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Kung Fu Wonder Child
cast: Lin Hsiao Lan, Jack Long, and Yukari Oshima

director: Lee Tso Nam

90 minutes (15) 1989 widescreen ratio 16:9
Dragon DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
An evil sorcerer obtains a magical skull and traps the spirit of its guardian, hoping to steal his power. Meanwhile, at a nearby kung fu school and temple, the kitchen boy has been hiding his almost magical powers on the advice of his elderly grandfather, who also may not be the simple servant he appears. When the boy and his two friends, the worst students in the school, realise that the sorcerer is hiding somewhere within the temple, they join forces with the missing man's granddaughter to overcome this evil...

If nothing else, you have to admire the sheer ambition of this martial arts fantasy. Any film that includes fart jokes, rocket launchers, zombies, vampires, laser beams and even a 2-D animated dragon certainly doesn't want for imagination. As the list suggests, it's a chaotic and often confusing story, throwing in anything that might get a laugh or grab the attention for a moment, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. With a large cast of heroes and villains, many of whom seem vitally important for one scene and are then never seen again, the characters tend to be stereotypes, but there's always plenty going on to take your mind off the clunky dialogue and convenient exposition.

However, a lot of the jokes are pretty poor, and the slapstick seems better suited to kids than adults. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon it's not: but if you like madcap fantasy with plenty of action, it's an enjoyable 90 minutes entertainment.

DVD extras: image gallery, some web links, the original trailer, and a trailer reel.

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