Wong Fei-hung hai lit ji yat doi si
Mandarin: Huang Feihong xi lie zhi
yi dai shi
English: "Wong Fei-hung Series: One
Generation Teacher" or "Huang Feihong Series: One Generation Teacher"
Title: Great Hero of China
A low-budget Taiwanese attempt to cash in on Tsui Hark's ONCE UPON A TIME
IN CHINA series, this minor period effort has some quality martial arts but
no originality or excitement. Portrayed this time out by Chin Kar-lok, Wong
Fei-hung (identified in the subtitles as both "Wang Fei-hung" and
"Hwang Fei-hung") is an undisciplined young layabout, always driving
his aged father, Wong Kei-ying, to distraction. A few days after the elder
Wong finally passes away, his old enemy, Japanese fighter Jiubinku Kyoto (Lam
Ching-ying), returns to challenge Kei-ying, as part of his methodical plan
to defeat all of China's top masters. Furious that he has been denied another
chance to battle Kei-ying, Jiubinku smashes the dead man's spirit tablet and
murders one of Po Chi Lam clinic's senior students.
Seeking to exploit the Chinese further,
British representatives (in league with the disreputable Master Ha Tieh, played
by Suen Kwok-ming) open an opium den in the town, earning the instant disfavor
of Fei-hung, who proceeds to demolish the place. In spite of his honorable
intentions, Fei-hung is ordered by the mayor (Kwan Hoi-san) to apologize to
the British, a veritable death sentence, but finds an unexpected ally in the
form of Jiubinku. The Japanese master's motives are simple: he does not want
anyone to kill Fei-hung until he has had a chance to defeat him in combat.
Chin and Lam display some good form and the action is choreographed with a
fair amount of chutzpah but the staging is comparatively primitive
(vaseline is put on the lens at times, in order to hide the wires at the top
of the screen) and the story enveloping the action is pedestrian, with one
major subplot left unresolved. The director and some of the leads worked together
again on SHAOLIN AVENGERS (aka KUNG FU KID). That film is about two other
great Chinese martial heroes, Fong Sai-yuk and Hung Hei-kwun, and was apparently
produced in tandem with this one.
Cover art courtesy Tai Seng.
|Tai Seng #36994 (U.S. Label)
Dolby Digital 2.0
Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Cambodian Language
Tracks (all post-synched)
Permanent English and Traditional Chinese Language
8 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With (Tiny) Stills
Coded for ALL Regions
Contains moderate martial arts violence
DVD menu courtesy
BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
Great Britain: 12
Hong Kong: II
Tai Seng's presentation sports the original Chinese/English
theatrical subtitles and is identical to their old Chinese market VHS release
and the HK import laserdisc from Universe. The hard matted frame is mildly
cropped, occasionally lopping the beginning and end off the English subs.
The image is soft and hazy, with weak contrasts, while the audio is adequate.
Ric Meyers and Bobby Samuels do a commentary and the track gets off to a stumbling
start when the former states that no director is listed and asks anyone who
has that information to write in and tell him. Unfortunately, his request
comes shortly after the Chinese opening title sequence has concluded with
the credit "Director: Lee Chiu." This is a real person, not a pseudonym,
and when Meyers says that there is no listing, he means that the name has
not been translated in his unacknowledged source of information, The
Hong Kong Movie Database. On the plus side, he reads extended quotes from
an interesting interview with Chin, where the actor discusses his personal
approach to martial arts. Samuels also injects some engaging trivia about
Sammo Hung Kam-bo's DON'T GIVE A DAMN, a 1995 film he did with Chin. There
are a number of errors in regards to alternate titles and release dates but,
overall, this is one of the pair's best discussions to date. The DVD also
offers promo spots for other Tai Seng releases. Onscreen English title: MARTIAL
ART MASTER WONG FEI HONG (sic). York Home Video has released an English dubbed
version of this picture on VHS under the title GREAT HERO OF CHINA.
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