Buddha's Palm (HK 1982)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/20/14
Cast: Derek Yee, Alex Man, Lo Lieh, Shih Kien, Wei Ying Hung (Kara Hui)

What madness is this? "Buddha's Palm" is a silly kung fu fantasy about a young man named Long Qianfei (Derek Yee) who gets kicked off a cliff and rescued by a mythical creature that resembles a flying lion. The creature's master is Flaming Cloud Devil (Alex Man), who was defeated in battle ten years ago and has gone into hiding. He decides to teach his Buddha's Palm technique to Long simply because Long doesn't want to learn it. One day, Long sneaks out and meets up with two lovely sisters (including Wei Ying Hung) and a great conspiracy starts shaping up. After much silliness, Flaming Cloud Devil and his new friends go up against the treacherous Heavenly Foot (Shih Kien) and put an end to his evil once and for all. Maybe. The film ends with the lion creature tearing off Kien's pants while he's running away.

This is pure cinematic insanity, spiced up with all sorts of wire gags, optical effects, and undercranked action. The characters are all absurd and the film is alternately narrated by a male and female voice. At one point, the narrator blames one of the character's naiveté on "not reading enough wuxia novels." The action scenes are mostly of the "fly around on wires and shoot energy beams out of your palms" variety and aren't particularly entertaining. One of the more interesting bad guys is a young boy with a giant boil on his neck, which squirts out a corrosive green acid when he squeezes it. What the hell?!? Derek Yee and Wei Ying Hung are both charming performers, but they appear to be totally lost and confused by the production. Alex Man and Lo Lieh go over the top with their exaggerated caricatures, and Lo's character is particularly annoying. They certainly don't make kung fu movies like this anymore, and that's probably a good thing. Thankfully, this trend of goofy hyper-fantasy only lasted for a few years in the early 80's.