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The Peacock King
cast: Yuen Biao, Gloria Yip, Pauline Wong, Hiroshi Mikami, and Gordon Liu

director: Ngai Kam-lam

86 minutes (15) 1988 widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Man has upset the balance of nature, and the arising of Ashura, hell's virgin, heralds the opening of the gates of hell. Two monks - one Chinese, one Japanese -set off to destroy Ashura and frustrate the plans of her father, the King of Hell. Lucky Fruit is poised and spiritual, Peacock is boastful and easily distracted, and neither really wants to work with the other. When it becomes obvious that Ashura is an innocent being manipulated by dark forces, and a pretty Japanese girl insists on accompanying them on their quest, things get really complicated. Will they be able to overcome their differences and band together to defeat the forces of darkness?

This contemporary action comedy may not make a lot of sense, but it's brimming over with imagination and inventive scenes. How could you not like a movie in which kung-fu masters take on demonically possessed life-size model dinosaurs, or animated demons live in discarded hamburger boxes? As if that wasn't enough, there's a complicated backstory regarding the two monks' destinies to unravel, some evil assassins, and twin love stories.

It's hard to know what to say about The Peacock King (aka: Kujaku ô). If you like this sort of thing, you'll love it, and if not, you'll find it confusing and silly. Personally, I thought it was great fun. It may not be the best movie ever - and if you're looking for action, there's rather more magic than martial arts - but for enjoyable light entertainment, what more could you possibly want?

DVD extras: star Yuen Biao talks extensively about the difference between the Hong Kong and Japanese martial arts features (and, judging from most of what he says, isn't planning to work in Japan anytime soon) in two interviews about two different films. There's also sample footage from various other releases, and two trailers.

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