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A young father and his infant son are beset by forces of evil and corruption. They wander China, upholding their sense of honor and protecting the weak. When they are forced into combat, spectacular and hilarious fast-motion kung fu sequences follow. In the end, they must call on all of their abilities in a battle royale, to attempt to vanquish a supernatural man-monster or die trying. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
An entertaining Jet Li period vehicle, which Li co-produced. Li plays a Chinese folk hero, a rebel who battled a violent, repressive Manchu government. Li teams with 10 year old martial arts prodigy, Xie Miao, who effectively portrays Li's kung-fu fighting son. The duo have some similarities to the "Lone Wolf and Cub" team in numerous, more atmospheric, very gory Japanese movies of the 1970's. Li and son are joined by a sly mother/daughter con artist team to protect 5 young boys who each have a segment of a rebel map tattooed on their back.
Fine photography and inventive action sequences, especially the opener, and one with a clever Trojan horse variant. Li's fight scenes are wondrous, as usual, but his part seems too stiffly written for a fluffy, child-oriented action film with much comic relief. Deannie Yip and sensual Chingmy Yau are energetic and funny as the kung-fu mother/daughter scammers.
The English dubbed version, made in 2000, has excellent, witty dialogue and appropriate voices. Prolific Hong Kong writer/director Wong Jing cameos in the closing scene.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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