Stone Man (HK 1995)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/4/12
Cast: Vivian Chow, Wu Ma, Stuart Ong (?)

During a great celestial war, a god attempted to seal the sky with 35,000 boulders, but one boulder named Shie Chunyu managed to get away because he had been practicing changing shape and taking on human form. Yes, it's a very strange set-up and I admittedly know very little about the Asian pantheon of Buddhist/Taoist deities and the dogma of reincarnation. But it ultimately doesn't matter, since Chunyu is in human form for the entire film, and could easily be classified as a fairy, elf, goblin, or any other supernatural creature. One day he runs into "Sword Casting Girl" (Vivian Chow) who is busy battling goblins with a powerful sword that she's just made. He instantly falls in love with her and makes it his duty to protect her. He also gives her the name "Red Flower." At first she hates him and tries to kill him, but then she confesses that she can't bear to live without him. Her love-hate relationship with him defies all logic, but I suppose that's a woman's prerogative.

However, the wicked god Wutian is NOT pleased. If there's ONE THING he cannot stand, it's seeing mystical and enlightened beings falling in love with human women. He decides to curse Red Flower with a horrible illness in order to punish Chunyu, and the only thing that can break the curse is a wishing pearl held by Red Flower's father (Stuart Ong). Unfortunately, Wutian steals the pearl, which forces Chunyu to take the fight to heaven. Love and resolve (and Red Flower's super sword) eventually prevail, and Chunyu and Red Flower live happily ever after.

It's not a very good film, but the sets and locations are pretty and the cinematography is nice. Vivian Chow is lovely as always, and it's fun to see her swinging a sword around in a costume drama. Of all of her films, this is probably her most prominent leading role, and I was pleased to see her as more than just a cute girlfriend on the sidelines. Shie Chunyu is played by an actor I don't know, but I'm sure I've seen him before. He does an okay job, but has trouble carrying the film as a dramatic lead. While the fight scenes are energetic and feature lots of jumping around, the majority of them are in the "pushing air" style, where someone simply moves their arms around and people fall over. The action scenes are rather disappointing in that regard. "Stone Man" is an obscure and surprisingly difficult film to track down, and even though it's not particularly noteworthy, I'm still glad that I made the effort. If nothing else, fans of Vivian Chow will probably find something to like about it.