The Eternal Evil of Asia
Director: Chan Mei-Kei
Action director: Dion Lam
Stars: Chan Kwok-Bong, Ellen Chan, Ben Ng, Elvis Tsui, Bobby Au, Lily Chung, Chin Gwan
A group of four pals head to Thailand for sightseeing, swimming and, of course, having sex with nasty prostitutes. Wandering into a brothel, they find the girls a bit too nasty (one of them screams that she has AIDS) and wisely bolt out the door. Unfortunately, they "forget" to pay the bill, so the bouncers begin to give chase. The group manages to lose the thugs, but end up in a wizard's (played by Ben Ng) shack. One of the group, Kong (played by Cat III mainstay Elvis Tsui), calls the wizard a "dickhead" and gets turned into one -- literally. But the wizard seems to be a good guy, and agrees to turn Kong back to normal if they stay and watch a duel with a pair of evil wizards. Ng is successful in the duel thanks to the intervention of Bon (Chan Kwok-Bong), and to thank them, he invites the guys over for dinner. During the meal, Ng's sister (Chin Gwan) becomes enamored with Bon, but it is unreciprocated, since Bon is engaged to the lovely May (Ellen Chan). Little sis convinces the wizard to concoct a "love hex", but it backfires, and she ends up sleeping with Bon's friends instead. Upon waking up, Chin freaks out and winds up killing herself. Blaming the group of friends for his sister's death, the wizard sets out to Hong Kong to take his revenge.
Now that you've processed all of that, realize that that rambling plot synopsis doesn't even really begin to touch on how twisted, depraved and, yes, funny Eternal Evil of Asia is. With the first five minutes, the viewer is treated to a man going nuts and chopping up several people, and then hurling himself off a building and onto a pile of flourescent lights. Though things slow down a bit after that, once the story proper (via a flashback) begins, Eternal Evil of Asia delivers a jackhammer of sex and gore onto your retina.
For those of you who might be in doubt just how far Eternal Evil of Asia goes, some choice bits include: a man getting possessed by a "hunger ghost" and gnawing off his own arm, Elvis getting turned into a human pin cushion, and Ellen Chan's final face-off with the wizard, where aided by friendly witch Lily Chung, she uses her feminine wiles in one of the more, shall we say, inventive sex scenes ever put to celluoid. I guess only a Hong Kong Cat III movie could offer up such steaming piles of gratiutity and still manage to be treated seriously. But in a bit of irony, it is the movie's comic undertones which really cement it together. Much like Evil Dead 2, Eternal Evil of Asia pauses long enough to let you laugh, and then sticks another disgusting or shocking image in your craw.
The movie's cinematic techniques also work to its' advantage. The cinematography is very well-done, using everything from an Evil Dead-style "spirit cam" (the movie also borrows a design from the dagger from ED1) to MTV-style editing -- all without going overboard. Eternal Evil of Asia's score -- consisting mostly of heavy guitars -- adds to the experience as well. It's kind of spooky and over-the-top, just like the movie. Finally, props must be given to the actors involved. They must have looked at the script and gone "what the hell?", but they manage to pull out some good performances. Special kudos are given to Elvis Tsui, whose role ranges from comic relief early on to pure evil later, and Ellen Chan, who manages to make having sex with an invisible ghost look erotic. It's solid performances like these that elevate Eternal Evil of Asia above other "cheesy" movies like Scream. When an actor lets you know that they're in on the joke, it ruins the effect for the audience. Even though the performances are done tongue-in-cheek, they never stick their tongue out. The actors obviously took their roles seriously, and that makes the movie more credible as a whole, which really helps, because there are some truly incredible things happening here.
True, Eternal Evil of Asia is sleazy, but it's done -- dare I say it? -- almost tastefully well. The movie knows just when to go overboard and when to reign things in. It might jar you, but you won't feel like a sick pervert after watching, unlike some Cat III junk like Body Weapon. Eternal Evil of Asia is definitely worth seeking out if you're into exploitation movies, or just want something more than a bit different from the usual two-fisted Hong Kong action movie.
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