Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain

(vt Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain; vt Zu: Warriors from the Mystic Mountain) Hong Kong movie (1982). Film Workshop. Pr Raymond Chow. Dir Tsui Hark. Spfx Robert Blalock, John Scheele, Arnie Wong. Starring Yuen Biao (Ti Ming-chi), Adam Cheng Siu-Chow (Master Ting), Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia (The Countess), Samo Hung Kam-Bo (Red Zu Warrior/Reverend Longbrows). 93 mins (HK cut)/98 mins (US cut). Colour.

A seminal historical-fantasy movie by an influential director, Zu deals with adult themes of war and personal responsibility against a background drawn from Chinese mythology and the wuxia martial-arts tradition. Notable for its spectacular mountainscapes and imaginative though low-budget spfx – which achieved much with silk streamers and coloured light – it was a landmark in the HK fantasy genre and has achieved cult status in the West. The slightly shambolic storyline moves through elaborately choreographed set-pieces of Magic and martial arts as a young soldier in haunted 2nd-century China gains a prideful Mentor (who later turns to Evil) and a Companion in a Quest for spiritual Swords which alone can defeat the "Blood Monster", temporarily held in check by Wizard Longbrows and his sky Mirror. A heavily emphasized moral is that, to win over Evil, agents of Good must act in perfect unison. Yuen Biao, Samo Hung and Brigitte Lin continue to be leading fantasy-action stars. [KLM/DRL]


  • The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Wuxia.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.