Watched Kung Fu Cult Master (Jet Li movie)

Watched it in Cantonese, of course. But with subtitles because Kung Fu Cult Master (a.k.a. Evil Cult a.k.a Lord of Wu Tang) is one of my favorite kung fu movies of all time and I can’t bear to not understand a single line. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

SummaryTwo different schools of kung fu fight for possession of two magic swords that will let the owner know all martial-arts secrets. Young Chang Mo-kei (Jet Li) is caught between the two but is unable to do anything because he suffers from a curse that prevents him from practicing kung fu. All that changes with an invitation from an alluring young woman one sultry evening…

Don’t worry, nothing happens with the alluring young woman. And in fact the “nothing happens” sends Mo-kei into a rage that drives him off a cliff and into the lair of the only man who can cure his curse. The movie kicks into super-overdrive from that point and doesn’t let up until the rather unsatisfying ending.

Best features: I don’t think too much of Jet Li as an actor, but as a martial artist he’s always a delight to watch. His actions are crisp, fluid and logical. Everything moves smoothly from one attack to the next. Even when he’s firing off balls of light you get the sense it’s the most practical option at the time. And it’s not just him but all the other battles are well-choreographed and easy to follow, even the ones featuring what look like thousands of extras on the screen.

It may also be because I’ve watched this at least 3 times, but I found the story easy to follow despite the sheer number of players. It’s easiest to divide them into two broad groups and remember that the people you spend the most time hanging with are the Shaolin coalition and that the really bad guys are the Yuen government’s dogs.

There’s good chemistry between Chang Mo-kei and his leading ladies, especially between him and the coquettish Chao Min, played by Sharla “Yee Mong” Cheung. You really want to punch her in the face, but at the same time you can’t help admiring her chutzpah. In a world of overpowered martial artists, it’s admirable to have a character who makes her way around with  her wits and an understanding of human nature.

There are also a lot of cute moments between Mo-kei and his servant Siu Chiu as well, making you wonder what secret she’s harboring and if they’ll ever get together one day. I always did like Chingmy Yau’s characters. It’s too bad all three lead actresses in this movie have retired now.

Stuff that’s not so good: The lack of a conclusive ending. This is clearly part 1 of two or even three, but the film was such a bomb (unbelievable!!) and apparently Li had issues with the director, so the promised sequel never came out. Since the story is based on Jin Yong’s Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre, I know what drama I’m watching next!

The other negative is the juvenile sexual humor and a bit of bad language – from a bad character, but nevertheless. It’s only in a few brief scenes and not enough to detract from the rest of the movie as a whole, but I include it for the sake of completeness.

I should also say that the story might be a bit confusing if it’s your first time watching. There are so many faction names thrown about that it can be hard to follow. Especially for characters who are mentioned but don’t show up. I also expected some explanation for why Jet Li’s mother and Chao Min are played by the same actress (long lost relatives?) but got nothing.

Overall: Lots of great kung fu action. If you like wire-fu, you should definitely watch Kung Fu Cult Master. Great story once you get the hang of it. Very cheesy, but in a feel-good way. Highly recommended

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress