15:28 - 15th May 2013, by Calum Waddell

Zu, Warriors From the Magic Mountain

Directed by Tsui Hark and released to generally impressed audiences in 1982, this fantastic fistful of wire-fu fantasy features an all-star cast headlined by Yuen Biao, Adam Cheng, Sammo Hung and Brigitte Lin. Produced in the wake of the successful wuxia hit Spooky Encounters, this was Hark's attempt to make something with the same sort of sci-fi / sword and sorcery special effects as such American hits of the time as Star Wars. And just to make the connection apparent, there is even some light-sabre sword fights! However, make no mistake, this is still synonymously Chinese and all the more wonderful for it - with incredible locations, plenty of ancient atmosphere and misty malevolence, ghostly spells, demonic possession and the odd bout of swashbuckling silliness.

Biao plays a young warrior who aims to obtain a pair of swords to battle against an aggressive rival tribe. In doing so, he becomes caught up in an adventure against mystical forces, and meets a number of unusually appealing personalities (odds on favourite is an old man tied to a boulder). At the heart of all this is a good old fashioned battle between good and evil, and, even if nothing in Zu, Warriors from the Magic Mountain makes a lick of sense, Hark's childlike enthusiasm towards having fun with the genre keep things from ever being boring. With dated special effects, over-the-top acting and plenty of esotericism and insanity, it is hard not to enjoy Zu, Warriors from the Magic Mountain - and this re-release is decidedly essential.

Imagine Star Wars on a fraction of the budget and mix it up with some good old fashioned Chinese legends, and you have Zu, Warriors from the Magic Moutain. May the farce be with you.
SCORE: 4/5
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