Some movies aren’t meant to be deep, and there’ll always be works made to showcase what newcomers to the entertainment industry can do. Jennifer Linch is one of those talents whose first short film project The Dream, won Best Newcomer at the World Film Awards in June 2015, and she’s been hard at work with co-writing, directing and producing her feature length debut, Kung Fu Ghost.
Her goal with this film is to provide a diddy that weaves in her love for the martial arts genre ala Jackie Chan and romance in the same vein as Chinese Ghost Story (but minus the horror). She admires those early films of this talent, and while Vietnamese herself, ethnicities don’t matter in an art that teaches virtue and how to defend yourself. She learned Kaju Kenbo, Kosho Ryo, kickboxing, Taekwondo, and Karate when growing up and we can see that blend of styles (and introducing ninjas into the narrative) in her movie.
Kung Fu Ghost is filled with all that, and more. We see ghosts (of course), history, and folklore also worked into the narrative about a spoiled Vietnamese young lady coming to America to learn about her past instead of back home.
Daisy (played by Linch) is a very material girl. When she learns she’s inheriting a mansion where her grandfather (David S. Dawson) lived, she’s jet set in checking out the establishment and cleaning it up before selling it–so she thought. But it’s haunted by his spirit and one of his best students, William (Noah Sargent). They help her discover more about her past, and for the charming young man, maybe become part of her future.
The beautiful mansion where most of the story takes place belonged to William’s family. Before he died, he let grandfather live there before his untimely passing. Their spirits are “stuck here” since, like most traditional ghost stories, there’s unfinished business to do. This young woman didn’t want to accept it, but after they get her up to speed with all that’s going on means learning how to fend for herself rather than depend on others. We get a terrific sense of her unworthiness in the introduction, and to see her transform to be self-sufficient is heartwarming. To see that even she has a destiny of being the Chosen One–to protect a holy artefact–in the grandest of Asian style storytelling shows us where this story is going.
These particular tropes define this film more than just the hilarity that goes on when she has to deal with living in a haunted house, Casper the Friendly Ghost-style. After a spooky introduction to the establishment, we see her acclimatise to the home. Before she can take ownership, she’s required to last a week inside this creepy abode!
The days following show just how well she’s adjusting, and it isn’t easy when considering who she has to deal with. Grandpa is hilarious, and unlike classic haunted house tales, who else she has to deal with is a mix of the living and dead getting on her nerves. In Kung Fu Ghost, they both mean serious business for this girl’s well being.
As for when Daisy can defend herself, the wait is worthwhile. Linch is a mixed martial arts fighter, and she shows just how well she can kick butt. I can’t help but be reminded of Ninja III: The Domination when grandpa takes over his grand-daughter’s body to kick the stuffing out of invaders! The style of fighting the old man knows is not directly acknowledged. Because the characters are of Vietnamese roots, the type of Kung Fu used here is not Chinese style according to Linch. She also mentioned her goal is to make a film that’s a tribute to Kung Fu Panda, a film that she and co-writer Ivan White both adore. The fuzzy feelings that DreamWorks film and hers gives are certainly evident.
As for how Daisy can live happily ever after, viewers are advised to watch to the very end!
A preview was provided before the release of the movie trailer and the movie is being distributed By Vision Films worldwide. Date TBA.