Ever wonder what would have happened if a time traveler went back and accidentally stepped on a bug, causing an alternate reality where Sam Raimi had directed Raiders Of The Lost Ark? Of course not, why on earth would you – but, if curiosity ever got the better of you and you wanted to find out what would have occured, you thankfully don’t have to bust out some Doctor Strange style multiversal shenanigans due to the existence of The Seventh Curse.
Directed by Lam Ngai Kai (aka. the man responsible for the legendary trash epic, The Story Of Ricky) and containing all the restraint of a lottery winning coke fiend in Colombia, The Seventh Curse is similarly deranged masterpiece of insanity that is based on a series of novels by author Ni Kuang that features the adventures of supernatural adventurers Dr. Yuen and Wisely. The gore is plentiful, the monsters are rubbery – but above all, the nonsensical plot is as batshit crazy as you could possibly want in this, the wild, wild world of gonzo, Asian cinema.
We join proceedings as medical genius/adventurer Dr. Yuen Chen and Wisely, a debonair expert in witchcraft, as they knock back wine at an expensive soiree, surrounded by beauty contest winners as a narrator played by a tuxedoed, cameoing Ni Kuang (eat your heart out R.L. Stine) tells the enchanted lookers on about their latest adventure.
After being introduced to the dashing doctor after he aids police by thwarting a terrorist seige of a hospital single handedly, Yuen Chen has to fend off the attentions of Tsai-Hung, a deranged, walking red flag of a reporter who is the physical manifestation of when cute meets obnoxious. After chilling out after a long day of random crime fighting by allowing women (who I think might be prostitutes) to argue over him, he is suddenly overcome with a “Blood Curse” which will cause seven arteries to burst in his body over a set period of time which will eventually kill him. Heading over to Wisely’s house to see if there’s a cure, Yuen reminisces about the time about a year ago when he went to Nothern Thailand with a medical expedition to find herbal medicine to treat AIDS and was cursed to die by the effeminate leader of the Worm Tribe and was eventually saved when sexy sacrifice-to-be, Betsy, temporarily halted the spell by feeding him a piece of her boob – I mean sure, we’ve all been there, right?…
Now that the curse is back, Yuen – with Tsai-Hung naturally in tow – returns to Thailand and teams up with chiseled warrior Black Dragon in order to reclaim two lumps of healing magic ash lodged in the eyes of a statue deep within the Worm Tribe’s territory. However, tribe leader Aquala is more than ready for them and the fact that he’s armed with flesh eating ghost babies and a glowy-eyed skeleton that has the power to morph into a winged xenomorph might prove a tad difficult for Yuen to overcome.
Right from the word go, The Seventh Curse is no-man’s land for anyone who demands that their cinema has any sense of decorum whatsoever as the movie chooses to discard common sense and reason in order to be the most admirably piece of unhinged bullshit I’ve seen in ages. Needless to say, I utterly loved every second as director Lam Ngai Kai attacks the movie with an utter disregard for anything approaching decorum and just let’s the good times roll with excess amounts of gore, nudity and a plethora of mind playing imagery that’ll have you joyfully screaming “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?!” directly at the screen at intervals of roughly ever five minutes.
Cartoons wish they could get this wacky as the script expects us to swallow an absurdly competent hero that not only kills terrorists on his day off, but still has time to be a womanizing playboy who also takes gap years in order to cure AIDS. The fact that the movie over compensates so hard makes you feel like the novels the movie is based on are less a competent series of books and more teenage fan fiction scrawled on the back inside cover of a math book. Still, thanks to the hyper-exagerated tone, the comedy quota is through the roof (as is, I expect, the drug content of the director’s urine sample) as the movie excitedly rubs its hands together and gets down to business of being ever more ridiculous.
The real surprise is that despite the fact its director has obviously become detached from reality, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s doing and while the movie is little more than a string of utterly mental set pieces, they’re all breathlessly shot and edited much like the combined DNA of Spielberg, Raimi and John Woo merged to make a movie.
The laugh-out-loud moments are legion, starting with a reporter played by Maggie Chung’s who makes Lois Lane’s toxic antics in Superman II seem well adjusted. While Chung easily absorbs at least twice the amount of punishing indignities suffered in the Police Story movies, that doesn’t stop her from introducing herself by belting a female undercover officer over the head with a brick in order to steal her clothes and sneak into a hostage situation. Elsewhere, Chow Yung-Fat strides around, incessantly chewing on a pipe in a glorified cameo as he spits out wads of exposition among the clouds of smoke and pops up near the end to blow a demon’s head off with an RPG – let’s see Stephen Strange do shit like that! As Yuen, Chin Siu-ho gets to essentially be James Bond with a doctorate – if James Bond’s arteries kept exploding every twenty four hours – but between his ass-kicking and his man-whoring, he cuts a suitably rogueish figure.
However, the real stars here are the LSD tinged action sequences that, to this old gore hound at least, stand out as fiercely original and utterly unpredictable. Be it the sight of the extravagantly eyebrows Aquala unleashing a bulbous-headed baby demon that has four arms, a maggot’s tail and dental work that makes Bruce the Shark look like Donny Osmond, or the animated skeleton that punches like Jason Statham while sucking the spinal cord out of someone’s ruptured neck, the movie awesomely doesn’t know when to quit and is best enjoyed in the company of rowdy, like-minded friends as you succumb to the influence of the tipple of your choice.
Loaded with truly insane moments that’s far too numerous to mention here, The Seventh Curse forgoes all laws of decency and logic (Aquala gleefully feeds screaming children into a massive stone grinder in order to obtain the blood he needs to raise those maggot-baby things) in order to be as goofy and as astounding as it can be. It may not make a whole lot of sense while it leaves yawning plot holes in it’s wake like a drunk grave digger- but sometimes, being fucking awesome requires that you leave certain rules and expectations in the dust. In fact the only true, pertinent question that remains after the day-glow craziness of this super-violent kid’s movie has ended is: who the fuck was this movie’s intended audience supposed to be?
For fans of anything-goes-WTF-cinema, The Seventh Curse bestows infinite blessings.