The Kung Fu Cult Master

Reviewed by: hkopinions

April 14, 2008

Rating: four

Jet Li as Cheung Mo Kei
Sharla Cheung as Chiu Ming/ Yan So So
Gigi Lai as Chow Chi Yerk
Francis Ng as Cheung Choi San
Chingmy Yau as Siu Ciu

Kungfu Cult Master is a movie adaptation of Louis Cha's third part of the Condor Trilogy, "The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber" (HSDS). The movie is about 90 minutes long and adapts the main story of HSDS. This movie is very different from the series because the producer had to change the story to fit it into 90 minutes. Many character are taken out to simplify the plot. The stories of the main characters are also changed. This movie would have received a perfect rating if not for the ending--it's a cliffhanger. I was very disappointed that there was no sequel to finish the story because the ending does not make sense. There were too many unanswered question and what happened to whom questions.

The story:
I don't want to reveal the story so I will only introduce parts of it. If you are familiar with the real story of HSDS, you will understand what I am talking about. Francis Ng is Cheung Choi San who marries Sharla Cheung who is Yan So So. They have a son who becomes sick. The son is Cheung Mo Kei played by Jet Li. Jet Li later learns powerful kungfu and becomes the leader of the Ming Sect. Many characters are changed in this movie. Chow Chi Yerk played by Gigi Lai has a different story. She plays the innocent girl but is evil. She does stab him but through the hand. Chiu Ming played by Sharla Cheung is the Mongolian princess. There are very few scenes of her. Her three wishes are very different from the actual story. Many characters are also not mentioned in the story and there are less love stories between Mo Kei and the other girls. However, the movie was very good and had many humorous scenes.

Special effects, scenery, and costumes:
The choreography was wonderful, of course. Jet Li used real martial arts to fight, except flying scenes. The scenery was very good because the story moves quickly so scenes change often. The costumes were okay because costume changes cause the viewers to be confused. Most characters don't get enough on screen time so they can't change costumes.

Jet Li:
Great Job! I am glad that someone knows real martial arts instead of camera swooshes and horrible fast forwarded fighting scenes. Jet Li had chemistry with both Sharla and Chingmy. Too bad the movie ended with him not being with any of the girls.

Sharla Cheung:
Sharla did an okay job as Yan So So. I don't get why the producer cast the same actress as Chiu Ming and Mo Kei's mother. There definitely was chemistry between Sharla and Jet Li. Too bad they had very few screen time and romantic scenes. Bummer, no sequel.

Gigi Lai:
Hmmm. I think she was a miscast because Gigi just didn't fit the part. She was too innocent looking and didn't look evil enough to be Chow Chi Yerk. Her character was just weird. Gigi did much better as Chiu Ming in the new "Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber 2000".

A little history:
The Ming Sect was a rebellious group that tried to drive the Mongolians, Yuan dynasty out of China, and was successful by the 1360's. A new dynasty was proclaimed in 1368 as the Ming dynasty. The Mongolians returned to the steppes. Cheung Mo Kei is the fictional leader that reunited the Ming Sect. Supposedly, he would have been emperor of the new dynasty if not for his love for Chiu Ming. Although, in this movie the ending did not get to the part where Chiu Ming became good or when the Ming Sect drove the Mongolians out yet.

Best supporting actor:
Francis Ng as Cheung Choi San

Best supporting actress:
Sharla Cheung as Chiu Ming

Best villain portrayal:
Sharla Cheung as Chiu Ming

Worst character portrayal
Gigi Lai as Chow Chi Yerk

Watch it of forget it?
Definitely watch the movie. The movie would have received a perfect score if not for the open ending. However, the movie has great fight scenes and summarizes the basic story of the new Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber very well.

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