But it’s fairly obvious that the major selling point of The Eight Immortals was not the inculcation of national values, but a wacky, violent, special-effects driven fantasy. And the effects can get very, very weird. Miss Ho, the lone female immortal, at one point attacks the red demon with a giant peach, which opens up to reveal a huge pig’s head, which spits a dart out of its mouth. Iron-Crutch Li uses his crutch as a flamethrower. The demon-queen, fearing an immanent loss to the immortals and their army of angry peasants, lifts up her shirt and shoots poison gas from her belly-button.
The long and violent action sequence will probably be of most interest to the audience to whom Fusian tried to sell The Eight Immortals, and that audience will probably yawn for the first half of the movie, if not balk at all of the singing (and there is a lot of singing). But I actually quite liked the first half for all of its quaint whimsy and old-fashioned moralizing. The barely concealed political posturing is funny too, and if the action is sparse for the first half, the assault on the Demon King’s manor is a masterpiece of absurdity. The Eight Immortals is a fun movie in the same vein as the stupendously silly Monkey Goes West series from Shaw Brothers director Ho Meng-Hua.