"Mr. Vampire" is a movie for people tired of angsty, gorgeous vampires with thick Transylvanian accents.
Instead, this hilarious supernatural comedy has a different kind of vampire -- the superstrong, zombielike "hopping vampire." And dealing with the hopping vampires are a long-suffering Taoist priest and his bumbling assistants, who add all sorts of wacky twists.
Master Gau (Ching-Ying Lam) agrees to help the wealthy Yam family move their patriarch's body -- until he sees the undecayed body. Turns out Grandpa is a vampire. And after his bumbling assistants fail to properly restrain the vampire, it gets loose, kills its son, and now the vampire hunters are facing TWO vampires instead of one.
To make matters worse, Man Choi (Ricky Hui) has been infected with vampire toxin, which will turn him into a vampire if they can't cure him with sticky rice, and Chou (Siu-hou Chin) is being seduced at night by a ghost. Master Gau must cure one, save the other, and somehow destroy a superpowerful vampire that invades the Yam household.
"Mr. Vampire" was such a success in China that it started a whole trend of "hopping vampire" movies. But as with most trends, the original is still the best and more entertaining example. And it incorporates traditional vampires and succubi from China, as well as little-known mythical trivia (such as sticky rice being the "garlic" for a Chinese vampire).
Expect lots of Peter Jacksonish twisted humor (Man Choi having his fangs filed down) alongside the more typical kind (Chou and Man Choi cast a spell to make their romantic rival strip in public). But when the vampires show up, there are plenty of wild, undignified action scenes. And lots of property damage -- they break every piece of furniture they come across.
The late Ching-Ying Lam became a star thanks to this movie, and his staid, unibrowed priest is a likable guy when you consider everything he has to deal with. Hui and Chin are hysterical as a pair of earnest but hormonal guys. They're kind of an annoyance when Gau isn't actually fighting vampires, but perhaps they're good for doing errands.
(Fortunately they also cleaned up the subtitling on this movie. The original subtitling was comically bad, but the new ones are are very well done)
"Mr Vampire" is one of China's better supernatural comedies, with weird vampires and lots of sticky rice. Hysterical and warped.