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Review: Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983) Shu Shan – Xin Shu shan jian ke (original title)

Director: Hark Tsui | 95 minutes | action, horror, adventure, fantasy | Actors: Biao Yuen, Hoi Mang, Adam Cheng, Moon Lee, Brigitte Lin, Damian Lau, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Judy Ongg, Norman Chu, Hark Tsui, Hark-On Fung, Kwan-Li Shen

In the 5th century, the area near the magical Mount Zu was ravaged by rival armies that were constantly fighting each other. The young soldier Ti Ming Chi also gets involved in such a fight with his army. The different soldiers each have their own colors, but otherwise there is hardly any difference between the fighting armies. Everyone just fights with everyone. If he has to flee for his life, he sees no other way out than to enter Mount Zu.

There he enters a wonderful world full of strange and bloodthirsty creatures. The Evil Force that reigns there can take many guises so that he cannot trust anything or anyone. Ti Ming Chi has the beautiful task of finding the two magical swords with which the resurrection can take place. If he succeeds, even the unbeatable blood devil will be robbed of his power. In his quest for the magical weapons that bring salvation, he receives help from various sides.

Oops, what a mess. In the beginning, the story is still quite easy to follow when Ti Ming Chi gets into a conversation with a soldier of one of the rival armies and they have to fight together against opponents. The fun jokes and the acrobatic fight scenes alternate at a rapid pace and the entertainment level is very high. But from the moment they enter the cave in Mount Zu and have many encounters with the strangest characters, often completely unclear what they have to do with the story, things go terribly wrong. There’s something about a Gate of Hell, disciples and teachers of the Evil Sect, and a man with eyebrows that he can do anything with. The excessive use of special effects certainly does not benefit the clarity.

Zu Warriors is a kung fu farce without a good plot, but with separate scenes that are fun. Due to an abundance of special effects, which in themselves are fine, the most resembles a psychedelic trip. Nice, but very confusing.

Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983) Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 112min | 1989 (USA) 6.6
Director: Hark TsuiWriter: Cheuk-Hon SzetoStars: Biao Yuen, Hoi Mang, Adam ChengSummary: A college student (Yuen Biao) at a university in Canada is a fencing champion and when he has an accident one day, he "dreams" of being transported to ancient China and enters a conflict on Zu, the Magic Mountain. At the end of the story, he regains consciousness (this is in the longer English international version). The first and shorter version is about a warrior (Yuen Biao) who has become disillusioned with the constant civil wars in China and goes to the Magic Mountain. There he encounters ghosts and devils, and also good masters and their disciples who are out to stop the Blood Monster and his demons from destroying the world. Written by Ørnås

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