Heaven & Hell
"...one of Chang Cheh's most interesting yet excruciating films to watch".
- Mighty Peking Man
Heaven & Hell (1978)
AKA: Heaven & Hell Gate; Shaolin Hell Gate
Director: Chang Cheh
Writer: Yi Kuang, Chang Cheh, Chou Lang
Producer: Sir Run Run Shaw, Mona Fong
Cast: David Chiang, Alexander Fu Sheng, Maggie Lee (Lam Lam, Maggie Li Lin-Lin), Jenny Tseng, Lee I Min (Lee Ngai-Man), Lam Jan Kei (Lin Chen-Chi), Phillip Kwok, Chiang Sheng, Lo Meng, Kong Do, Goo Goon Chung, Johnny Wang (Lung Wei), Sun Chien, Chan Shen
Running Time: 88 min.
Plot: See review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: If you don't think drugs have done good things for us then do me a favour: go home tonight and take all of your VHS tapes and DVDs and burn them... because all those Hong Kong directors who made all those great movies that enhanced your lives throughout the years? Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreal fucking high on drugs.
Chang Cheh was so fucking high he directed a movie called "Heaven & Hell."
According to Shaw Brothers' historian Joe909, "Heaven & Hell" was made on and off throughout the 1970s. This was supposedly done because of issues regarding Chang Cheh's budget problems. As a result, it caused the movie to be disjointed, uneven, and choppy. Not only that, some of the film's main credited stars (like David Chiang and Alexander Fu Sheng) have, what appear to be crucial roles but their screen time only last minutes.
The plot of "Heaven & Hell" is a lot more interesting on text than it is on film. A guard of Heaven, named Xin Ling (Lee I-min), is banished to Earth, because he let an eloped couple off the hook (the couple, which we never see again, are played by David Chiang and Maggie Lee). When Xin Ling becomes reincarnated as a taxi driver on Earth, he is immediately sent to Hell for killing a gangster while defending yet another couple (and like the previous couple, we will never see this couple again, are played by Alexander Fu Sheng and Jenny Tseng).
Xin Ling, now in Hell, decides he wants to try and escape Satan's stronghold. He befriends a Go Go Yubari look alike named Red Dress (Lam Jan-kei), who, for some odd reason, was sent to Hell for getting high and thinking she can fly. The two manage to get to the City of Lost Souls where they meet some of the well-known Venoms (Phillip Kwok, Lo Meng, Sun Chien, and Chiang Sheng). From that point onwards, Xin Ling and Red Dress team up with them and together, they fight off an array of Hell's warriors.
Although this film is shit, it's also gold at the time same time. One minute, it's a high school musical, the next minute fingers are chopped, people are skinned, and Venoms are fighting off mutated humans that look like they came from a future Tsui Hark film. "Heaven & Hell" may be pure corn and camp but visually; it's a trip.
If you're in it just for the action, you'll be pleased with "Heaven & Hell," but as an overall film, it's without a doubt, one of Chang Cheh's most interesting yet excruciating films to watch.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 5/10