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The Black Panther Warriors


Jennifer Chan, Brigitte Lin and Carrie Ng in The Black Panther Warriors.
Year: 1993  
Director: Clarence Fok Yiu-Leung  
Producer: Rover Tang Kwong-Chow, Alan Tang Kwong-Wing
Cast: Alan Tang Kwong-Wing, Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Carrie Ng Ka-Lai, Dicky Cheung Wai-Kin, Jennifer Chan Ming-Chun (Chen Ming-Zhen), Elsie Chan Yik-Si, Yuen Wah, Melvin Wong Kam-Sum
The Skinny: Some great over-the-top HK-style action is the primary selling point for this otherwise bizarre and annoying action-comedy from director Clarence Fok.
Review
by Kozo:
     Once again Clarence Fok directs fantastic over-the-top action. The Black Panther Warriors is loaded with insane, bizarre action that channels a live-action Japanese animated film. Thanks to all sorts of unexplained martial arts techniques, comic book acrobatics, and hyper-speed brawling, this action-comedy has the tools necessary for an entertaining HK Cinema experience. Except for one little factor: everything else about this movie is interminable crap.
     Thick producer Alan Tang is Black Panther, an unexplained martial arts whiz who can flip, jump and kick ass with the best of them. Thanks to his incredibly athletic stunt doubles, Black Panther is a revered warrior and renowned thief who guards a special sword given to him by his deceased master. He's hired by Melvin Wong to break into police headquarters and steal a special silver box, which has contents as yet unexplained.
     Black Panther brings together a band of misfits to help him with the job. Simon Yam is a card-throwing gambling whiz and Tony Leung Ka-Fai is a City Hunter-like marksman with insane gun skills. Carrie Ng and Jennifer Chen are the femme fatales, and Dicky Cheung shows up as one of the most annoying HK Cinema characters EVER. He's a computer genius who must suck on a pacifier at all times or he becomes a dribbling idiot. He also knows strange martial arts that make him nigh-invincible, but only if the pacifier is inserted in his mouth. No pacifer = dribbling idiot. Pacifer = invincible computer whiz. Yeah, it all makes sense.
     Rounding out the motley crew is Brigitte Lin as Ching Ching, who walks away with the film's best role. That's because not all her stunt doubles are obvious, and her character is too regal to engage in the tired shenanigans that constitute the film's "comedy". Our heroes do things like cross-dress, attempt sexual assault, and generally act like complete idiots. Presumably, laughter was the desired result. When Simon Yam rips open his shirt and asks Dicky Cheung to suck his nipple as a substitute for the pacifier, we're supposed to hee-haw like a bunch of donkeys. Maybe it's possible to laugh in a crowded movie theater, but consumption of mass quantities of alcohol is probably necessary to get the desired result at home.
     Not that we should be surprised by any of this. Clarence Fok has never been one to care for his scripts. Instead, he uses colorful comic-book art direction, nifty cinematography, and his trademark action to offset any gripes we might have. The trade-off works in the film's second half when bad guy Bloody Wolf (Yuen Wah) makes his presence known. A good portion of the final half-hour is spent as armies of black clad nameless baddies siege the mansion where our heroes are staying. They all get slaughtered in a battle royale of wild-and-wacky martial arts that gets high marks from the judges.
     Beyond that you're on your own. By the time the plot makes itself known you may be too tired to even care anymore - not that it makes much sense anyway. And it's a shame that the plot turns out to be distracting and annoying instead of unobtrustive. At the very least, The Black Panther Warriors makes great background chatter. And, the movie's probably worth checking out just to see Brigitte Lin in a humongous red hat. (Kozo 2002)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mega Star/Media Asia
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
 

image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution Ltd.

   
   
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