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Film / Buddha's Palm

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The movie is at least five times crazier than the poster.

Buddha's Palm is a 1982 wuxia-fantasy movie produced by Shaw Brothers, starring Derek Yee, Kara Wai, Candice Yu, Alex Man and Lo Lieh.

In the world of martial arts, an ancient warrior and assassin called the Flaming Cloud Devil / Firecloud Devil (Alex) was assumed to be dead after going on a rampage years ago. In the present, a young martial artist, Long Jian-fei (Derek), who was shamed after challenging his sworn rival, Ouyang Hao to a duel only to be defeated, attempts to throw himself off a cliff to his death, but was rescued by a winged Kirin, much to his annoyance (never mind that he just found out Kirins do exist...). But later he finds out the Kirin - named Da Meng - was the pet of the Flaming Cloud Devil, who now lives in an underground cavern, and decides to make Long Jian-Fei his disciple due to being the "lucky" person selected by his Kirin steed.

Schlocky and over-the-top as it is, Buddha's Palm still receives good reviews and is a box-office success that inspired the Shaws to follow-up with a series of similar, fantasy-themed period films in the early 80s, including Demon of the Lute, The Battle Wizard, Holy Flame of the Martial World and Descendant of the Sun. It was however eclipsed a year later by the Tsui Hark-directed megahit, Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain, which shares numerous visual elements with this movie.

Buddha's Palm contains examples of:

  • Acid Attack: The teenage guardian who forms half of the guardians duo carries a sac that ejects high-pressure acid that can melt people's faces, and tried using this weapon in his battle against Qiu Yu-Hua. He missed, only to drench an unlucky mook with acid.
  • Action Girl: The Qiu sisters, Qiu Yu-hua and Yu-Juan, are both capable fighters and martial artists.
  • Agony of the Feet: The Foot Monster, can enlarge his foot to perform a Giant Foot of Stomping on the heroes, but in the final battle Long Jian-fei managed to circumvent his stomp by stabbing Foot Monster's... foot with his Green Dragon blade. That turns out to be the Achilles' Heel which ultimately allows Foot Monster's defeat.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Yes, including Da Meng, the Kirin companion of Long Jian-fei.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Well, it is a film titled "Buddha's Palm", with said skill making the hands of those who practices indestructibe. Notably when Long Jian-fei fights Ouyang Hao, Long blocks Ouyang's sword with his palms and flings Ouyang aside while grabbing the blade!
  • Beam-O-War: The battle between Thunderbolt Devil and Foot Monster, both of them who can fire massive amounts of chi energy, where they then bombard each other with their chi (manifesting in shaped energy bolts; namely, Thunderbolt's chi takes the form of daggers, while Foot Monster's chi takes the form of glowing palms). Long Jian-fei and Ouyang Hao's rematch later in the film is carried out in the same way.
  • Big Bad: The villainous Foot Monster.
  • Blow You Away: Certain martial artists with chi in air manipulation can summon powerful gusts of air, notably Lord Dugu (who uses his powers to... destroy a latrine) and the Thunderbolt Devil.
  • Deadly Disc: Yu-Hua can combine a dozen throwing knives into a single, jagged-edged disc that homes into her targets.
  • Dueling Scar: Long Jian-fei gains a scar on his cheek after being bested in a duel against Ouyang Hao in the opening battle.
  • Egg MacGuffin: The one in this film is a magic golden egg that houses a powerful chi spirit.
  • Extendable Arms: A variant, the Foot Monster's primary powers are his extendable legs. He can also enlarge his foot to stomp his opponents flat.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Befitting the film's nature as a wuxia fantasy parody, the movie ends with the surviving heroes laughing while the defeated villain, Foot Monster, flees. Pantless.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The Flame Cloud Master wears one of these, made of bronze, in the latter half of the film.
  • Eye Scream: An offscreen version, with the Firecloud Devil having his right eye burnt out in his backstory. For most of the film, his right eye is visibly damage and scorched black.
  • Flechette Storm: Yu-Hua, during her duel against Ouyang Hao, flings a seemingly endless supply of throwing knives. And when it seems like she's running dry on knives, she actually combines a dozen remaining knives into a Deadly Disc that homes into her target.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: The Foot Monster in the climax attempts to take down the heroes by using his chi to enlarge his foot and stomp them down while he's high on a flagpole. He managed to defeat Master Du Gu, and inflict a mortal injury on him by stomping him flat.
  • Human Ladder: One of the many rival martial artists, called the guardians, whose members consist of an adult and a teenager working in tandem. The teenage fighter spends much of the fight seated on the adult's back while lashing out, and from his vantage point can launch ranged acid attacks.
  • In a Single Bound: Everyone, thanks to their chi and kung-fu skills.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Early in the film, Long Jian-fei throws himself off a cliff after becoming a wanted fugitive, only to be grabbed in mid-air by Da Meng, the Firecloud Devil's pet Kirin, who then carries him back up. Long, being an Ungrateful Bastard at this point of the film, chides the Kirin and prepares to jump again, only for the Kirin to bite his sash and pull him back.
  • Kirin: Da Meng, the pet and companion to Long Jian-fei and the heroes is a winged kirin that appears to have borrowed traits from Western griffin, including having eagle-like wings.
  • Laser Blade: Long Jian-fei wields the Green Dragon Sword, an energy weapon that glows upon being drawn from its sheath, which is blatantly ripped off from Star Wars, right down to having the same iconic lightsaber hum.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Both the guardians ends up dying this way after having their bodies overloaded with chi energy.
  • Macguffin Melee: The scuffle over the Golden Egg between Long Jian-fei and the hermit Du Gu. Subverted when Long accidentally drops the egg, which then releases the chi of a spirit living in it... that gets swallowed by Long's kirin pet Da Meng.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The band of masked assassins that battles Long Jian-fei early in the film.
  • Man Bites Man: Early in the film when Long Jian-fei confronts Ouyang Hao in a single duel, Long tries to bite Ouyang's wrists as a last-ditch attack. Doesn't work.
  • Naked People Are Funny: After the Foot Devil is defeated, for good measure Da Meng bits off his pants and leaves him butt-naked, while the heroes all laugh as the credits appear.
  • Off with His Head!: Ouyang Hao's fate, from Yu Hua's disc.
  • People in Rubber Suits: This is how Da Meng, the kirin, is portrayed, by two suit actors.
  • Power Glows: Martial artists imbued with the titular skill will have their chi emanating from their bodies, in the form of a powerful red aura enveloping them.
  • Power Palms: Well... the titular skill. It's an absurdly powerful chi blast emitted from the palms that even takes the form of light energy. Most characters can expel chi force through their palms at well, notably Long Jian-fei who clears a row of mooks coming at him up a flight of stairs by sending his chi to topple every single of them and send the mooks rolling down.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: The ancient Firecloud Devil, which was once The Dreaded in the Martial World, is assumed to be dead. But early in the film, after the hero Long Jian-fei botches his suicide attempt, he ends up in a cave and encounters the Firecloud Devil, who had been living as a hermit ever since his supposed death decades ago. It was here he decides to pass his knowledge in the titular Buddha's Palm to Long.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: The chi powers of kung-fu masters (and later in the film, Long Jian-fei the hero) which manifests themselves in the shape of daggers, lightning bolts, shurikens, hands, energy rings, etc.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted. Long Jian-fei, defeats one of the Masked Killers by throwing his sword into the target's gut, but the Masked Killer teleports away with his chi, so Long's sword impales a white cloak instead.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: The film ends with the Foot Monster fleeing after being defeated, but not before Da Meng chewed away his pants leaving him butt-naked.
  • Wuxia