Kung Fu Cult Master
AKA: Kung Fu Colt Master, Kung Fu Master, Lord of the Wu Tang
Director: Wong Jing
Writer: Wong Jing
Stars: Jet Li, Chingmy Yau, Cheung Man, Sammo Hung, Francis Ng
A magical sword held by a kung fu master known as the Golden Lion is sought out by all the kung-fu clans in the land. Cheung Man and Francis Ng are followers of Golden Lion and commit suicide before revealing the secret location of their master, leaving their child behind to be taken care of by his uncle (Sammo Hung). Before her death, the kid's mother makes him take a vow that he will get revenge. The kid (who grows into Jet Li) wants to do so, but he was hit by a technique known as the "Jinx Palm," so he can't fight. This leads to ridicule and jealousy from his fellow clan members, and when Sammo decides to leave for a while, Sammo's son decides to whoop Jet's ass and almost succeeds, until he is saved by Chingmy Yau. Eventually, Jet manages to learn a super form of kung-fu from an old monk chained to a rock (?!) and decides to go forth with his quest for revenge. Wait a minute, do you remember that magical sword? Well, it seems now that all the other clans view Jet's as evil because they still have it and so they're willing to do anything to get the sword, including starting an all-out war.
Or something like that. Normally, watching a Wong Jing movie is like watching a car wreck -- it's hideous and doesn't make much sense, but you still have to watch because, for some reason, it's still entertaining and fascinating. Kung Fu Cult Master is like watching an 18-wheeler and a monster truck collide. For many times during the story, I seriously had no idea what the hell what was going on. I must admit, I am normally a little bit lost when watching most wu xia (fantasy swordplay) movies. I think there's just something about the intricacies of this genre that just doesn't translate well to Western audiences, especially with horribly translated subs like "Don't think I am a 100 year old granny, every morning I am still erect!"
Not to say that these films aren't fun to watch, even for the most naïve Hong Kong film viewer. Watching the interaction between the characters is still interesting, and when the various elements finally come together, like many other wu xia films, Kung Fu Cult Master is quite a satisfying viewing experience. Some of the action set pieces featured in the movie are some of the best I've ever seen. The huge battle between the clans is phenomenal, occurring above, on and below the ground, with tons of limbs flying about and then Jet coming in like Ryu from "Street Fighter" chucking fireballs at everyone.
While Kung Fu Cult Master is most likely one of the most puzzling films you've ever seen, patient viewers will be rewarded with a wire-fu spectacle that few films can rival.
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