CATEGORIES HorrorWhat the hell was that?! I just watched the Boxer's Omen, wide awake and sober, but I feel like I've been snorting voodoo dust off of a Candyman mirror. Maybe it's my lack of knowledge of Buddhist folklore, or maybe the translations were botched in what few subtitles there were, but this had me trying to tether my sanity back to my skull. That's not necessarily and indictment, of course. Horror flicks can go a long way in my book when the tank is full of crazy. Evil Dead 2? Crazy. Re-Animator? Crazy.
But the Boxer's Omen? Well, the Shaw Brothers were swinging for the fences in the World Series of Crazy.
It tells the story of a narcissistic retired boxer, out for revenge after a muscled scumbag (Bolo Yeung, again being a jerk) crippled his brother during a Thai boxing match. While out on his hunt for justice, our hero falls in with a band of monks and finds out he's spiritually tied to an old wizard from a past life. He goes on something of a vision quest, reshaping himself from Iron Chef-haired kickboxer to spell-casting demon fighter. This opens the floodgates, drowning us in unbridled insanity for a solid 45 minutes.
Within that 45 minutes is a series of outlandish sequences. It was difficult to stitch them all together, which really handicapped the whole affair and kept it from even resembling a standard narrative. The viewer is continually inundated with all sorts of oddities, brought to life with the same gusto and believability that Ed Wood brought to the table. If you're familiar with the work of the Shaw Brothers, you might go into this expecting a horror twist on their tried and true kung fu formula. Surprisingly, the Boxer's Omen is light on the martial arts. Instead, it's a hallucinatory horror adventure, a candy colored fever dream set among some truly stunning Asian landmarks.
The level of bizarreness runs the risk of isolating the viewer. Admittedly, I'm not even sure how to review it. It's critic proof. After the first hour, I just let go and became swept up in it. I don't know what happened. I'm not even sure that the protagonist's quest for vengeance was successful, but I enjoyed the ride. I could spell out every little plot detail for you and it still wouldn't do justice to what unfolded on the screen. Instead, if your curiosity is piqued by corpses stuffed into disemboweled crocodiles, a man vomiting an eel, or hirsute eyeballs that crawl along and shoot lasers(!), then this is the flick for you.
You are not ready. Your pitiful, soft brain is not ready. You've never seen anything like this. Rent it now.