Young Jackie was intrigued by Kung-Fu since an early age, but his father strictly forbade its practice. One day, he meets an old beggar who offers to teach Jackie how to fight. Jackie grows... See full summary »
A monk from Tibet is sent to Hong Kong by his master. He is to recover a magical bottle to which he has the cap from a lawyer. When these items were united long ago they protected Tibet ... See full summary »
Ho Mei Fong is a young woman in trouble, running from a gang of criminals with something of importance hidden in her purse. She dies in Chien Chen's taxi while trying to escape, but not ... See full summary »
The Tseng family is one of the most noble and respected clans in a small village in Tibet. The patriarch of the Tseng family wants to marry off his daughter Ching Lan into the Kao clan. ... See full summary »
This film has to be viewed in the right frame of mind. First, the central father-son relationship makes it pretty clear that the film was intended as a prequel to his Wong Fei Hung film "Drunken Master" (ideas from this film recur in "Drunken Master II), and not "Young Master"; that Chan backed away from this plan and renamed the characters indicates that he himself was not convinced the material was coming together properly; and, indeed, the film conveys a sense of being incomplete; for instance, the romantic relationship around which half the plot turns is left utterly hanging at the end of the film. "Young Master", from the same period, also feels underdone, but at least all its central threads are tied together at the end. This film feels as though Chan wrestled with the plot and characters trying to find his central theme, only to abandon the effort, possibly due to time and budget.
Or perhaps the film is simply over-ambitious. This is an important turning point film in Chan's career, because he commits himself to development of the central character above all other concerns - which is why there's such a lack of kung fu throughout the film. Chan wants to make an historical romantic comedy that just happens to have kung fu in it. But both the historical element and the romantic element come across as little more than plot-twists.
That leaves us with the comedy. Since Chan's concern is character-development, the comedy is largely character driven - as in the conflict between Chan's character and his best friend, an argument over a girl. But there's plenty of slapstick as well. Frankly, I find the comedy amusing enough to forgive the incompleteness of the plot.
This film represents an effort on Chan's part to find a viable formula that he can use and develop over time. It doesn't quite work, and Chan would only find that formula after abandoning the historical elements of his earlier films, with the making of the contemporary action comedy "Police Story". But going back to view this film is still very informative as to how Chan worked his way through the historical genre, and perhaps why he abandoned it.
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