White Lotus Cult (1993)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2007-01-19
Summary: Excellent martial arts drama...
White Lotus Cult takes place in the same period as the original Once Upon a Time in China. Liang Kun (Do Siu-Chun) is a medicine delivery boy along with his best friend, Kuang. The sentiment around Peking is very anti-foreigner and their are often skirmishes that arise between locals and westerners, sometimes provoked by the ultra-nationalistic White Lotus Cult. Their leader, Chan (Ji Chun-Hua) is physically worn down from his practice of the incredibly power-sapping style of kung fu he practices. In order to regain his strength, he needs the original documents that explains the martial art, but it has been hidden away by his one-time brother Chin Chen (Wong Kam-Kong). A former member, Chin Chen has become disillusioned by the cult's recent dealings and is very opposed to the Empress Dowager and her corrupt government. His desire to assassinate the Empress leads him into danger and embroils Liang Kun in the conflict as well. As it turns out, Liang is interested in Chin's daughter and unfortunately, his friend Kuang has joined the cult and its power-hungry members. Now Liang must learn Chin's White Lotus style in order to take on the leader of the cult.
This martial arts drama is a very enjoyable film and it reminded me of great wuxia stories. There are omnipotent heroes and villians along with a naive hero who gets caught up in the whole mess. The martial arts in the film are also of quite high-quality, with Ji Chun-Hua once again showing his impressive skills. Another nice surprise is the appearance of the Shaw Brothers legend Lily Li Li-Li as the spurned lover of Chin Chen who agrees to teach Liang her powerful martial arts. Although some of the martial arts scenes are undercranked, the quality is still high. An enjoyable film and the first in a trilogy. Sam the Iron Bridge is the next in the series.

Reviewer Score: 8