Starring Yuen Biao, Hiroshi Mikami, Wong Siu-Fung, Narumi Yasuda, Gloria Yip, Eddy Ko, Gordon Liu and Philip Kwok, directed by Nam Nai-Choi for Golden Harvest.
Two young monks, Peacock (Biao) and Lucky Fruit (Mikami), must prevent the Hell King from destroying the world. Supernatural forces are able to enter the world via four holes to Hell, and the bulk of the tale concerns the hunt for these entrances. In fact, the film’s main weakness is that too much time is given over to whizzing to Japan, Hong Kong and Tibet, fracturing what chance there is of linear plot development.
However, the movie’s fun special effects more than compensate…
Early on we see small, many-eyed crawly thingies called ‘womanising ghosts’, which resemble more interesting versions of the stop-motion models crafted for the hologram chess game in STAR WARS.
These lil’ critters run around a sidewalk, chased by a dog.
Another animation model comes into play when Hell’s Envoy Raga, played by Wong Siu-Fung, gets injured. Raga arches her back, develops telescopic, insectoid forearms and claws, and then, best of all, causes her now reptilian, elongated face to split lengthwise into a gaping, vertical, toothy maw!
This very cool monster acrobatically leaps around the place as it battles the protagonists, with full-scale props and animatronics used in conjunction with the stop-motion puppet to bring this beast to the screen. This is definitely the standout sequence in the movie!
Other special effects moments include a dinosaur model coming to life at a prehistoric exhibition, a genie-type giant and a flaming phoenix of light.
Also known as Legend of the Phoenix, this modern day Hong Kong fantasy-action flick is flawed but great fun!
Okay then, one more look at the Hell’s Envoy Monster…