Vampire Vs. Vampire (HK 1989)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/10/16
Director: Lam Ching Ying
Cast: Lam Ching Ying, Chin Siu Ho, Liu Fong, Billy Lau, Sandra Ng, Regina Kent

Lam Ching Ying returns as "One-Eyebrow Priest" in this dismally disappointing horror comedy. I begrudgingly gave it two stars for its gorgeous cinematography, inventive set pieces, and kinetic action scenes, but it really is a chore to sit through. The plot is an incoherent mess of seemingly random horror gags involving hopping vampires, haunted churches, lustful spirits, dead prostitutes, evil pimps, and general supernatural tomfoolery. Ying even keeps a goofy child vampire around as a sidekick, and his shenanigans are intolerable. Chin Siu Ho and Liu Fong are Ying's bumbling assistants, and they're always stirring up trouble with various spirits. The main story thread that runs throughout the film involves a village's water supply being polluted by unknown forces that are tied to a nearby church. Billy Lau and Sandra Ng unwittingly resurrect a European vampire, which presents a major problem for Ying because his Taoist magic has no effect on the undead creature. A showdown of brute force eventually buries the monster in a convenient pool of quicksand.

It's a blatant attempt to cash in on the popularity of Lam Ching Ying's "Mr. Vampire" (1985) character, with regrettable results. Like many Hong Kong comedies, the humor is unbearably awful, and having kids involved makes it much worse. Billy Lau and Sandra Ng try to spice things up with sexual innuendo and double entendre to poor effect, and the dimwitted antics of Chin Siu Ho and Lui Fong are tiresome and tedious at best. However, the film boasts some impressive visual effects along with some outstanding stuntwork from the extremely talented and underrated Chin Siu Ho. It's a great looking production, with the exception of a handful of scenes that are inexplicably shot through an ugly yellow filter. Unless you're a die-hard genre fan, there are much better offerings available to satisfy a craving for hopping corpses and Chinese spirits.