Starring: Mark Cheng, Chi-Gei Gam
Director: Lam Yee-Hung
Golden Venom is a kung fu fantasy with laser beams shooting out of people that turns into gross out horror as two families feud in non-game show format. It’s pretty uninspired at times, and I’m not sure what the real point of it was, because it isn’t enough of a gross out film to satisfy the gross out fans, but it’s not enough of a good wuxia type film to satisfy those fans, either. It’s a halfway effort that fails everyone. The only reason I watched Golden Venom is because characters were wearing crazy colored wigs and doing magic kung fu moves, but the overall plot was disappointing, the villains are generically evil, and even though I like the goofy effects, the rest of it is boring.
Saying Golden Venom is not fond of women would be an understatement. Every female character except one is killed, many are sexually degraded, and most are just quickly killed and tossed aside. The only real strong female character is Skeleton, and she’s evil and crazy!
The only real cool thing are the villains and how outlandish they are. The almost cartoonish look seems inspired by the Golden Light Puppets, much like many of Pearl Cheung Ling’s films and other Taiwanese fantasy flicks seem to feature goofy wigs more than other countries. Even though the bad guys look like kids fantasy characters, with the nudity and grossness I doubt this is intended to be a kids flick.
The “Golden Venom” from the title is the name of the mouth laser beams. It’s poisonous and comes in different flavors unique to each family’s secret recipe. Each family also has cures, which can’t be made without the help of the family.
Two families are feuding, the noble Kims and the rotten Dragon family. The Dragons teleport into Master Kim’s birthday party and blow up some statues with their laser beams, but they are chased off by a mystery person. We find out much later this guy used to work with Master Kim when they were cops and accidentally blinded him. His daughter Trady becomes a servant in the Kim family.
The Dragons return to their cave and sit Indian style spinning around in circles, plotting their next caper. Skeleton pulls open a tablecloth, underneath it is more black magic stuff, including a skull with blinking electronic light eyes! Evil, now for sale at Spirit Halloween Store! She magics up some Venom God grubs that power their golden venom attacks, but one is missing – and only their son Teh could have taken one. They claim with disappointment that Teh is not that evil, but we see him the next scene ripping clothes off of a sleeping woman and getting ready to rape and kill her! Just imagine how evil he’d be if he was actually evil!
Chih Kim saves a girl named Cherry from rapists, while Chih Kim’s sister is spied on by Teh. He tries to rape her that night, but is chases off by Chih Kim, though Teh manages to shoot some laser effects into Chih Kim’s mouth, because Chih is a moron. Cherry helps the injured Chih Kim.
Both fathers have to meet each other to trade magic herb to cure their sons, but Dragon won’t give his herb until his own son Teh gets better, but he returns too late, Teh is dead! Dragon and some caveman goons attack Master Kim, they take advantage of his poor eyesight and kill him.
Cherry gives Cheh an herb that helps his pain, but she can’t cure the Golden Venom, only Skeleton and Dragon can.
Instead of worrying about peace, Skeleton uses witchcraft and a weaved orb to put a spell on Chih. He starts acting all afraid of his sister, then tries to rape her, but Trady does a Spock neck pinch on him. Cherry knows Chih needs to have sex or he will die, so that’s what she does.
By the next day, his hand is all gnarly and bleeding and he’s Michael Jackson ghostly white (Note: The rough draft of this review is so old I originally wrote that when Michael Jackson was alive!) Scars have grown all over his body, and in a very nice effect one scar is bubbling blood. Later in the film they’ll use real live maggots, if you’re into that sort of thing.
A Taoist priest called into help by the Kim family gets get spat at by effects and runs away. Cherry begs her grandpa to help, he agrees so it’s exorcism time! Grandpa vs Skeleton, fighting via remote out of body battle. They make lots of kung fu stances of their spell-casting powers, but though grandpa defeats Skeleton, Cheh can’t be cured.
Sister Kim is now forced to auction herself off at a brothel to earn money to buy the cure off of Dragon. Even more disturbingly, instead of sleeping with the auction winner herself, she has her servant girl Trady do it instead!
I guess we’re supposed to respect how she’s preserving her boss’s dignity or something, but instead I’m outraged at the abuse of a servant. This continues with more substitutions, but what is weird is the guys are so out of it during these sequences they probably could have used a dog and peanut butter and still gotten paid.
Okay, film, let’s wrap this up and stop with the long creepy brothel scenes that aren’t interesting.
Finally, Dragon shows up laughing and teleporting all the while. He demands a son by Sister Kim or no cure. At this point Trady attacks him, but he kills her pretty easily. Cherry steps in and is also hurt, finally Grandpa returns to fight Dragon. After a pretty long teleporting battle, the two kill each other. But Cherry and Sister were both venom infected in the fight, and there are only two cures, so Sister Kim gives them to Cherry for her and Chih.
A cured Chih and Cherry try to track down Sister Kim, who wandered off to die. Which she does, as first her hand then her ear falls off. Then her eye. Then she explodes into a pile of clothes. Because that’s what happens to women, I guess. So I urge you, the viewers at home, to explode your copies of Golden Venom into piles of clothes. Turnabout is fair play!
Chinese with English Subtitles.