Shaolin vs. Evil Dead(2004)

Shaolin vs. Evil Dead is a lovingly made tribute to a bygone era of Hong Kong filmmaking. The by-the-numbers screenplay by Ho Yiu-Wang uses every cliché in the lexicon of Taoist "hopping vampire" cinema made famous over two decades ago by Lam Ching-Ying and Ricky Hui Koon-Ying in the seminal Mr. Vampire (1985). Producer Sharon Yeung Pan-Pan and director Douglas Kung Cheung-Tak must have dropped acid in their production meetings.

Since the Weinstein's and Tarantino have invented the Salkind Family's idea of shooting two films together [The Three Musketeers (1973)] with Kill Bill (2003), it has become chic-chic to mount your major production in like manner. Kung's film has a lot of good visuals that pique the interest of the viewer while racing to its disappointing conclusion where you find out that this is just a set-up for the good stuff to come in the sequel!

Gordon Liu Chia-Hui does a nice job playing an ever so slight variation of the same character he's played for the last thirty years. His iconic image works very well in this film juxtaposed against the over the top bad guy histrionics of Fan Siu-Wong. Sik Siu-Foo and Jacky Woo are hardly worth mentioning while Shannon Yiu King proves herself to be a welcome newcomer to the movie business.

Copyright © 2007 John Crawford. All rights reserved.