The Austin Chronicle

Holy Weapon

Directed by Wong Jing. Starring Michelle Yeoh, Damian Lau, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Maggie Cheung, Melvin Wong, Sandra Ng.

REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Sept. 1, 1995

An all-star cast shamelessly romps through this outrageous period swordplay fantasy, full of ridiculous comic set-pieces, bloody sword slashing, and high-flying wire stunts. This is the type of movie that appears to have been made up largely during shooting, resulting in a freewheeling “anything goes” attitude that lends both giddy spontaneity and bizarre shifts in mood to an already thin narrative. However, one should not view a film like Holy Weapon looking for elements like a believable story, rational characters, or structural unity; to do so is missing the entire point, which is to sit back, relax, switch off your brain, and have some fun... and there is plenty of fun to be had here. The plot begins with a superior Japanese swordsman, known only as Super Sword, massacring the great Chinese swordsmen of the martial arts world. He proceeds to challenge Heaven's Sword, a legendary Chinese martial artist, who accepts, taking the infamous “Greatest Drugs” to ensure his victory. It works, but the magical potion also drives him mentally insane, much to the dismay of his bride-to-be, Ching Sze. While she becomes a mercenary specializing in the killing of “heartless men,” Super Sword returns... vowing revenge. Now Ching must find a way to cure her husband and locate six other virgin women so they can learn the incredible “Virgin Sword Stance” in order to defeat the dastardly villain who can literally transform his body into a giant flying sword. Whew! While there is little actual kung fu on display, the wirework and special effects are pretty dandy, and the action set-pieces are highly imaginative. This is one loony movie, and the cast acts appropriately goofy, with Black Panther Warriors star Melvin Wong giving a performance of such jaw-dropping stupidity that it equals his similarly crazed work in the aforementioned picture. Martial arts queen Michelle Yeoh Chi-king and her Heroic Trio co-star Damian Lau play it fairly straight, a tactic that serves only to heighten the comedy, due to all the insanity surrounding them. Jackie Chan cohort Maggie Cheung Man-yuk is delightfully perky as a spoiled princess, while Sandra Ng Kwan-yu grates on your nerves as her lusty bodyguard. Wong Jing directs with his usual unevenness, but it is thankfully less obvious here, owing mainly to the episodic nature of the story. It's bewildering how a project this outlandish could attract such big names and solid production values, but the results are very entertaining and make you glad that movie moguls like Wong Jing are around and successful... so we can continue to enjoy weird and goofy flicks like this one.

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