Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jackie Chan Adventures – Chi of the Vampire – review

Directors: Frank Squillace & Phil Weinstein

First aired: 2002

Contains spoilers

The Jackie Chan Adventures were a good fun animated series in which Jackie Chan (who appears live as himself but is voiced as an animated character by James Sei), his crotchety but wise Uncle (Sab Shimono) and his adventurous niece Jade (Stacie Chan) get into all sorts of scrapes. In season 2 a recurring hero character was Tohru (Noah Nelson), who had been a villainous henchman in season 1.

kyonsi in repose
This was a standalone episode in which Uncle took the characters to a spooky castle as he had purchased a set of antiques. He insists on appraising them whilst Jade tries to scare Jackie. Unfortunately one of the pieces is not a table but is actually a coffin that contains a kyonsi.

The kyonsi, in this, sucks chi from its victims, through its eyes, and Uncle has to do chi transplants to prevent its victims from becoming undead thralls of the master kyonsi. This also transplants a degree of the donor’s personality and thus there is a recurring joke of one character acting like another. The kyonsi is blind – as is traditional – and hunts breath.

prayer scroll
However, when it has stolen enough chi it does get its sight back, as well as a sunlight immunity, and it eventually turns Uncle. Jade (who has developed Uncle’s personality) is able to control Uncle by putting a prayer scroll on his forehead. Unfortunately they have to get the chi back before dawn or the stolen chi will permanently belong to the kyonsi.

Now I have mentioned the fact that this is an energy vampire and that would seem to be the traditional form of the kyonsi – it was really Western influence that added blood drinking into the kyonsi’s resume. The ever changing rules of the kyonsi, within Chinese cinema, is reflected in the method used to rescue the chi. They must take a toadstool from a graveyard, place it in the vampire’s left sock and then throw the sock into a river!

Great fun and nice to see the kyonsi enter the realm of cartoons. 6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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