East is Red (1992)Director: Siu-Tung Ching, Raymond Lee
Starring: Brigitte Lin
Tagline: We all live in a Ninja Submarine!
The film begins with the last five minutes of the film Swordsman 2, that is excellent and also features the line "treat them the bomb!" This film focuses on Asia Invincible (Brigitte Lin) who was thought to have died, leading to many other people pretending to be Asia. The main character is actually a man who has castrated himself to become better at martial arts. This makes it a bit confusing at times so I will refer to him as a she.
Government official Koo and his two servants are leading a ship of Spaniards to recover the Dutch ship sunk by Asia's cannons. When they see his Black Cliff fortress they want to have a look, Koo isn't so keen though.
When they finally get up to the fort there is an old woman there who agrees to lead them to Asia's grave. It is only then Koo finds out he has been tricked and ends up fighting the Spaniards. Luckily, he is rescued by the old woman who he suspects is really someone else.
He finds out her real identity as Asia Invincible and they set off to deal with the fake Asia's who have been profiting from his reputation.
Out on the open sea a fake Asia Invincible faces off with a Japanese Ninja warship that then changes into a submarine in combat. After the battle there is a lesbian scene that ends with the fake Asia revealing her servant is actually a Ninja - a bald albino wearing a nappy who has carrier pigeons in his mouth.
The movie then progresses into a series of increasingly more violent and wacky fight scenes. These include a mighty samurai in armour who turns out to be a midget and some really strange cults.
I do admit it starts to lose the plot after Asia Invincible starts killing everyone. Seeing as the reason this sequel was made in the first place, you can't complain too much.
Even though the character of Koo doesn't make up for Jet Li not being in this movie, Brigitte Lin more than makes up for it with her performance and it is really her movie.
The fights are the most important feature in this movie and there are exciting and vibrant enough to keep you interested the whole way through.
What I liked best about this movie is that it is the perfect example of how to take a secondary or 'evil' character and develop their story. You have to admit the bad guys are usually more interesting that the goody-too-shoes heroes. It makes for a fun experience seeing their adventures and extended villainy on screen.