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Kung Fu Vampire – review

Director: Cheung-Yan Yuen. Xiang xi shi wang is a film that centres itself on corpse herding and the term vampire and zombie seems interchangeable in the subtitles. In fact, the corpses are, mostly, well behaved through the film (bar one faux attack and being controlled in battle). It is the herders – or voodoo men as the subtitles call them – who are the misbehaving element in the film. As such we don’t get any real vampiric action in the film but the kyonsi are front and centre throughout the film. The film starts with a quick voiceover about corpse herding and the methods used (we see them floated on platters behind a pilotless boat, carried, hopping and flying). Then we see two herders bringing a line of hopping corpses along the road. They don’t notice a pair of cops grab a corpse and pull it into the bushes to search. However Zombie King (the leader of the herders) knows all about this and flies in (by the medium of magic cloak) to admonish the herders. A group of cops led by Cha try to arrest Zombie King and his herders – the charge being that they use the bodies for unspeakable acts. Despite greatly outnumbering the herders, the cops have their asses handed to them, Cha is grievously wounded and orders a retreat. We see a “couple” on a boat (along with a singing boatman) They are Qin and Yong. Yong acts as though Qin is his girlfriend (even saying so at times) and she acts as though she is oblivious of his feelings. They have come over from Japan as Qin’s father has died (it is Cha, we quickly discover), though ethnically neither are portrayed as Japanese – rather they are Han Chinese, as the film reiterates and I’ll return to ethnicity shortly. The boat trip is long enough to provide some misadventures – establishing Yong’s comedy status – and to let us know we are in Xiang Xi. When they get to the village we have some more misadventures around the morgue and Qin discovers that her... She decides to follow after but ends up fighting herders and being rescued by Dang (son of the local king). Yong thinks of the locals as primitive (and this seems more based on ethnic divides than simple country vs city issues). Qin is a doctor (it appears, though later it is established that she and Yong are student doctors) and she offers to save the Miao King’s grandson – however when the injection she gives seems to kill the lad. Source: Taliesin meets the vampires

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