The Brain Stealers (HK 1968)

Rating: **
Review Date: 12/17/16
Cast: Lily Ho

Li Xiu Lan (Lily Ho) is a judo expert and the daughter of a brilliant scientist. Her father has created a special chemical that accelerates plant growth, and several parties are very interested in obtaining it - by force, if necessary. The most nefarious player in the game is a psychotic villain known as Zero, who has developed a machine that can transfer a person's consciousness into another body. Using this device, he is able to highjack Xiu Lan's brother's body and kidnap Xiu Lan's father. A charming ex-Interpol agent is also interested in Xiu Lan's father, but seems to be more interested in Xiu Lan. Indeed, she's quite a looker, and her charms even cloud Zero's judgement. Xiu Lan finally gets the upper hand and manages to escape Zero's clutches, and puts an end to his plans for world domination.

It's a fun and campy international spy adventure in the vein of James Bond, which was all the rage at the time. The action is lamentably awful and the fight scenes are undercranked to the point of absurdity. Lily Ho is a terrible fighter, but you can't fault her for trying. Apart from her truly hideous hairdo, Ms. Ho is quite charming and attractive, and her snazzy 60's wardrobe fluctuates between super sexy and outrageously silly. At one point she fights off an attacker in her underwear, which is arguably the highlight of the film. An interesting aspect of the film is that it's a Chinese production, but it was shot in Japan with a Japanese director. As a result, it has more of a Japanese look and feel than your typical Shaw Brothers film.