Notable Cast: Yuen Tak, Chen Kuan Tai, Lin Ho Nien, Wang Lung Wei
Outside of knowing Chen Kuan Tai, I went into The Master with relatively no expectations. I knew the film was from 1980 and I knew that it was a kung fu centered flick being part of Tokyo Shock’s kung fu line from Shaw Brothers, but that’s about it. Needless to say, like many of the Shaw films from this era, The Master is a mixed bag overall. It’s a fun film balanced on a charismatic lead performace and some ridiculously tiring acrobatic kung fu set pieces, but the hit or miss humor and the simplicity of the film don’t necessarily bode for a memorable flick.
When a traveling kung fu master Jin Tien-yun (Chen Kuan Tai) decides to end the underhanded debauchery of the Three Devils, he is betrayed and left terribly wounded. He finds shelter in the home of a young martial arts student Gao Jian (Yuen Tak), who then begins to learn under his secret teaches. When the Three Devils begin to hunt down the injured master, the young man must step up to the plate and figure out a way to stop them before the destroy everything.
|It's not classic Shaw without a training montage!
Director Lu Chin Ku and fight choreographer Hsu Hsia correct some of the cliché elements and forced humor in the film with style. The former adds some slick visual work to keep us interested even when the film meanders too far away from what’s working and the latter steals the show with the ridiculously entertaining battles of the film. Seriously though, Yuen Tak is one hell of a gymnast to be able to pull off the acrobatics of the fight sequences. Partnered with some great sets for him to use to defeat the Three Devils, the fights in The Master are easily the highlight of the film and the one true reason to delve into the film.
|This is a massively difficult high five they are attempting.
Written By Matt Reifschneider