Opens with the story of a flower on a snowy peak that can cure illness and restore youth – I’ve heard this one before… Green Snake? The Spine of Night?

A hazy, gauzy, unexpectedly hot movie with some Ashes of Time slo-blur-mo in the action. I don’t usually know what is happening but I had a good time. Sensitive Leslie Cheung is told that he has to be fierce and brutal. His main girl Brigitte Lin doesn’t even get white hair until the last ten minutes, after which she immediately kills every other woman in the movie.

Campy from the opening scene, a police evidence locker with Freddy/Jason/Michael artifacts in view. Humor isn’t always what we want from horror sequels, but this murderer-possessed-doll franchise had worn itself thin by part three. Creator Don Mancini didn’t even bring on new writers (not credited ones, anyway), just a director (Ronny of The Bride with White Hair) and actor (Jenny Tilly of Bound) who could bring this thing over the edge. There’s more visual interest over the opening credits than in entire Branagh movie (good music, too).

Tilly is the pre-doll Chucky’s badass girl, who is friends with fake-goth Alexis Arquette (a Patricia/Rosanna sibling) and neighbors with a young dude named Jesse, who is dating Katherine Heigl (whose cop dad is John Ritter), also friends with Nickelodeon kid David. This provides a steady stream of dupes and victims as the central story progresses: Tilly and Chucky’s reunion, betrayal, her death by electrocution watching Bride of Frankenstein in the tub (yes this is the third in my Frankenstein triple feature) and ensuing dollification.

Further references to Hellraiser (arguably, when John Ritter catches a car airbag full o’ nails) and Natural Born Killers. A couple of swingers die via the shattered ceiling mirror trick from A Very Long Engagement (but six years earlier and on a waterbed). One of the Hocus Pocus witches plays a hotel maid. “Kiss my shiny plastic butt” a year before Futurama premiered. The dolls die as usual: “We belong dead… goodbye darling, I’ll see you in hell.”

Ronny Yu’s entry is my first dip into Fear Itself, aka Masters of Horror season 3. As before, I’m counting them as movies even though they’re obviously not. Don’t know if I’ll be watching more of these until either the promised uncut DVDs come out, or it becomes apparent that they never will. Yu, who brought the Freddy, Jason AND Chucky series to new heights (but whose Jet Li retirement film was so bad, Jet Li had to cancel his retirement) brings no style at all to this slightly gruesome but otherwise standard twilight-zoney story.

A guy from Tigerland and the new Star Trek is a bad criminal who murders families, and a guy from some show called Eureka is the perfect church-going dad, then as they both lay dying in a hospital, they switch bodies and our good dad is in prison being tried for the death penalty while the bad guy is trying to deal with work and family.


Written by a guy who did some Carnivàle episodes. Not really a horror story, just an identity-swap thing with a twist ending: dad escapes from prison, there’s a fight, they switch back into their real bodies, but the criminal has murdered dad’s family as dad, so now dad will go back to prison, haha. John Landis’s season-two Family beats this by a mile. This ep was an okay time-waster, not worth watching again on the DVDs… can’t imagine what would’ve been cut out.

Katy watched with me! Unfortunately we agreed that it was not too great a movie. Jet Li spends far too long being an unlikeable jerk, and only after his behavior leads to the death of his wife and kid does he shape up. Then after spending years in exile farming with a blind girl, Jet comes back to town just in time to defend China’s honor in a symbolic match against four foreign competitors, during which he is poisoned to death. Good sportsmanship beats personal triumph, and China is respected in the world again. This all ends one year before the 1911 Revolution which ended the last imperial dynasty.

Anyway yeah, your standard action movie with the quick cuts and the pretty pictures and the fast fights and the tragic deaths and the not worth watching again.