Monday, February 01, 2016

Zombies Vs the Lucky Exorcist – review

Director: Jaguar Lim

Release date: 2015

Contains spoilers

Where to begin?

Despite taking a typically Hong Kong basis for the story this is a Malaysian film that was directed, produced, written by and starred (in multiple roles) Jaguar Lim.

The film is clearly a comedy but that doesn’t really help the viewer as the jokes become rapidly threadbare. The film does feature a profusion of monster types.

finding the grave
A guy and two girls visit a Taoist master (Jaguar Lim) concerned about their grandfather’s grave and the bad luck it is bringing. Lim (as I’ll refer to the Taoist master) has divined all this (or overheard their conversation) and they go out to where grandfather is buried. After some ritual they dig up the coffin (though the night has fallen by the time they finish digging). They open it and see that the grandfather’s corpse has not decayed.

Lim decides they should burn the corpse, but the coffin closes itself and so he decides to burn the coffin too. At this point the lid flies off and the kyonsi (referred to in the DVD subtitles as a zombie) rises. They run into an abandoned hut and Grandpa follows them and so (as they have seen it in Hong Kong movies) they try holding their breaths. This seems to work until Lim farts – a gag we have seen far too many times and sums up the humour level in this. We also realise later than bites do not turn in this, as the kyonsi bites Lim’s ass.

knocked back by garlic fart
Suddenly they are aware of a western vampire watching them – they give a genus name of a Dracula. The Dracula and the kyonsi fight – the Dracula wins and then turns on the mortals. It leaps at them as Lim gives out an almighty fart and knocks the Dracula out – he has been eating garlic snacks. This gag is accompanied with a cloud of gas and the level of the humour gets no better really. Lim accidentally stakes the Dracula with his wooden Taoist sword – he is, after all, the lucky exorcist.

suck the life right out of that man
He sends the others home as he looks for his compass, falls and knocks himself out. He awakens in the morning and is looking for a way out of the forest when he meets a girl who seems rather into him – but is in effect a ghost with a rotten face when her true form is revealed. His amour is interrupted (luckily) by a child kyonsi but she does at one point seem to suck his energy from him (making her a vampiric ghost and an energy vampire).

preparing for mystical battle
The child kyonsi belongs to a Taoist (Bobby Yip) who comes to rescue him. Apparently Lim’s ancestors were from China and all had red hair. One ancestor fought with a witch who cursed the line. A descendant (Hidy Yu) of the witch is now hunting Lim. Lim gets further help (after a Buddhist, Feng Shui master and someone who channels the Monkey King all abandon him) from a shaman called Osman (Kieran). The Taoist brings 3 child kyonsi to the fight, the shaman brings 3 Toyol. They fight the witch and (more with luck than anything else) win.

a Malaysian zombie
And we’re half way through the film, which just meanders on with Lim trying to find three kyonsi (perhaps the child ones grown) as we are subjected to plenty of fart, poo and pee gags. We also get a Malaysian zombie at one point and another Dracula and a child Dracula (essentially a kid in the same outfit). It’s a hodgepodge of ideas that never quiet gels into anything coherent. We do get a lot of histrionics and screaming.

a Dracula
What interested me most about the film was the further use of Dracula as a genus (and, given that child kyonsi are a thing in films the logical step to have a child Dracula too). However, the lack of a cohesive story made my interest wane very quickly. Jaguar Lim does have a charm about him but I think he probably needs to concentrate on one thing in the film, rather than be a one man band. The direction was pedestrian and the story weak to non-existent, so perhaps he needs to get scriptwriters and a good director and just be in front of the camera.

boarding the flying banana
The film can’t really get any more than 2.5 out of 10 and I suspect that the fact that the film actually has a flying banana in it (as well as the obvious sexual joke) has bolstered the score for the audacity of the scene. Incidentally, that scene features Lim plus a grandpa and grandma character both played by Lim as well. At the time of review I could find no IMDb page.

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