War God

Title: War God
Also Known As: Calamity / Zhan shen
Should be Known As: Guan Yu Vs. The Aliens
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, (Comedy)
Starring: Ming Lun Ku, Hsin Tang, Ling-ling Hsieh
Director: Hung Min Chen
Language: Taiwanese

Once again I have succeeded in plundering the depths of the unknown to emerge triumphant with a B-Movie classic to rank along side the infamous “Turkish Star Wars” in style; so cheap and hilariously awful that it makes the old Godzilla flicks look like a triumphant masterpiece of special effects; so poorly written that you wonder just what the writer was smoking when he came up with this idea (it was made in the 70s after all). In fact, the very premise of a film involving the legendary warrior of the Han Dynasty (China), Guan Yu, doing battle with Aliens was thought so ludicrous that it couldn't possibly actually exist. And yet, through the power of the internet, a more than 30 year old VHS rip with full subtitles has emerged to prove once and for all that not only was the film created, but created in style.

It spends some time setting up the final battle in the terms of plot; a scientist directing space research at a local R&D facility struggling to maintain the balance of his family. His mother having died a long time ago, he tries his best to look after his tearaway sister, spending her days going slightly over the speed limit on her scooter rather than studying, with little help from his father obsessed with finishing his perfect wood carving of the deity and war god Guan Yu. Four years in the making, conflicts emerge when our scientists faith in the research he is carrying out contrasts his fathers belief in Guan Yu and his willing to protect the citizens of Hong Kong, but when the Earth comes under attack by malicious aliens on a quest to demolish all technology, it soon falls onto the shoulders of the faithful to resurrect his warrior spirit and save the world from destruction.

Fortunately once this back story is set-up, the action really begins to take hold; armies of scientists wielding their latest inventions to battle the giant alien menace are quickly thwarted and the epic battle we all came to see gets under way, and constituting almost half the film, it is beyond any shadow of a doubt epic. The man/fly hybrid aliens emerging first, wreaking their havoc upon everything in their path, using their unusual weapons as they strut their stuff in Hong Kong, whacking random buildings and kicking others, demolishing them as though they were made of a cardboard, paper maché and polystyrene (errr...). Until the final twenty minutes when all hope is lost, a very dodgy looking Guan Yu finally arrives to stumble around with the aliens in their unwieldy outfits and make things explode out of context. In fact, Guan Yu seems better at demolishing the city than the aliens did, but that's beside the point; Guan Yu cares not for the citizens, only for battle and hitting things with the wrong end of his weapon to prolong the battle!

Half the subtitles may have been cut off and even when they aren't, the Chinglesh translations don't always make an awful lot of sense but that doesn't matter. It's freakin' Guanzilla – the Chinese answer to Godzilla – and you shouldn't be watching this expecting something deep and meaningful. I will never fall on the side that religion can triumph over science but the effects here are what makes everything so worthwhile. It's so poorly done that you can't help but roll over onto your side and wipe the tears from your eyes as you see the aliens pull some weird sort of bizarre disco moves; when they first exercise their power by teasing milkmen by making their bottles float and fall over; when you can see where the helmet has fitted on their bodies clear as day. With all the explosions that their lighter fluid will allow and bizarre nonsensical lightning and laser effects, this is a B-Movie Monster flick to rank up there with the best. So you thought you'd seen it all? I bet you ain't seen Guan Yu impale an alien with a block of flats!


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