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Kung Fu Vampire (a movie review)

First, the confession. I watched Kung Fu Vampire today – again. For the third time. Not that it’s that good, the simple reason behind it is …it’s quite forgettable and I couldn’t recall what it was about. So, yeah, to get you that knowledge, I’ve sat down and watch it again. Let’s have a look together

Starring Chun Yu Shan Shan as somewhat idiotic and not-really-funny male lead Yong and Wong So-Saan as his female partner Qin, we follow their travels (and troubles) as they follow in the trail of the “Zombie King” (great baldy baddie Ji Chun-Hua) and his cohorts transporting the dead corpses over the hills, among those a body of Qin’s dead father, killed by the aforementioned villain. And there’s a reason for it, besides the tradition’s requirements to bury the bodies in their native villages. See, the Zombie King is no stranger to smuggling gold and opium through the borders and he’s pursued by what I think are the custom officers (and Qin’s father, Cha, was one of those). So our couple get in the trouble with the Zombie King’s henchmen, get rescued by a villager, who falls in love with Qin, and in turn drags the village into the fight with the Zombie King (but as we can see later, our baddie had some problem – we don’t really know what has happened though – with the village boss), but in the end, qite a few people are dead, the Zombie King as well and our couple leaves the village to get back to school. Happy times.

And that’s the story. We are firmly in the hopping vampire folklore though, although here, for some reason, are called “zombies”. Not that it matters that much, majority of viewers won’t care about the difference (seriously, how many of you know anything about Chinese hopping vampires? See? Told you so).

Unfortunately, the movie is quite incoherent though, it’s like the director and script writers didn’t really know what kind of movie they want to make and that’s why it’s so forgettable. We have a traditional Chinese horror stuff (although, don’t expect anything scary or gory), kung fu movie (those parts are quite OK), romance, drama, little bit of folk dancing (which, strangely, I kinda liked)…it’s not bad movie, but its 92 minutes were a little bit dragging at times.

1993 Hong Kong movie 湘西屍王 a.k.a Kung Fu Vampire was directed by Youen Cheung-Yan, one of the members of the legendary Yuen clan (he is the son of a famous Simon Yuen and brother of Yuen Wo Ping, Yuen Shun Yi, Yuen Yat Choh, Yuen Chun Yueng and Yuen Lung Kui). And just the list of his involvement with the movie showbiz, either in the role of an actor, an action director or a director will fill your days with tens and tens of great (and not so great as well) kung fu movies. And you can be sure I’m gonna watch and review some of those for the Rubber Axe, so if you like this stuff…you know what to do.

Chun Yu Shan Shan (civil photo)

Our main male lead, Chun Yu Shan Shan, is known from the movies like Yellow River Fighter (luckily, I have seen this one years ago in the cinema, as it was one of the movies our commie government has allowed in cinemas, and it was pretty brutal, therefore had a rating of 18+ only – but I was nowhere that age, lol), Kung Fu Fighter (2007) and lately from Wolf Warrior 2 (2017) and S.W.A.T. (2019).

Wong So-Saan as Qin

On the other hand, for Wong So-Saan the role of Qin was her only acting role. Shame, she’s had the looks…

Ji Chun-Hua as the Zombie King

The baldy villain is more known, though. Ji Chun-Hua had a great acting career, starred in movies like Shaolin Temple (1982), Fist from Shaolin (1993), Kung-Fu Master (2010) and other, and, along with aforementioned Chun Yu Shan Shan, also in Yellow River Fighter (1988).

Majority of other actors here have no other acting role besides this movie (or a very few to mention), but unless one is skilled enough in the Chinese and Hong Kong martial arts cinema (which I am so not), one wouldn’t notice many.

And one more thing…I was looking for the DVD copy (or VCD copy) of the movie, but without any success, therefore all you can get is the digital copy (but in a good quality) from the internet (if you can find it, of course).

Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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