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Posts tagged "Elsa Yeung Wai San"

Fight for Survival (Review)

Fight for Survival

aka 十大掌門闖少林 aka The Fight for Shaolin Tamo Mystique aka Shi da zhang men chuang Shao Lin aka Lady Wu Tang
Fight for Survival 十大掌門闖少林 The Fight for Shaolin Tamo Mystique
1977
Written and directed by Hou Cheng

Hold on to your hats with shock, as here is a Polly Shang Kuan film where things are weird! I know, right? Who would have thought! As usual, it’s a good weird, part of the kung fu comedy atmosphere of the late 1970s. Fight for Survival/Fight for Shaolin Tamo Mystique (the much cooler name I first learned of the film as!) is packed with a bunch of big named cameos, characters who developed odd body modifications thanks to whatever kung fu specialty they have, gender bending, cornball comedy, and terrible dubbing. If you enjoy characters with extending arms and legs, who employ weird headbutts and walk on their hands, or who are randomly painted up as animals and waiting in rooms at the Shaolin Temple, then you are in for a treat.
Fight for Survival 十大掌門闖少林 The Fight for Shaolin Tamo Mystique
The version I have is fullscreen and dubbed, which is a shame, as this film has a lot of neat choreography and costumes that requires a widescreen high-definition transfer to get the best effects. I guess I can expect that the same day the widescreen Monkey War shows up on remastered Blu-ray, aka NEVER! What a shame the wildest and craziest movies are also the most ignored when it comes to high quality.

In this film, Polly’s character Shih Pu Chuan sets out to recover 10 books stolen from the Shaolin Temple, each volume teaching one kung fu technique, and each technique has been mastered by the respective theif of that volume. But, if you only learn one of the kung fu skills, your body soon begins to modify itself based on that kung fu skill. Thus, the guy who learns to extend his arms has permanent long arms. The guy who stretched his legs looks like he’s walking around on stilts. The woman who stole the Positive Kung Fu book turns into a man, and the guy who stole the Negative Kung Fu book turns into a woman. The only way to not get physically screwed up is to learn all the skills so there is a balance. Even Shih Pu Chuan isn’t immune, her female character begins to turn into a man, and her sifu can’t remember how to do Negative Kung Fu. That leads him into discovering the Temple let the books get stolen and her subsequent quest. At one point it is declared that the villains can’t turn back to normal because they are evil, which might be saying that without balance, you are evil. Just remember, folks, every thing in moderation.
Fight for Survival 十大掌門闖少林 The Fight for Shaolin Tamo Mystique
Of course, that also leads to yet another film where Polly Shang Kuan plays a gender bending character. This time she’s officially playing someone who is both sexes, though her long term goal is to stay a female. The only real disadvantage of turning male is gaining a faint mustache and having lots of ladies falling in love with you. As the main lady is the woman who used to be the man who stole the Negative Kung Fu book, things become tragic irony.

The main tale of the training and quest only eats up about an hour of the running time, we then have extended scenes where the many cameos attack Shaolin Temple because their followers (some of the followers were involved in the theft and some weren’t) are arrested in public. Now Shih has to defend her home from all these new people, but thankfully she now has lots of skills with which to do so.
Fight for Survival 十大掌門闖少林 The Fight for Shaolin Tamo Mystique
The crazy specialties of the thieves gives us some awesome goofy kung fu, along with a whole host of guest stars who pop up when the thieves impersonate them in the beginning, and then return in the end when the real versions of the masters attack the temple. The cast is one of those ridiculously huge casts that makes me want to do a Roll Call 30 people long, and is filled with actors who aren’t identified very well. Luckily, I came to my senses, and it’s only 4 people long! We’re aren’t obsessively stupid at TarsTarkas.NET for nothing!

Like most of the Taiwanese kung fu comedies, the humor is a mix of slapstick and reaction shots. These aren’t films that are taken seriously by hardcore martial arts fans. Add to that the ridiculous dubbing and often awful fullscreen vhs presentation, and you can see why these flicks don’t get any respect. Which is a shame, because the ri-donk-ulousness is awesome! I’ll take a film that knows how to have fun over a dramafest that takes itself far too seriously any day!
Fight for Survival 十大掌門闖少林 The Fight for Shaolin Tamo Mystique

Shih Pu Chuan (Polly Shang Kuan) – Wants to become a student at Shaolin Temple despite the “no girls” rule, is tricked into performing the first step, then accepted as a student by an eccentric monk. Eventually initiated into the Temple and restores its honor by recovering lost sacred texts. And she beats people up! Almost becomes a man.
Uncle Lin Chiu (Chan Wai-Lau) – The 109th Abbot, who trains Shih Pu Chuan despite the fact that she’s a girl! He’s an old former abbot who lives under a waterfall and is generally bitter to everyone. Fakes his death to help Shih Pu Chuan recover the stolen Ta Mo Classics.
Ching Fang (???) – One of two apprentice monks who attempt to take advantage of Shih Pu Chuan and end up punished, while she becomes a kung fu heroine, and enlists them as servants. I do not know the name of the guy who plays him. Both this unknown actor and Che Chi-Sang appear with Polly Shang Kuan as her two goofy followers in both Zodiac Fighters and Little Hero. I can only theorize that this means all three of these films are part of the same series. The fact that Fight for Survival is the first of the three released and features the two meeting only supports my wild unsubstantiated claim.
Ming Yuen (Che Chi-Sang) – The other, goofier, fatter monk. Is Ching Fang’s partner in crime. Becomes a loyal servant to Chih Pu Chuan.

Fight for Survival 十大掌門闖少林 The Fight for Shaolin Tamo Mystique
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

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Thrilling Sword (Review)

Thrilling Sword

aka Shen jian dong shan he

1981
Directed by Cheung San-Yee
Written by Shing-Ming Huang


This film rules!

It is a Taiwanese take on Snow White, which needed giant monsters, guys turned into bears, demon worship, and crystal swords. Take that, Disney! The film is filled with fantastic elements, just when you think the film has exhausted its supply of weird wonderness, it shows that Thrilling Sword has barely scratched the surface. Parts of the film remind me of He-Man, to the point where I suddenly became interested in He-Man again after years of not being interested and now know all sorts of new stuff about He-Man.

Thrilling Sword is one of many awesome fantasy films that came out of the Taiwanese film industry. At the time, they were competing with the Shaw Brothers and their elaborate and expensive productions. No Taiwanese company could compete in making their films look just as good, but that didn’t stop them from trying or from going over the top with the fantasy aspects. And that makes the films that came out of Taiwan from the 1970s and 80s some of the weirdest and most fun films. It is a shame that so many of the films are hard to find or even lost. Many of the surviving films are only found on fullscreen VHS tapes that are running on thirty years old (luckily, most have been archived digitally, so even if the film never is released again it won’t disappear.) This particular rip is taken from a TV broadcast, which is supposed to be more widescreen than the fullscreen VHS releases of Thrilling Sword, but then I saw a VCD case while looking up cast info on the film, so there is at least VCD copies around, which means there might be a DVD somewhere, but who knows how good that copy is. But this is one film I would put extra time into hunting down an upgrade for.

Thrilling Sword has also been released under the titles Heaven Sword and Thrilling Bloody Sword. So now you know. Director Cheung San Yee also directed a few classics such as Lady Constables and Snaky Knight Fights Against Mantis. He also wrote Island Warriors and came up with the story for Challenge of the Lady Ninja.

Yaur-gi (Fong Fong-Fong) – It’s Snow White! The daughter of King Gau-shien who is sent down the river when she is born as a giant lump of flesh, returning 18 years later after being raised by seven dwarf generals. See more of Fong Fong-Fong in Island Warriors.
Prince Yur-juhn (Lau Seung-Him) – Yur-Juhn is a prince of the Yur Chin Kingdom/Yur Min Nation. The name changes as the film goes on, so don’t blame me. Maybe his country should choose a name and stick with it! Prince Yur-juhn falls in love with Yaur-gi and does lots of heroic stuff for the king before he is turned into a bear and has to go get crystal armor. Just your average Thursday night. Lau Seung-Him was Monkey in Monkey War and New Pilgrims to the West.
Gi-err (Elsa Yeung Wai-San) – Gi-err is from Wu Shien Kingdom is said to be a powerful exorcist. The King has her go and kill lots of demons. She also worships demons and is plotting to overthrow the king thanks to all the demons she is letting loose in the country. The King trusts her completely. Elsa Yeung has been seen on TarsTarkas.NET in Island Warriors and Challenge of the Lady Ninja.
Shiah-ker (Chang Yi) – Gi-err’s partner who also has magic powers and also worships a demon master, and he’s totally evil and even looks horribly evil and his name even sounds horribly evil. The King trusts him completely. I think the King would trust Hitler if he knew how to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
The Little Fairy of the Forest (Ha Ling-Ling) – She used to be a rabbit that Yaur-gi was nice to and then turned into a fairy to be a friend and ally. All fairy tales need fairies, which is a rule or something. I think you can go to jail. So be sure to follow that rule, okay?
Magic Master (???) – Magic Master was trapped in a box by Gi-err and Shaih-ker long ago, probably because he has a butt on his head. A butt on his head. And a nose ring. AND A BUTT ON HIS HEAD! Magic Master also has a sweet skull staff, but there is not butt on the skull. Magic Master is let loose by Prince Yur-juhn and heads off to fight the ones who trapped him.

The Dwarves!

Leader Dwarf (???) – Is the leader, and is also an archer. All of the dwarves are former generals who have been shrunk in size. All of the dwarves raise Yaur-gi when they find her in the river as an infant. Like most of the dwarves, I am not sure who played him. None of the dwarves are given names, so I named them based on their traits.
Vain (???) – He’s so vain, he probably thinks this Roll Call entry is about him.
Drunky (???) – Are these the Seven Dwarfs or the Seven Duffs? I guess Drunky parties hard to hide his crippling lack of self-esteem, his fast-living lifestyle heading towards a colision course with reality one day soon.
Sleepy (???) – He’s sleepy, thus his name. He’s also the only dwarf whose seems to correlate to one of the classic dwarves besides the Leader Dwarf.
Farty (Hui Bat-Liu) – Guess how Farty got his name! Yep, toilet humor isn’t just the realm of modern day PG-13 comedies. Hui Bat-Liu is in the greatest movie of all time, Fantasy Mission Force, as well as Island Warriors
Mohawk (???) – I know if I was a dwarf, I would have a mohawk. Because why not? Mohawk is not the brightest of bulbs, but does help sneak Princess Yaur-gi into the castle to meet Prince Yur-juhn again.
Screechy (???) – Screechy has a screechy voice, thus his name. Yep. Good times.
Raising the roof!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 14, 2009 at 1:43 am

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Challenge of the Lady Ninja (Review)

Challenge of the Lady Ninja

aka Nu ren zhe

1983
Directed by Lee Tso-Nam

The movie takes place in sort of a weird universe where it is World War 2 between Japan and China, but everyone wears 1970s fashion and there are 1970s Cadillacs. Due to the weirdness, I postulate that Challenge of the Lady Ninja takes place in the same alternate universe as Fantasy Mission Force. If you are familiar with both flicks, you will see that makes perfect sense, even if Challenge of the Lady Ninja doesn’t jump genres at the drop of a hat.

Thanks to crafty distributors, the film goes by several names. The version watched for this review is supposedly the uncut version dubbed into English on a widescreen VHS release. Whether there is a superior Chinese language version with subtitles I do not know. What I do know is this film is cool and has a chick kicking lots of butt, so it gains points from that alone!


Challenge of the Lady Ninja has been released under a bunch of names, see if you can find the name you saw it under!: Chinese Super Ninja 2, Never Kiss a Ninja, or Nu ren zhe.

Wong Siu Wai (Elsa Yeung Wai-San) – The last member of her band, only woman ninja – wu shao wai, ye hur band. At some points they call her Wu Shao Wei. See Elsa Yeung here also in Island Warriors and in several more films coming soon (or already here if you are reading this in the future!)
Lee Tong (Chen Kuan-Tai)- This traitor to China was fiancee to Wong Siu Wai. Don’t tell anyone the terrible secret of Lee Tong. Chen Kuan-Tai is still active in film today, and will be popping up again here soon.
Koloder (Peng Kong) – A jealous ninja who sees Wong Siu Wai as a threat because of her Chinese heritage. Becomes a bigwig in the Japanese war effort, which pits him against his ninja school rival once again. Peng Kong also was the action choreographer for Challenge of the Lady Ninja.
Chan Fung (Kam Yin-Fei) – Martial arts teacher, daughter of a famous master. The Japanese closed her gym, forcing her to do shows to earn money. Joins Wong siu Wai’s ninja school to fight the Japanese.
Li Fu Lang (???) – An angry girl, her father was murdered by Lee Tong and her home stolen, so she vowed revenge. She gets her chance by becoming a ninja under Wong Siu Wai. No one seems to know who played her.
Chan Yiu-Chen, aka Chi Chi (???) – Brothel Girl Miss Chan gets into the business by overhearing someone ask for girls who hate Lee Tong. Has master powers of seduction, to the point of ninja seduction. I have never seen anything like it in film. No one seems to know who played her.
Ron Yee (Yeung Hung) – One of the four bodyguards of Lee Tong. A Chi Kwan Do expert and weapons expert. Loves brothels, is rough in bed.
Ahn Lei (Yin Su-Li) – One of the four bodyguards of Lee Tong. A tae kwon do expert with no friends who is not adverse to do a little lady wrestling.
Yu Feng – (Sun Jung-Chi) – One of the four bodyguards of Lee Tong. A tribesman with no friends and strange weapons like spider webs and boomerang swords.
Yamamoto (Robert Tai Chi-Hsien) – One of the four bodyguards of Lee Tong. Has a goofy scorpion tattoo on his head. An expert with the Japanese sword and has a bad temper. Robert Tai is a prolific actor/director/action choreographer who worked on such genre classics as Shaolin vs. Ninja, Chinatown Kid, Devil Killer, and The Five Venoms. He is also responsible for Ninja: The Final Duel.
Skeletor (Himself) – Skeletor fights for the freedom of China from the evil Japanese. Even a heartless monster like Skeletor knows the Japanese are bad news, and he helps Wong Siu Wai at every opportunity. Which of the characters above is secretly Skeletor? Even I figured it out during his first appearance.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 3, 2009 at 12:43 am

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Island Warriors (Review)

Island Warriors

aka Yang yang jun

1981
Directed by Ulysses Au Yeung-Jun

An ancient kingdom of women fight for survival in the brutal sea, facing a rival male tribe as well as marauding pirates. Along the way they learn to love men and not be Amazons, but until then we have plenty of scenes of women fighting guys, which is the kind of thing I enjoy on my TV screen. There are things I don’t enjoy, namely castration, but as the film seems to think you have no ill effects besides turning gay it is less difficult to watch than films with blood spewing everywhere. Island Warriors is a Taiwanese production, most noticeable with the cast names in the beginning, and a few Taiwanese actors who pop up.

Most of the names are just guesses, thanks to the ambiguous credits and terrible sound quality from the VHS tape (Restored DVD for Island Warriors? Why bother when Into the Blue 2 and Bratz Babyz are taking their place on the shelves! EDIT – I guess now there is one!) The worst part of explaining movies like this with 18 or so main characters is setting up who is who. No matter how organized the beginning section is, half of the time I get confused and I’m the one who writes the review! The confusion is doubled when the credits fail to say who the actors play, and character names become guesses or nicknames given due to them never being named on camera. Oddly enough, it is also one of the best parts of explaining these films, as even if I am completely wrong it is the movie’s fault and not mine. Taiwanese films around this time are one of the worst offenders on having dozens of semi-famous people popping up in the film that I feel obligated to recognize, and mixed up with several different ways of translating Chinese names so you will see a familiar actor running around with a completely different name. So the Roll Call will be long, confusing, but the best we can get with what information we have. If you see something that looks like an error, or know more information, feel free to shoot me an email or drop by the message board. I had help through *Kung Fu Films* and the HKMDB

Queen Nadenwa (Elsa Yeung Wai San) – Queen of the island, and keeper of the tradition that men need to be purged. With the island under constant attack by pirates, no wonder. Queen Nandenwa rules with an iron fist, but isn’t unreasonable. Knows the island needs better defenses against the pirates. Elsa Yeung Wai San was in a bunch of kick-butt movies from Taiwan, including Fight for Survival, The Challenge of the Lady Ninja, Pink Force Commando and the semi-sequel Golden Queen’s Commando, Deadly Silver Angels, The Deadly Angels, and Golden Ninja Warrior. I mention those because I have copies of them and they will be showing up here, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Princess Jung Chi (Fong Fong-Fong) – The Queen’s Sister and easily swayed by handsome men from Men Island. She spends most of the film trying to hide Lu Tin Yi so he doesn’t get Bobbittized. Fong Fong-Fong was in Monkey War, but I don’t remember which part she played.
Princess Pan Hueng Chi(???) – Practices Virgin Kung Fu, a school not too common today. Is over 100 years old, then she dies due to loss of virginity. And you thought your first time was bad! She trains the troops on the island and generally beats up a lot of pirates.
Chen Chi (Ng Haau Ling) – Part of a lesbian couple with Su Chi. Chen Chi turned in the male lover of another girl named Yen Chi, causing him to be castrated and die. The two would later fight over it. Chen Chi is aggressively anti-male. She is probably cutting off someone’s wang right now. Her character name might instead be Ching Gei. Unbelievably, Ng Haau Ling may have made only one other film.
Fanny (Teresa Tsui Jun Jun) – Whip Girl who is among the most anti-male members of the island. Teresa Tsui Jun Jun was also in Pink Force Commando and the semi-sequel Golden Queen’s Commando
Su Chi (???) – Lesbian lover of Chen Chi, in the bath as Ping tries to seduce her. I have no idea who played her, it may be Yue Fung.
Unknown Prim girl (Mary Wong Ma Lee) – This unknown prim girl was present with most of the royal cast but never did or said much. She doesn’t even get a name said for me to misinterpret. Mary Wong Ma Lee shows up in Fantasy Mission Force as the leader of the Amazon Women.
Unknown Other girl (Hsia Kwan Li) – Another girl who never got a name, this one is a good fighter, but didn’t seem included in the big group of royal people. But with so many deaths by the end, maybe she got a promotion. Hsia Kwan Li was in Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain
General (An actual tiger) – A Tiger who is Queen Nadenwa’s bodyguard. He thinks islands of women are Gr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-reat!
Ping Da Hi (Hui Bat Liu) – The guy who supplied a treasure map to a lost treasure on Women Island, then convinced two of his friends to go with him. They are all captured, and Ping Da Hi has to lie through his teeth to keep everyone alive. It doesn’t keep his crotch alive, as he is castrated for being too much like a horny guy. Hui Bat Liu is best known in the US for playing Stone in Fantasy Mission Force, he is also in Pink Force Commando and Golden Queen’s Commando.
Ha Li (Pa Gwoh) – called Dr. Ha by Ping Da Hi in an effort to save everyone’s lives. Thus the women think he is a real doctor, and he has several “humorous” scenes doing doctor things and bumbling into the right answer. Pa Gwoh is also in Wolf Devil Woman.
Chan Ping (???) – Is a Cannon Maker, but only in told-to-the-women-so-they-wouldn’t-die form. So not a cannon maker, but has to make cannons. Is almost killed when a cannon explodes, but is saved by sex. I got no clue who played him.
Pirate Leader (???) – Leader of the pirates who raid the island for fun and profit, then sell bootleg DVDs of them raiding the island under the name Spiderman 4.
Big Pirate (Cheng Fu Hung) – A rather large pirate who is captured by the women, then leads a breakout in search of treasure. Cheng Fu Hung also shows up in Fight for Survival, The Zodiac Fighters, and Fantasy Mission Force.
Wan Tin Yu (Yun Zhong Yue) – Men Island Chief and a wise leader. Doesn’t want animosity with the women. Helps them against the pirates.
Lu Tin Yi (Don Wong Tao) – Friend of Lao who falls in love with Princess Jung Chi after he goes to Women Island to complain of their constant castration, putting himself next in the queue for castration. Princess Jung Chi saves him.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 15, 2009 at 8:03 pm

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