It could be said that Chinese Magic lives up to its name, in that it provides, through its action, a fairly comprehensive catalog of all of those elements drawn from Chinese folklore and the like that a Taiwanese film purporting to depict Taoist magic might comprise. We have lots of wire assisted flying -- sometimes while seated in the lotus position and sometimes not -- , ghosts, fighters being paralyzed by having little pieces of parchment affixed to their limbs, a creepy little talking frog, voodoo dolls, mystical weapons, cartoon magic auras, people turning into pigs, and the “paper troops”, crude paper cutouts that, when thrown, transform into a quartet of kung fu zombies in head-to-toe body stockings. The film also seems to be attempting to incorporate into the conventions of the typical Taiwanese fantasy martial arts film elements of the Shaw Brothers’ at-the-time successful, and considerably nastier, black magic films, as evidenced by the “Devil Baby”, which is essentially a spontaneously birthed (think Alien) malevolent flying fetus.
Hey, we totally just did it. Yes!
guys in rubber monster suits, the movie has everything you could hope to expect from a Taiwanese weird fu film, Paper Troops, creepy talking frog, Devil Baby, and all. Not to mention that one of its climactic moments involves someone throwing a jar of menstrual blood at the bad guy. Now that really is magical.