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Kvs (1991)
The Tantana

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 05/21/2008

When you have a movie that has a villain that looks like he stepped off of King Diamond's tour bus, you can do either one of two things: A) dismiss the film as low-budget trash, or B) acknowledge that the picture is low-budget trash and have fun with it. This particular reviewer took the latter approach, and The Tantana ended up providing a fairly good time.

The Tantana's plot tells the story of Against-Nature Boy (the aforementioned heavy metal reject, played by Ken Lo) who is some sort of deity obsessed with taking over heaven. The nice gods' only hope is Sharp-Witted Buddha, but they don't know exactly who that is. Most signs point to Hoi (Mang Hoi), who is being trained by Wu Ma. The top Buddhist monk, Lam Ching-Ying, heads off to find Hoi. But along the way, he stumbles upon a powerful fighter, Dragon (Chin Kar-Lok), who might be the true Sharp-Witted Buddha.

So, yeah, as you might expect from a movie with characters named Against-Nature Boy, the story is pretty much rubbish, and it's made even more incomprehensible via the craptacular subtitles. And the acting isn't anything to write home about. It's pretty obvious most of the stars involved were just in this production to cash a quick paycheck, and that must still have been pretty small, because this movie looks like it was made from the day's proceeds of hobo-esque scrap metal recycling.

But for all that is wrong with it, The Tantana does still manage to provide some entertainment. It's not a "good" movie in any way, but it moves along at a nice clip, has some decent action scenes, and probably most importantly, there's no pretentiousness. The film-makers seemed to have not taken matters too seriously, and neither should you. Just crack open a couple of frosty adult beverages, turn off your brain, and pop in this movie -- you just might end up pleasantly surprised.

[review from]

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: ElectraWoman
Date: 10/28/2000
Summary: 4/10-Nice beginning, then dies

First thing-documentary on Buddhism? I think that's an exaggeration.

Anyways, about the movie. Lam Ching-Ying is sent down from Tibet to find the new reincarnation of someone important before some powerful baddies destroy the monastary. He decides to find Wu Ma, his "brother" (not literally, but you get the idea), a renegade monk with a disciple, Mang Hoi, who is rumoured to be the one Lam should be looking for. Along the way LCY bumps into Chin Gar-Lok, who insists LCY to take him in as a disciple. Sammo Hung is the master trainer given the task to train the reincarnated person.

I found the beginning pretty interesting. The fights aren't THAT cheesy! Also, LCY and Wu Ma, the two great ghostbusters, fighting together and doing twin movements-that's a sight to behold :) However, once both are out of the picture, the film rapidly runs downhill. By the end I couldn't care less whether Chin Gar-Lok and Mang Hoi managed to beat the baddies.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The opening few minutes are passable, with a cheesy magic battleand a documentary-style primer of Chinese esoteric Buddhism (badly obfuscated by the English subtitles). The subsequent 90 minutes is bereft of excitement, originality, personality, or any other entertainment value.

[Reviewed by Iain Sinclair]