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The Asian ApertureShaolin vs Evil Dead (2004)
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, June 5, 2011    Share

Horror and kung fu have been teamed up together for years like the Hammer and Shaw Brothers collaboration that resulted in the entertaining yet flawed Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974). There have been attacking zombies in Kung Fu Zombies (1982.) I have also seen dozens of Shaolin vs titles with my favorite one being Shaolin vs Wu Tang. Shaolin vs Evil Dead had a lot going for it with Gordon Liu, the legendary Shaw Brothers star, who was outstanding in 36 Chambers of Shaolin, The Shaolin Drunken Monk, and Challenge of the Masters. Liu had just finished up both Kill Bill movies and Shaolin vs Evil Dead would be his next movie.

The movie starts out with a rival clan attacking and killing almost everyone in a serene village. Two kung fu warriors try to help out by defending the village. The husband and wife team manages to drive out the attackers The wife is pregnant and is told by a local Shaolin monk that the child will grow up to be bad. This does not sit well with the pregnant lady who demands to have the child despite the monk's warning.

The husband begins teaching kung fu at a Shaolin Temple with the help of a young boy who must become a good friend and a brother to the young child who has been marked with an evil streak. Despite parental love and the kindness of the boy, the child does indeed grow up bad and becomes a greater problem when he finally becomes an adult. He starts trouble at a local restaurant, beats one of his students, and takes on several monks. His young friend is also now an adult, played by Gordon Liu, who is still trying to help out. When the elder monk passes on leadership to Liu, the bad son goes on a quest for power that takes him to a cemetery. Inside the cemetery he finds a sword that holds tremendous power. In one great effects shot, several swords appear in the air and fly at him, which he blocks with his sword. However, some swords hit him and stick inside his body, yet he does not die. Eventually he transforms into a kung fu fighting vampire with supernatural powers. He is able to command an army of vampire warriors that hop around like frogs.

Finally only Liu can save his friend's soul from eternal harm. If he can destroy the evil son in vampire form, then he can free his soul and save him. This is not an easy task as hopping vampires gang up on him.
A battle ensures that could have been better. It does not seem like much time was spent on choreography. This was an effects driven movie that didn't really pay off because the end fight scene was lame, a crime for all action movies.

Is Shaolin vs Evil Dead a total failure? Not really. The movie takes a long time to get to the end. The ending is very quick with no resolution. The fighting is not up to Gordon Liu's past work. The hopping vampires are laughable. There are no scary moments nor does anything interesting happen to any of the characters. However, the CGI effects are good and that is where the film's entire budget is. For a low budget movie, the hours spent on a computer designing the effects is truly an accomplishment. Still, Shaolin vs Evil Dead is just not an entertaining movie. For the one part that does work, many others fail, which moves this movie down to the status of unwatchable. It didn't even pass the time for a quick fun view that you could get from Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, (that is actually a better movie.) So don't waste your time because although not entirely bad, not something to sit through when there are better options in life.

Final Verdict
1 and a half out of 5 stars.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2011 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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