Flying Killer (Taiwan 1970)

Rating: *
Alternate Title: Flying Swordsgirl (US title)
Review Date: 5/1/11
Cast: Ting Ying

Awful doesn't even begin to describe this ridiculous film. A young woman named Chin (Ting Ying) and her cute younger sister Hsiao Wei live a simple life in the jungle, gathering food and playing with the wildlife. Chin has special powers, such as the ability to fly (which she only does at the beginning of the film) and tunnel through solid rock. She also obsessively wipes her nose every thirty seconds and scratches her neck like a monkey. One day, their idyllic existence is shattered when they drag a wounded man named Tien Peng out of the river. Chin nurses him back to health, but soon bandits come looking for him, stoking an escalating feud between two old rivals. A big secret is revealed in the last five minutes that turns this absurdity into a weepy tragic farce. Is there a moral or any kind of redemption? No. The overall message seems to be "I've done bad and now you have to suffer because of it."

While the DVD claims to be digitally remastered, Crash Cinema clearly put no time or effort into the transfer and didn't even bother with color correction or editing out reel changes. The subtitles are barely readable, but at least it's widescreen and not dubbed. The acting is appallingly bad, and I'm not even sure it qualifies as acting. The musical score sounds like it came from a 1930's radio drama and Chin's flying and leaping is accompanied by a cartoonish circus whistle sound effect. There are also horror movie wolf howls that play in the background for no apparent reason, unless they're supposed to imply that the daytime shots are actually supposed to be taking place at night. The swordplay is pathetic and the editing makes no sense. Despite Chin's amazing abilities, her most potent weapon seems to be laughing at her enemies. Chin and Hsiao Wei can also talk to monkeys and get them to spring traps on people. Of course you never actually see this, but the implications are there. For instance, Chin whistles, the camera cuts to a shot of a monkey, and then the enemy is suddenly trapped in a net that drops from the ceiling. An amazing study in cinematic awfulness.

Memorable Subtitle: "My eldest son was my first wife."