Abbot White (Taiwan 1981)

Rating: *
Review Date: 8/8/15
Cast: Yuen Yat Chor

A young boy at Shaolin Temple enters a forbidden room and becomes possessed by the spirit of Devil Claw, who was imprisoned there twenty years ago. He runs away from Shaolin and practices kung fu for ten years so that he can get revenge on the monks that defeated him. He is an unstoppable force of evil that rapes and pillages all that stands before him, until he meets a pretty young woman who wears a charm that can dispel Devil Claw's influence. With her help, the young man goes back to Shaolin to try and exorcise his spirit and get rid of Devil Claw once and for all. The film ends on a freeze frame of him jumping out of a tower and bursting into flames. Huh?

Sadly, while the kung fu is fairly entertaining, Venom Mob's treatment of the film is ruined by incompetent and overly offensive dubbing in heavily accented broken English. It's nearly unintelligible and the film would have been better served if it were just left in Chinese. Adding to their shame, Venom Mob also put a picture of Hwang Jang Lee on the box cover, when he is clearly not in the movie. The box also states that the film stars Yuen Yat Chor, which is another blatant lie. From what I can tell, he might show up as the spirit of Devil Claw for about a minute, but it's difficult to confirm. Regardless, he's clearly not the star of the film.

As far as the story goes, it's a disjointed mess that makes no sense. Major characters are introduced and then mysteriously disappear, while others that you think might be important to the plot are killed off. It literally looks like three or four different films spliced together, with no sense of direction. Maybe the Venom Mob release is a severely edited version of a much longer film? Who knows? The main character is definitely the best martial artist in the cast, and he's fun to watch. His Devil Claw kung fu allows him to become transparent and he can detach his right arm to use as a ranged weapon. Wacky. There are a couple of cute femme fighters in the cast who fight with fans and swords, and they definitely piqued my interest. Unfortunately, they are underutilized and their scenes are brief. And why is the film called "Abbot White?" I'm guessing that was yet another poor decision made by the Venom Mob team.