Originally published in Asian Cult Cinema #12


Directed by Ronnie Yu [1993]

Much has been written about this movie. It has had a ton of exposure at art houses and HK film festivals throughout the world. Ronnie Yu has been championed by critics in various media outlets including the pages of this humble publication.

"The Bride with White Hair" is a visually feast. Filmed in Super-Panavision, the movie is full of amazing sets and costumes. Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia turns in a wonderful performance as the Wolf Girl with super martial arts powers. Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing plays her lover Cho, the young leader of Wu Tang and a master sword fighter. Raised by wolves, Lin's character is adopted by the underground Mo Cult, led by Siamese male/female twins joined at the back! She is trained as the #1 killer who uses a whip to severe her enemies limbs. heads, and torsos. The action scenes are incredibly choreographed with the editing and framing adding to the beautiful sense of movement throughout the movie.

The screenplay of the film is centered on the character of Cho Yi-hang and search for the mysterious girl who saved him from an attack of wolves. Years later, Cho is the chosen leader of Wu Tang, amid much controversy. The two star-crossed lovers meet again during a childbirth, and Cho follows Lien, the wolf girl, to her secret place at the Riverlake. He watches Lien as she bathes in the waterfalls. She discovers him hiding but must run off to her master before they learn about each other. Later, after being ordered to kill the leaders of Wu Tang[Cho included], the two begin a torrid love affair at the Riverlake hideaway.

In the end, all hell breaks loose. The evil twins banish Lien from the Cult and frame her for the murders of Wu Tang. She seeks out Cho who questions her innocence and she goes ballistic. Transformed by his mistrust, Lien's long white hair replaces her whip and she kills everyone in the temple. Realizing his mistake, Cho must wait for eternity to win her forgiveness.

If you are reading this magazine for the first time looking for a good example of Hong Kong cinema, then "The Bride with White Hair" is perfect for you. It has all the elements of excitement that are missing from movies produced elsewhere[read Hollywood]. If you are already a fan of HK films and you are a guy with a significant other who thinks kung fu movies don't offer her anything then watch the "Bride" with her. She will love Leslie Cheung["he's sexy"] and the extended love scenes in the water. After the gender bending roles Brigitte Lin had played prior to this in "Swordsman II" and "The East is Red", it is really nice to see her in a sexy feminine role making love to a man.

Directing his 11th feature, Ronnie Yu has made a lavishly beautiful motion picture. While not as prolific as some other Hong Kong filmmakers, his projects seem carefully chosen and worthy of the viewer's time.

Copyright © 1996 J.Crawford
Check out Ronnie Yu's The Saviour [1980]

Check out his latest American film Bride of Chucky!