The Seventh Curse (HK 1986)

Rating: **
Cast: Chin Siu Ho, Dick Wei, Maggie Cheung, Chow Yun Fat, Sibelle Hu, Tsui Kam Long, cameos by Yasuaki Kurata and Wei Ying Hung

What a bizarre film this is! The film starts out at a pointless dinner party, which radically jerks to an S.D.U. assault on a building full of terrorists and hostages. This scene serves no purpose whatsoever except to introduce two of the main characters, Chin Siu Ho and Maggie Cheung. Then another abrupt turn as Chin Siu Ho goes back home, gets ambushed by a witch doctor (Dick Wei), and starts having culvulsions which lead to parts of his leg exploding! Then we jerk to a scene with Chow Yun Fat, a professor in witchcraft (!), and we flashback to what caused this strange phenomenon. A year ago, Chin Siu Ho was chasing a pretty girl through the jungle while he was on an expedition, and violated an ancient black magic ritual. As a result, the head sorcerer cursed him. The girl manages to save his life from the first part of the curse by chopping off her nipple and feeding it to him! Uh-huh. Other magical spells and rituals are required to keep him alive through the rest of the curse, so he decides to go back to Thailand to visit Dick Wei and get his curse lifted. Bitchy reporter Maggie Cheung tags along, and Chow Yun Fat and his assistant Sibelle Hu follow shortly. Much kung fu black magic insanity takes place throughout a series of outrageous set pieces, leading up to a bloody confrontation with a nasty Alien-ish monster which Chow Yun Fat blows away with a rocket launcher. Then it's another abrupt jerk back to the dinner party and the credits roll. There's a lot of neat stuff going on in this film, but the editing and continuity are appalling! It also didn't help that the copy I saw was of poor quality and the subtitles were off of the screen most of the time. On the plus side, from what I could tell, the production values looked good, the sets were gorgeous, the effects were good (some of them were amazing), the stunts were exciting, and the kung fu was great. One particularly shocking stunt showed a stuntman getting hit by an out of control truck REALLY hard. That must have hurt - if it didn't kill him outright. It was really good to see Chin Siu Ho and Dick Wei in lead roles as good guys. They both have the charisma, presence, grace, and kick-ass martial arts ability to make it big in the industry, but somehow that never happened (which is too bad). Chow Yun Fat in an early throw away role is amusing, and Wei Ying Hung's and Yasuaki Kurata's microscopic cameos aren't even worth mentioning. Sadly, pretty Sibelle Hu had nothing to work with either (even though she's the most prominent character on the video box), but she does get to fire a machine gun at the end, which is pretty exciting. It's also interesting to see a cute and young Maggie Cheung in an early role as a traditional helpless and bitchy girlfriend (think "Police Story" (1985) here). She later somehow managed to break free from worthless roles like these to become a legitimate actress.

Memorable quote: "Take my advice, or I'll spank you without pants."

And I just have to throw this in. This is the largest head credit I've ever seen in a movie. Stranger yet that it's an English actor in a cameo role in a Chinese film, and it pops on the screen eighteen minutes into the movie. My friends and I still bust up over this.

Ken Boyle