Demon Of The Lute (HK 1983)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/28/10
Cast: Chin Siu Ho, Wei Ying Hung, Philip Kwok, Yuen Tak

What the hell was this all about?!? The film starts unlike any other kung fu movie, with a goofy animated credits sequence, silly music, and a disclaimer saying "this kung fu adventure is dedicated to children." What follows is a ridiculous melange of insane martial arts fantasy accompanied by a loud disco soundtrack that abruptly cuts in and out. The plot concerns three treasures of the martial arts world: the demonic lute, the fiery bow, and the fiery arrow. Someone has been stirring up trouble with the demonic lute, so the fairy Feng Ling (cute Wei Ying Hung) is ordered track down the fiery bow and arrow to combat the Demon Of The Lute. During her travels, she meets up with a man named Thief (goofy Philip Kwok) and his precocious son, and an orphan cave dweller named Yuen Wei (Chin Siu Ho). After travelling to such places as the Green Water Fortress and the Happy Dragon Palace, the heroes finally meet in Jeng Wu Valley for a bizarre showdown with the Demon Of The Lute.

The film is full of mind-boggling craziness and the kung fu is outrageously silly. Unfortunately, it's so silly that it fails to be entertaining. The fight scenes are so frantic, kinetic, undercranked, and chaotic, that it's nearly impossible to tell what's going on, and the choppy editing certainly doesn't help. One of the more humorous scenes is a bad guy called "Red-Haired Evil" who sprouts an enormous head of shocking red hair when provoked. He also rides around in a chariot drawn by two German Shepherds. Chin Sui Ho gets to battle a runaway cart as well as a gigantic ball of tin foil, and we learn that elf piss can remove unsightly birthmarks. The mind-numbing insanity makes this a hard film to sit through, but at least the cheerful Wei Ying Hung is pretty to look at and strikes a couple of fancy poses.