Good compilation of a dramatic TV series - Excellent martial arts
It's confusing as Yuen Woo-Ping has been involved in three productions called "Tai Chi Master". The first in 1984 (now known as "Drunken Tai Chi") was a comedy that featured Tai Chi basketball. The more famous Jet Li film was from 1993 and then there's this late 1990's TV series that was edited into a 2 hour feature in 2003. I'm not sure what Yuen's actual knowledge of Tai Chi is but this production is certainly the closest to real Tai Chi Chuan of the three.
Essentially the story of how a young man, Yang, becomes a student of the closed door Chen family Tai Chi style and defeats Master Chen's enemy, a vicious warlord. This movie claims that Yang learned much of Chen Tai Chi by disguising himself as a haystack and spying on classes or by sparring with Chen's daughter who is disguised as a boy. This is the Yang who created the famous Yang Tai Chi style that's popular around the world but don't expect to see much of it here. It's probable that the historical element is on the fanciful side. However the movie offers frequent and well done fight scenes with a lot of actual Tai Chi techniques on display. The actors are excellent athletes and can actually do lengthy takes at full speed. Much like the old school movies from the Shaw studios. After the initial fight scenes which are not wonderfully filmed, the movie takes off and everything else is very well done.
Shot in standard PAL TV, the production is good and you get used to the TV look after a while. I have an aversion to many shot for TV kung fu dramas but this one is an exception. It's as good if not better than many shot on film kung fu movies. The biggest problem is the plot which is very choppy at times but I've seen feature films that are worse.
Enjoy, it's a real old school kung fu flick
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