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Posts tagged "Taiwanese kaiju"

Joint Podcast – TarsTarkas.NET and 4DK discuss Taiwanese Giant Monster Films – Part 1

Yes, now you can listen to TarsTarkas.NET while you workout at the gym or play us in the background while you hose off the women you keep in the pit in your basement. TarsTarkas.NET doesn’t judge, and certainly isn’t calling the cops, we’re just ordering a pizza. Yeah, that’s it!

Join Tars from TarsTarkas.NET and Todd from Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! as they discuss giant monster movies out of Taiwan, a mysterious subgenre stooped in obscurity and discovery. In fact, much of the information is based on speculation and internet gossip! But it has giant monsters, so it is automatically awesome, even if the films are boring. And please ignore how we get Monster From the Sea and The Savior Monk mixed up!

Films discussed include:

Tsu Hong Wu
The Fairy and the Devil
Monster From The Sea
The Savior Monk
Sea Gods and Ghosts
The Silver Maid
Devil Fighter
And more!

You can download the mp3 here (right-click, save-as) or just play it with a handy dandy flash version that I threw together with a few images from the movies discussed:

Coming soon will be Part 2, where annoying Taiwanese children will fly around and slaughter every giant monster they can find.

Devil Fighter Stills

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 19, 2010 at 9:48 am

Categories: Movie Reviews, Podcasts   Tags: , , ,

Magic Sword of Watari (Review)

The Magic Sword of Watari

aka Watari and the 7 Monsters aka Golden Boy subdues Monsters

1970
Directed by Yang Moo-nwa

Mitsuteru Yokoyama created the manga Masked Ninja Akakage (Red Shadow) in 1966, which became a Toei tokustatsu series in 1967 that ran 52 episodes. The ninja Akakage and his sidekicks Aokage (played by child star Yoshinobu Kaneko) and Shirokage wander around feudal Japan fighting evil dudes, crazy wizards, and giant monsters. Several of the episodes were stitched together to make three flicks that were farmed out to various markets, titled Ninjascope: The Magic World of Ninjas, Watari the Conqueror, and Watari and the Fantastiks. The three films have recently been released on DVD. The show’s young boy star Yoshinobu Kaneko also starred in the film Watari Ninja Boy (Daininjutsu eiga Watari), which is why some of the Akakage films were renamed with Watari in the title.

Yoshinobu Kaneko then made two films in Taiwan in 1970 that were co-productions with Japan. According to Yoshinobu Kaneko’s own website, the two films were called Momotaro Young Dragon and Momotaro restrains the Seven Monsters. The second film is also known as Watari and the 7 Monsters, aka The Magic Sword of Watari, aka Golden Boy and the Seven Monsters, aka Golden Boy subdues Monsters. Which would be this very film!

Now, if this reuses some monster footage from the Akakage tv series, I have no idea. I have not seen any of these monsters in photos I saw of the Akakage series, but I haven’t watched all 52 episodes.

Peachboy! – The legend of Peachboy is a classic Japanese legend. It goes like this: Momotaro (aka Peachboy) is found inside a giant peach by a childless couple, and eventually Momotaro goes to an island to kill a bunch of demons. On the way, he makes friends with a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant. There are several films about this legend, along with a lot of cartoons and tv shows, many of which are wacky. However, The Magic Sword of Watari only follows parts of this story, and instead becomes just another Taiwanese film about a boy who flies around and kills a bunch of monsters.

We got white subs on white backgrounds most of the time! But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! Or even partial subtitles!

Peach (Yoshinobu Kaneko) – A boy from a giant peach who has super powers and flies around and is awesome and acts amazingly like the character from Watari that Yoshinobu Kaneko played, even down to having some of the same weapons. So they took him and shoved him into some of the Peach Boy/Momotaro mythos.
Lee Yu (???) – A Fox Spirit caught by Peach who joins him on his quest. Has the power to turn into pretty much anything. Is an orphan.
Pearl (???) – Farmer’s daughter, is to be sacrificed to the demon Frogger until Peach kicks it’s butt. Becomes Peach’s sister in name only as a result, thus spending the last half of the movie moping over Peach’s sick mom.
Frogger (???) – The frog demon guy that is either named devil or god or god-devil or whatever Subtitle Guy wanted to call him that sentence, so we’re just calling him Frogger because he’s a giant frog. Except when he’s a guy, or a guy riding a giant frog. Anyway, his career of demanding virgins comes to an end when he is killed.
Peach’s Dad/Old Guy (???) – Peach’s dad, found Peach in a giant peach in the river. His wife is sick and he spends most of the film looking after her.
Demon Master (???) – The head of the demons who guard the magic plant Peach is after. He looks like he’s inspired by the Japanese Tengu spirit masks.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 17, 2010 at 1:07 am

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

The Boy and a Magic Box (Review)

The Boy and a Magic Box

aka Shen Tong Bao He aka Boy With His Magic Box

1975
Directed by ????
The Boy and a Magic Box
Screw The Boy and screw his Magic Box, the only reason you should see this film is for all the freaking weird monsters that show up! We got dinosaurs, we got three-headed guys with swords, we got dinosaurs with beards, we got flying monkeys, and we got unofficial Japanese Kaiju cameos. Sure, most are defeated by some kid, but the monsters are the reason to watch because monsters rule and stupid kids drool. This is the THIRD Taiwanese film we have watched with giant monsters that has a kid running around like he is Kung Fu Superman (Flyer of Young Prodigal and Young Flying Hero are the two others) so I can only conclude this is a popular genre in Taiwan and there may be many more such films waiting to be uncovered. And many more annoying pseudo-Kennys. Oh, well. So let’s get to seeing these monsters!
The Boy and a Magic Box

The only evidence of the film seem to be a few entries on film databases, most of which is in Chinese. So what we have been able to find out is this is a 1975 Taiwanese production, and the two surviving prints (by prints I mean VHS tapes that have been dubbed to DVDR) have either subtitles in Korean or cropped off English subtitles that you can’t read. So, essentially, no subtitles. But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! I am guessing a widescreen remastered print is too much to ask for, especially since this is probably a children’s film. I hope some day 35 years from now a Chinese neo-blogger is reviewing Elmo’s Potty Time as if it is a serious film. Because, then, I win. TarsTarkas.NET victory!

The Boy and a Magic Box

Hey, no subtitles and a confusing script lead to confusing reviews. So just go with the names we made up for everyone, it will help you in the long run.

And this review got bumped up a bit to answer the challenge thrown down by Todd at Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill over Taiwanese kaiju films. Your move!
The Boy and a Magic Box

The Kid (Choi Foo-Gwai) – The Kid is the product of love, too bad for his parents who are torn apart by fate. And then royal guards try to kill him when he is saving his little brother, but he is rescued and trained in the martial arts, which come in handy when a batch of dinosaurs try to kill him. Everyone tries to kill him, but at least he has a magic box. Because otherwise, The Kid would be The Dead. Choi Foo-Gwai spends most of the film emoting with various pained faces of rage.
Wong Lau Yeh (Leung Sau-Geun) – The father of The Kid who can’t be with the mother Yeung, what with her being one of Monkey King’s brides. So he heads off to marry some other lady and then does nothing else.
Yeung (???) – Yeung is The Kid’s mother and the lover of Wong Lau, except she’s been promised to Monkey King! So she gets thrown into Heaven’s jail. Bet you didn’t know Heaven had a jail!
Old Guy (Cheung Kwong-Chiu) – Old Guy is Yeung’s dad and let’s his daughter get with Wong Lau Yeh after misreading a book or something. That turns out to be a problem when she gets knocked up. One of the few actors I identified.
Monkey King (???) – Monkey King is the Monkey King of Journey To The West fame. Has magic Pregnancy Detection Eye Rays.
Triclops (???) – Possibly named Ar-lang, Triclops guards Heaven from invading punk kids and pregnant fiancees. His magic third eye gives him the name I gave him, inspired by He-Man.

The Boy and a Magic Box
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

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

Flyer of Young Prodigal (Review)

Flyer of Young Prodigal

aka Xin An Ping Zhui Xiang Qu

1978HKMDB Link
Directed by Yueh Chien-Feng

Another crazy Taiwanese fantasy film, complete with some random kaiju, dragons, people puking gas, sexy women seducing heroes, evil rapists dudes, a midget, guys who turns into lizards, and an annoying flying kid.

Annoying flying kids seems to be a common occurrence in Taiwanese films, which is a shame because they are annoying.

The film follows standard video game format of rescuing the princess (Mom) and fighting all sorts of various baddies on a mission, including several boss characters and gaining a few helper dudes along the way. And you get weapons upgrades. The video game connection is solidified by actual video game sound effects used in Flyer of Young Prodigal, even though this is years before video games were rescuing the princess.

Not much info on this one. Chang Yeong Yeong is listed as a star, but I don’t know who that is. Most of the other names I cannot read thanks to them being chopped off due to the fullscreen framing. So if anyone wants to send me a widescreen copy, go right ahead! We’ve reconstructed as much of the cast as we possibly can in the Roll Call.

Sheau-long (You Shean-Long/Yu Shein-Long) – This kid is annoying, but aren’t all kids in these films annoying? He isn’t super-annoying, but he’s still pretty darn annoying. And he’ll be crying all the time. Oh, and since his dad was murdered and his mother kidnapped, he has been trained by his Sifu and sets out to rescue his mom, slaying monsters all along the way. He is credited as “Genius Chird Actor” You Shean-Long. Don’t you know about the Chird? Everybody knows the Chird is the word!
Lien-hua (???) – Sheau-long’s mom, who manages to get kidnapped because her husband Yann-chang can’t defeat some simple demons who come to kill him and steal his wife. Lien-hua becomes a slave and I guess just sits around while Cha-tien Devil tries to get it on with a different woman who is never explained. I don’t know the villain’s motivation. Maybe he’s mad he didn’t get the complete set of The Great Muppet Caper collectible glasses and decided to take it out on the world.
Lui Yuan-long (Tsung Hua) – Good guy who can turn into a dragon and joins Sheau-long on his journey because he wants to get it on with his sister.
Sister (???) – The unnamed Sister of Sheau-long, who is another orphan raised by Sifu and trained in martial arts for eventual revenge on her parents’ killers, except she doesn’t get to have revenge in this film as she is too busy chasing after Sheau-long. This brat just cost us some female revenge movie time! That jerk…
Sifu (???) – Sifu who spends his days saving almost killed kids and training them for battle so they can plot revenge years later. He’s only done it twice, I guess it is a slow couple of decades for child murdering. That’s probably good for society, but bad for those of us who like revenge movies!
Cha-tien Devil (???) – The Evil Dude who is totally evil and kidnaps moms and has lots of demon guys working for him. How does he pay them? Does he have health insurance? What about matching contributions for the 401K? None of those important questions are answered.
Head Evil Woman (???) – The head evil woman who works for Cha-tien Devil. Despite the fact that her M.O. is to seduce and destroy her enemies, Cha-tien Devil is shocked and enraged by her seducing Lui Yuan-long. Thus, she gets killified.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 31, 2009 at 10:12 am

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

The Merciful Buddha (Review)

The Merciful Buddha

aka A mi de dao

1979
Directed by Tyrone Hsu Tien-Yung

Merciful Buddha is a Taiwanese fantasy film with a lot of crazy effects that aren’t like anything you have seen recently. Unless you are the kind of guy who watches a lot of these films. Crazy fantasy effects, fairy girls, immortal dudes, horses with human heads, giant monkeys, shape changing, earthquakes, and

This is a pretty confusing film with a bunch of wacky, crazy, goofy stuff going on. So the summary is filled with best guesses at times, but unless you are an expert in the film Merciful Buddha you will probably be just as confused as we are. Just my luck and some guy who wrote a doctoral thesis on Merciful Buddha will soon write complaining of the film’s representation on TarsTarkas.NET. Well, screw ’em!

This copy of the film is from a VHS tape (because there is no way this will be on remastered DVD because the world hates people like me.) It is also dubbed into Thai, but it has subtitles! Subtitles that are cut off because the movie is fullscreen while it was filmed in widescreen. And often the subtitles are white on white background so they are even more unreadable. But this is a common complaint, as regular readers and regular watchers of random foreign junk are well aware. Tyrone Hsu Tien-Yung directed several other Taiwanese fantasy films including Golden Nun and The Demons in the Flame Mountain, which I am namedropping because I have copies lying around somewhere.

Master Huang Wan Hsi (Chui Yuk-Sang) – The rich nice guy in town who everyone loves except for Master Wu. But Master Huang is too nice to notice. Father of Ah Mei, who is a Fairy Princess. The subtitles can’t keep how to spell his name straight and it also shows up as Hwang Wun Hsi and Hwang Yuan Wai.
Master Wu Ching (Wong Fei) – Master Wu Ching is the local town rich jerk. Think Mr. Potter. Mr. Burns. Grand Moff Tarkin. Scar. Captain Hook. Little Red Riding Hood. Okay…where was I? Master Wu’s servant is named Ah Ken and his son is Wu Ai. Wu Ai is raised by bandits who kill Master Wu in poetic karma stuff.
Ah Mei (Au-Yeung Ling-Lung) – the daughter of Master Huang who is actually Fairy Princess Hsueh Hua She was dropped off in town for a mission that is never specificed. She might also be Fairy O Mei, but who knows? And since she took over the daughter, Master Huang’s real daughter had to have been murdered. Just think about that! The movie sure didn’t.
Ah To (Kao Yuen) – The son of Master Wu, formally named Wu Ai, who is raised by two criminals who killed his parents, Master Fan and Master Yang Lio Feng. Ah To rejects his evil upbringing and goes good.
Stone Monkey God (a chimp and Man In Suit) – Stone Monkey God guy lived in a mountain and glowed his eyes and stuff until one day he ran off and caused trouble until he was trapped in a bottle and turned into a bear thief and then escaped and went back to live in a mountain. He 420s every day!
Lu Tung Ping (???) – A glowing god guy who is one of the Eight Immortals. He helps Ah Mei and Ah To while keeping Stone Monkey God in line.
Master Yang Lio Feng (Lung Tien-Hsiang) – A criminal who raises Ah To as his own son. Has piles and piles of gold he got thanks to using the Monkey God for theft.
Master Fan (Chin Lung) – Criminal accomplice to Master Yang and co-dad to Ah To. Is this a Taiwanese version of My Two Dads? If Paul Rudd shows up, I quit!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 6, 2009 at 12:17 am

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

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

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

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