Lͮa (1986)
Mr. Vampire Part 2


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 11/05/2012

A group of body snatchers come across a Qing Dynasty tomb in a cave, where a whole family have been interred. They note that the bodies are unusually well preserved, and conclude that this means they will fetch a good price. They take them back to their headquarters... failing to appreciate the signficance of the talismans attached to the corpses until it's too late.

The corpses come back to life (you knew that from the title of the film, right?), and the young boy gyonsi gets separated from his dead parents, hiding out in the greenhouse of Wu Fung's family - where his daughter naturally mistakes him for an illegal immigrant. Then it all gets very E.T. for a while, before finally Mr. Vampire himself, Lam Ching-Ying, gets involved and things proceed slightly more as we had been expecting them to.

The gyonsi genre is pretty simple... you take some hopping vampires, season with a blend of comedy and action, and basically let it play out. It's quite hard to get wrong, which is probably why there are so many films which follow the formula. The original MR. VAMPIRE is of course the film that defined the genre, but the first sequel is definitely a misstep. There's really only one way to blow the formula: try to give your vampires a personality. I suppose we can give MR. VAMPIRE II a little leeway for having been the first film to commit this error... but just a little.

One thing your Gyonsi film definitely does not need is a cute vampire kid (zombie foetuses are of course fine in any film). It may have been the eighties, and everybody was still glowing warmly at the memory of E.T., but trying to apply the same formula to hopping vampires was just a bad idea. A huge portion of the film is basically blown on scenes of Wu Fung's kids having a great time with their new undead buddy and his magical powers. Please! Even the parents end up having personalities forced upon them... sorry, but if your marital strife hasn't been resolved by the time you're dead then it's time to move on. Vampires, especially hopping ones, should be alien and mysterious, an implacable foe driven purely by bloodlust. When you're working harder at generating sympathy for the vampires than the humans, it's time to rethink your script.

As with the original, MR. VAMPIRE II is a bit of a genre mashup, dwelling mainly on comedy so that sometimes it feels like a bit of a sketch show. Unfortunately, much of the comedy is delegated to Billy Lau... possibly in the mistaken impression that he isn't incredibly annoying. Also annoying is the fact that Lam Ching-Ying doesn't even show up until 40 minutes into the film - though Chung Faat's presence before then is a small consolation. Upgrading Chin Siu-Ho to Yuen Biao was probably a good idea though.

The film makes some other nasty mistakes... the 'Retardant Gas' scene is hilarious for about a minute, but unfortunately it goes on for at least a million years (or seems to). Too much of a good thing is [i]sometimes[/i] an even better thing, but in most cases it is not, and in this case it is most assuredly a bad thing - ruining what should have been the best part of the film by dragging it on until it has made us thoroughly sick of it.

In the end, the best part of the film is when James Tien asks Lam Ching-Ying what qualifications he has for tackling the vampires, and he reels off a list of his relevant movie appearances. A good gag that isn't drawn out until it ceases to be funny. The action scenes liven things up at times too, though there's a distinct shortness of the cool Taoist rituals that are supposed to be mainstay of the genre.

Conclusion: watchable, but definitely a disappointing sequel.

http://www.the14amazons.co.uk/Movie.aspx?movie=1129

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 08/19/2009
Summary: Wasted effort

A very disappointing movie, especially given the cast involved. There are some glimpses of goodness present, but for the most part, the viewer is hammered with crud like a montage involving an annoying kid vampire backed by a terribly sickly-sweet song. Even die-hard "vampire buster" fans would be hard-pressed to actually sit through this one.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 01/18/2009
Summary: Not so great

A team of explorers lead by Professor Kwok (Chung Faat) discover a cave containing the perfectly preserved antique corpses of a family – father, mother and child. The corpses all have Taoist spells attached to their foreheads, and upon removal the hapless adventurers discover that the corpses are hopping undead creatures intent on causing mayhem upon the living. Medicine man Lam Ching-Ying (Lam Ching-Ying, in a masterstroke of casting) may hold the key to eradicating the menace before it spreads further with each infected bite.

Have you ever had the movie experience where, before you see a film, everybody says it’s such a complete piece of crap that when you finally get around to watching it you’re left thinking it wasn’t so bad after all? That was the kind of reaction I had when I first saw MR VAMPIRE II about ten years ago when it was shown on Channel 4 over here. However, watching it now for a second time, I can kind of see what everyone was talking about.

The problem mainly lies in the inescapable fact that nearly every scene goes on too long, and yet the whole film is well under 90 minutes in length. In particular a scene where Yuen Biao fights the parent vampires while under the effect of a sedative seems to go on forever. Similarly, the section where the child vampire is befriended by a regular family is overlong and the children end up being more annoying than cute, even though the inclusion of a pair of overweight children who aren’t simply there for comedy value is a bit of an innovation.

It is also a bit of a head-scratcher why Yuen Biao and Lam Ching-Ying aren’t introduced earlier, as they are undoubtedly the main attraction for the film. They both appear at about the 35 minute mark, which is way too long to wait when the rest of the material isn’t too strong. Actually, no one really ends up with a lot of screen time on this one for some reason, and it’s possible for completely forget that some people are in it at all (I’m thinking Moon Lee here, who is particularly underused). The shifting of the setting to modern day Hong Kong in this instalment isn’t as disastrous to the film as you might think, but it has to be said that the ties to the undisputed classic that is MR VAMPIRRE are quite tenuous.

It is perhaps to be applauded that producer Sammo Hung didn’t simply trot out a carbon copy of the original and instead tried to experiment with the formula. There are positives: there are a few great gags (and call me sick, but I really enjoyed seeing Moon Lee get hit in the face with a hammer), a couple of decent setpieces and a little bit of atmosphere. But is any of it scary? I’d say a bit fat no on this. Mind you, I didn’t find any of the first one scary, but when it was as entertaining as it was you can overlook things like that. I also didn’t like the obvious “gross out” moments at the start of the film such as the gutting of a real snake – I thought they were really cheap shocks with no entertainment value.

One aspect of the film which I found quite surprising is that the movie ends up being quite critical of human society. We are eventually left empathising with the monsters and the shift from human as protagonist to antagonist is handled with a subtlety wasted on such a project as this, but it’s nice to know someone was at least thinking outside the box a little.

MR VAMPIRE II has a bad reputation, and that reputation is sadly quite justified, even taking into account that the original was such a tough act to follow. Nevertheless, it is not a complete waste of time and there are a couple of entertaining moments. My recommendation: see it once and then stick a yellow strip of paper on it with a Taoist spell written on the front to stop it from hopping into your DVD player again.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 08/02/2005
Summary: This vampire movie sucks

The review by ipkevin below is very accurate.

Yuen Biao is wasted; in fact, in his principle action scene, fighting two vampires, all three inhale a chemical that causes them to go into slow motion. Yuen Biao in a slow motion fight scene; it's a crime against the viewer.

This movie is uninspired, unfunny, and just bad; be warned.


Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/11/2004
Summary: sequel falls flat

Out on DVD, this film brings Taoist vampire hunter Lam Ching Ying into modern times with Yuen Biao as his sidekick. Plot revolves around a family of 19th century vampires on the loose in 1986 Hong Kong. The vampire kid gets separted from its parents. Some Hong Kong kids find him and think he is a Viet Nam refugee. They befriend the vampire and try to hide him from their dad which makes for some good comedy. The rest of the sequel falls flat, not up the standard set in the first film. Still it's worth a look to see Lam in action with Yuen.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: ButterflyMurders
Date: 06/09/2002
Summary: Mr Vampire: Hopping In The Wrong Direction

Preparing the altar:

While on an expedition, antique hunter/professor Chung Faat and his two assistants (Billy Lau, and the other guy) discover to their amazement not one, but three fully intact corpses-a man, a woman and a child-from the medieval period. Rubbing their hands in anticipatory glee at the gold vein they have just struck, they load the corpses into the van and drive home.

Lam Ching-Ying is a taoist priest. His cousin Yuen Biao is a reporter who has a girlfriend, Moon Lee.

Meanwhile the vampires are reanimated and after causing havoc at Chung Faat's base, escape into modern Hong Kong. The child vampire finds himself at Wu Fung's house, where after being mistaken for an Vietmanese asylum seeker by the kids becomes their playmate.

Burn the incence papers!:

Here, for me, is an example of a film that doesn't quite know what it wants to be. On the one hand, it's all very camp and goofy, and it wants to be a comedy. On the other hand, it also wants to address more serious concerns, such as asylum seekers in Vietnam and alienation. It's laudable that the scriptwriters (Barry Wong, along with Wu Ma and others) wanted to inject some social commentary into 'Mr Vampire II', but unfortunately they forgot to integrate the two sides properly. The end result is an uneven, unfocused and messy film that is frustrating to watch. And that's the major flaw.

Now, for the pluses. The kid vampire is adorable. The reaction he receives from the kids is cute to watch. Look how they dressed him up, in the sunglasses and hat. Awww.

Plus two. Lam Ching-Ying and a great sentence near the end of the film, where he mentions 'Close Encounters Of The Spooky Kind' and 'The Dead And The Deadly'. Very cool.

Plus three. The most amusing moment of the film for me was after a slowing powder is accidently released in the Professor's house during vampire vs humans battle, and everyone goes into s-l-o-w....m-o-t-i-o-n. It's hilarious.

Apart from that, this movie not very amusing, although it tries to make you laugh. I didn't find most of the intended comic scenes funny, because they were a little too lame and dumbed down. Really, a lot of it felt like it was aimed at the younger market, and assumed its audience would not be too bright.

Overall, by far the weakest in the series. 4/10


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/05/2001
Summary: Ummm..........

Not as good as the first and this has a modern timeline to the movie. Everyone does well, with a few laughs and action but it's only average!!

6/10


Reviewed by: ipkevin
Date: 11/26/2000
Summary: Disappointing sequel

A sequel to the classic Mr. Vampire, Mr. Vampire 2 tries to spice things up by moving the setting from ancient China to modern-day Hong Kong and including a whole family of bloodsuckers. Unfortunately, the execution is mediocre at best. This film is unrelentingly stupid and none too thrilling. Prospective viewers should prepare themselves for unfunny slapstick and facial mugging that would embarrass Jackie Chan, combined with shameless pandering by way of a cute little vampire boy. The latter scenes are especially annoying. Inevitably, the little vampire comes into contact with a fat little brother & sister team who confuse him for an illegal Chinese immigrant. Of course, the kids are dubbed with the distinct and massively irritating "pouty dumb child" voice that is the norm in Hong Kong films.

The action scenes aren't much better. Despite the presence of Yuen Biao filling in for Chin Siu Ho, there aren't any great feats of athleticism or martial arts. Indeed, the close quarters "evade the vampire" scenes in this film suffer in comparison to similar scenes in the original. There's little of the inventive choreography from the first film and certainly none of the acrobatics. The movie comes to life in fits and starts, with only a few early scenes and the climax coming close to the excitement of the first film. Oh, and what's with the dangling plotlines?

Bottomline, Mr. Vampire 2 is worth a watch for fans of the series, but it's nothing you'll want to search out and own on tape or disc.