Starring: Hwang Jang Lee, Chiang Kam, Lo Lieh, Chien Siu Ho, Lung Tien Hsiang, Chu Ko, Ho Pak Kwong, Fong Ping
Director: Hsu Hsia
Exactly half a year after his successful ‘Kid From Kwangtung’, director Hsu Hsia followed up with another Kung Fu Comedy, ‘Ghosts Galore’ (1983) which also reunited a few of the cast members from his previous film.
This story revolves around two bumbling amateur ghost catchers, “Fake Priest” (Chin Siu Ho) and “Fat Chick” (Chiang Kam). This inept duo spend their days conning gullible villagers out of their money by faking palm readings and exorcisms, totally oblivious to the fact that they are constantly under the watchful eye of a real magician called Lien Ching Jen (Lo Lieh).
After a mischievous female ghost takes a fancy to Fat Chick, the pair set off in search of their overseer and master magician who possesses a special amulet that can ward off spirits (i.e. randy ghosts!).
Meanwhile, a Japanese girl called ‘Junko’ (Yeung Jing Jing) and her brother have escaped their country and are being pursued by a team of ninjas led by Okada (Lung Tien Hsiang) who are determined to eliminate the siblings on accounts of betrayal.
Fake Priest and Fat Chick get themselves unwittingly caught up in this foreign affair, so it’s time for them to once again call upon the help of Lien Ching Jen….but the Japanese have a trick up their sleeves too in the form of their own evil magician - Master Okura! (Hwang Jang Lee). It’s not long before a face-off between the two is under way and the clash of elders erupts into an other-worldly battle of powerful spells and the supernatural!.
Unlike ‘Kid From Kwangtung’, ‘Ghosts Galore’ is predominantly a fantasy based ‘spooky’ comedy. The main difference being, whereas ‘Kid’ redeemed some of it’s silliness by containing some of the best Kung Fu to ever come out of the Shaw brothers camp for it’s finale, ‘Ghosts Galore’ never really ventures beyond it’s comedic slant and has a battle of wits between the two magicians as it’s climax. The two masters remain firmly rooted on their altars whilst conjuring up all manner of imaginative enemies to fight with e.g. Soldiers made from red beans and flying Origami birds!. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as it keeps in with the whole tone of the film. In fact ‘Ghosts Galore’ is lot more coherent than many other similarly themed films which can sometimes seem like just a series of bizarre incidents stringed together.
Chin Siu Ho and Chiang Kam are both fairly charismatic actors and pull off the slapstick with ease, I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to carry the whole film but they did. Lo Lieh is in his element as a drunken magician (check out his funky technicolour cloak!) and Lung Tien Hsiang crops up to have a great fight with Yeung Jing Jing and Chin Siu Ho, which turned out to be one of the main highlights.
Of course, it’s Hwang Jang Lee that most people will check this film out for and you’ll be pleased to know that here you get three Hwang’s for the price of one!. If you’ve ever wanted to see what the guy looks like in Dreadnaught style face paint – then this is your film!. I can confirm that he does get to unleash a few devastating kicks in this one too.
I think you all know what to expect with this type of film and those who do not like fantasy / supernatural elements in their martial arts movies are advised to steer clear. The humour was ok in this one and didn’t reach the same heights of ridiculousness that many of these Supernatural Comedies tend to do. Simply put, this is light hearted viewing, bolstered by a strong cast and a small dose of brief but exhilarating Kung Fu. Cantonese with English Subtitles. Region 0