Sunday, August 31, 2008

Crazy Safari – review


Directed by: Billy Chan

Release date: 1991

Contains spoilers

Crazy Safari was the English release name of “The Gods Must be Crazy 3”, however – from our point of view – it was the only one that concerned itself with kyonsi. All three in the series starred N!xau an African Bushman and had, from what I can gather, more or less a culture shock element to them.

Lam Ching Ying as the Wise OneIn this case, however, it really did parody the Mr Vampire series, to the point that it co-starred Lam Ching Ying in the role of Taoist master the Wise One. He has been hired by the family of Sam (Sam Christopher Chow) to help transport back the ‘mummified’ remains of an ancestor that is being auctioned in London.

auctioning ancestorsThey win the auction by the Wise One reanimating the kyonsi in order that they can prove him to be an ancestor and then, after some confusion in a Halloween parade, they are on their way back to Hong Kong.

Unfortunately the plane they are in doesn’t have a working compass and gets lost in fog somewhere over Africa. Having bailed out all the heavy items – crates of coke, which was a tie in with the first film in the series – the pilot tries to bail out with one of the two parachutes – leaving instead with a backpack.

N!xau with the KyonsiThe kyonsi is sent down in one parachute and Wise One and Sam jump with the second parachute. Whilst the two men end up in a tree the kyonsi falls into a dispute between N!xau and some slave traders (I think) who have captured some of his tribes women. The kyonsi saves the day and N!xau quickly works out the use of the prayer scroll and bells (to lead the vampire).

African zombieThe kyonsi becomes somewhat of a village totem but Wise One and Sam want Sam’s ancestor back and the village has access to diamonds – something the bad guys want. The bad guys also have access to a witch doctor and, through him, a rather large zombie.

taoist on ostrichThis film is as mad as it sounds. Believe me it is likely the only film in which you are going to see a Taoist master riding an ostrich (with his companion paragliding behind it). The film is played for laughs – some of which work and some which do not – the wanting to go to the toilet gag wore somewhat thin for instance.

using fetish dollThere is not a huge amount of vampire action, despite the kyonsi being a central plot point. This kyonsi is unaffected by the sun and we get no more lore than prayer scrolls and bells to control it, as well as the use of fetish dolls to control the kyonsi also.

the spirit of Bruce LeeWhat we do get are two of the most unusual spirit possessions I can recall in a Hong Kong movie. The first involves Wise One ensuring Sam is possessed by the spirit of a recently killed baboon. The second involves invoking the spirit of Bruce Lee into N!xau, complete with Enter the Dragon outtakes!

KyonsiThis is, undoubtedly, one of the strangest Hong Kong vampire movies you are likely to see. It is fully competent in what it is doing but what it is doing only stretches so far. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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