Combustible Celluloid
Stream it:
Own it:
With: Leslie Cheung, Joey Wong, Wu Ma, Lau Siu-ming, Lam Wai, Xue Zhilun, Wong Jing, David Wu
Written by: Yuen Kai Chi
Directed by: Ching Siu-Tung
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: In Cantonese, with English subtitles
Running Time: 98
Date: 07/18/1987

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Tongue Loose

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Produced by Tsui Hark and directed by Ching Siu-tung, this incredible, high-flying martial arts fantasy/comedy is unlike just about anything else made in the 1980s. A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) follows an ineffectual tax collector (Leslie Cheung, from John Woo's A Better Tomorrow), who gets stuck after the rain washes away the ink in his book. So he seeks shelter in a haunted temple, where he meets a beautiful woman (Joey Wong, or, sometimes spelled "Joey Wang"); unfortunately, he does not know that she's a ghost. He also doesn't know that the woman is a prisoner of a tree demon who can attack with her a thousand-foot tongue (!). A helpful priest (Wu Ma) jumps into the amazing martial arts battles. Featuring zombies and a trip to the underworld, this movie's gorgeous cinematography seems to have 360-degree vision, and the crisp editing keeps everything clear and exciting; it took Hollywood years to catch up to this kind of kinetic action filmmaking.

Movies Unlimtied