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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

28th February 2008

Sino-Kitsch: Fantasy Mission Force (1982)

Posted by: Craig Young

Kitsch is not limited to Western cultures. In the case of tacky plastic and plaster mass produced devotional statuary, some Indians cheerfully admit that Hindus are as prone to that sort of thing as their Catholic counterparts.

However, I wish to draw attention to probably the worst Cantonese film ever made. It was a kung fu bargain basement budget flick entitled Fantasy Mission Force (1982), starring Jackie Chan, and goes as follows:

The Japanese have abducted the world’s four leading generals. And so, the United Nations sends a group of four Sino-Scots commandos into the fray to return them to custody. At least, one concludes they’re Scots, because all but one are wearing kilts. In particular, one is also sporting matching leotards, and carries around a spiked mace ball on the end of a chain. Another is dressed in a tuxedo, and another is a bad tempered woman named Lila who sports a bazooka, while the fourth is a deeply annoying garrulous singing elderly glutton.

Anyway, the foursome are set upon by muscular figures wearing bags over their heads, who become leopard skin clad Amazonian women. They force the men into nefarious tortures like posing for saucy seaside holiday placards, and their Queen bounces across a river, before they decide to have two of them for supper. Literally. Lila and her tuxedo clad swain escape, with the assistance of a runaway chicken.

They track down the nefarious conspirators, only to be set upon by a troupe of Chinese “Nazis” in sixties muscle cars, emblazoned with Nazi insignia and then Chan plays chicken with his pursuers. Apparently, the Chinese version is even longer than the mercifully abbreviated English one. Its creators have undoubtedly pioneered the first bilingually indecipherable martial arts ‘epic.’

Beijing could have considerable fun if it decided to get bloody-minded with Taiwan over this ghastly little effort. Broadcasting this could constitute use of a weapon of mass derangement or derision, and I suspect no one would object if Beijing’s arms control treaty negotiators insisted it be included in any such future proceedings. That way, all copies could be decently buried, never to embarrass anyone in the Chinese diaspora again. Or set aflame. Or placed at the core of a nuclear weapons test. Or totally destroyed. Somehow.


Michelle LeBlanc: The Pocket Essential Jackie Chan: Harpenden: 2003.

Tags: General

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