Playing on the title of the popular Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Sammo Hung has decided to create something a little different called Encounters of the Spooky Kind – a mix of ghost like horror, voodoo and Kung Fu action.
The film starts as Bold Cheung (Sammo Hung) awakes from a nightmare about ghosts.
A poor man (who practices a lot of Kung Fu), Cheung and his wife argue over money. But he is suspicious of her spending habits as she claims to use her own money to buy some expensive things for herself.
Later on, he goes home to check on his wife and finds her having an affair. Naturally he bursts in full of anger and wants to kill the man but he escapes before Cheung makes it inside.
After this Cheung is tricked by the male adulterer, Master Tam, into spending a night in a temple. Master Tam hires a master of witch craft to try to kill him using some very ‘horror movie’ type methods.
He chooses this method after hearing about his prowess in Kung Fu, but after it doesn’t work straight away they fake the death of Cheung’s wife so that the police also after him for murder.
Cheung meets a man named Tsui who knows the witch doctor and helps him to survive and solve the complicated problem he is in.
A Horror / Kung Fu themed Movie?
It’s definitely an interesting idea, although not too bad the movie didn’t turnout as interesting as it sounded.
The story was interesting as the mess Cheung was in seemed to grow and get more and more complicated, but the voodoo and walking corpses attacking Cheung was pretty cool. There is also a few different fights between Cheung and Master Tam when they are both used by Tsui and the Witch Doctor to fight each other in a supernatural ‘voodoo-ish’ battle.
It all sounds a little ridiculous but it’s what I came to expect from the idea of this movie, and the comedy styling of Sammo Hung didn’t play out too bad. The idea worked reasonably well, and was a good set up for the action.
The Martial Arts and Action.
For the first half of the movie I watched and was starting to wonder when any decent action would present itself. But during about the last third of the movie the best stuff comes out.
It never ceases to amaze me the level of physical ability and athleticism that Sammo Hung has for his body type. The first (and probably best) fight scene of the movie takes place against the police. Sammo uses a small chair to do a variety of moves and stunts to absolute precise perfection and it’s stunning to watch.
Sammo continues to show off his impressive abilities towards the end of the movie as well with each every fight – a truly well performed mixture of fights and acrobatic movement.
The fights, although choreographed well, didn’t really suck me in though. In terms of drive and emotion there’s nothing that makes you really want either side to win (well, for me personally). So the impressive physical movement is definitely the strength behind each fight.
When the movie ends (spoiler alert!) I nearly cracked up laughing when Cheung’s wife came out, and suddenly changed her attitude by trying to play the victim. Cheung, a bit wised up, then goes on a total rampage and bashes the absolute shit out of her, delivering punch after punch right into her stomach. It was completely out of place and not something that should be put into any movie – it’s pretty horrid behaviour, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the sheer random and over the top nature of the ending – it was a pretty stupid thing to finish the movie with.
It’s ok – it has some great strengths in the choreography but the rest of the movie didn’t suck me in much. A good watch if you want to brush up on Sammo Hung’s legendary filmography. Other than that, it’s entirely up to you!
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Spooky Encounters [DVD]
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Encounters of the Spooky Kind [DVD]
Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind on DVD