Thursday, January 6, 2011

Asian Week: Black Magic 2

Who wants breast milk?  The people over at Shaw Brothers Studios weren't content to just make one film about black magic, so they made a second one.  Naturally, they called it Black Magic 2!  Do they up the ante or let us down?  Is it Gremlins 2 or Puppet Master 2?  The film involves a different black magician, but a hero that looks just like the guy from Part 1.  Is he the same character?  No.  Is it the same actor?  Yes.  That's not confusing at all- thanks!  In this film, evil is afoot as a black magician for hire wreaks havoc on a group of people's lives.  Sounds similar to Black Magic, right?  Well, it is.  The difference- this film tosses in tons of gore, freaky effects and zombies.  As a bonus, it has monsters dressed like Druids, a feat also accomplished in Blacula.  You're in good company, movie.  Will this be the movie that the original should have been?  Get out your glowing powder for a bit of...
The movie begins with some buxom young women taking off their tops and going swimming.  Well, we're off to a good start.  Unfortunately, a prop crocodile attacks one of them, causing the others to flee.  The village calls in an Einstein-looking magician to kill the beast and he does so, cutting it open to prove that it killed the woman.  He proceeds to disappear for the next forty-five minutes or so.  That's super.  The real story is that our two heroes arrive in a city to meet an old friend and his wife.  All four of them are doctors and the visitors are going to help him decipher the cause of some mysterious ailments.  After showing the duo some gross-out effects, the guy explains that he believes that black magic is to blame.  That may have something to do with the weird guy bringing a woman home and pulling a nail out of her skull, huh?  Our heroes don't believe in magic, but they'll learn soon enough.  The wife of the local doctor is put under a spell by the magician and led to his lair.  What does he want?  Breast milk.  Why?  It is the secret to his immortality, of course! 
In a random sub-plot, a 'player' pays for a spell to be put on a dancer, but she turns out to be a reanimated zombie in the possession of the magician.  When the man gets a 'rude awakening' via the woman turning old again during a make-out session, he threatens the magician with calling the cops.  How does...why can', screw it!  Naturally, the magician just causes him to die and melt in public, since he's all about the subtlety.  That's about as subtle as impregnating the doctor's wife overnight- which he also does!  In a freaky bit, the doctors bemoan the fact that the dead guy's family buried him, so they immediately decide to dig him up!  Dude, at least pretend like it's a tough decision to make!!!  Still not convinced, our heroes come up with a simple plan- hire the magician to put a spell on the visiting doctor's wife.  No, really.  Shockingly, this works and our hero is shocked to see his friend (who did the hiring) and his wife making out.  But you...why, screw it...again.  The magician shows up again, but gets killed quickly.  Weird.

The whole point of the good magician is for him to die and pass his eyes on to our hero.  He eats the things- seriously!- and gains the ability to see through the evil magician's illusions.  The guy takes a bunch of tricks from a book on black magic and plans to get back his wife.  By the way, his two friends try to run away from the magician, but get melted.  Don't worry- they get better...sort of.  Out hero actually calls the cops on the magician- you can do that?- but they find nothing.  He chases the guy down- since he didn't have a spell ready, I guess- and they fight on a Sky Tram in one of the worst Rear Projection effects ever.  So sad.  The big showdown occurs as our hero puts on his best break-in clothes and sets the man's house on fire.  He battles the weird zombie things, who also happen to have his lady.  He lights the wax figures that represent them on fire & they proceed to spin around yelling.  Eventually, the magician gets the magical 'deus ex machina' necklace off of our hero and slowly kills him in front of the second-worst Rear Projection effect.  The wife takes the magician out, however, immediately making things right.  The End.

Double the toil and trouble here!  The plot is good, even if it has a few distractions.  The magician is a good character, although he seems content to be very obvious in his actions!  Incidentally, you run into 'The A-Team Problem' here.  If everyone knows who he is, where he is and what he does, why does nobody get him arrested?  Apparently that's an actual course of action you can take, so why not?  Aside from that, the movie delivers on the potential that the other film promised.  The movie is chock full of gross-out effects, trippy visuals and some serious horror.  Finally- you did it!  Thank you, sequel-itis.  Of course, the acting and writing are not quite as good here, so it's a trade-off.  The characters are pretty one-note and add very little.  The other ones had a little bit of depth, even if they didn't always follow logic.  So that's the choice you have: solid characters, but little horror or lots of horror and generic writing.  If only there was a film that somehow met in the middle.  Until that day, you have a choice to make.

Next up, I finally cover the long-awaited prequel to the Raped by An Angel series.  Now with less rape and more lady assassins.  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment