Savior of the Soul 'ninety-Two
1992 Directed by David Lai, Corey Yuen. Starring Andy Lau, Rosamund Kwan, Kwan Suk-Yee.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Jan. 21, 1994
Not quite as incomprehensible as Lai and Yuen's original, this updated version/sequel/whatnot forsakes the gore and martial arts set pieces in favor of some of the dopiest mugging since Jackie Chan's City Hunter, while tossing liberal bits of dream mythology, a crackpot inventor and a youthful sidekick. In short, it's a strained, overlong mess. The producers seem to be going for that lucrative 8-15-year-old age bracket (Some people might remember what happened to Japan's Toho Studios when they attempted a similar move with their previously dynamic Godzilla series in the mid-Seventies. Ouch!), with extremely mixed results. The plot -- such as it is -- follows a young man (Lau) as he searches for both his “dream lover,” (a mysterious woman who only appears to him in his dreams) and the Ice Queen's “essence air,” a magical potion encased in ice that will allow him to live forever. Along for the ride are his 12-year-old companion and his uncle, the mad professor. The film jumps noisily between goofball slapstick (Lau trying to impress his mystery woman by carving a red Mazda sports car out of a block of snow, to no avail), and life and death melees (Lau and Co. battling the giant, pillowy Devil King and his motley-garbed minions for the life of the Ice Woman). Nothing seems to make any sense here, and some of the film's odder moments may have you picking your jaw up off the floor while trying to restrain yourself from howls of derisive laughter. There's an inherent level of silliness in most current Hong Kong productions that viewers have come to expect; the trouble is, this puppy is just plain dumb.