It starts Yuen Biao, Ronald Cheng, Philip Ng, and Jiang Luxia. Who now goes by the English name Kitty. I know that because I know her. I know her because I met her when I filmed a scene in this movie.
So let’s talk about objectivity.
First, no one is really objective. It doesn’t work that way. I have a PhD in communications, and I’ll argue this with you all you like. Everyone is subjective.
But let’s look at this movie objectively:
Wong Jing comedy. About vampires. With Yuen Biao. Jiang Luxia and Philip Ng doing action scenes.
Philip Keung Ho Man as a Taoist priest in yellow robes.
And all the related yellow paper, magic, and fun.
Tony Ho and Winnie Leung as a married couple with some serious sexual challenges. Topical local humor. Universally understood dirty jokes. Universally understood cleavage.
An actress who had me asking the question.
And a clumsy white guy who’s there for no good reason.
Other than the director’s largesse.
Objectively, that’s a lot to like.
Except the gweilo. F@#$ him.
I love Wong Jing movies. And I love geung si movies. So I couldn’t be objective anyway.
And if someone does want to f@#$ the gweilo… our lines are open. Offer limited to humans born with and still using vaginas.
In Sifu vs Vampire/天師鬥殭屍, a pair of hapless gangsters named Nicky and Boo, played by Ronald Cheng and Philip Ng, get drawn into a supernatural battle between good and evil. On one side is Charlie, a sifu played by Yuen Biao, and his assistant, played unsmilingly by Jiang Luxia.
She smiles less than my ex-wife. And that’s saying something.
She hits a lot harder too.
But Kitty apologizes afterwards. Good thing I’m not bitter, huh?
Jiang Luxia is dubbed in the movie, which is a little strange at first, but she doesn’t talk much anyway.
Unlike my ex-wife. But never mind.
On the other side of the battle lines, Kelvin Chow (played by Kelvin Kwan, so we know the role was written for him) is experiencing a run of bad luck.
He runs a TV station called AKTV whose license was turned down by the government.
He wants his grandfather’s grave moved to a more auspicious place. But if the casket isn’t buried by sundown, things may go wrong.
Guess what happens?
I was really glad that the scene I’m in was very early in the movie. Because that way I could concentrate on the rest of the movie without waiting to see myself.
That’s not a euphemism.
Sifu vs Vampire/天師鬥殭屍 isn’t a serious vampire film. But it had its serious moments. Like many Hong Kong films, it veers between romance, horror, low-brow comedy and action so fast that you run a risk of narrative whiplash.
But it’s an awfully fun ride.
Like Flirting in the Air, Sifu vs Vampire/天師鬥殭屍 has as much chance of playing in China as I do of playing in the WPGA. As a consequence, it frees up the movie to make jokes so explicit I wondered how and why this isn’t Category III. There’s also slapstick humor and some really great insults thrown around.
There are romantic subplots too, and while most of them are played for laughs, there are at two scenes that actually managed to be almost touching. One, a really sweet romantic moment at the end of the movie, in true Wong Jing fashion takes a very un-romantic (but funny) turn.
The use of CGI in the movie makes for a lot of interesting moments. It’s nice to see the geung si genre get an FX update; the effects used here are really nice to look at and they still maintain the tradition.
The cinematography of the movie is the same way. It’s a very modern looking, polished film, but the use of garish colors and dramatic lighting evoke the classic vampire movies of yesteryear.
So does the action. Philip Ng and Kitty Jiang get a few chances to show what they’re capable of in terms of martial arts, and while these scenes aren’t as drawn out as I might like, you can still see their physical capability. It’s hard to explain except to say that their movements are fast, confident, and precise.
It’s very entertaining to watch people do something well.
So what are you doing here?
And just when you think the movie can’t get any more fun, you get to play the official Silver Spleen game Where is Jane Wong?