Kung Fu Wonderchild (HK 1986)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/22/13
Cast: Lin Hsiao Lan, Yukari Oshima

More kung fu craziness in the vein of "Holy Flame Of The Martial World" (1983), and "Magic Of Spell" (1990). A wicked priest kills an old man and his daughter in order to steal their silver skeleton, which is an artifact that will grant him incredible power and make him invincible. Yukari Oshima plays the other daughter, who goes looking for her missing father and runs into some hopping vampires along the way. Later, she meets up with three pranksters (including impishly cute Lin Hsiao Lan) and their wise old grandfather. After much childish tomfoolery, they all join forces to investigate the evil priest and put him out of business for good. The abrupt and downbeat ending resolves little and spoils the lighthearted tone that carries the rest of the film.

It's an interesting kung fu fantasy that's unlike anything else. The fighting is quite good, but undercranked to the point of absurdity. The wire work is also very impressive, and the aerial stunt work is simply amazing. The film features the prettiest and most feminine role that Yukari Oshima has ever played, and while Lin Hsiao Lan gets star billing, I was far more impressed with the older actors. The visual effects are quite silly, but perfectly in line with the tone of the film. There's some neat monster makeup here and there, and a poorly realized attempt to combine live action with cel animation at the climax of the film. Ultimately, the film makes no sense and suffers greatly from an overabundance of juvenile humor, but its all-out wackiness is fun to watch nonetheless.