Witch From Nepal (HK 1985)

Rating: *(*)
Review Date: 5/29/12
Director: Ching Siu Tung
Cast: Chow Yun Fat, Emily Chu, Lam Kit Ying, Dick Wei

A good looking but disappointing effort from genre master Ching Siu Tung. If you like the look and feel of late 80's and early 90's Hong Kong cinema, then the optional two-star rating is for cinematography and production values. Joe (Chow Yun Fat) and his girlfriend Ida (pretty Lam Kit Ying) go to Nepal for a working vacation, and Joe gets injured in a strange accident. The doctors plan to amputate his leg as a result, until a girl with magic powers (Emily Chu) shows up and cures him. For some reason, Joe has been chosen as the savior of a secret cult, and is destined to fight a crazy caterwauling demon played by Dick Wei. Sheila (Chu) teaches Joe telekinesis and some other tricks, and then decides to get naked and have sex with him. (after setting herself on fire first, of course) This naturally doesn't sit well with Ida, but he manages to get back on good terms with her after they are attacked by a bunch of zombies in a graveyard. With Sheila protecting him until the bitter end, Joe finally accepts his destiny and battles it out with Dick Wei in a ridiculous display of fire, broken glass, and wire-assisted mayhem.

Unfortunately, the film is a narrative mess and makes absolutely no sense. The characters are uninteresting and seem nearly as confused as the audience. Dick Wei's character is completely embarrassing, and all he does is run, jump, and occasionally kick people. Whenever he opens his mouth, a jaguar call comes out, which is just terrible. Chow Yun Fat's performance is merely average, and reminiscent of his less memorable comedies. The action scenes are marginally entertaining, but just as random and chaotic as the script is. Where the film really shines is in the cinematography, as the film is well lit and the photography is gorgeous. Some of the visual effects are very enjoyable, with the highlight being Dick Wei's outrageous exploding head. Sadly, that's not enough to save the film, or to bother watching it in the first place. Recommended for completists and genre fans only.