Review: Witch from Nepal (1985)

Directed by:
Cast: ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

One of the best things about Hong Kong filmmakers is that they keep doing the unexpected. And who else, I ask you, would make a film that spends 90 minutes on testicles?

The testicles in this case are an enchanted pair strung on a necklace and kept as a sort of sacred talisman by a Nepali tribe. When evil threatens, and the master is killed, the second in command, fortunately enough a beautiful young woman, takes the testicles to the next-master-in-line. This next master is Chow Yun Fat, a Hong Konger on holiday with his girlfriend (Yammie Nam), and completely unaware of the testicle-filled adventure awaiting him.

While riding about the plain on the back of an elephant sketching things (Ah Fat, that is, not the elephant. Only testicles possess amazing powers in this film: if you want talented animals, you’ll have to look elsewhere), Ah Fat drops off, breaks his leg, falls into a rushing river, knocks his head, and gets washed over a minor waterfall into mountainous Nepal. Do *not* ask me about this. If it were me, I’d have given up and not looked at another testicle again, but Ah Fat is made of sterner stuff. He somehow gets back to the elephant-ridden plain, still unconscious, and follows his destiny.

The beautiful young girl, named, rather strangely, Sheila, stows away on a plane to Hong Kong to bring the testicles to Ah Fat. There’s oh, some magic stuff, some chasing, she escapes the custody at the hospital, and in the escape she loses the necklace. Now I was wondering how long it would take her to notice, and it takes her about a day. Not too impressive, for someone who’s lost something that’s supposed to be saving her tribe from evil. I can’t imagine this girl hanging on to car keys for more than a week at a time.

Anyway, she and Ah Fat return to the hospital at night to search for the necklace. Some more chasing happens, and Ah Fat spots the testicles stuck in a palm tree. Glowing. I kid you not. As our intrepid pair indulged in some gratuitous acrobatics, I was wondering if the testicles had glowed like that when they were attached, and if that was something to do with them losing their owner, but this question, like many others, went unanswered. The pair leapt at the tree, she grabbed the goolies, and the guards grabbed him. Bummer. Our hero gets hauled off to the station.

It is at about this point that we are reintroduced to The Bad Man, played by Dick Wei (abandoning his usual upright dignity). It’s clear he’s bad because he’s wearing a sort of black and red toga thing, and because he roars like a jungle cat rather than speaking (you can just guess that he didn’t get many dates when he was young. Perhaps that accounts for his temper). Oh, and the fact that he bursts out through the side of a ship and promptly shreds a dog also gives us a clue that he won’t be winning any popularity awards.

There’s a romantic interlude about here, too, compulsory since this is an eighties film. And, since it is an eighties film, the love scenes are fairly twee. An extra bit of spice is added by Ah Fat’s wearing of nothing but the testicles each time. But when would a man need his enchanted testicles more, I hear you cry? They certainly feature much more prominently that most of us would expect. Or want.

The film continues in this hectic, fairly senseless, never-stops, action scene after love scene after action scene way, until we reach the climactic fight scene between Good (a testicle-bedecked Ah Fat) and Evil (the toga-wearing growler). There’s a finale that would make anyone’s testicles light up, and then the world is safe once again.

In short, this is a rollercoaster of a film, composed of a series of setpieces loosely joined together by filler. Amusing in its own very dated way, it drags at the beginning but steams away from you after that. I can guarantee that you won’t have seen anything like it. To be honest, the plot wasn’t that bad, (testicles aside), and could have been done quite respectably in any other decade. The director, Ching Siu Tung, went on to make the Chinese Ghost Story films, which are works of cinematic art. But perhaps he had to get the testicles out of his system first.

4 glowing testicles out of 10.
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