Never heard of Hong Kong animated films? Here's why
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 10/23/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"You don't see a lot of animated films coming out of Hong Kong. You wouldn't want to, if Chinese Gods is any indication. I sort of know what happened plot-wise, but I can't say much of this film made a lick of sense to me. I don't want to speak too badly of the plot because I have no idea how much, if any, of what I saw here relates to Chinese mythology. The box cover claims that this film is "an animated recreation of a true story," but that's a pretty hard pill to swallow from where I sit. The setting is somewhere in long-ago China, and a certain ruler, influenced by a demon who looks surprisingly like Daphne from Scooby Doo, is trying his best to typify the stereotypical tyrant, starving his people, killing those who even think of being disloyal, etc.. The gods take a gander at what is going on down on earth and send an old man who may or may not be some sort of god down to do something about the problem. A bunch of the suffering people end up being taken up in a whirlwind and dropped in another region where peace reigns. The armies of both empires end up going to war (if you can call it that), with more and more demons and gods being drawn into the conflict. This sounds like fun, but it isn't. For one thing, some of the first gods to come down pretty much drop like flies, many to a really silly little magical imp. The good guys keep running away, the gods ponder some more, the bad ruler calls in reinforcements as the Four Kings of Evil, and the movie just keeps running; ninety minutes can be a very long time. The weird thing about the fighting is the fact that all these gods and demons can turn themselves into absolutely inane creatures, anything from a mouse to a really messed up dragon. At one point, the film takes on a Tweety and Sylvester quality. By this point, I barely knew who was who, and I certainly no longer cared. The ineffectual gods eventually have to call upon a pseudo-Bruce Lee to get the job done; he comes complete with far too many of Lee's animal-type sounds; this guy can't wash his hands without making silly noises. Did I mention all the gods can fly and/or scoot around on air-propelled clouds? The whole thing is just crazy, in my opinion, and the animation is far from impressive.I can't even say who the target audience for this film is supposed to be. The very basic animation and overall goofiness of the action would seem to appeal to kids, yet there are moments of cartoon violence exceeding that of what you might find in a children's cartoon. I watched this film because it offered hints of martial arts action, and I was curious to see what martial arts animation would look like. Answer: it doesn't look very good at all, especially when every fight scene is shown in slow motion and usually involves at least one silly-looking creature who invites ridicule rather than intimidation. If I had to choose between watching Chinese Gods again and Chinese water torture, I might just take the latter option."
Xuan | Chesapeake, VA USA | 06/14/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this cartoon when I was a little kid. I liked it then because I was a fan of Bruce Lee and a fan of cartoons. It's the only cartoon I know of with Bruce Lee in it (not his real voice). The quality is like a worn out tape, but at least it won't get worse."