One of the more “out there” Kung-fu movies.
Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain (1983)
Directed By: Hark Tsui
And today we have a rather popular Asian film that has even been remade, a trend I thought the Asian people were smart enough to not jump along with the rest of the world in. None the less here we are with, Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain! A film that originally came out in 1983, the year of great things such as McDonalds chicken nuggets and the birthday of me! But besides just some fighting action that comes from movies of it’s genre, this film packs some weird effects and some trippy plot points. But how well is it holding up today in a world where HD, Blu-ray, and better effects exists?
In the fifth century, constant civil war scars western China. To escape death, Ti, a young scout, jumps through a crevice in the Zu mountains where he meets and becomes the apprentice of Ting Yin, a spiritual man with great fighting powers. They encounter a monk, Hsiao Yu, also a great fighter and a good man, but unfriendly to Ting. Because Ting and Hsiao can’t work together, it falls to Ti to team with Hsiao’s acolyte Yi Chen: they have 49 days to travel far to claim two swords that are the only weapons that can defeat the Blood Demon, who has decided the wreak havoc on the world. They get help from Long Brows, Ting falls in love with a countess, and civil war still rages.
Well this is by far one of the most interesting films I’ve seen from this genre. It’s a film that mixes not only creepy effects and action, but there seems to be a bit of a social commentary going down as well. And that’s all wrapped up in a very comedic jacket. So, you could say the movie pretty much has a little bit of everything and it’s an odd combo when you mix it all up together. Of course in that comes an issue because a lot of folks may get turned off by all it brings on. I myself didn’t have an issue with all of that, I just really found myself drawn in to the very fantasy-like plot the film brings to the table, but maybe not drawn in enough..More on that later.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if the legendary, Lucio Fulci made a kung fu or a fantasy film, I think this one here comes close in areas to what it would look like. With effects that match some of those in the Asian classic, House, you are shown some very eerie and creepy looking things along the way in this film once Ti ends up in the thick of things. Of course it’s not a horror film by any means or anything, but it does have some cool stuff that any horror fan should be able to appreciate it. But you may need to be sure you pay attention to the film very well while you watch it.
Now while I do appreciate and dig a great deal of what goes on in this film, I do wish there were more fighting scenes and less flying and floaty stuff. I think had it kept more of that than what we end up with this film could have gotten a much better ratting from me than it is going to actually end up with. While it’s still a very good film, I think I like a little more mindless fun with my kung fu. I think a great deal of you may agree with that, but then again what the film has is by no means is shabby either. But it’s better that I give you the heads up now about the mixed bag this film is rather than you find out unexpectedly later.
Well it’s not by any means awful, as a matter of fact some things in this movie are rather superb, but I just wanted more. A little less fantasy stuff and more old fashion fighting scenes would have really put this thing up over the top for me. But since that’s not what we get, it’s just above average in my opinion.
The Rating (6.5/10)