Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Battle Wizard with Danny Lee

The Battle Wizard

Did Danny Lee only do ridiculous movies in the 1970's? I mean, I saw Inframan at the drive-in when I was kid and thought it was retarded fun; I was aware of The Mighty Peking Man, due to my love of King Kong and all of its various rip-offs, and that film turned out to be even more ridiculous than I could have imagined when I finally saw it (thanks to Tarantino's Rolling Thunder re-issue); and The Call Girls isn't exactly highbrow either.

Sure, he was in House of 72 Tenants, but who wasn't?

I'm having a little laugh at his expense because surely no actor has invested more energy in something as ridiculous as 1977's 72-minute (!) long, The Battle Wizard.

In a plot that would take longer than 72-minutes to summarize, Danny plays the bastard son of two members of two rival kung fu clans. His father has the power of the Yi Yang Finger which enables him to shoot energy blasts (that look suspiciously like Star Wars-style lasergun bursts) out of his fingers.

Those blasts severed the legs of a rival clan leader who now walks around on stilt-like metal legs with claws on the end of them. Oh, and he breathes fire too but that's later in the film!

Danny sets out to enter the martial arts world to see if he can survive without any skills. He meets up with the Mistress of Snakes (or something), played by Lin Chen Li, who, at one point, writes a message on a snake and sends it out to get help like Lassie! At other times, she tosses glowing snakes at people, with some snakes boring through the person's body like a drill.

[Someone needs to do an overview of all of the snake-related Shaw Brothers films from the 1970's and it ain't gonna be me.]

Danny also meets up with the sexy Tanny Tien Ni who goes by two different alias and who remains covered by a veil due to the fact that whoever sees her face will become a victim of her kung fu or her husband -- death or marriage, huh?

Tanny is familiar to me from semi-erotic Shaw films like Forbidden Tales of Two Cities, but she is also known as the real-life wife of Shaw action star Yueh Hua.

Tanny's character uses some kind of bone power kung fu: a hollowed out bone that shoots energy darts.

Did I mention that this film is only 72-minutes long?

Ridiculous but fast-moving, this non-anamorphic DVD looks decent. The language track is in Mandarin only and I thought that most Shaw films after 1972 were in Cantonese?

You can order The Battle Wizard on DVD here.