War God (Review)

War God

aka Calamity aka Guan Yu

Directed by Chen Hung Min

Dink dink, dink dink dink dink dink!

War God is a movie that was missing for a long long time. It sort of became a legend among the growing Asian film community on the internet as a lost kaiju film. Little was known about it except some posters and promo images, and the knowledge that it was broadcast on Taiwanese TV at some point recently, meaning a copy existed somewhere. But beyond that, it was unavailable. Then someone found a VHS and it leaked all over the internet, so here we are! Because FourDK and TarsTarkas.NET both cover many of the same paths of film watchership, we’re timing our reviews to drop on the same day. Why compete when you can turn it into something special? This way it is sort of an event. A War God Event. A Calamity, if you will. The real calamity is if you don’t read both of our reviews. You have a responsibility to yourself to read them both, don’t let yourself down again!

Naughty, naughty, naughty! You filthy old soomka!

The best way to describe War God to new viewers is to think of it as a long episode of Ultraman, except instead of the Science Patrol, War God is backed by the Religious Patrol. This is a film not afraid to tell you that when aliens come to Earth with superior technology, don’t try to research ways to defeat them with technology, call on the power of a guy deified. Between that message, the constant moaning and whining of Uncle Chao as he carves the Guan Yu idol, and the subsequent major plot point of painting on Guan Yu’s eyes, the parts of War God that don’t feature giant things beating the tar out of each other can get pretty annoying. Luckily, we have a LOT of scenes of giant things beating the tar out of each other. Finally, a lost film with giant monsters that doesn’t skimp on the giant monsters!

Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit?

Thanks to duriandave at softfilm for help in IDing some of the actors:

Chao Chun (Yu Ming Lun) – Head Scientist and head jerk! Okay, not so much a jerk as someone who is too busy with his work to spend time with his family, and thus contributing to the family growing apart. Chao Chun does some sort of nuclear research. Yu Ming Lun was in around 30 films and died on December 24th, 1978
Uncle Chao (???) – Patriarch of the family and a wood carver. Although he is going blind, he continues to carve an idol to Guan Yu due to a promise to his dead wife. Uncle Chao likes to ramble on about when he’s done Guan Yu will give the statue real ultimate power.
Li Yu (Tse Ling-Ling) – Chao Chun’s sister and Uncle Chao’s daughter. Is ignored by the family so Li Yu spends her days hanging around with biker gangs to try to get the attention she is missing at home. Eventually becomes an abduction target of the Martians. Tse Ling-Ling retired from film in 1979, but later returned to TV dramas in the 1980s. She was in Tiger and Crane Fist/The Savage Killers, which was turned into Kung Pow: Enter the Fist in 2002.
Chun Lan (Cindy Tang Hsin) – Chao Chun’s girlfriend and fellow scientist. Tries to keep him a bit in the real world instead of lost in the world of science. All anyone seems to know about Cindy Tang Hsin is that she was in around 20 films and then died at the age of 27.
Guan Yu (???) – Guan Yu is the god of War who grows really big and beats up some Martian jerks. Guan Yu was a real person, though has been fictionalized enough by the Romance of the Three Kingdoms stories that he is more myth than man. And he is deified by many Chinese religions, who borrow from both his real and fictional life and merge with their own belief systems into a hodgepodge of Guan Yu-ism. You will likely find a statue of Guan Yu in many Chinese homes, and he is especially worshiped by Triads.
Martians (???) – These Martians have come to Earth to beat up buildings and dissuade us from science. Masters of Mars, they get schooled on Earth in our ability to get giant people to beat up alien invaders.
This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.
No time for the old in-out, love, I’ve just come to read the meter.
Obama’s new campaign posters looked a little off…

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