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Challenge of the Masters (1976)

Liu A-Cai yu Huang Fei-Hong (original title)
Teenager Wong Fei-hung is sent to train in the art of hung gar kung fu from his father's teacher, Luk Ah-choy. With training complete, Wong must fight an assassin and regain the honor of his school.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Kuan Tai Chen ...
Lu Ah Tsai
Yue Wong ...
Lin Tu-chiang
Lily Li ...
Ho Hsiu-lien
Chia-Liang Liu ...
Chen Erh-fu
Yang Chiang ...
Chung Tien Shih ...
Peng Yun-kang
Chia Yung Liu ...
Yuen Ching
Tao Chiang ...
Kuo Jen-liang
Kang-Yeh Cheng ...
Tseng Hsing
Hark-On Fung ...
Yang Chung (as Ko-An Fung)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy Chan
Lung Chan
Ming-Wai Chan ...
(as Ming-Wei Chen)
Ti-Ko Chen
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Storyline

Slow moving kung fu flick that focuses more on plot than martial arts what a novelty! Basic story of the village kung fu chump who leaves his village and does the horse stance for two years under the supervision of a grand master. Having conditioned his legs and fought endlessly with a wooden coat rack, our hero is ready to return to his village and take on the bad guys. Written by <bjones@ideaguys.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Street fighters duel in a blast of death!

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

7 May 1976 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Challenge of the Masters  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in Night Patrol (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable film that takes a (small) step away from the constant action and builds well to some good fights
2 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Although his father is a master, Wong Fei-Hong does not know any martial arts as he has been forbidden from learning even though he wants to. In his town an opposing school from his father's school is involved in shady activities and will happily cheat to win the annual pao contest. By coincidence one of the other school is a robber (Ho Fu) and is being pursued by Officer Yuan Ching. With the evils of the other school becoming more deadly, Wong Fei-Hung goes away to make the most of the potential seen by Yuan and spend years training under the tutelage of his father's teacher, Master Luk Ah Choy.

I delayed watching this film because many comments and details on IMDb suggested it would be slow. The text here says it is slow pace and commenter's talk about how the makers wanted to get away from constant action and make a film more about the spirit of martial arts rather than constant killing. In a way this is correct but this is not to suggest that the film is dull or that it focuses on training more than other films with a similar plot structure. Although the narrative doesn't quite hang together, we do get two schools against each other with lots of characters in support. There is a lot of action in the first half of the film, although mostly it is plot driven or takes place in the chaos of the pao contest. There is a good fight between Ho Fu and Yuan and after this the training begins – which is also engaging. The final fight sequences are good and the ending is a nicely positive one.

Gordon Liu leads the cast well; he is a good presence and leading man. He works very well with Chen Kuan-Tai as his teacher. Lau Kar-leung plays the villain well because he doesn't push into cartoony which would be against the grain for the film, but instead is just a criminal. The rest of the cast generally get this as well and this allows the conclusion to work well. Challenges of the Masters is not a brilliant film but it is not slow-moving or dull either, it is just not OTT and flamboyant as some films in the genre can be. The approach to the training is nothing new but it works well and engages thanks in part to the good cast and solid consistent delivery, making for an enjoyable film that pretty much does what you want.


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