Fong Sai Yuk
AKA: The Legend, The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk
Director: Corey Yuen
Stars: Jet Li, Josephine Siao, Michelle Reis, Sibelle Hu
After disputes over money with Once Upon a Time in China producer/director Tsui Hark, Jet Li set forth to complete another take on a Chinese folk hero. With mega-producer Wong Jing supplying some of the funds and Corey Yuen at the helm, Li began work on this film, which is a loose take on the life of Fong Sai Yuk. Like OUATIC's Wong Fei-Hung, Fong was a reluctant hero forced into action by circumstances around him. However, unlike OUATIC, this movie doesn't really have any broad statements about life or any political symbolism. Like many of the wave of similar movies that came out during this period, it concentrates on action, comedy and romance.
And that's this film's main problem. Everything in it is done well -- it's just that there's really nothing new here. There is one standout scene where Jet takes on Sibelle Hu while having to stay off the ground, which has the duo using people's heads as pedestals. But even this kind of gave me a feeling of déjà vu as they also fight on a big wooden tower -- a gag which other movies have used as well. At any rate, Fong Sai Yuk is worth a look, especially if you're a Jet Li fan. Just don't expect anything earth-shattering or on the level of Jet Li's better movies, most notably Once Upon a Time in China.
A review of the DVD for this movie (US version) can be found here
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