review by Jerome
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The Chinese title ‘Geung Si Sin Saang’ translates as Mr Corpse. In Chinese stories, vampires are called Geung Si because they hop, their corpses are stiff and they don’t speak. Mr Vampire is based on Ming dynasty writer, Pu Song Ling’s Liao Zhai Zhi Yi- a collection of horror stories to which Tsui Hark’s A Chinese Ghost Story trilogy is also based on.
Produced by Sammo Hung, Mr Vampire is Sammo’s tribute to his earlier work Spooky Encounters. Chicken’s blood, wire, sticky rice, wooden swords, sacred paper, Taoist magic and spells are all present.
The plot goes something like this. Taoist Master Gau (Lam Ching Ying) is given the job of reallocating the body of Mr Yam’s (Wong Ha) late father (Yuen Wah), from his resting place. With the aid of his assistants, Man Choi (Ricky Hui) and Choi Sang (Chin Siu Ho) they perform a ritual to secure the body of Mr Yam’s father who happens to be transforming into a vampire. However, the ritual is not performed correctly and the vampire escapes. On the loose, the vampire goes after his son, Mr Yam and is bitten and killed. Wai (Billy Lau), the cousin of Yam Ting (Moon Lee), imprisoned Master Gau as he was suspected for killing Mr Yam, but his assistants break him out and the three of them go on the hunt to stop the vampire. Along the way they have to deal with Mr Yam in his vampire form, Mr Yam’s father and a ghost called Siu Yuk (Pauline Wong) who has seduced Choi Sang. Man Choi is bitten and becomes a vampire in the process.
Lam Ching Ying plays Master Gau very well. His duty as a Taoist ghost buster sees him deal with vampires, ghosts and dead corpses. This is the role he was born to play. Due to the success of Mr Vampire, he had starred in many sequels and a few tv shows based on the same themes.
Billy Lau, Chin Siu Ho and Ricky Hui provide some great comic relief with pranks utilising Taoist magic to manipulate Billy Lau’s character to strip in front of Ting (Moon Lee).
Moon Lee is portrayed as a damsel in distress, since both her father and grandfather who became vampires targeted her. After her father’s death she joins Master Gau’s team. Although limited to what she capable of doing, she played her role well.
Pauline Wong just like Joey Wong from the A Chinese Ghost Story films plays a ghost seeking love, even if it means tricking and killing to do so. Just like the A Chinese Ghost Story trilogy, the message is that humans and ghosts can never be together.
If you like watching action comedies and horror movies you’ll appreciate the humour of Mr Vampire. With its practical jokes, top notch action and supernatural elements, Mr Vampire is classic not to be missed.
I rate it 8.5/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Director: Director: Ricky Lau
Cast: Lam Ching (Jing) Ying, Moon Lee Choi Fung, Ricky Hui Goon Ying, Chin Siu Ho, Pauline Wong Siu Fung, Billy Lau Gwong Naam, Wong Ha, Yuen Wah, Anthony Chan Yau, Wu Ma.
Reviewed by Jerome (Bart), March 2006