This film is like opening a door and unexpectedly
walking into a howling wind tunnel. It is so full of near non-stop acrobatics,
antics, fights, contraptions, gadgets, wires, weapons and total lunacy
that I needed to hold on to my head to stop it from spinning! The sheer
silliness, exuberance and imagination of the film made it a complete sugar
over dosed delight. Most delightful is the physical performance of the
petite Lin Hsiao Lan as she jumps over fences, scales walls, swings through
the air, performs amazing stunts, shoots blow darts and takes on Dick Wei
in brutal kung fu combat.
She is something of a cult figure for her performances
in the period costume films Child of Peach, Kung Fu Wonderchild and Magic
of Spell in which she plays characters with magical powers who fight for
good over evil. This film is set in contemporary times (though there is
a fun homage to her other films as well as one for A Better Tomorrow!),
but Lin is just as amazing fighting for good once again in this film.
A portly but very nasty triad head is trying to
force an elderly businessman into distributing drugs for him, but Mr. Duh
refuses. So this nasty triad decides to kidnap Duh’s small granddaughter
– Ting Ting - and this is where our heroes enter the story. Lin is first
sighted combating an array of underground ninjas and then a supernatural
beast, but it turns out that it is only a movie set. She is an action actress,
her two brothers are stuntmen and her father, Yuen Chung Yan (one of the
famous Yuen brothers) is the props/special effects man on the set. They
live in a house or make that a room that is a nutty Rube Goldberg fantasy
in which every item is somehow tied to a pulley or a lever – even the salt
shakers! Hidden doors, dropping walls and other devices just round out
this normal family’s living conditions. Needless to say it all comes in
very handy later on.
So Ting Ting is kidnapped at McDonalds by Mickey
Mouse tying a bunch of balloons around her wrist thus lifting her to some
waiting thugs five floors above! Lin witnesses this and gives chase
on her speedy bicycle - but no ordinary bike is this – the U.S. Defense
Department would pay billions for this bike – as it contains every imaginable
device ever needed to save a little girl from being kidnapped or for starting
a small revolution.
After saving Ting Ting by utilizing some unbelievably
amazing aerodynamic and kung fu biking, she meets Mr. Duh. The grandfather
is worried that there will be a further attack on him (which in fact there
is – a bomb planted in a Penthouse magazine) – so he arranges for Lin’s
family to use their film expertise to pretend to assassinate him so that
he can leave the country for a while. But things go very wrong afterwards
and all of a sudden the film takes a shrieking turn towards the very violent.
A sea of dead bodies killed by darts to the head, explosions, kung fu,
poison snakes and various other bizarre implements – primarily by the courtesy
of Lin – is soon spread like butter over warm toast all over town. And
then there is still Dick Wei to contend with.
This is a crazy, goofy, fun film that keeps surprising
you with its cleverness and its attitude of “why not try it”. There is
no time for things like character development or even much of a plot –
but it is a complete hoot that should entertain those who enjoy films that
don't take themselves seriously for a second and veer wildly between complete
silliness and fast moving shake your head in disbelief action.
My rating for this film: 7.0