Xin Shu Shan Jian Ke
1983 / 95m - Hong Kong
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain poster


August 21, 2009


One of Hark's earliest successes, and a certified classic by now. It predates films like A Chinese Ghost Story by quite a few years, but the template for those successes is already visible here. The technical aspects aren't quite on point yet (the effects in particular are pretty blah), but there's so much joy and energy radiating from this film that it hardly matters.

The plot is a veritable train wreck though. The premise is pretty simple, a young soldier is lost and finds himself wandering in magic mountain territory. There he meets some honorable masters who are wrapped up in a dangerous battle between good and evil. The young soldier decides to join their cause. When it gets to the details of the plot, things get way more confusing.

I'm not a big fan of the handcrafted effects, the comedy, the performances, and the chaotic nature of the plot are also very much an acquired taste. I was really surprised to see it executed this well in such an old film. It doesn't happen that often, but I liked this better than the remake. Hark certainly didn't steal his reputation, great genre fun.