Golden Nun (Review)
Directed and written by Tyrone Hsu Tien-Yung
Golden Nun is another in a long line of Taiwanese flicks that are pretty much unknown here and filled with goofy things. In this instance, we got a bald headed lady monk who fights a ghost girl, and at one point this bald nun becomes golden. Thus, the title. Does it make sense? Hell no! But why let that stop you? Taiwanese films are like…films…that….stuff. Yeah. Uh. Okay, maybe I need an actual metaphor and should stop winging it. So there have been more Taiwanese films than usual reviewed here recently, largely due to the fact I got a hold of a bunch of odd ones and am cranking them out slowly but surely.
What is weirdest about Golden Nun is that it is a musical! Inspired by Chinese opera stuff so there are a few random songs. The first one comes out of nowhere, but you get used to them.
Names are best guesses based on dialogue, they might be completely wrong, but too bad! Since this review is about it for English language mentions of Golden Nun, you are going to take what you can get and like it! We have no subtitles and no patience. But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinkin’ subtitles!
Some dudes are playing mahjong in a mortuary back in ancient China, but a black cat jumps over some offering papers, and soon the paper is floating around and dead bodies nearby are reanimating. I am sure this has happened to you numerous times. Pretty much every poker night I have ever had has been interrupted by hopping corpses. No wonder black cats are considered bad luck. One by one the players leave except Sing Wei-a, as he is exceedingly slow in figuring stuff out like the dead coming back to life. Sing Wei-a notices a corpse has opened its eyes, so he closes them and puts one of the scrolls with red letters on the corpse’s face. Bad luck strikes again as the wind blows it off and soon we got a hopping corpse!
The hopping corpse chases Sing Wei-a into the forest. He runs into a house where four women are gambling. They are flirty, which of course means they are evil ghosts who will devour his soul. Sing Wei-a runs into another girl while exploring the house – her neck extends like one foot high all of a sudden! Holy Giraffe Lady, Batman! Sing Wei-a runs and tells the other four girls, who all do the neck thing as well, and soon they are all in white ghost makeup! Women…
Sing Wei-a panics and runs outside, the women chasing him. Sing Wei-a jumps into some water to hide, and we see the Golden Nun (in non-gold human form) floating around outside. I guess watching over him or something.
Later Sing Wei-a is seen going to a Taoist Priest who does some ritual. How did we get here? I guess that means he escaped. Thanks for explaining things, movie! Enough of Sing Wei-a and the Taoist, some girl in blue named Shiu Jiu-wa is giving shoes to a dark-skinned wife whose husband is Lor Tok from James Band 007. Lok Tor puts the lust moves on Shiu Jiu-wa so fast and furious his wife smashes a bottle over his head.
After chatting with the Taoist Priest some more, Sing Wei-a goes on a boat ride, and the Golden Nun is there. A fat dude sees her and sings and makes fun of her, so Sing Wei-a retaliates by singing about how fat guy is fat. I guess that’s why he’s named Sing. One thing leads to another and soon Sing Wei-a is fighting with several dudes, all of which get knocked in the water secretly by Golden Nun using magic kung fu powers to push them from afar. Fat guy apologizes to Sing Wei-a once all his dudes are knocked overboard. Bullies are such cowards. Golden Nun thanks Sing Wei-a for defending her and chats a bit while ashore. But Sing Wei-a has somewhere to be, as it looks like he is married to Shiu Jiu-wa!
More singing. Exciting. Shiu Jiu-wa is so hot she apparently has old dudes hitting on her all the time, as a flashback to another guy hassling her at the shopping area attests. Lor Tok fantasizes that his wife is Shiu Jiu-wa, it works so well that he dies! Just because John Lennon died after writing Imagine doesn’t mean you are supposed to die when you do imagine…
The Other Pervy Guy who hassled Shiu Jiu-wa plots with his servant, and the servant brings a girl who the Other Pervy Guy either imagines is Shiu Jiu-wa or she morphs into Shiu Jiu-wa. In any event, he has sex with her and is dead in less than ten seconds. Some guys just can’t handle the pressure of performance. Have you suspected by now that something just isn’t right with Shiu Jiu-wa?
Sing Wei-a and 2 friends go to investigate the Golden Nun, and are taken to her. She’s dead, and is painted up gold and holding still like those Shaolin Monks who die and are covered with metal to be preserved. I saw it in kung fu films so it must be true. So she’s dead, and so is Shiu Jiu-wa. There is no living female character in this film except Lor Tok’s wife and Golden Nun’s mom. That’s interesting, if you are interested by stuff like that. Otherwise, I guess it isn’t interesting.
We see Shiu Jiu-wa and Sing Wei-a are in bed together, but she’s getting up while he is asleep. Shiu Jiu-wa wanders around outside and is instantly attacked by a demon! A demon with black skin, sharp teeth, white hair, goofy mask, and chases her while growling. The film just got awesome! She falls and the demon attacks, but she knocks off the mask and reveals it is just some dude! The film just got not awesome! Shiu Jiu-wa turns into her ghost self for a few seconds and he dies of fright.
Shiu Jiu-wa comes before the Golden Nun’s house and tries to call her out, but Golden Nun is stopped by her mom. Golden Nun’s spirit leaves her body to yell at Shiu Jiu-wa, and is transparent because she’s a ghost now. Then she sings for a bit for her mom, and by this point they stopped making her transparent. I guess singing and transparency is too much for the audience to handle.
Begin flashback to when she had hair. She was dating Sing Wei-a, but his family wanted him to marry Shiu Jiu-wa, who he threw away in disgust, but that injured her head. I guess that may be what killed her and made her a ghost. But yet they somehow had a wedding and whatnot with her being dead and reanimated. Isn’t that worthy of a flashback explaining how the heck that happened? I guess not. In any event, the assault on Shiu Jiu-wa made Golden Nun went off to join the Shaolin Monks and shaves her head. Sing Wei-a goes to visit the monks for some reason. After a whole scene with the Golden Monk he finally recognizes her and is happy. Sing Wei-a is one of those guys that if you change your hair, he thinks you are a different person. He takes her to bed, but they are caught by the head monk. She prays to Buddha who yells at her in statue form. Buddha yells as a statue, not her. End flashback.
Sing Wei-a wakes up and sees his bed is empty, he gets the Taoist Priest and they go investigate. They choose to investigate at the haunted castle that just happens to be in town. What is this, Scooby-doo all of a sudden? Where is the talking dog and the weed? I think the weed was what the writer was smoking.
Taoist Priest attempts to catch the ghost Shiu Jiu-wa with a net but it doesn’t work and all he gets is a scrap of clothing. Lame. Sing Wei-a goes home, runs into Shiu Jiu-wa in the house. He finds one of her outfits and the missing piece they captured fits in. Now Shiu Jiu-wa is acting all spooky while making him dinner and having her hair move. And walking through walls. Huh. Why didn’t he notice her walking through walls earlier? How dense is Sing?
Shiu Jiu-wa goes all ghost girl on him, what with the white skin and crazy black hair and clothes. She chases him to an abandoned house. Sing Wei-a gets chased by more ghosts than Pac-Man. Golden Nun wakes up and leaves her body again, but now her mom won’t let her leave the room, the door shocks her when she tries.
The Taoist Priest fights Shiu Jiu-wa with a sword and a bell, he teleports around and so does Shiu Jiu-wa, but Taoist Priest gets tore up and stabbed with his own sword. He should have called Lam Ching-yam…
Golden Nun smashes out of room and heads to fight Shiu Jiu-wa. She transforms into gold form and fights! Yes! This is what I have been waiting 90 minutes for!
Shiu Jiu-wa calls some reinforcement, hopping ghosts, to deal with Golden Nun. Golden Nun gets beat up (boooo!!) and Shiu Jiu-wa tries to strangle Sing Wei-a. Golden Nun tells him to spit blood in Shiu Jiu-wa’s face, he does and this hurts her. Shiu Jiu-wa disintegrates, like all ghosts do when you spit blood on them. I guess, I don’t know. I don’t go spitting blood on ghosts, I usually just give them candy. They like Rolos.
Sing Wei-a also spits blood in the face of Golden Nun, who is also hurt because she is also a ghost. He did this because Taoist Priest wasn’t quite dead yet and told him to, then Taoist Priest dies and Golden Nun disintegrates. I guess this is a happy ending…NOT! Now Sing Wei-a is all alone, but I’m sure he’ll have a bunch of ghost girls fighting over him in a few minutes. Some guys have all the luck.
For the credits, we get a psychedelic color splash of Golden Nun flying around in the forest. Is this a visual representation of the writer and the drugs he was taking when he wrote this film about Golden Nun ghosts? I declare it so.
Rated 3/10 (Creepy Dolls, Killed the wife, the stunt guy isn’t bald…)
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