Peacock King

Hell Holes are beginning to open up in present day Tokyo and Hong Kong and as you might guess this is not good news! The Hell King has been asleep and imprisoned for one thousand years, but this is a clear sign that he is active once again and that his servants will soon be travelling the earth. Once the fourth Hell Hole opens the Hell King will reappear and unless stopped, dominate the earth! Fortunately, there is help on the way. Where there is evil, there is always good!

Two young Buddhist priests – Peacock (Yuen Biao) and Lucky Fruit (Hiroshi Mikami) have been told by their respective sifu’s (Eddie Ko/Ken Ogata) about the imminent danger and that only they have the power to stop the Hell King. Both oddly accept this proclamation without question and both show up in Tokyo to battle evil. Evil comes in the lovely form of the sexy and slinky Pauline Wong and the cherubic, but shapely Gloria Yip (in her film debut). Yip is Ashura, the virgin daughter of the Hell King and she is quite the hottie in her tight leather red body-fitting outfit!

The film is an interesting if not wholly satisfying film from Yuen who also gets partial credit for helping direct it along with Nam Lai-Choi (The Seventh Curse). Rather than the expected martial arts film from Yuen, he goes off in a completely different direction and creates a supernatural film that is chock full of special effects. With the exception of one nicely choreographed fight against Gordon Liu and his band of killer monks, there is very little fighting. One of course expects wonderful acrobatics and martial arts from Yuen Biao and my first reaction was disappointment. I kept waiting for some classic Yuen flips and twists and they never really materialize.
On the other hand, the special effects are quite fun and the set designs are really visually quite terrific. Sure the special effects are a bit cheesy as one has come to expect from HK films – but they are imaginative and enjoyable to watch. Some of the special effects are your basic green/red eerie lights, fiery balls of explosion and so forth – but there are also these delightful little creatures that are a bit gremlin like, a dinosaur that comes to life and Pauline Wong metamorphasizing  - body splitting type of thing – into a horrific slimy monster.
At any rate Yuen and Hiroshi meet up in a Tokyo department store where they pick up Narumi Yasuda as an assistant (this was a Japanese/HK production) and decide to ally themselves to fight the Hell King. Ashura turns out to be your basic teenager with identity problems – its not easy being the Virgin Hell daughter – like many teenagers she is just keeping bad company. She is just a girl that wants to have a little fun after being down in Hell for quite a while and who can blame her! Yuen is suppose to kill her – you do that sort of thing with daughters of the Hell King - but as I mentioned she is a hottie – even when she goes all bug-eyed and scary looking – and Yuen thinks better of it.  Eventually, the Hell King shows up looking a bit like a gigantic Mr Clean and I just thought to myself – why would he even want to take over the earth – what would be the point - he is way too big to enjoy himself here.
Taken on its own this is not a bad film – not a lot of dramatic impact I have to say – there is never a lot of doubt that good will overcome evil – but its decent light entertainment. Looking at it though from the perspective of a Yuen Biao film though, there is a real feeling of a lost opportunity. Yuen didn’t make that many films – so why make one like this I wonder.

My rating for this film: 7.0



 DVD Information:

Distributor - Universe

I have to admit to being disappointed with the transfer. It looks very soft much of the time, a bit of blurring took place from time to time and when watching the dark interior scenes it felt like I was looking through a screen. It is not terrible - but is a bit distracting at times.  

Letterbox

Trailer

Previews: Righting Wrongs, Iceman Cometh and The Saga of the Pheonix

8 Chapters

Subs - English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai and Malaysian

Easy to read subs

Star files on Yuen Biao and Gloria Yip