Ti Lung (as "Fourth son") and his kung fu master raid the Palace in search of the Emperor's will, but are foiled by the Palace guards. Lung is wounded during their escape, but is determined to take the throne in the interest of the people. Chen Sing, head of security, is told that the interloper must've been "Ninth son." (Like the foppish Don Diego- who was in reality El Zorro-, Fourth son shows no real aptitude nor interest in being Emperor.) "Kill or BE killed," his kung fu master tells Lung: it's the only way "to help the people." Lung pretends to be clumsy and uncoordinated in front of his father and the Imperial Court (he overdoes it, but the deception works- and is actually genuinely funny, too). Chen Sing has Ninth son murdered. When Fourth son goes among the people as a commoner himself, he encounters Dorian Tan and his sidekick, who are hustling to make a living (doing public exhibitions, gambling, etc.). Tan convinces Lung to loan him an expensive garment to bet with. A gold bar falls out of the garment and suddenly Tan's being questioned by Imperial officials on the scene. In the ensuing chaos, Tan escapes- but Fourth son is captured. (He's roughed up a bit, too: caught up in a heavy net, he's dragged through broken crockery and beaten every step of the way to jail). In another very funny sequence, Lung's new cell-mate designates HIM the keeper (and cleaner) of the toilet. (We first glimpse this fellow seated on his "throne" in the cell; when Lung is tossed in, he hastily wipes himself with a handful of hay and takes charge.) Fourth son quietly goes with the flow (so to speak)... When Lung and Company are released and a plot to kill him is revealed, the Toilet Master voluntarily returns to his cell, where it's safe. Lung is stabbed with poisoned talons (the kind used by ninjas for climbing) and when he begins to recover, he and his benefactors fantasize about how to gain reentry into the Palace. It's a fun sequence of imaginary scenarios in which we first see the group pretend, one and all, to be sick and near death (so that the guards on duty won't want to even touch them); then, as supernatural beings who glide magically through the gates, screaming and terrifying the guards; and, finally, as a troupe of traveling opera players just too smart for their own good. Reality intervenes when the Imperial soldiers hunting for them find them. Needless to say, more kung fu mayhem ensues. Things wrap up rather neatly in the end when everybody Fourth son needs dead ends up taking a dirt nap. All around, a fun film.
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