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ªZ (1983)
General Invincible

Reviewed by: RLM
Date: 05/20/2002
Summary: Muddled but coming together...

STSH's review is accurate; especially the part about the wonderful costumes; puts Elvis to shame.
Now on to what the movie is about -
OK - now stop me if I'm rambling-
The movie begins with a sequence that's utterly incoherent. There is a lot of supernatural kungfu and that guy is there; the one with a long face and white hair and beard who does that funny wiggling of the ear - he usually shows up in the 70's and 80's martial arts films - yeah, that's the guy. Well, he is lamenting the fact that no one is qualified to fight with him. There is a nice looking young man that tries but fails.
Meanwhile, the Mean Boss and his henchmen hatch a plan to kill the 4 Lords and gain control of the country. They implement their plan and do intend succeed. However, the 4th Lord manages to chop off the hand of the assassin before he dies. His daughter, who by chance looks a lot like the lady who played Wonder Women (Linda Carter), is called, "General Women" (I kid you not). She returns to find her father dead but is reluctant to pursue more fighting. There is a rather long and dramatic monolouge during which she laments no one understands her and she just wants time to be herself - a very 90's kind of person at heart). Anyway, her master kills himself to urge her into action - which is convincing and she finally does take up the revenge mantle; wielding the Shadow Sword.
By the way, she has a few epileptic seizures along the way (complete with that white foam coming from her mouth and the proverbial biting of another's person hand). Did I mention her sidekick is mute?
She plans her attack - and then the movie gets muddled again. There is one scene with a crow pecking a chinese character in rice paper but with phrases like:
Emptiness if the border
Concentration is the way to fighting
Sincerity can break the Gold Stone
- being uttered, does it really matter?
She finally meets up with that nice young man at the beginning of the movie and they do make a wonderful couple I thought.
Weaving throughout the middle and end of the movie is a complicated love triangle (also involving one of Mean Boss' lady warriors who has very nice legs).
There is a lot of cryptic talking at about this time.
Meanwhile, Mean Boss has hired a couple of Persians to manufacture, The Crystal Sword; which of course they do but also failing to forsee their demise at his Evil Diving Technique (which I thought was rather lame and anticlimatic).
Not only are the costumes beautiful and off-the wall (sometimes reminded me of those seen in Musketeer movies)but there are a few blond wigs do die for.
The big show down includes our couple (the nice young man is wielding the Emptiness Sword) against the Mean Boss (of course)and they win (without either one being killed - which I thought was a nice change from 80's like films). They do this with the help of the Failing Star Sword, from whence it came, I couldn't tell.
Now ordinarily, this would be the end for such genre films. However, true to it's very unique nature, there are a few more scenes.
One being a showdown with the old master at the beginning of the film who thought no one was qualified to fight him. Well, our General Women does just that - she wins a supernatural type fight.
One more scene to go and we're done.
The last sequence is completely incoherent. General Women is last seen sitting on the edge of the ocean, sword in hand.
Now after what might seem to be a review not entirely taken seriously, I do want to say this. This film, for all it's hokeyness, can clearly be seen to have all the elements (albeit not polished yet) of future Tsui Hark films; including ACGS and Swordmen. There is use of white chiffon women dancers, flying swordsplay, beautiful sets and costumes, fantasy supernatural martial arts, developed story, etc. If this film is watched closely, the ground work is nicely laid out to the next generation HK films like Zu Warriors. It's a tribute to production and directing.
I must also say, that I saw the VHS version formatted to fit the screen and thus missed about 50% of the English subtitles- which made understanding what was happening very difficult. 5/10

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 12/25/2001
Summary: Weird wuxia confuser

Films in this sub-genre can be very enjoyable or utterly frustrating or both. General Invincible is both.

On the plus side, there are colourful and wild costumes which are frequently changed, of course lot of flying people, plenty of treachery and characters constantly changing allegiances and some lovely women. In fact, two of them get quite sexy, with both Pearl Chung and Ding Lam flashing quite a bit of leg.

The story clips along at a pretty fast pace, though with a few dead spots, and makes no discernable sense.

Overall, a moderately enjoyable rollercaoster.

Reviewer Score: 6