Fong Sai-yuk (1993)

Posted in Reviews by - November 13, 2015
Fong Sai-yuk (1993)

Jet Li revives another classic Chinese folk hero for modern audiences with a spirited performance as Fong Sai-yuk, the real-life happy-go-lucky kung fu wunderkind whose life was serialised in wuxia literature and later on-screen by the Shaw Brothers. Despite their strong moral compass and expert martial artistry, Fong is far removed from Jet Li’s other cinematic alter-ego, Wong Fei-hung, popularised by Tsui Hark in his Once Upon a Time in China series. Fong Sai-yuk is mostly played for laughs, and succeeds effortlessly in all departments.

Plots run parallel. One, in which Fong enters a kung fu tournament at the behest of former bandit Tiger Liu (Chen Sung-yung) who offers his daughter’s hand in marriage as the prize. Fong eventually loses to Liu’s wife, Siu (Sibelle Hu), so in order to restore the family name, his equally spirited mother (Josephine Siao) adopts male garb and steps into the ring. Not only does she win the competition, but she also inadvertently wins Siu’s heart in the process. Another subplot reveals Fong’s father to be a key member of the Red Flower Society rebel group and also in possession of a list of revolutionary names, which puts the Fong family into direct conflict with a power-mad Manchu big shot (Vincent Zhao).

The film jumps around merrily and is quite faultless, featuring especially charming turns from comedian Josephine Siao and the always electrifying Jet Li.

AKA: The Legend; The Legend of Fong Sai-yuk

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