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倚天屠龍記之魔教教主 (1993)
Kung Fu Cult Master

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 11/12/2012
Summary: One of the best examples of the early 90's wu xia film

Two martial arts masters forge a pair of powerful swords, and inside them they hide scrolls with the secrets of their powerful techniques. The various clans of the martial arts world desperately want to obtain the swords and their secrets, and various alliances are formed, as conflict consumes the land. The Chinese clans form a loose allegiance against the Evil Sect from Persia, and war is waged... but the daughters of two clan leaders fall in love and go into seclusion, giving birth to a child named Mo Kei.

To celebrate his 100th birthday, the couple take Mo Kei to see his grandfather, King of Gold Lion, leader of the Evil Sect, but they are ambushed and Mo Kei is wounded by the Jinx's Palm strike. Chang San Fung intervenes and rescues them, but the other clans track them down and try to force them to reveal the location of King Of Gold Lion. To protect their friend and preserve their honour, Mo Kei's parents commit suicide, swearing Mo Kei to seek revenge. However, the Jinx's Palm strike has sapped Mo Kei's power, meaning he can never learn kung fu.

That covers about the first 10 minutes of KUNG FU CULT MASTER, and is already enough plot to fill a movie. The pace slows a little from there, but only for a while, and the remaining 100 minutes cram in a whole lot more. The film is based on Jin Yong's HEAVEN SWORD & DRAGON SABRE story, which probably tells you much of what you need to know about it... i.e there are dozens of main characters, numerous rivalries and conspiracies amongst the different clans, a profusion of magical weapons and mystical martial arts techniques, and lots of people flying around the place shouting at each other.

There were any number of films along these lines coming out of Hong Kong in the early 90's, but with its all-star cast and well above average budget, KUNG FU CULT MASTER certainly had ambitions to be amongst the best of them. It largely succeeded in these ambitions, but unfortunately it was a victim of timing - audiences had just about had their fill of wire-powered wu xia films when it came out, and it was a flop at the box office. The unfortunate consequence of this is that the planned second part was never made - the film ends on a cliff hanger which leaves the viewer keen for more, but there is no more to be had.

All is not entirely lost, though, as the film follows basically the same events as Part 1 of Chor Yuen's telling of the story, HEAVEN SWORD AND DRAGON SABRE from 1978, for which the second part was made - so if you want to know what happens next, jump back in time 15 years and pick it up again there :-) It's not quite the same as having a proper sequel to KUNG FU CULT MASTER with the same stars and the same production values, but it's a mitigation of the frustration.

It is a real shame that KUNG FU CULT MASTER will forever remain an incomplete entity, as it was genuinely one of the best exemplars of the early 90's style of martial arts film that proliferated in the wake of SWORDSMAN II. Jet Li was about the hottest property in town at the time, and does a good job of playing Mo Kei despite it not being the sort of character he was best at, and despite not that much demand for his physical skills in a film where most of the martial arts take place 20 feet above ground and involve the destruction of much of the surrounding scenery. He still manages to give Mo Kei a certain amount of sincerity, and use his gifts to at least make the various stances that induce the fantastical destruction a Jin Yong fighter is capable of unleashing look somewhat convincing.

There is a strong supporting cast, with Chingmy Yau having the largest role after Jet, and making it into one of her better roles. She is cute and sassy, as you would expect, but makes some effort to act for once. Wong Jing's other favourite female of the time, Cheung Man, is given two substantial roles in the film for no obvious reason except that Wong Jing seemed duty bound to send as much work her way as possible at the time (knowing Wong Jing, one might be tempted to conjecture what he got in return, other than a reasonably capable actress). Of the remaining cast, Sammo Hung and Ngai Sing are the most notable, though Richard Ng's character and performance leave a strong impression despite not getting all that much screen time.

KUNG FU CULT MASTER is a great example of what made Hong Kong cinema so magical in the early 90's - the manic pacing, fantastical plotting, gleeful invention, genre mashups and of course the spectacular action. Those who like their kung fu grounded and realistic should stay far away, as this is firmly not what is on offer here. Jet Li and Ngai Sing do get a few chances to show off their power and agility (though inevitably at turbo speed thanks to some serious undercranking), but for the most part KFCM embodies the principle 'why walk when you can fly?', and the martial arts techniques used are firmly in the realm of the fantastic. Sammo Hung is normally a choreographer you'd turn to when you want something more realistic, gritty and hard-hitting, but he shows here that he can manage the techniques of fantasy wu xia as well. There are copious fight and battle scenes, featuring some imaginative and elaborate choreography and plenty of wanton destruction. It's not the best example of the style, but there is plenty that is good, and the film's budget means not too many corners have to be cut... if Sammo or Wong Jing wanted a dozen people flying through the air, they got them. Even though there is plenty of action, it isn't the main focus on the film - despite the clearly elaborate set ups for some of the scenes, the film lets them pass by without lingering unduly, focussing more on delivering the story.

Of course, when you have as much plot as KUNG FU CULT MASTER tries to squeeze in, you can't afford to waste too much time not cramming in dialogue and exposition as quickly as the cast can deliver it. Despite only being half a film, by some measures, it could just have easily have been turned into two. There are so many characters, and their relationships take so many twists and turns, that keeping track of it all is a real challenge - I think I'd probably seen it three times before I could really say I had a decent grasp of who exactly all the different characters were and how they were related. On first viewing I largely gave up trying to make any sense of it, and just marvelled at the visual ingenuity on display. Keeping track of all the different groups introduced in the first five minutes is barely necessary to making sense of what follows, as long as you are not unduly concerned about understanding exactly why people do what they do at every twist and turn of the plot. Wong Jing wisely picks a few strands of the story to get the main focus, unlike Chor Yuen, who seemed incapable of leaving any character or plot detail on the editing room floor.

I must have seen the film 5 or 6 times now, and have grown much more familiar with the cast and the story since I first saw back in the 1990's, when I was first discovering Hong Kong cinema. Whilst being able to follow the plot is quite satisfying, my inability to do so the first time I saw it did not prevent me from enjoying and marvelling at it... piecing it all together does help to sustain interest on repeat viewings though!

I guess it's a film that can be appreciated on a couple of levels... if you're a novice to this style of film, and all the convoluted developments involving mystical martial arts skills and obscure clans of fighters goes over your head, just switch off your brain and enjoy the spectacle. If you're an afficionado, free up some short term memory capacity and try to keep track of who's who and why they're doing what they do from beginning to end :-)

Being a Wong Jing film you know you're not going to get much intellectual stimulation or a profound message... more a bunch of knob and rape jokes, really. KUNG FU CULT MASTER is certainly not a deep film, though I suppose there's a message of some sort in there... the perils of greed and ambition, perhaps... or not to assume that just because somebody is a member of The Evil Cult they're a bad person.

It's worth knowing going in to the film that it's going to leave you on a cliffhanger for which there is no resolution, to avoid the frustration of being left hanging (though much has been wrapped up by the end of the film - it's mainly new elements that are introduced at the end in anticipation of a sequel). The fact that Chor Yuen's version of the story is now available (or was - guess it's out of print again by now) ought to soften the blow a bit too, though his interpretation of the tale is a little less satisfying than Wong Jing's (arguably prettier, though). The lack of a proper sequel certainly ought not be a reason to avoid seeing this film anyway, as it is still a great piece of cinematic creativity.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 10/30/2010
Summary: Leaves you panting for the (filmed but never cut) sequel

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/14/2005
Summary: Wong Jing makes a surprising bad film, even for his standards......

A production based on Jin Yong's novel "Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre" (Yi Tian Tu Long Ji) revolves around two swords that everyone is relentlessly seeks since their wielders will become the masters of the world of martial arts. Two large factions arise from the competition for the swords. The first is a group consists of renowned martial arts clans, such as Shaolin, Wu Tang and so on. On the other hand is the Ming Sect, also known as the ‘Evil Sect’ and is led by odd characters including ‘Green Bat’ (Richard Ng from ‘Winners and Sinners’ and ‘Magnificent Warriors’) and ‘Gold Lion’. Chaos ensures as two young martial artists from these opposing factions (Francis Ng and Cheung Man) fall in love and have a young child, Chang Mo-Kei, who becomes a pawn of these warring sects from the day of his birth. Shortly afterwards, his parents commit suicide to protect the location of Gold Lion, who has discovered the whereabouts and gained possession of one of the fabled swords. Chang Mo-Kei grows up (becoming Jet Li from ‘Hitman’ and ‘My Father is a Hero’), but has no martial arts ability as he had been struck with the “Jinx Palm” accidentally, during his parents death, making martial arts practice impossible for him. Chang Mo-Kei is ousted along with a rebellious young martial arts envoy from the collection of martial arts clans (played by Chingmy Yau from ‘City Hunter’ and ‘New Legend of Shaolin’) by jealous schoolmate Ngai Sing during the absence of the Ming Sect’s grandmaster (played by Sammo Hung Kam-Bo from ‘The Avenging Fist’ and ‘Project A’), and finds himself at the mercy of a monk who unwittingly teaches him the “Solar Stance”, by healing his wound and makes him invulnerable under false pretences of unwillingness to learn by Chang Mo-Kei. Following his escape, Chang Mo-Kei sets out to end the rivalries by vanquishing the main leaders of the opposing martial arts clans after discovering that the war between them is a plan formulated by the government to reduce the power of the martial arts clans. In the process, he also has to seek vengeance for the death of his parents and deal with his mother’s advice of never trusting women.

This movie has so much wonder-fu performed by different martial artists that it is simply breath-taking. However, the martial arts is set-out amidst the special-effects. This is done purposefully as lower ranking and inferior martial arts utilise hand-to-hand combat whereas the veterans and more skilled ones utilise wonder-fu. Surprisingly, Sammo Hung did the action choreography for this movie! Although Jet Li utilised Tai Chi wonderfully in the final fight (evidently better than in ‘Tai Chi Master’) against two great masters on the plus side. The locations were also not at all inspired and contain a few twists and numerous wasted subplots creating webs throughout the main storyline. Moreover, the atmosphere to this movie was of a B-movie throughout and never showed off anything except for a reasonable variety of costumes. The soundtrack is dreadful and hardly memorable.

This feature also echoes Wong Jing’s style of film directorship, since mad monks desiring to rape virgins figure in the movie for absolutely no reasons (since I would have assumed that they surely would be kicked out Shaolin for such impure thoughts). Moreover, the plot is packed too tightly in this movie with so much going on that the movie barely deals with any deeper issues and swiftly moves from one problem to the next without solving anything. Also, most of the characters in this movie are raving lunatics in one way or another and never seem realistic for a second. Moreover, the main villains never appear for very long in the movie and certain characters are just there to form a certain part of the movie and are dispensed with when their use has been fulfilled. Even for Wong Jing’s standard, this movie is bad and this is proved by the absence of a sequel since at the end of the movie Jet Li offers three reasonable wishes to the main villain of which she only requests two for the final showdown. This film did no-one any credit and is better forgotten once watched or yet better at the bottom of your garbage disposal.

Overall, this movie is waste of time through out and does not carry anything significant worth remembering. The main problem with this move is that no-one was ever given an opportunity to really act and it shows!

Overall Rating: 5.6/10

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 04/18/2003
Summary: Worth watching.

I really enjoyed this movie. Yes, it's hard to follow the story (I'll have to see it a couple more times to get all of it), but who cares. It's fun. Cheung Man is a great villainess; Chingmy is so cute. It's an unpretentious, well paced, action/comedy.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Kyashan
Date: 03/29/2003
Summary: Good and great movie

When I saw this movie first time, was last june and I warched in France in franch language and I understood nothing, but I just watched one hour ago dubbled in my language: italian. When I watched in french I already liked, but now, after this second time, I can say wich this is the second better movie about flying fighters after The storm riders.
I always thought that The storm riders was first, because I watched it in 1999 while I knew this movie only last year 2002, but, looking the date I understand this is first and Storm riders second.
Anyway I like very very much this movie created around 7 main wu shu stiles with typical costumes and super powers.

A good Jet Li in this beautiful movie that use many his tecnical of wu shu and a good good Sammo Hung in the role of 100 years old master Chan San Fu . Sammo is one of my favourite chinese actors, little more than Jet Li, and his performances in this movie are fantastic.

Ranting 9.75/10

PS: Hollywood? In comparison is a joke!

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 11/28/2002


Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 04/19/2002
Summary: Good High-Flying Fun

"The Kung Fu Cult Master" is a great example of Wong Jing in his prime and what he could achieve when parodying convention. Using the Saturday matinee presentation, Wong Jing is mercilessly lampooning the high-flying kung-fu films of the early '90s, from "Swordsman 2" to the "Once Upon A Time in China" series, both featuring Jet Li. Sure the plot is convoluted, but I think it was meant to be that way. Why have something smooth, when chaos is set up everywhere in the film, beginning with Jet's parents to the various clans bashing each other for supremacy? When everyone is flying in the air or raiding underground lairs, the plot becomes moot.

The film has some excellent flying, especially when Jet is zooming over the battlefield letting out bolts of energy from his fists. Along with the wirework, there is the comedy, such as the master chained to the boulder and Chingmy Yau's sly character, as she and Cheung Man vie for Jet's attention. Chingmy and Cheung never looked so radiant.

If you're looking for a fun-filled, no-holds barred type of action movie, this is the film to check out. Place your brain in the out box and let the visuals take you away to being the next "The Kung Fu Cult Master."

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: compykat
Date: 02/05/2002

This film is darn near incomprehensible, but mucho, mucho fun. If you care to "get" the story, be prepared with the rewind button. Superman hasn't flown as much as some of the people in this film, specifically Jet Li's character, Chang Mo Kei. He's flying, and then starts shooting blue stuff out from his hands! Definite fantasy martial art movie, but man is it fun.


[Reviewed by Dale Whitehouse]

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Fatty
Date: 07/30/2001
Summary: a cewl and wacky Kung Fu film featuring Jet Li and Sammo Hung....woohoo!!

Ahem...I was able to pick this up at my local Zellers for a hefty 8 bucks, it was called Lord of the Wu Tang and it was subbed....yay!

a WEIRD Kung Fu film about some....I don't know, alot of shit happens in this film and you can get lost in it very easily. It had some cewl fight scenes but they all looked goofy, I still liked them tho. I saw that Francis Ng has a cameo in the beginning has Jet Li's father, but he commits suicide...NOOOO! Anyways I didn't really know anyone else in the film, But then I saw Gigi Lai as a member of Wu Tang's group. Chingmy as the maid who befriends Jet Li and is also a slave, and we never know why( I probably missed it when the subtitles were white against white, which was only one of the things I hated about this DVD) I loved Gigi Lai in this, who basically had a crush on Jet, but shows her true colours in the middle of the film, Chingmy was cute(I loved the seen when Jet got a erection...LOL) Shandra I believe played a sweet villain and can kick ass with that cewl Harp or whatever, to bad the movie ended when she left the temple....sniff. Anyways I thought all of the characters(about 5,000 of them) But I thought the best was just...Jet Li, Chingmy, Shandra and Gigi Lai...Cause I'm now in love with them....excluding Jet ofcourse. Sammo acted like a weirdo in this film and the guy in the Rock acted like a dumbass...

In all, a ok Kung Fu film with a messed up plot, sweet girls and Jet Li kicking a shitload of ass :)


This so called review is brought to you by Fatty

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Kncklz2000
Date: 06/27/2001
Summary: WTF

Jesus H. Christ I couldn't stand this piece of shit. Oh my god!!! I was really dissapointed in Sammo. I know he could have done a better job choreographing this junk, but he didn't.

I don't care what the story was about.

Basically your fights consist of short and quick cuts of poeple flying around in the air, doing God knows what. The only decent fight was the one with Jet against the monk.

This really was a waist of time for me- probably because I'm not a big fan of poeple flying in the air and doing 60 somersaults while trying to hit their opponent.

Reviewed by: BMChu168
Date: 09/18/2000
Summary: In Defense For The Best Jet Li Movie Ever!

Yes, I will gladly repeat the above statement again: Kung Fu Cult Master is the best Jet Li movie I have ever seen! Yes, it was even better than Fist of Legend, Tai-Chi Master, Fong Sai Yuk, and whatever else you can throw at me. I've seen almost all of Jet Li's movies and this is the best that I've seen so far. The critics blasted the makers of the movie for making the plot of the original Chinese novel too convoluting to be truly enjoyed by the fans. While that is true, those that never saw or read the original story could enjoy this movie very easily. What is so confusing about this movie? Most of the information that confuses you isn't even relevant to the story so ignore it if it bothers you that much. Those who seem to hate the movie fail to acknowledge the original score and soundtrack or the action that comes along with the movie. The fight scenes are indeed epic, such as the scenes where the 6 schools raid the Ming Sect. in an attempt to end the riots to the government. It is indeed quite a grand scene. For those just looking for a good fight that can display Jet's true abilities, there is one that particularly stands out in front of others. A student of Shaolin challenges Jet's character to a fight. What follows is one of the best fight scenes I have ever seen Jet do. In my opinion, the wires and the fireballs add to the action, not detract from it. I enjoyed how Wong Jing's usual brand of humor was not a noticeable presence in the making of the movie. This movie was the first kung fu movie I ever saw and the movie that singlehandedly got me interested in other Jet Li and kung fu movies from HK. The story isn't all that impossible to comprehend either, though I'll admit it's not easy. However, once you've watched it as many times as I have, the plot should be a piece of cake to you. I would recommend this movie again and again. For those that don't get the story at first, make use of what you do know and watch the movie for the action, musical score, or anything else instead of complaining to yourself about the plot. If you do so, then you just may enjoy it enough to watch it again, which you should then fully understand after the second viewing. For those that are truly intelligent, then you should feel the same way as I do about the movie. Oh yes, I'll gladly explain the story to you if it bothers you so much that you hate it as much some of you do! It's truly a shame and a disappointment that a sequel was never made after this one! Overall, I will give this movie the grade that it truly deserves, in my opinion and my opinion only:

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 08/04/2000
Summary: I will bring you understanding to this movie!!

OK firstly this is ORIGINALLY a chinese "mini series!!" As far as i remember, i HAVE seen the whole 'mini series' when i was a lot younger!! IT had about 10 tapes, with 3 hours in each tape, it making the total story 30 hours!!
BUT of course, this movie couldn't fit ALL of the plot into 1.5 hours!! So there maybe big holes for people here and there!!

This type of action is common in chinese 'mini series' so to ME, this isn't weird at all!!
People flying, shoot ray beams from there hands is TRADITIONALLY chinese. To us, it's normal action!!

A shame that this movie didn't do well in the box office since you people will never see the end!! I can't remember what happens at the end as well, just been too long!! I think that since this movie was a 'mini series', people stayed away in droves because they have already seen it!! I think they made a 2nd mini series too!!

JUSt for you GRIMES,
Richard Ng is "King of Green bat"
And now you know why the plot is not so good............because this is really a 30 hour saga!!

Anyway, since i grew up with this style of movie, i liked this!! NOT for everyone but i give this


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

This film is an interesting phenomenon. It's got some big stars: Jet Li, Chingmy Yau, Sammo Hung, Cheung Man. It's
directed by Wong Jing, who's known for making hits. It's got flying people, kung fu, first grade humor. What more could it
possibly need?! Nonetheless, it was such a flop that even though the film ends midway through its story, the planned sequel
never happened.

The reason for this failure is probably that the film is just bad, but in a very campy and amusing way. First of all, the plot is
the most ridiculously convoluted thing ever made. In the brief prologue, we are introduced to about ten different characters
and about ten different factions/cults, which form two groups that are fighting each other. Of course, there are innumerable
shifting alliances, and halfway through the movie there is yet another faction introduced, this one apparently led by Cheung
Man. Cheung Man also plays Jet Li's mother at the beginning of the film, even though the two characters have nothing to
do with each other. It is possible to sort all this craziness out and by about halfway through the film it starts to make some
sense (more or less).

Other than that, the film is fairly generic. Lots of flying people (apparently medieval Chinese kung fu masters felt that flying
beat walking), crazy mass fight scenes (limb a-flyin'!), really bad special effects, and various scatalogical and sexual jokes
ranging from hilarious (Sammo Hung's explanation of how he has remained powerful past his hundredth birthday) to
completely offensive (rape jokes are just not funny).

The acting is fine, though nothing to write home about. Each of the main actors pretty much does their usual shtick. I did
like whoever played the "King of Green Bat" though. He really pulled off that comic vampire role (yes, a vampire. Why? I
don't know).

This film is entertaining simply for its incredible silliness. It's not good but it is true camp. Wong Jing may be the John
Waters of Hong Kong (kidding). Hong Kong film aficionados may want to see it simply as a great example of how a film can
be too over the top. Don't see it for the plot, since it will never be resolved without a sequel.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: tygrdx
Date: 03/30/2000
Summary: The Best of the Worst

This movie is so HORRIBLE, it's GOOD! The Story Sucks, the Acting is horrible and the Fight Scenes are WIERD. The OLD DUDE attached to the boulder is COOL!! The Fights between Jet Li and the Shaolin Dragon Claw Master and the end Fight are also quite good. All that's missing is a Bad English Dubbing and this movie would be Perfect.

Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

Although a sequel was planned, the movie performed poorly boxoffice, and so no sequel was ever released.

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 12/09/1999

Any person who loves movies and the home theatre experience will love Kung Fu Cult Master. I feel that this is "The Greatest Film Ever Made". Is that too strong for you? How about "A Masterpiece of Cinema"? How about "Man, This Flick Rocks!"? 1993 was a very busy year for the prolific Wong Jing, having directed and/or produced at least seven films including Last Hero in China and Holy Weapon. I believe that Kung Fu Cult Master is his best work of the lot. The ever popular Jet Li is featured, along with a galaxy of HK movie stars, in a fantastic martial arts story based on a traditional novel by Yin Jong. Jet Li is just great as the master Mo Kei. The wide scope of fighting styles and wire tricks suit his unique skills. Samo Hung plays the granduncle and is also the films Action Director. This great star is at his finest in KFCM. Under his skillful supervision, the action never lets up from the first frame until the last frame[really]. Oh, yeah...if I mention Chingmy Yau and Cheung Man[in two roles] does that tell you anything. I now realize my humble words could never express to the readers how really beautiful this film truly is. I urge every HK movie fan to seek out Kung Fu Cult Master!

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

When adapting novels for film, some directors, like Kubrick, aim to increase the level of profundity; others, like Wong Jing, aim to increase the profanity. If there were someone who could turn Louis Cha's novels into a film of depth and lasting merit, it could hardly be Wong Jing, with his preferences for boob jokes and outlandish supernatural powers, both of which are in abundance here.

[Reviewed by Iain Sinclair]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Achieves such levels of incomprehensibility that even the Chinese in the audience slumped in their seats, defeated. When sickly Chang Mo Kei (Jet Li) is nearly killed by his brother, a flesh-eating kung fu master that rolls around like that huge boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark not only cures the young man of an illness in flicted by the Solar Stance, but imparts powers that make him invincible. Chang retreats to a cave with comely Chingmy Yau, and love blossoms. In the mean time, armies from all of the kung fu sects (including the Master of the Ming Sect, the Evil Nun of No-Mercy, the Master of the Evil Sect, and the King of the Green Bat -- and then there's a woman who shoots darts on her auto harp, and a pair of villains who freeze their victims with what looks like Xmas tree flocking spurting from under their sleeves) are in a huge battle scene; that is, before Chang reveals that their conflicts are part of a government plot to destroy the influence of the martial arts schools. Whew! The movie ends abruptly, (all the Chinese guys in the theater simultaneously groan a disappointed "Aw..."), which means that part two should be on the way. Or maybe not. Epic battle scenes, scads of fun.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7