It is both a blessing and a curse when I come across a movie like this. Mainly because there is pretty much nothing like it.
Coming in hot from the iconic Shaw Brothers production house “The Boxer’s Omen” starts off as a typical martial arts film where the brother of our main character (Philip Ko) is crippled in a fight against a dirty fighting Thai boxer (Bolo Yeung). Enraged, he goes to Thailand to avenge his brother but find something much deeper when a series of strange visions brings him to a Buddhist temple.
Once there, he finds out that his life is linked to the life of a dead monk who was killed by an evil wizard before he could achieve immortality. In order to save both their lives he would have to become a monk himself and battle the forces of evil.
Now, to call this movie weird would not only be an understatement but it would be cliche. I have seen it floating around obscure lists saying it is one of if not the weirdest movies ever and it definitely is, but it also has another side that depicts enlightenment and the human nature which can be best seen in the main character, who even though goes through a lot of tests to become enlightened he is still human and makes mistakes and strays away from his path. I think that’s why I really loved him as a character and the movie itself.
What makes it feel different from the usual weird and over the top horror film was not only the dual themes of horror and philosophy (although not that expressed, you would have to dig a bit to find it) but the great soundtrack and fantastic shots like this:
I tried to look up what the symbol on the ground means but could not find anything that resembles it in Buddhism other than the swastika, and it is probably just that, a double swastika. The only symbol that I did recognize came later in the movie at the final fight and that was the Vajra (Seen below). There might be more and a deeper undertone that I did not understand which I probably could have looked up since my knowledge on Buddhism is just small, I have read 2-3 books max on it but there is no fun in that, I would rather find out by myself in the future.
An interesting observation that I had was that they use many of the similar “Scare tactics” that I have seen in movies and stories in my country. The typical ominous singing and loud sound effects with very heavy lighting (we usually do not make it that weird though) which made me think. Was this a common movie trope used before or just a coincidence? I was gonna review a Macedonian film that features just this but it is impossible to find unless you catch it on TV by having extreme luck. I like to refer to it as the “Macedonian witcher”. It is definitely effective though. I know that if I saw this movie when I was younger it would terrify me. Now, not so much but that does not make it any less enjoyable, I still loved every second of it.
Final verdict: 8/10