The Prodigal Son (1981)
Reviewed by: hokazak on 1999-12-09
A great kung fu classic, with interesting characters, good acting, and a decent plot. Some of the most realistic Wing Chun kung fu that you'll see on the silver screen (or the boob tube), as well! Yuen Biao plays the spoiled son of a fairly wealthy man who wants to protect him from getting hurt in a street fight, and so ends up paying half the people in the town to "play possum" when challenging his son to a fight. Consequently, Yuen Biao builds a reputation and an ego on the basis of 300 street fights (all of which have been "thrown" by the opponent). His bogus undefeated streak comes to an end when he tries to get tough with a traveling Peking Opera performer (the always wonderful Lam Ching Ying - increasingly one of my favorite HK actors) who plays the female role in their show, and who manages to beat up Yuen Biao and all his friends, simpering around and speaking in falsetto all the while! Yuen Biao is sobered by the knowledge that his vaunted martial arts "skill" is all show and no substance, and he decides to make a pest of himself until Lam Ching Ying will agree to take him on as his pupil. Comedy, drama, fantastic training sequences, and a bunch of great, realistic and stylistic fights ensue. Recommended!