FU CULT MASTER (1993-HK)
review by Jerome
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over the place, yet complicated story...
Kung Fu Cult Master is an adaptation of Louis Cha’s Wu Xia novel Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, the third part of the Condor Heroes Trilogy. Wong Jing’s adaptation does not cover the entire novel, as it quite extensive in chapters and the characters. He gives a small introduction into the history of the swords that the several martial arts factions fight to possess.
The story goes something like this. Kwok Jing was the possessor of the To Lung (Slaughtering Dragon) Sabre and his wife, Wong Yung was the possessor of the Yee Tin (Relying on Heaven) Sword. These two swords were formed from one powerful sword and it is believed that the swords contain the scroll of the ‘Great lunar stance’. Combined with the war strategies of Ngok Fei, the possessor/s would be the master of martial arts world. The story illustrates the power struggles between the Yuen / Yuan Dynasty, the Ngo Mei Sect, Shaolin, Kun Lun Sect, Hung Tung Sect, Wah / Hua Shan Sect, Wu Tang Sect and the Ming Sect aka the Evil Sect.
We are also introduced to the leaders of the Ming Sect, Queen of Purple Robe Dragon, King of Golden Hair Lion, King of Green Winged Bat (Richard Ng) and King of White Eyebrow Eagle. The King of Golden Hair Lion, Tse Sun came into possession of the To Lung Sabre and since then his master Sing Kwan wiped out his entire family. Sing Kwan went undercover with the Shaolin Temple for one decade and had an affair with the Ming Sect’s leader Yeung’s wife and became an agent for the Yuen Dynasty. Unable to find the secret of the To Lung Sabre, Tse Sun went into seclusion. The only people aware of his whereabouts are Yan So So and Cheung Chui Saan.
Sharla Cheung plays two characters: Yan So So, the daughter of the King of White Brow Eagle who belongs to the Ming Sect and as Mongolian Yuen Dynasty Princess, Chiu Man. Yan So So is the wife of Cheung Chui Saan. They have a son Mo Kei, who ends up being an orphan after, both his parent’s suicide to keep the location of the King of Golden Hair Lion secret from the other Sects fighting for possession of the To Lung Sabre. Chiu Man is a power hungry princess, seeking to eradicate all the Sects and also obtain the Yee Tin Sword and the To Lung Sabre by using the Jinxes one of them played by Leung Kar Yan. As Yan So So, Sharla Cheung is pretty convincing as a mother and as Chiu Man, she is a cunning woman.
Francis Ng plays Cheung Chui Saan, the adopted son and student of Wu Tang Sect Leader, Cheung Saam Fung / Zhang San Feng (Sammo Hung). Even though he is only in the film for about fifteen minutes, he can really play a righteous hero. He suicides and spills all his blood on the other Sects as a measure of keeping the location of Tse Sun a secret.
Jet Li plays Cheung Mo Kei, the son of Cheung Chui Saan and Yan So So. A decade ago, he was hit with the jinx's palm, rendering him unable to practice martial arts and experience the effects of almost freezing to death. Master Cheung cannot cure him of the Jinx’s palm because the wound is so deep. The only way to do it is by learning the ‘great solar stance’. One evening, Mo Kei is tricked by Chau Ji Yeuk (Gigi Lai) and Sung Ching Shu (Collin Chou) wishes to get rid of him from Wu Tang. He is rescued by Siu Chiu (Chingmy Yau). On the run from Chau Ji Yeuk and Sung Ching Shu, they become lost and are found by former Shaolin cooking monk, who cures Mo Kei of his Jinx’s palm injury by teaching him the ‘great solar stance’. In doing so, Mo Kei exacts his revenge on the sects that forced his parent’s death at the battle of Bright Summit. Mo Kei eventually becomes the Ming sect’s new leader after learning ‘magic stance’ from writings on the former leader’s tomb. During the battle inside the Ming sect’s headquarters, he saves his grandfather, King of White Brow Eagle, Yan Tin Jing. Other than magic stance and the great solar stance, Mo Kei learns the Shaolin Dragon Claws style through battling a Shaolin monk and Tai Chi from Master Cheung.
Kung Fu Cult Master is a lot of fun for the wire-fu fan. Sammo Hung, a great actor, director and action director, choreographed all the action. Sammo also adds a little comedy into his role as Cheung Saam Fung. It’s a pity that the film ended off leaving the viewer wanting more and implying that a sequel was to be made. However, due to it’s poor box office, the sequel never arose. For a more accurate adaptation of Louis Cha’s Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, I would recommend watching the 1986 TVB serial version with Tony Leung or by watching the Shaw Brother’s 3 films also based on the novel.
I rate it 6.5/10
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Genre: Swordplay / Wu Xia.
Director: Director: Wong Jing
Cast: Jet Li, Chingmy Yau, Sammo Hung, Francis Ng, Richard Ng, Gigi Lai, Collin Chou (Using his stage name Ngai Sing), Sharla Cheung, Leung Kar Yan.
Reviewed by Jerome (Bart Simpson), December 2005