Today I watched Chih-Hung Kuei’s The Boxer’s Omen (1983)
This film opens on a boxing match between a Thai boxer and a boxer from Hong-Kong which ends in a questionable finish. The Thai boxer’s eye was apparently damaged enough for the ref to call for the finish, but in a fit of rage, the Thai boxer attacks his Hong Kong counterpart from behind, crippling him. Now it is up to the Hong-Kong boxer’s brother to avenge him, but first a ghost leads him to a temple in Thailand so a priest there can tell him a story about another priest battling an evil wizard. The priest of that story was defeated, killed(?), and cursed and now needs our hero to break said curse. So he abandons earthly matters, becomes a monk, walks the path of enlightenment, and fights evil. All this before heading back to Hong-Kong to box his brother’s Thai Nemisis before battling even more evil.
The Boxer’s Omen has quite the confusing narrative, mostly due to it’s breakneck speed of delivery and focus on effects. That being said, this is one of the most wild and over the top movies I have ever seen, it’s totally insane. The story is some kind of Buddhist parable about the path to enlightenment, I think, maybe, but this is totally lost in the madness. There is just so much going on in the visuals and special effects of this movie that everything else is pushed by the wayside. In some respects the film is also a horror as many of the aforementioned effects are rather gross and disconcerting.
Despite it’s silliness, this film still does manage to also be a bit disturbing from time to time. This is largely thanks to the outlandish and disconcerting imagery, as cheap as the effects may be, the sheer imagination has an impact all it’s own. Because of that I actually really dig this film’s presentation of black magic as it is more dangerous here than in most films. For one thing it is totally gross, which reflects the self serving sacrifice such diabolical people must go through. On top of that it’s just dangerous in a way few films manage to make magic, it’s insane and brutal in a way that is immediately off-putting.
People need to see this movie, it is such a wild experience. I have seen many, many crazy, insane, and surreal films, but nothing could have prepared me for this roller-coaster of in your face oddity. So now I think that this is some must see cinema is you are like me and have an addiction to the strange and eclectic. Even if you don’t though, you should still see this film, it’s an experience unlike anything else out there. It’s a one of a kind marvel of utter insanity. 5/5