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The Battle Wizard (1977)

Director: Pao Hsueh-Li

Starring: Danny Lee Sau-Yin, Tanny Tien Ni, Lin Chen-Chi, Shut Chung-Tin, Chiang Tao, Keung Hon, Wai Wang

There are not many movies you could sum up with “if only he’d kept it in his pants then all this wouldn’t have happened” but this one is such as case Captain Douchelord (do you really need to know his real name) gets in trouble when the husband of the woman he is seeing turns up at home after six months. Yellow Robe Man (Shut Chung-Tin) is quite distressed and much more so when he gets his legs cut off by laser beams shot out of Captain Douchelord’s finger. He vows revenge after 20 years and buggers off to the mountains.

Cut to a couple of decades later and the young Prince (Danny Lee Sau-Yin) wants to be a scholar and not study martial arts as he “might get sweaty” his elders insist on it however and he resolves to sneak out of the palace to see just how well he can get on in the world without martial arts.

He does especially poorly with everyone wanting to slap him around or otherwise take advantage of him. Snake Lady (Lin Chen-Chi) has plenty of front and offers to teach him martial arts, but he complains and doesn’t want to put in any effort. She says he can get all the skills he needs by finding a red snake and sucking its blood (sounds like the “close your eyes and suck it out a hose” line to me.)

The Prince and snake lady get captured by a rival clan, and the prince has to go find Xiang Yaocha along with a poisonous frog in a box to show to her. He gets slapped around even more on the way there and arrives at her place only to find everyone wants to kill her also.

They manage to rescue Snake lady, only to be rumbled by Yellow Robe Man’s assistant Canglong who is a massive pervert due to having claws for hands so he can’t wank. They only just manage to escape and also find the red snake.

I would say some weird stuff happens and then some more weird stuff happens but it starts happening at the start and never stops happening. It does a disservice to say the people who made this were on drugs as if they really were they would not have had the motivation to complete the movie.

There is a lot of creativity on display, but unfortunately the technology was not up to par in some case as still photos are used from some special effects shots and very bad matting. The gorilla scene in particular is a bit of a clanger but the rest of it hangs together quite well in comparison to other kung fu genre movies with a magic element.

Having the supposedly “bad guy” not really being the bad guy from the start is quite interesting but is not really used that much. You are expected to be on the prince’s side for no real reason apart from him not really knowing what the actual situation was.

I have recommended this movie to a friend just by describing the special effects and some of the more outlandish scenes are up on the internet. Not a must watch by any means, but it you would like to watch something fun I would recommend it.

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