number). Ultimately quite smile enducing and laughable though, it opts for charm and love for special effects even though it can't execute it above average level. Worth noting is that a lot of King Of Snake is intact and IFD doesn't create a new story through its editing and dubbing. Mostly they cut out Danny Lee's scenes, added interaction between the original cast members and IFD's over the phone, or across rooms through editing.

With that said, IFD's edit remains marginally better because it doesn't present as many slow spots. With ridiculous dialogue by our villain Solomon delivered with dedication by Edowan Bersmea and Pierre Kirby once again proving himself to be a capable and cool 80s action hero for IFD, King Of Snake needed to grow into Thunder Of Gigantic Serpent to work ever so slightly better.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson