Years later, she resurfaces with supernatural powers acquired from that lethal instrument, alternating boy/girl sartorial style, and plans to exact merciless revenge. To this end she lures Lui Lun (Yuen Biao) into escorting the “demonic strings” to his master — neither of them realizing yet that Lui Lun is actually her long-lost brother. By making the lyre’s whereabouts known, Suet Mui hopes to set the Six Cliques competing for domination, ensuring their mutual destruction.
Color-coded Clique leaders are a fanciful, variably malevolent bunch, the most striking being Ha Ching Fa the Hard-Hearted Witch (less politely referred to at times as “the nosy bitch of the world”), a flying, whip-wielding femme fatale. Director Ng Min-keng keeps the tone evenly balanced between frenzied action and comedy; Biao and Carina Lau (as the Fire Master’s main disciple) lead up the latter with their somewhat dim, blustery ingenues. While not a particularly large-scale production by genre standards, “Deadful Melody’s” solid stunt work and special effects, sharp lensing and dizzy editing pace will please jaded H.K. action fans. After expected fight to end all fights, conclusion seems a bit abrupt.
Distribs have recently given pic the improved English-language title “Deadly Melody,” but it’s otherwise been known since original release as the appealingly ungrammatical “Deadful.”