Gordon Lau Kar-fai plays
Wong Fei-hung (referred to here in Mandarin form as Huang Feihong)
in this period effort, which features one of popular villain Johnny
Wang Lung-wei's most memorable turns, but still ends up as one of
director Lau Kar-leung's lesser Shaw Brothers efforts. Feuding martial
arts clans create havoc for Master Huang Qiying/Wong Kei-ying (Ku
Feng), while son Feihong and his friend, Yinlin (Mai Te-lo), spend
their time unsuccessfully trying to pass themselves off as kung fu
experts. Even after being humiliated by a real martial arts instructor,
the pair continue to try and best one another in public by hiring
opponents that will take a dive. Thanks to a misunderstanding, Yinlin
is seriously injured by Shan (Wang), a kung fu man from the Jing Wu
school in the north. When Yinlin has his leg broken by thugs, this
is just the start of an on-going plot to besmirch the reputation of
both his and Feihong's schools.
While it sidesteps the usual tired
revenge theme, the storyline manages to be both contrived and predictable.
Fortunately, as one has come to expect from Lau Kar-leung's work,
the kung fu is beautifully choreographed, with Gordon Lau and Kara
Hui Ying-hung coming off particularly well. In addition to displaying
fine technique, Johnny Wang gives a wonderful performance as the guileless
but principled Master Shan, a character quite far removed from his
usual ruthless, single-minded Manchu villains. His climactic duel
with Gordon Lau (which starts off in a "clandestine" manner,
a la DIRTY HO, before ending with some prolonged, close quarters
fighting in a very tight alleyway) is cleverly conceived and executed.
Chu Te-hu and Wilson Tong Wai-shing co-star, and Hsiao Hou appears
as one of Feihongs fellow students.