One of the recent results of changing cable packages-- basically what I suspect was the customer service person's attempt to avoid the household cancelling both phone and cable due to the cost-- is that somehow, for the next twelve months, there is access to a wide range of streaming video through both the Internet and the TV (very exciting).
I've just really started figuring it out-- for one thing, it's a sub-category in the "hey, want to pay us to watch current movies?" menu on the TV, which means that it is a bit hard to find."
It's also kind of.... let's just go with "eclectic" in terms of the movies that are available. Nothing absolutely current, of course, a probably-not-too-surprising amount of "what can we put on while the kids need entertaining" sorts of programs, I think they do theme months and then...just... whatever.
So, I was poking around for something to have on while dealing with grading (ugh), and came across a fairly recent Vaguely Fantasy-Historical Martial Arts Action film called "The Storm Warriors," which was apparently a) based on a graphic novel and b) the sequel to an earlier picture.
Me: Hey, this looks like it could be interesting, and possibly inadvertently hilarious!
Movie: You're assuming it's going to .
I really should just assume that anything where the villain's name is "Lord Godless" is just not aiming for a high level of logic. Granted, a large part of that is obviously translation from Chinese to English, but just the fact that you have a name you can translate into "Lord Godless" says certain things about the quality of the upcoming entertainment. Mostly it says, "Well, this is going to be fairly bonkers."
At the outset, Lord Godless and Co. (mostly his son) have captured a) the Emperor of China, b) the Emperor's family, and c) pretty much all of the martial artists of China, except for the ones that are at the assorted kung fu temples.
The captured martial artists are offered the usual "join me or die" speech, they choose
The greatest martial arts hero in all the land, Nameless (this is the second film where the greatest martial arts hero/sword-fighter in all of China has been called "Nameless," and I would really like to know if it's actually the same word written with the same characters and if it's some kind of traditional heroic name or what), almost manages to at least get past the ridiculous armor, but fails.
Nameless: People keep trying to invade China, but it WILL NEVER HAPPEN!
Mongols and Manchu: *stand over to the side with raised eyebrows*
Cloud and Wind, our intrepid heroic partner boys, manage to escape, with Nameless (very injured) and Random Female Martial Artist. I eventually learned that her name is Chu Chu; she seems to be a character from the first film, where I hope she got to be more competent than she does here.
(Seriously; this was a film that had tons of scope for heroic female fighters, and totally failed.)
Cloud, Wind, Nameless, Chu Chu, Piggy (from "Journey to the West"? No idea, but probably at least a reference), and a servant/helper of Nameless who looks much like a mummy or kappa or mummified kappa or something convene around a fire and Nameless declares that Cloud and Wind should go to Lord Wicked (....) to get more training (Given that "Lord Wicked" has been used at least once as a romance hero nickname, that could have gone in some very weird directions). Everybody else is supposed to go be a confusing distraction for Lord Godless (not a romance hero nickname), except nobody seems to actually go BE a confusing distraction, and Lord Godless is meanwhile sending his son around beating up kung fu temples.
Lord Wicked is not at all interested in helping Our Intrepid Partner Bros, until Second Dream, the daughter of the Knife King, shows up and essentially requests/annoys him into at least throwing rocks at people and then coming out.
Lord Wicked's appearance clearly shocks everybody, and he explains that he had thought that he could control the evil spirit that was the source of his power, but he couldn't, and he ended up basically slaughtering the heck out of everybody until he eventually decided he didn't want to keep murdering the innocent right and left and cut off both of his own arms.
Cloud, Wind, Chu Chu, Second Dream, and Piggy: ...
Lord Wicked: I know that you want additional training so that you can defeat Lord Godless, the evil Japanese invader who wants to conquer China.
Me: Wait, he's from where, now?
Lord Wicked: Unfortunately, there is no good way for you to level up the way that you need to in time for you to stop him.
Cloud and Wind: :-(
Lord Wicked: However, there is an EVIL way!
Cloud and Wind: ...
Turns out that they can get more powerful super-quickly if they go through Evil Training in the Pool of Evil. But Lord Wicked will only let Wind do this, because he caught the stones that Lord Wicked threw without breaking them, whereas Cloud broke them, indicating that he is more likely to go totally off the deep end due to evil spirits if he tried that route.
Cloud is so bummed that he won't get the evil training that he goes and sulks, and when Chu Chu tries to give him a handkerchief that she embroidered his name and a cute little cloud on, he hands it right back.
Chu Chu: ... I understand. I won't bother you again.
He will, however, take the lunch she brought.
Cloud promises Wind that he'll kill him if he gets too evil; Wind and Second Dream have what appears to be their first in-person meeting although they spent the first film writing letters to each other. I think.
Cloud gets summoned by Nameless, which turns out to be for passing down of secret techniques and developing an entirely new sword school (which gets named "Cloud Sword," because Nameless invents and entirely new word for the new school; meanwhile, I am having random weird FFVII moments every time Cloud or his sword style get mentioned by name). Lord Godless, who is working with the inevitable Evil Court Eunuch, is trying to find his way to the Dragon Tomb to get an artifact that is sometimes called the "Dragon Root" and sometimes called the "Dragon Bone" and which turns out to be some kind of mystical spinal cord (I don't even know) that holds the destiny of China.
While he's doing that, he takes a moment to send a horde of evil ninja (or possibly evil Kabuki actors; they are all wearing hannya masks) to attack everybody at Lord Wicked's place. Second Dream proves that her main martial arts skill is getting almost killed while having one single picturesque trail of blood at the corner of her mouth. Wind interupts his Evil Training of Evil to save her, and proceeds to slaughter all the bad guys before vanishing.
Lord Wicked: He interrupted his training! That means he is moving around in kind of a fugue state and Probably Evil. But he can be awakened. I think. Probably. Before he goes full evil.
Surprisingly, Lord Godless is defeated relatively quickly, although Wind shows a tendency to attack ANYBODY and ends up scampering off with the mystical spinal cord of destiny. So of course the Emperor orders his soldiers to find and arrest him, because that always goes well.
In the ensuing struggle, while Second Dream is trying to talk him down, Lord Godless' son and a random soldier manage to.... break the spinal cord of destiny. Which is then never referred to again. Seriously-- much of this film's plot was about how important it was, and how crucial, and now apparently it is both broken and half in the hands of the evil invader's equally-evil son.
The important thing, however, is for Cloud to try to talk Wind down from being evil. It does not go so well. Second Dream, also having no luck; Chu Chu pleads with him/yells at him to remember who he is, and... yeah, she ends up getting killed. Her tragic death (did I mention the extent to which potentially fascinating female characters got dreadfully mis-used) finally snaps Cloud out of his original focus on rescuing his friend... which is what allows him to attack in a strong enough fashion that it smacks the evil right out of his friend.
And then the cliff they are fighting on collapses, because it's been through a lot at this point.
Cloud jumps off of the cliff, which I was sure was going to lead to him working with Wind to save Second Dream... but which actually leads to Cloud saving both of the other two at the apparent expense of his own life (he seems to have felt really, really guilty about returning Chu Chu's handkerchief.
And we end on a scene of anguished confusion from Wind at his continued survival.
The only thing that makes some kind of sense is that they are hoping for a trilogy, and deliberately left giant plotholes you could carry Lord Godless' ridiculous dragon-headed litter through.