Hou wang da zhan tian bing tian jiang (1979)

Monkey King With 72 Magic is another take on Journey to the West and as you may have learned this week, that means monsters against our hero Monkey King (Ting Wa-Chung). This one takes place before that, so you’ll learn how he was born from a large stone on the mythical Flower Fruit Mountain and tells how he led an army of other ape children.

The title refers to the 72 forms that Monkey King can transform into and you’ll see all of them — and one more because Yang Chien (Lung Siu Fei) knows 73 different arts — in a wild battle scene. There’s also a scene where the Monkey King transforms into the wackiest looking octopus ever. Thanks to Die Danger Die Die Kill, I now know that these effects come from Gozo Matsui who also made the gigantic reptilian menace in King of Snake.

Monkey goes to Heaven, steals some magical peaches and gets pursued by all manner of celestial avengers, including the wheels-on-magical feet adversary Na Cha (a male character played by female actress Liu Chuan Hua). Yes, this is a movie where a monkey goes absolutely wild and makes a mess out of Heaven and needs to be admonished by Buddha.

Taiwan, never change. I mean, you probably have changed a great deal since 1979, but I just saw a Wuxia puppet movie from there, Demigod: The Legend Begins and the art of making movie drugs martial arts fantasy movies with animal heroes and villains is still strong.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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