Battle Wizard (1977)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Martial Arts  |   Run Time - 73 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong  |  
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This blend of martial arts and fantasy is often downright crazy -- but that's an asset, not a flaw. The characterizations are simplistic, the plotting has a make-it-up-as-we-go feel and the special effects are often of the dime-store variety but none of those conventional complaints matter because The Battle Wizard never forgets to be fun. It jam-packs an endless array of strange creatures, dizzy plot twists and crazed, often psychedelic setpieces into less than 80 minutes. In terms of performances, Danny Lee makes a likeable naïf-turned-hero and Tien Ni is both eye-catching and fun to watch as the stone-faced avenging angel who joins him. Director Pao Hsueh-Li paces the bizarre storyline like a bullet, constantly throwing surprises and wild, effects-enhanced action at the audience without giving them a moment to breathe. The end result is a film that is frequently daft but never dull. Simply put, The Battle Wizard succeeds because it isn't afraid to be silly and over-the-top in its pursuit of the fantastic. As a result, it is guaranteed to delight any cult film aficionado on the lookout for exotic cheap thrills.