Descendant of the Sun (1983)

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Hong Kong filmmaker Chor Yuen directed this visually extravagant fantasy mixture of Chinese mythology, graphically violent horror, and elements clearly lifted from Superman: The Movie. A typically gorgeous production design marks the film as a Shaw Brothers production, filling the screen with color and action as the heroic legend unfolds. The spirit of a priest named Hsuan battles and conquers a flying demon, then travels north to an icy fortress. Meanwhile, a man discovers a baby frozen in a block of ice and brings it home, naming it Shih-sheng. As he grows up, Shih-sheng shows abilities far beyond those of mortal men, all drawn from the sun: super-strength, levitation ability, the ability to communicate with animals, and the power to make frozen plants blossom. Shih-sheng (Derek Yee) grows to manhood and travels to the fortress, where the spirit of his father -- in true Jor-El fashion -- instructs him on the methods he can use to become Superman, a hero clad in shining gold. The shy Shih-sheng accidentally trespasses on the grounds of the royal palace, but gets out of trouble by demonstrating his powers to the Princess (Cherie Chung). She is fortunate to have met the superhero, as the villainous local Regent has targeted her for assassination due to his concern that she will learn of his campaign of mass infanticide designed to cleanse the region of "genetic inferiors." Superman battles the Regent and his heart-ripping warriors and saves the Princess, but the Regent revives the winged demon which Hsuan had imprisoned at the beginning of the film. Superman must battle the beast to the death, and the situation looks even more grave when the sun, source of his super powers, enters an eclipse. In traditional Shaw Brothers fashion, Yuen throws everything but the kitchen sink (including cannibalistic zombies) into this exuberant hybrid, resulting in a breathtaking -- if somewhat bewildering -- entertainment.