The Merits of Sin: Peacock King (1988) (Hong Kong/Japan)

The world is in the middle of a massive shit storm and barely anyone knows it. Luckily for us ignorant schlubs, the right people are hip to the score. Twin brothers separated in their youth have been training their whole lives and that training is about to come in mighty handy.

Not if they can help it

The holes of Hell are being opened (something I used to do for five bucks a pop in the alley behind the Dollar Tree™️) by two very different entities. The evil witch Raga and the Hell Virgin Ashura have begun unlocking said holes and if they complete their task of getting all four opened, the awful Hell King will be freed from his thousand year prison. Raga is loyal to a fault and is taking great pleasure in the oncoming horror but Ashura is still a kid at heart and there may be some space yet for salvation…if the right hero were to come along.

The Right Hero

Peacock (who has traveled the world and appreciates fun as much as justice) and Lucky Fruit (who has never left his dojo and has a very black and white view of the old good and evil debate) cross each others path at a department store in Tokyo and the site of one of those four holes. After an exorcism leaves some dinosaur statues destroyed, the store manager dead and the second hole wide open, a pretty employee sees herself out of work and decides: “what the hell? I’ll join up with these two and stop the approaching evil.”

Power Trio

It’s off to Hong Kong to prevent a third hole from opening (they fail) and some chaos at a carnival. Peacock comes to see there is a bit of innocence within Ashura and wants to do all he can to save her from the unfair destiny the Hell King has set up for her. Added on to the supernatural issues our trio of heroes are up against, a platoon of the Hell King’s warriors have joined the hunt. They’ll get some assistance when their masters offer their support but when that final hole is unsealed it will be up to the two brothers to take down the towering Hell King.

Stop being dramatic

Claymation beasties and nonstop adventure make for one hell of a viewing experience. There’s not much time to breath but you’ll be too invested in the action to really notice. Does it make sense? Of course it doesn’t! If your looking for sensical storytelling you should probably stay away from HK fantasy of this vintage. In place of solid scripting you’ll get fireballs being shot of the cute Hell Virgin’s eyeballs, cute little beasties popping up out of nowhere, everything exploding, the monstrous (and wonderful) transformation of Raga into a toothy faced nightmare with extendable claws and a lovable group of heroes that you never root against. Sit back and have some fun with the spectacle playing out before you! 9/10

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