Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Na Cha The Great (Na Zha, 1974)

This review post is dedicated to another Shaw Brothers flick, one that dips into Chinese mythology, "Na Cha The Great" with treasured Hong Kong idol Alexander Fu Sheng in the title role. This is one of the vehicles that saw Fu Sheng rise in stardom and earn a big share of Shaw's profits in the mid 1970's.

The basic story is a re-telling of how the ancient Chinese deity Na Cha came into existence. Na Cha(Fu Sheng) is the mischievous, irreverent son of a major warlord in the heavens who likes to sneak out of his Taoist lessons and roam the earth among the humans. At first, he's unaware of the people's suffering under corrupt rule and the heinous deeds of other gods, mainly two nephews of Lord Ao-Guang, king of the seas. When Na Cha finally has had enough of the injustice, he takes action and kills the two evil gods. Unfortunately, Ao-Guang is outraged and threatens to destroy the village and townspeople Na Cha has befriended unless Na Cha takes his own life as penance. Na Cha does so and is revered as a real hero. He also becomes reborn as a god of justice, complete with the Fire Wheel to fight not only Ao-Guang, but his own father.

"Na Cha The Great" overall is a decent flick, not a particularly standout one. For a noble god in the making, Na cha seems to be a straight up stumblebum. Some of the special effects can be a bit cheesy, like the fight beneath the ocean. You can tell they shot that in front of some gigantic lobster tank somewhere. The plot is uneven, and the storytelling is sparse. Chang Cheh was concerned about the action, and that is part of the movie's saving grace. Fu Sheng's fight scenes are crisp, and the final fights he has are epic. The special effects as far as his Fire Spade and Flying wheels will get you hyped. 'Na Cha The Great' isn't really a must see, but one you should check if you're an Alexander Fu Sheng fan.

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