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A rather doomed sequel from the start, Chiu Man Cheuk has the unenviable task of replacing Jet Li as Wong Fei Hung in one of the most popular martial arts series ever made. Wong Fei Hung is legendary character in Chinese history and cinema, portrayed on screen most notably by Kwan Tak-hing for two decades and 50+ movies, Jackie Chan in the two Drunkenmaster films, and, of course, Jet Li. In a way, Chiu Man Cheuk is the George Lazenby of Wong Fei Hungs. His lack of Jets good looks and grace, as well as being limited to three facial expressions, downplay any of his martial arts talent. It is a shame, because Chui Man Cheuk is good, just check out Green Snake.
Unfortunately the story doesn't help matters. Not only is the first 30 mins comprised of a lot of lion dancing (witch we already had our fill of in Part 3) and no fights, but in the first hour Wong Fei Hung only has one fight and its against a group of women from the Red Lantern Sect. Fei Hung Vs. only Women in the first hour, just saps the character of any nobility. As a matter of fact, it is only the return of Club Foot, from Part 3, that injects any life into the action scenes, and without his help, Fei Hung couldn't even handle the two bad guys in the finale, a grim faced, heavy metal hair guy, and the gwailo who knocks out horses. Despite having the dark overtones and anti-European sentiment that the series is known for, the story, portrayal, and action limit the main character, and therefore the movie fails. And then there is the monotonous lion dancing- at the beginning, in the middle, at a funeral, and in the conclusion, complete overkill. Too bad, worthwhile for purists and die-hard HK fans only. Most of all its a good example of how NOT to make a sequel.
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