1981, John Woo

THWTD stars Hong Kong 1980s comedy mainstay, Ricky Hui as Bruce. Bruce is a lovesick songwriter, conman and aspiring pop star who also happens to be in love with the fickle, Peggy. The unscrupulous management of an evil pop star called Rocky manage to steal one of Bruce’s songs and make it into a hit single for Rocky, resulting in Bruce becoming disillusioned, thus making a deal with an agent of the Devil to see all his own wildest and selfish dreams come true. This agent of the Devil is in conflict with a drunkard reverend who died in an unfunny toilet-flushing accident. The both of them are after Bruce’s soul, the Devil’s agent to collect it for the Devil himself and the reverend who wants Bruce to follow the path of enlightenment or whatever.

I think I saw William Shatner fight this guy once

What we have is pretty much a Hong Kong version of Bedazzled, with a Devil who looks like an uninspired 1960s sci-fi villain and possibly the most offensive portrayal of God (to people who are into that sort of thing) in a movie, being that they seemed to get just some bung-eyed weirdo white guy to play him. From what I hear, in Hong Kong movies when they need “gweilos” they just send someone by the nearest hostel and see if there are any whiteys there willing to be in a movie for a hundred bucks. This appears the case with whoever they got to play God. Especially considering finding white guys with facial hair who think they’re God is hardly a difficult thing to do in your average hostel.

The face of God or a poor man’s Donald Sutherland?

This little movie features suicide comedy, irritating sight gags, fast-motion bits, jump-cut “special effects”, and a healthy whack of casual misogyny. And yet somehow I didn’t find it funny. I must be getting jaded in my old age. To finish I will offer you a quote by Thomas Weisser, from his book Asian Cult Cinema, in regard to THWTD.

“Certainly not one of John Woo’s best. Reportedly he has said “The special effects were great, but the drama was hopeless”. At least he was half right”

Nice burn, Thomas. Still I’d much rather watch this a hundred times than ever endure Red Cliff again.

Enjoy this clip from the tedious finale of THWTD