‘Shaolin Vs Evil Dead’ is a tongue-in-cheek martial arts epic featuring Gordon iu, and was directed by Douglas Kung.
Entertainment, whether we like to admit it or not, is made “for” someone. Some person, some demographic is the target audience of each piece of entertainment that the industry churns out on a daily basis.
Without these target audiences, there is little to no guarantee on a return of investment, or so the logic goes.
So with a movie that combines Kung-Fu, vampires, ghosts, star-crossed lovers, poop jokes, magic, mysticism, and a sibling rivalry, then it begs the question – who is Shaolin Vs. Evil Dead for?
The movie follows a Taoist priest, played by martial arts legend, Gordon Liu who trains his apprentices/sons in the rituals of the “Dragon School”, a learning philosophy that trains these boys in the art of projecting and shepherding the dead.
The movie opens with Liu’s priest leading a group of hopping vampires, a version of the vampire myth best represented in the great film Mr. Vampire, through small village on their way to a proper burial.
The purpose of this movie immediately gets murky when Liu, at least in the English dub version, calls the hopping vampires “zombies”. These “zombies” are clearly the hoping variety of vampire as they, well, hop, have their arms stuck out, are controlled by what are called “voodoo papers” in the movie being placed on their heads, and dress in a manner traditionally befitting the hoping vampire.
The only creatures that could really be called zombies are a group of spooks in a haunted noodle shop that make up the first large piece of (rote) fight choreography. Even though the creatures are never referred to with a name, they sport the classic decayed flesh, aimless stumbling, and moaning that mark the classic zombie. The word zombie is used again when referring to a group of brainwashed children but they are more magical pawns than any kind of Haitian zombie.
Storylines happen very episodically in the movie, with one section being wholly devoted to Liu’s character’s evil brother Black who either believes in destroying the spirits he is supposed to protect or in ruling the world; his motives are never really made clear; there is another segment dedicated to Liu’s eldest son/apprentice who falls madly in love and courts Black’s apprentice.
What would be the final segment of the movie, Liu and Black fighting off a resurrected evil spirit of some sort, never really happens as the movie simply cuts to the credits in the middle of the fight and then plays a teaser for a second film, which came out two years later, while the credits roll. It’s one of the most baffling endings to a movie I have seen in a long time, mostly because it doesn’t exist.
So, it would seem that Shaolin Vs. Evil Dead appears to be for no-one and everyone. The movie has a little of everything to, theoretically, appease a wide swath of the movie going public and yet never fleshes out any one aspect, including its ending, figuring that the simple oddness of its title will provide enough of a through line to justify its existence.
Watch ‘Shaolin Vs Evil Dead’:
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|
Written by: JJ Perkins