The Black Lizard (1981)

Directed by
Production line Chor Yuen
Reviewed by Simon on 2007-05-02

Derek Yee gets married, then the next day goes off on a three year mission to deliver something to the capital. Two years later a mysterious figure calling himself Visitor From Hell appears and tells him to head home because his wife is going to be killed. He gets back and discovers mysterious things have happened whilst he was away, and the place is apparently now haunted. He decides to get to the bottom of the situation and hopefully thereby stop his wife being killed.

Actually I'm not sure the story makes nearly that much sense, but that's what I picked out of it - for at least the first half of the film it's not at all clear what's supposed to be going on! Chor Yuen was rarely at his best when he wrote his own scripts, and this isn't even one of his best. It does get more interesting towards the end when it stops being quite so weird and starts answering questions, and the conclusion is fairly satisfying..

Outside the story, it's by the book Chor Yuen wuxia. Gorgeous sets and costumes, though he had started relying too much on smoke and coloured lights for atmosphere by this point (and overusing them). The cinematography has his typical style, and the action scenes are not particularly thrilling or imaginative.

The film isn't exactly bad, but it doesn't really add much to the many wu xia films Chor Yuen had already made - it can comfortably be skipped if you're not a huge fan of those films.


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