An Eternal Combat


Like a drunken driver on New Years Eve, this film weaves all over the road and seems to have no idea where it is going. From a flying fantasy film to a time travel comedy to a stalker slasher film and finally back to fantasy, it still somehow manages to retain its charm and kept me fairly entertained. Much of this rests on the charming performances of Lam Ching-Ying, Joey Wong and Shing Fui-On.
The film begins with some lovely shots of Joey Wong making herself up to attend the funeral of her parents back in ancient times. After the funeral she is escorted back through the forest and the film creates a wonderful mood – runners carrying lanterns in the fog, wolves howling in the distance, a wind coming up from nowhere – and then the frightening form of the Japanese Ghost comes out of the fog. Soon the forest is littered with dead bodies and exploded heads and only Joey remains. The Ghost is in love with her and wants to make her his Evil Woman.
Fortunately, a Taoist priest (Lam) and his assistant, Gabriel Wong, are nearby and they come to her rescue. In a clash of magic, swords and flying the two fight to a draw and retreat. Soon the magistrate (Shing Fui-On) of the province comes to Lam and asks for his assistance in catching the Ghost – Lam agrees but only if Shing will be his second assistant.
Shing Fui-On and the Japanese Ghost - Tsui Kam-Kong
Soon a trap is set for the Ghost, but things go very wrong and Lam, his two assistants and the Ghost fall through Hell’s Gate and find themselves in present day HK. Here Lam is not surprisingly taken for being insane and is put into a mental institution where the psychologist is Joey Wong. Is this a co-incidence or is there some cosmic connection between the past and the present?
Lam Ching-Ying and new found friends
Lam turns himself into a puppy to get out of the asylum and ends up in Wong’s house where she is being stalked by an ex-boyfriend – Anthony Wong doing one of his patented psychotic characters. Soon the Japanese Ghost comes looking for Joey as well – and we are back to a terrific fight between him and Lam.
Anthony Wong and Joey Wong
It strikes me that this film might have been better off sticking to and maintaining the initial premise for the film. Once it comes into the modern day it turns into a fish out of water comedy. Then the stalker segment seems so unnecessary and out of place – but the charisma of Lam and the beauty of Joey somehow overcome all of this to make it decent film.

My rating for this film: 7.0

Just as a note - Weisser's summary of this film in his Asian Cult book could not be further from the facts- almost as if he had not watched this film - something that many have accused him of not always doing.