Posts tagged "Peng Kong"

Miraculous Flower (Review)

Miraculous Flower

aka Phoenix The Ninja aka 蓋世奇花 aka Wolf Devil Woman 3 aka Gai shi ji hua

1981
Script by Godfrey Ho Jeung-Keung
Story by Pearl Cheung Ling
Directed by Fong Ho


It’s Pearl Cheung Ling Time! Another classic Pearl Cheung Ling martial arts cinema masterpiece gets its due. Miraculous Flower (possibly better known as Phoenix The Ninja, as that’s the name I knew it as for years!) is a great piece of cinema that stands on the edge of Pearl-insanity and classic wuxia revenge. Filled with kooky characters, varied and elaborate environments, and plenty of gory action, Miraculous Flower pulls out all the stops and succeeds in being entertaining and fun.

This is her first film where Pearl is actively involved in the narrative construction beyond just a producer role. And while she did come up with the story, it’s obvious that they needed to follow a more traditional kung fu revenge narrative. While it still walks the edge of the volcano, there are moments where things go a bit wild. It is probably safe to say some of the smaller quirks are also Pearl’s doing, and things were added to tailor to her interests. When Pearl is dressed in the all black revenge costume and swooping around like an angel of death, that’s pretty much pure Pearl Cheung Ling. Her transformation sequence in Matching Escort involves her donning a full white costume, while in Wolf Devil Woman the entire character changes constantly through the film. Dark Lady of Kung Fu deals with this by having Pearl’s character having two separate identities. By the time of her final film General Invincible, the Pearl character is torn between two worlds and duty and honor from those worlds, and the consequences thereof.

For more Pearl Cheung Ling background, be sure to check out the Infernal Brains Podcasts on her (Part 1 is here, Part 2 is upcoming!) and check out the other Pearl reviews up – Matching Escort and Dark Lady of Kung Fu.

As we noted before, Matching Escort was retitled during a released as Wolf Devil Woman 2, and Miraculous Flower was retitled Wolf Devil Woman 3, despite being made before either of the other two films! I have two versions of Miraculous Flower, the Hong Kong release that features all the gore but is missing some scenes in the beginning featuring the Happy Fairy, and the international IFD retitle Phoenix the Ninja that has the gore trimmed but doesn’t feature any full cut scenes. I do not know why the early scenes were cut, maybe to make room on a vcd or something? Both versions feature different credit sequences. A good breakdown of the two versions can be found here.

Ao-shuang Leng (Pearl Cheung Ling) – Just your average woman whose mother died and sends her on a quest that turns out to be far bigger than she imagined. She’s totally not the last of the May family hidden away so well even she doesn’t know it! And that certainly wouldn’t send her out seeking revenge!
Lord No-dust (Tsung Hua) – Lord No-dust hates dirt! Yet somehow he decided to wear white outfits all of the time in a land filled with women named Ao-shuang who constantly get him dirty. Okay, only one woman named Ao-shuang does that, but as she’s the main character and his lover interest, it’s a pretty important Ao-shuang. Lord No-dust secretly learned martial arts after his father forbid it.
Sheue Huai-jen (Wang Hsieh) – Lord No-dust’s father and the head of Snow Shadow in Plume Woods. He was involved in martial arts intrigue long ago and faces continual fallout, including lots of people who want to see him dead. ANd he may have been involved in Ao-shaung’s family’s murder.
Happy Fairy (Gua Ah-Leh) – Sometimes called My Lady, Happy Fairy is a martial arts master who motivates Ao-shuang to continue her quests and teaches her skills she needs to defeat the bad guys who killed her family.
The Monk Syma Chin-cherng (???) – A simple regretful monk is more than he seems, as not only is he Ao-shuang’s father’s brother, but he totally is behind the whole slaughter of her family thing!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 18, 2012 at 1:09 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Matching Escort/Fury of the Silver Fox (Review)

Matching Escort

aka Fury of the Silver Fox aka 金粉遊龍 aka Wolf Devil Woman 2

1982
Written by Pearl Cheung Ling and Peng Wei-Wei
Directed by Si Ma-Peng
Planning Director Pearl Cheung Ling

Dances with Wolf Devil Women

If you are a fan of wolrd cult cinema, especial cult fantasy martial arts flicks, and are not familiar with the directorial works of Pearl Cheung Ling (aka Chang Ling), then you need to get educated! Luckily, TarsTarkas.NET is there for you! Not only are we working through Pearl’s films that she had her hand in creating, but there are also Infernal Brains podcasts featuring awesome background information about Pearl Cheung Ling and further discussion of her work (featuring fabulous Guest Brain duriandave of SoftFilm!) But if you don’t like hearing people talk, don’t worry, there are plenty of text reviews going around! Beyond the previously covered Dark Lady of Kung Fu, the other major Pearl films are each getting their well-deserved reviews on TarsTarkas.NET.

We’re putting half the budget into things that go in my hair!

Matching Escort is considered the second of Pearl Cheung Ling’s auteur films. Pearl Cheung Ling is best known in the west for Wolf Devil Woman, and to capitalize on that fact, one of the many release retitles of Matching Escort was Wolf Devil Woman 2, despite this film being made first! (Even worse, the film Miraculous Flower was made before both films yet also released as Wolf Devil Woman 3!) The hallmarks of Pearl’s style are all present, and she has more creative control for weird side plots that start to blur the traditional wuxia narrative, though it is still more cohesive of a film than Wolf Devil Woman, Dark Lady of Kung Fu, or General Invincible. This is probably due more towards the credited director, Sima Peng (if he’s an actual person!) Pearl is credited at the planning director, but based on her other films she probably was calling most of the shots for Matching Escort.

My Basement, the Motion Picture

Besides Matching Escort and Wolf Devil Woman 2, another common retitle is Fury of the Silver Fox. This title makes about as much sense as the others, which is not much. The dubbing, however, is ridiculous, as all of the dub jobs on Pearl’s films are. And I can verify that there are missing song queues in the dubbed version. Most notably, the film’s theme song sung by Pearl is gone. They lyrics were written by Sun Yi, legendary songwriter of classics like The Moon Represents My Heart. Venus the Ninja and Venus the Ninja Wolf are also listed as reissue titles, both seeming to be cashing in on a craze (ninjas or the Wolf Devil Woman film.) I don’t think this was reissued as Wolfen Ninja, though, as I know that is a retitle of Wolf Devil Woman (but I could be wrong, because there is a dearth of information on the reissues!)

People selling magazine subscriptions are getting pretty aggressive!

Pearl themes featured here include this being a revenge film featuring her father being murdered (to be fair, that is a fairly common plot devise in martial arts cinema), random bursts of goofy comedy, scenes featuring beggars, scenes featuring crazy old man martial arts masters, Pearl spending some of her scenes wearing fur, a handsome prince with a comic relief sidekick, Pearl “transforming” into a martial arts master, Pearl donning solid color outfits when it’s time to get down to business and slaughter the bad guys, lots of blood and gore, scenes that look suspiciously inspired by recent Western cinema blockbusters, and overly dramatic scenes of Pearl either flying into places or riding with purpose. One thing this thankfully doesn’t have is animal deaths, a sadly too common Pearl theme. In fact, there is a monkey and a parrot who both have minor roles and aren’t killed!

When Little Boy Blue became a man

Sadly most versions of Matching Escort are dubbed versions, and I am not aware of a widescreen version at all. Like most of Pearl’s films, it has falled into a state of neglect and forgotten history. Thanks to the awful dubbing, many of the character names are just decriptions as the dubbing decided that giving major characters names was too big of a hassle.

This spa sucks

Chu (Pearl Cheung Ling) – Just a girl born into a martial arts world. Her father is killed along with the rest of her family and she’s forced to flee for her life, to seek revenge at a later date. This is the story of that revenge.
Prince Cao Tien (Mang Fei) – A wandering Prince on a mission agains Wan Ching’s martial gang. His true reason for undertaking the mission is not revealed until the end of the film. Often called Young Master by Peanut.
Peanut (???) – Cao Tien’s sidekick and loyal servant. And famed comic relief player. He’s not a woozle, thank goodness, because Jeff Dunham is awful awful awful.
Wan Ching (Peng Kong) – The man who ordered the killing of Pearl’s father while looking for the Jade Amulet of the Emperor, which he wanted to gain control of the army. I guess the army listens to anyone wearing a jade amulet. Maybe they should look into better army chain of command practices. Wan Ching has a magic power glove that he throws that rips off heads like flying guillotine, and a parrot that condemns people to death!
Shiny Guy (Chan Gwan-Biu) – The man who killed Pearl’s father thanks to his shiny ring blinding him during the swrodfight. Because he wears a jeweled ring, he has red streaked hair and another jewel embedded in his forehead. It’s the law. The law of giant jeweled rings.
Old Man (Sek Ying) – Pearl’s crippled master who lived in a hole for 20 years while making a potion to get revenge doesn’t get a name, though his evil twin brother gets a mouthful of a name – Tse Ma Bai Yuen. Teaches Pearl more martial arts techniques in exchange for her killing his brother.
Yu Mei (???) – The female member of evil gang, she uses her feminine charms to invite people to dinner where she poisons them. This never works for the entirity of the film, though it’s interesting to see a female suductress character not using seduction for murder during sex but during a nice sit down dinner.
Anyone for handball?

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm

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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

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,