The Furious Buddha’s Palm
Directed by Ling Yun
Welcome to another adventure down 1960s Cantonese cinema lane! There are no subtitles, of course, unless you count the Chinese subtitles. But we don’t need no stinking subtitles! The character names are translated by my wife. They may not perfect, but all information about the film is in Chinese so this is the best you will get in English.
This is the 5th film in the Buddha’s Palm series, takes up right after the previous films (Buddha’s Palm 1-4.) For an overview of the Buddha’s Palm series, read this article I wrote that accompanies this review. That’s what happens when I get efficient and do research on the films, they spawn additional articles. The film is only sold in a vcd boxed set, but my wife’s parents managed to get a copy from a Chinatown video store that was selling off stock, thus they have this one but none of the other ones. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. I should try to acquire the set, photos on the internet show that Buddha’s Palm (Part 2) has robot-looking guys, a bird character, and a guy with metallic paint on his face. There is not much other information on the other three parts so I don’t know if they have cool visuals as well.
One highlight of the film is it has both of the teen queen sensations of 1960s Cantonese cinema, Connie Chan Po-Chu and Josephine Siao Fong-Fong. We also have Sek Kin as his usual role as being the villain. This is a Cantonese film in the 1960s, mind you! The rest of the regular players from 1960s Cantonese cinema are present, many of which popped up in How the Ape Girl Stole the Lotus Lamp or Lady Black Cat. Since the last go-round with 1960’s Cantonese cinema, Sek Kin has passed on. He will not be forgotten, nor will this be the last thing he shows up on TarsTarkas.NET in (considering he made hundreds of films, we could be reviewing his films until the end of time!)
A Defeated Guy arrives at doorstep of Half-Metal Face, who looks like a crippled Moses. Half-Metal Face’s leg is missing thanks to the father of the guy who defeated the Defeated Guy. Half-Metal Face says he will avenge the Defeated Guy because he also has a score to settle, but by doing so will require the Defeated Guy’s leg. Defeated Guy balks at this, so Half-Metal Face blasts him dead with some kung fu magic. He orders his student Dragon Girl to take off the leg. Dragon Girl just grabs and it pops off! I was unaware that the legs of kung fu masters were interchangeable like legos. Half-Metal Face attaches the leg, but first complains about a scar on the bottom (it looks like gum) and says it will be a weak point. Way to announce to everyone your weakness, genius!
Lung Kim-Fei and Kau Yuk-wah out walking, see some guys setting up an offering of food, claim they are doing so to keep from getting attacked by a crazed child. Lung Kim-Fei and Kau Yuk-wah decide to wait and soon a monkey-acting Connie Chan shows up and hops around. The best part is every time she does backflips there is a slide whistle. They try some kung fu zaps on the monkey girl, but her kung fu is good. Kau Yuk-wah pulls out a magic ring and manages to ensnare the monkey. The ring is around the neck and will get smaller if the monkey girl gets out of control, much like a certain crown around a head that another monkey has… The Monkey Kid has no name, so the couple give her one: Monkey Kid. The Monkey Kid says her parents are sleeping, then takes the couple there. Her parents are dead, her mother is a dead ape and her dad is a human skeleton because he has been dead along time. So the couple adopts her. It is possible that her mother is played by the empty ape costume that was in How the Ape Girl Stole the Lotus Lamp.
Half-Metal Face has captured around twenty random people that he will kill to learn his Big Foot Scroll, which will give him the ultimate Big Foot power. Give me a call when he learns Yeti Fu. Dragon Girl objects to the deaths of so many innocent people, begs her Sifu to let them go. Has she not figured out he is evil? He’s played by Sek Kin, for crying out loud! He agrees to let them go (not!) and then has her take some “medicine” to help her kung fu. In reality, it is a centipede and now it bites her heart whenever Half-Metal Face bangs his drum! He don’t wanna kung fu, he wants to bang on the drum all day!
The couple Lung Kim-Fei and Kau Yuk-wah get to where they are going, a shrine where a ceremony will happen tomorrow. The shrine has a food offering to some gods, which Monkey Kid spots. A little bit later, Monkey Kid gets in a fight with two janitors over the food. Monkey Kid is sent outside to play, and runs across Dragon Girl strolling in the forest, so Monkey Kid throws fruit at her! Why not? Dragon Girl breaks out her fancy flying knives, which Monkey Kid starts dodging, but is hit and killed. Dragon Girl is sad that she killed someone, but it is a trick and Monkey Kid isn’t dead. They somehow then become friends, with Dragon Girl telling Monkey Kid not to go to the ceremony tomorrow, but won’t say why.
The ceremony is some official getting promoted to head of a house, but then another guy with a goofy tiny mustache comes to challenge him and his kung fu powers. Isn’t that always the way? I had to kung fu fight some guy when I got promoted to the deepfryer at McDonalds. Goofy Mustache starts to beat the guy who is getting promoted, but Lung Kim-Fei transfers some energy to him, and he is able to score an amazing comeback. Thus the ceremony will begin. Thanks to cheating! One quick note, the actor playing the promoted guy appeared in other films in the series, but I do not know at this time if it is the same character.
But oh, no! Explosive powder was put in the lamp by Dragon Girl! During the smoke and confusion, Dragon Girl comes in takes the magic bowl that was being using in the ceremony, and kills the guy holding it. Before he dies, he points to a Dragon mural, because this random guy will totally know Dragon Girl’s name because his psychic friend told him.
Goofy Mustache blames the couple immediately, because of the Monkey Kid. Lung Kim-Fei sends his wife out to look for her (to prove Monkey Girl is innocent) as he has to stay behind guarded by Goofy Mustache’s men. Kau Yuk-wah finds Dragon Girl instead. She confronts her, and they have a kung fu battle that is flying knives vs flying hoops. Dragon Girl manages to deflect all of the hoops with her flying swords. All of this is shows with cool 1960s effects.
More bad news for Kau Yuk-wah, as Half-Metal Face is also there to check up on Dragon Girl, and he grabs Kau Yuk-wah for a hostage against Lung Kim-Fei. Half-Metal face sends one of his guys to tell the husband to meet him to fight or the wife dies. The goon does this, he walks right into the house where guards are trained on Lung Kim-Fei and tells him his wife is kidnapped, then he leaves. No one except Lung Kim-Fei finds it suspicious at all that some random guy strolled in announcing a kidnapping right after a theft. I can’t believe they just let this guy leave. What great security! By now Monkey Kid has joined Lung Kim-Fei in being watched by the guards, but the two make a break for it to go fight Half-Metal Face and save Kau Yuk-wah. They fight free of the guards.
Half-Metal Face is using the magic bowl they stole to absorb blood or something into his magic leg to make it more powerful. His leg is all hairy and doesn’t match the other at all, and is accented by him wearing pants that only have one leg and no shoe on the new leg. Lung Kim-Fei arrives to fight him, but Lung Kim-Fei’s Buddha Palm attacks are no good against Half-Metal Face’s power of turning into a photo negative!
Then the movie gets awesome.
Half-Metal Face hops up on some rocks (actually boxes with blankets over them pretending to be rocks, but whatever) and his magic leg grows into King Kong-sized proportions! Yes, Sek Kin is now hopping around with one giant hairy foot! Half-Metal Face uses this giant foot to crush Lung Kim-Fei beneath it. Before Lung Kim-Fei is flattened completely, Monkey Kid pulls him out and drags him away. Half-Metal Face laughs because now he is a super-powered kung fu guy who will begin a reign of terror against kung fu schools. A short montage shows him squashing a bunch of random dudes who dare to be other martial artists. Imagine an old newsreel filled with pictures of guys getting squashed by a giant foot.
Half-Metal Face will now fight the four masters of the greatest martial arts schools (Shaolin Temple, Kunlun Mountains, Hua Shan, and Wudang Shan) and goes to fight them on a hill where he has his own “school” set up, which is just a gate with his name on it. Half-Metal Face forces Dragon Girl to fight the four masters with her magic swords, at first she does just glancing blows, but he realizes she is not using her abilities to their fullest and starts beating his drum to torture her. So she presses the attack and the Four Masters retreat. Some masters.
Later, Half-Metal Face leaves his hideout for some reason, the script required him to, and he leaves Dragon Girl in charge of guarding the hideout. Monkey Kid strolls in soon after, looking for some medicine that will cure the ailing Lung Kim-Fei, who has become sick after being crushed beneath the giant foot. I guess he has a really nasty case of athlete’s foot and needs some tough actin’ Tinactin! Dragon Girl is apprehensive at first, but as the girls are fast friends by reasons unknown (again, because the script requires them to be), she reluctantly agrees to help her, as Dragon Girl is no murderer (except for the guy she killed.) The medicine is in a room on a windowsill, but if you touch the floor you will explode. No need to panic, Dragon Girl throws her magic swords to make a ladder on the far wall, and Monkey Kid floats across the floor with her monkey flying powers and gets on the ladder and grabs the medicine. Then after she floats back, Dragon Girl takes back the swords to cover her tracks (but there would still be sword holes in the wall, but whatever, grab some spackle paste from Home Depot.)
Then…Monkey Kid wants Dragon Girl to let Kau Yuk-wah go. Dragon Girl is even more reluctant, but agrees because she knows Kau Yuk-wah will be killed. Dragon Girl refuses to escape with them and refuses to tell them why she is still loyal to her master. This is where one sentence would shorten the movie by 50 minutes, but it is not to be. Dragon Girl is left behind, and soon is paying for her deeds with more drum/centipede torture. He probably played the long version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Half-Metal Face tells her she has one last chance, she needs to bring him the head of Wife in 30 days or she will die, and he will bang the drum every day to remind her of her mission.
Lung Kim-Feiis cured immediately by the medicine and is grateful his wife is free, but he won’t join in on an attack against Half-Metal Face because that would mean he has to use the special 9 Buddha Palm attack to defeat Half-Metal Face. He promised his dead master that he would never use the attack to take a life again. We even see him consult the ghostly spirit of his dead master, who has crazy hair and a shirt with a skull and fire on it to show us he is dead. Does that mean he is in Hell? Do they let you use the phone in Hell?
The Four Masters call Lung Kim-Fei a coward and then leave to go fight, but Monkey Kid starts to harass them because they were mean. She makes a monkey out of all four of them! These masters suck! Dragon Girl wanders by at this time, and starts to argue with the Four Masters, but as they are about to fight her, Half-Metal Face is banging his drum and Dragon Girl collapses. Monkey Kid takes her back to the house where Lung Kim-Fei and Kau Yuk-wah are. Dragon Girl cries and explains what she has to do.
Lung Kim-Fei says he will use the 9 Buddha Palm attack to get the centipede out of Dragon Girl. He can do so because it is used to save someone, not kill someone. Lung Kim-Fei removes it in a spectacle of special effects. Dragon Girl says she will go back to her master as undercover, but with the headpiece of Kau Yuk-wah as the proof of her death. She does so and gives Half-Metal Face the headpiece, claiming she didn’t want to carry around a rotting head for a long journey. Half-Metal Face is pleased, but as the Four Masters are announcing that they have arrived, he tosses the headpiece over his head like it is nothing important! This made me laugh.
Outside, the Four Masters gather with some of their students, and then attack Half-Metal Face. Half-Metal Face uses his power of photonegative again to be invulnerable. He then jumps on the same pile of clothes pretending to be rocks and has his foot grow again to gigantic proportions. Despite the Four Masters all knowing what he was going to do, not one of them bother to try to stop him and just watch as he goes through the motions of making his foot grow big. Four Masters, more like Four Meatheads if you ask me.
Half-Metal Face squashes some people including the guy whose promotion ceremony was interrupted before by the theft, that guy is dragged away and he dies in Lung Kim-Fei’s house. Is their house right next to the battle site? Lung Kim-Fei still refuses to fight, but Monkey Kid goes out to battle, and Kau Yuk-wah says she doesn’t want people to call her husband a coward and she goes out to fight as well. Lung Kim-Fei prays to his master, while the Four Masters all attack Half-Metal Face’s big foot and do nothing to it. Four losers. Half-Metal Face sees Kau Yuk-wah and realizes Dragon Girl lied to him again, so he whips out the drum to punish her, but the drumming does nothing. Half-Metal Face is now Egg on His Face.
By now Lung Kim-Fei runs into the fray, joining the battle because saving lives is important as well. How convenient! He sets up his 9 Buddha Palm attack, and Half-Metal Face lets him do all the set up as well! What kind of goofy custom is this? Stop letting people set up complicated attacks!!!! Idiots! Lung Kim-Fei attacks with a bunch of effects drawn on the film, which swirl around Half-Metal Face but don’t do anything. Then, Dragon Girl tells everyone about the scar on the bottom of the foot that is the weakness they need to strike. One thing about the scar…now that it is gigantic, it looks like a vagina. I am serious, we have a giant foot on Sek Kin that has a giant vagina opening on the sole! Suck on that, Freud! So they stab the scar with a sword, then 9 Buddha Palm effects go in and kill Half-Metal Face. He is dead.
Since he is dead, let’s pull out the sword…and blood comes gushing out! This is by far the most disgusting thing I have seen in a movie if you take the scar for what I said it was earlier. They blast down Half-Metal Face’s name gate and Goofy Mustache gets the magic bowl back, and everything is wrapped up in a neat little package! How convenient!
And thus ends Furious Buddha Palm and the reign of terror of a guy with a giant foot. Because only a palm can defeat a foot. Or something. Just imagine all the toe jam… In all, it wasn’t a bad flick, and was pretty entertaining and imaginative. The main weakness was the length, clocking in at almost two hours. Because of it being an older film, it doesn’t have the rapid fire pacing in modern cinema so parts of the two hours are spend walking and having random side-characters interact by slowing down the plot. A few of the plot elements seem to happen only because it is convenient, and at times the film is the mayor of Coincidence City. But it was enjoyable, and I would like to see more adventures of Sek Kin and his giant foot.
Rated 9/10 (The Scar, his Palm, Food giver, Dead Mommy, Dead Daddy, Promoted, Goofy Mustache, Awesome Effects, He’s got LEG and he knows how to use it!)