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Hong Kong, 1994 (MIFF 2003, Fu Fighters)

Director: Ringo Lam

"Someone gave bad seed director Ringo Lam many Hong Kong dollars to remake Burning of the Red Lotus Temple, an epic about popular character Fong Sai Yuk (see Fong Sai Yuk elsewhere in this section). Instead of Corey Yuen's feelgood romp of the year before, Lam served up this nightmare in which all that is good and righteous is shackled and left in chains until the meat rots off the bones. Welcome to the dark side of the fu.

"Fong Sai Yuk (Willie Chi) flees into the desert from the evil Red Lotus Sect. He fails to protect a runaway courtesan (Carman Lee), and both are dragged off to the depths of the death-trapped Red Lotus Temple, an underworld hell ruled by a madman who paints disturbing murals when he's not setting his thugs onto the prisoners for sport. The only Shaoiin master in the joint is hiding out on a mound of corpses and telling his followers to cut the crap, so it's up to our hero to search for salvation, even if it means detonating the Buddha himself.

"Overheated claustrophobia boils over with savage fight scenes; not since Das Boot will you so desperately long for daylight. God bless whoever bankrolled this hot and bloody masterpiece."—Mark Morrison

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