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Zen Of Sword (1992) Directed by: Yu Mang San

The filmmakers try their best to make this 90s Wuxia effort mean something emotionally but when all is said and done, not enough talent is here to generate care in characters or plot. There's enough creative wire enhanced action (by Phillip Kwok & Tan Tak Wing) on display and the finale firmly stands as memorable. It's not enough however to carry the entire film and Zen Of Sword in the end only ranks as standard. Starring the beautiful Michelle Reis, Cynthia Khan, Waise Lee, Phillip Kwok, Lau Shun and Lau Suk Ming.

Zombie Vs Ninja (1988) Directed by: Godfrey Ho

TROY'S REVIEW: Picture if you will for a moment, surely every bloke's dream movie; a film in which ninjas must fight for their lives against legions of George A. Romero's flesh craving living dead. Sounds awesome doesn't it? Unfortunately, despite the title, which will no doubt have evoked visions of the above scenario, it is my solemn regret to report that this film features absolutely bugger all of the sort! In fact, whilst there are indeed zombies and ninjas in this film, they never, I repeat NEVER actually meet one another, let alone fight. No, what we actually have here is a typical IFD cut & paste effort featuring two completely separate films interwoven haphazardly to form a somewhat nonsensical, but ridiculously entertaining whole. The zombies of the title appear courtesy of an old kung fu film in which a buck toothed old necromancer utilizes the recently deceased as a bizarre training aid for his young apprentice Ethan who is seeking revenge against some thoroughly unpleasant sorts who murdered his family. In the other tale, we have philosophical ninja Duncan who is having an ongoing dispute of his own with another ninja, Mason, and his decidedly gormless cronies who go by such names as Bobby, Burt and Ira. Whilst the ninja segments are as fun as always in these IFD cut and paste efforts, the main story proves to be the most enjoyable here, not least of all as it contains possibly the most hilarious line of dialogue in movie history... and I'm not kidding either. The relevant scene has the old necromancer telling Ethan that he needs to defecate. In reality the sly old fellow creeps off and begins to perform a magical incantation to revive a corpse with which to test Ethan's developing combative prowess. Unbeknownst to the old chap however, Ethan, becoming a little impatient at his masters absence, goes off in search for him and spies him squatting in a ditch. The subsequent line he utters will remain forever burnt into your memory, guaranteed! Fellow fans of cinematic ineptitude - behold; Here there be a classic! Also known as Zombie Rival: The Super Ninja Master.

Zu: Warriors From The Magic Mountain (1983) Directed by: Tsui Hark

It's no surprise that Zu: Warriors From The Magic Mountain is based on a much larger and extensive written work but Tsui Hark, in his seminal special effects fantasy adventure, employs a lighting pace to the narrative that somehow makes the spectacle seem reasonably logic in the end. While Zu only is a decent effort, with special effects to carry it nicely into good entertainment territory, it is the special effects that makes this seminal, and a definite must for any serious fan of Hong Kong cinema.

No one had attempted something this extensive before and even if time has not been kind to Tsui Hark's 4th film as a director, it nonetheless merits a viewing, even if some, perhaps rightly, only will see this as a curiosity. Truth be told, there are better Tsui Hark movies but few are as essential, historically, as Zu: Warriors From The Magic Mountain. Outside of the main cast, familiar faces such as Brigitte Lin, Damian Lau, Fung Hark-On, Corey Yuen, Norman Tsui and Dick Wei appear. Tsui Hark himself logs a cameo by the end also, fighting Sammo Hung.

The Hong Kong Legends dvd features, as an extra, the 30 minutes of footage Golden Harvest shot for the International Time Warriors version (Tsui had pushed to redo some of the special effects and also asked if he could direct the new footage. In his own words: I was ignored), changing the plot into one where Yuen Biao, as a modern day fencing champion, goes back in time after a car accident. Tsui reportedly has never dared to look at this footage.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com