The Dead And The Deadly (HK 1982)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/17/01
Producer: Samo Hung
Director: Wu Ma
Cast: Samo Hung, Lam Ching Ying, Cherrie Chung, Chang Ling (?)

One of Samo Hung's misfires, this is a long and tedious horror comedy along the same lines as "Encounter Of The Spooky Kind" (1980). Fatboy (Samo Hung) is a bumbling young man who works for his elderly uncle (Lam Ching Ying) who's a Taoist priest (hey, there's a stretch). When Lucho, one of Fatboy's friends, mysteriously turns up dead, he's determined to find the cause. However, it's just an elaborate ruse in order for Lucho to cash in on his own funeral. Along the way, Lucho's co-conspirators find out that they'd be better off if Lucho were really dead, so they kill him. Lucho's ghost pleads with Fatboy to avenge his death and much silliness goes down. In the final twenty minutes the film takes a radical twist as Fatboy's fiancée (pretty Cherrie Chung) takes on the dangerous task of rescuing Fatboy's lost soul. A lot of bizarro Chinese mysticism comes into play here as Lam and Cherrie prepare to trick Hell's guardians into freeing Fatboy's soul. The oddest is that when Fatboy gets turned into a beetle, the only way to hide from the hell spirits is to be wrapped in his wife's sanitary napkin. Ahem. Hey, I don't make this stuff up. Anyway, the pacing is slow and the humor is awkward and unfunny, but the wirework is astounding and the two or three obligatory kung fu brawls are quite satisfying.