Japan does not have the monopoly on giant monsters. Throughout the years, other Asian countries have contributed to the genre, notably Korea, Thailand, Honk Kong and Taiwan.
The surprising thing about these films is how they often recycle a religious or historical figure as the hero. Further examination, however, reveals that this is not so much a question of faith or folklore but rather one of economy: the central character is one for which costumes already exist and that audiences already identify with.
Thus, Thailand, for example, will match-up monkey god Hanuman with Ultraman and the Kamen Riders, the Thai Giant will be paired with Jumborg Ace in co-production deals of various levels of legality.
Taiwan chose to make the legendary general of The Three Kingdoms, Lord Guan into such a gigantic hero.
Who is Lord Guan? For most westerners, he guards the door of many a Chinese “all-you-can-eat” buffet. This warrants the following educational interlude.
It does make sense to make him the hero. Not only are the costumes available but so are the stage swordsmen, capable of wielding Guan’s battle axe with great artistry.
(Frankly, I think that’s a great idea and I’m trying to script one about a giant Easter Bunny that lobs chocolate eggs as a method of attack. It’s proving a very impractical idea as I keep eating the bunny’s arsenal.)
War God (a.k.a. Calamity) casts Guan as defender against a full fledged invasion by Martians.
Starting at around the mid-movie mark (45 minutes to be exact), these three gigantic denizens of the Warrior Planet start smashing everything in sight. Fortunately for humanity, “grampa” has been busy carving a big red faced likeness of Lord Guan which becomes gigantic and starts wielding that battle axe around like a gargantuan Bey Blade. (He also makes this bizarre buzzing sound as he fights.)
The calamity that ensues is jaw dropping and puts even Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel to shame. Buildings come crashing and overpasses full of model cars collapse with apocalyptic abandon. The filmmakers want to make sure we understand the gravity of the situation and pepper the carnage with shots of drivers crushed in their cars or office workers having the floor collapse from under them. Buildings turn to rubble. Rubble gets smashed to pebbles. Pebbles get crushed into sand. Sand becomes dust. It’s that final.
Everyone dies, but the important thing is we defeated the alien menace. Yay!
SPOILER ALERT: Everything is fine again. (!)
Just like that. Grampa resumes his sculpting and everything is just back to normal.
Has there been an ellipse during which all was rebuilt?
Did everything get fixed with a bat of Lord Guan’s eye?
Before we can even ask these questions, the movie is over.
Who cares how? The important thing is everything is fine again.
And thus begins your new mission in life: to tell everyone you know about this incredibly awesome epic.
Here it is in all of its faded glory. Originally a “scope” film (2.35:1 aspect ratio), this copy has it cropped at the sides to fit your 16:9 screens. This means that the “chinglish” subtitles are often missing the first and last words of a line. This only adds to the spice.
Pain Level: 8/10
Quality of Pain: Full combo with Egg Roll
Painjoyment™ Index: MAX