Demon of the Lute

1983 [CN]

Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy

IMDb Rating 6.5 10 116

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by alisonc-1 8 / 10

Absolute Wackiness (and Hilarity) From Start to Finish

Twenty years ago, two brothers battled for supremacy in the kung fu world, with one securing the demon 6-string lute, the playing of which kills all martial artists in its hearing. The other brother seems to have disappeared, and nobody knows where he is. Martial-arts expert Fong is given the task by her Master of retrieving the magic bow and arrows, the only weapon that can defeat the demon lute; along the way, she picks up friends and allies, including a trickster-pickpocket beggar and his very young son, Fong's drunken erstwhile classmate Old Naughty, and birthmark-scarred Yuan, who is hiding more than he knows. Can they succeed in their quest to find the magic weapons before the evil masked villain does? How can they fight his evil minions, which include a super-charged empty carriage, a vicious giant disco ball, and a bald guy who grows alarming amounts of very red hair and then super-sizes his axe and lance? And why, oh why, is the menacing theme music always the chorus of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"?

As you might guess from the above, this is one crazy caper, classic kung-fu style that is! Despite multiple minion-deaths, there's not a serious moment in the piece - or if there is, I never saw it. This was one of the films made by the famous Shaw Brothers, and was shown at Montreal's Fantasia Festival as part of a tribute to Run Run Shaw, who died earlier this year. Not seen for some 30 years, the print was at times a bit scratchy, but I can't say that I noticed any significant jumps that would suggest that a lot of footage was lost; then again, the whole thing was so wacky that such missing bits wouldn't necessarily be noticed as gone at all anyway. Lots and lots of fun; but I would really like to know why the old Scottish air provided the theme music for this film....

Reviewed by ChungMo 6 / 10

Very silly wire-fu action

A number of the regular Shaw Bros. cast appear in this really silly film about magic swords, a magic bow and arrows, magic lutes and so on. Everybody is on wires at least half the time and all the weapons used are absurd.

Does that make this a bad film? Well... I enjoyed it after it became clear that this was intended for a younger audience (at least I hope it was). Giant axes, remote controlled flying swords, a chariot drawn by dogs, a guy with an arm that can stretch 20 feet, fighting scissors, a bird man, exploding... wait, that's enough, you get it. The lute of the title will remind people a bit of "Kung Fu Hustle". The little girl in the film is really good. She keeps up with the other actors.

Reviewed by dbborroughs 4 / 10

For kids

Juvenile Shaw Brothers film was a major disappointment for me. Seemingly made for kids the story concerns a villain who has a lute that he can use to kill people with. In order to stop him our heroes must get a magic bow and arrow to destroy the evil instrument. Its a story we've all seen a hundred times before. The problem here is that there is such a sense of unreal, even for the Shaw Brothers epics that there is no danger. Worse so much of it is silly beyond words with so much wire work that that you are force to wonder why they even bothered to have floors to the sets. Unless you're a fan of one of the actors involved or you like bad costumes made of satin I'd take a pass.

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