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Attack of the Joyful Goddess

Reviewed by: venomsfan
Date: 09/08/2021
Summary: Exciting Opera Action

This film is an underrated gem. It features some of the Venom Mob's actors that are trained in Peking Opera. The film itself highlights some elements of opera performances and the various roles that you'd encounter in real life. I believe this movie is harder for some people to appreciate if they do not understand the core pieces that lead up to the action unfolding. It is centered around the Opera troupe and the story gradually begins to unfold through their performances until it leads up to what happens outside the stage. Everyone is caught in a web of betrayal, secrets, and the growing experience of the supernatural.

All the performances were brilliantly executed. Chiang Sheng's character is a male that happens to play female roles in the Opera performances, which is referred to as a nandan, and he brings a fun twist to the film with his flirtatious but dramatic personality. Lu Feng also delivers a strong and feisty performance because his character is one of the few involved in developing a malicious plot. He causes some interesting confrontations throughout the film. His character seems to specialize in playing the Jing on stage which is a male with a painted face which happens to have roles that are forceful in personality and this aligns with his character as a whole. Ricky Cheng Tien-Chi and Lee Chung-Yat don't disappoint, either. Lee Chung-Yat plays a slightly hotheaded character with a gentler side towards specific characters that makes you forget that he's just playing the role because it is so believable. Ricky Cheng Tien-Chi shines with his beautiful knife skills which pairs with his mysterious vibe. He brings a lot of surprises and twists to the screen.

Overall, the acrobatics are spectacular, and the action is fast-paced but not disappointing when everyone breaks out into a fight. It was beautifully crafted to catch your attention, and I didn't want to look away. The entire mood of the film is definitely dark and mysterious, so it isn't one that's lighthearted. I highly recommend checking this out if you enjoy the Venom Mob and Chang Cheh's innovative movies like Heaven and Hell or The Nine Demons for example. Since the actors are practically all Peking Opera trained, it doesn't feel artificial, and I quite enjoyed them bringing their skills to light in a brilliant display. You should definitely check it out if you are interested in Chinese Opera and see how Chang Cheh brilliantly incorporates the supernatural into the fun, slower paced, plot.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: hkfilmjunkie
Date: 08/01/2001
Summary: HUH?

This is without a doubt one of the most annoying, senseless and just outright silly HK garbage I've ever seen.All I can tell you is that the 2 main points of the film revolve a troupe of travelling performers and some weird doll that conjures up spirits or something.What the two have to do with each other is beyond me.Lame acting, overly long and no sense of continuity at all. The special effects, if that's what you want to call them, are perhaps the worst I've ever seen.Avoid this one at all costs.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 12/28/2000
Summary: Dark Fantasy

Not at all what I expected. For a start, the titular Goddess doesn't have much to do with most of the story. Most of the time, she lies face-down in a suitcase. There is quite a lot of Attacking, though.

In keeping with the dark tone, the story is mostly on the sombre side, and is a little slow at the start. Also, if you don't like Chinese Opera, this film could really annoy you, because quite a lot of the story unfolds around or within actual performances.

Naturally, for a film featuring The Five Venoms, there are acrobatics aplenty. The climactic fight scene is a very long and spectacular one, switching between at least twenty participants, and continues with the fantasy feeling of much of the rest of the movie.

Personally, I found the overall mood a bit too sombre and, in the end, rather pointless. However, it's a change from your average near-plotless production line chop sockeys. Certainly a must-see for any Venoms fan and, if you're unfamiliar with Chang Cheh's Taiwanese wonder quintet from the late 70s, this is a pretty good intro. Lukewarm recommendation.

Reviewer Score: 5