Ways of Kung Fu (1978)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2009-05-11
Summary: Decent with one spectacular scene...
Ta Kung (Chi Kuan-Chun) is a constant target for practical jokes and harassment by his fellow students at a Buddhist temple. After a scar-faced monk named Wu Tak (Cliff Ching) arrives, the abuse becomes more pronounced and Ta is urged by the head monk to leave and join his old friend Shang King (Leung Kar-Yan), a master of kung fu. After Ta Kung witnesses Shang's ability, he agrees that he wants to learn his style in order to defend himself in the future. After two years, Ta Kung returns to the temple to find that the head monk is sick and Wu Tak has taken over, all while murdering and robbing people at night. Ta Kung confronts him and is almost defeated, but is saved by Shang King at the last moment, where it is revealed that Shang and Wu have met and fought before. Later Wu Tak and his thugs attacks Shang King's family, but Shang's daughter (Wong Bo-Yuk) manages to escape and get back to Ta Kung. After another battle, Ta escapes and is taken in by a Drunken Master (Yu Tien-Lung) and his disciple (Meng Fei), who train him to eventually take on Wu Tak and end his reign of terror.

Ways of Kung Fu for the most part is a mediocre film with some flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately, the storyline is very disjointed and introduces characters and side plots seemingly in random spots. Characters that seem to have an important role that should be explained by the end fade away without much thought. Specifically, the role of the Drunken Master and his pupil seem to be afterthoughts created to show a different style on film. Chi Kuan doesn't actually incorporate drunken style in any fight, so its presence is a bit confusing. Add to this the haphazard role of what appears to be a policeman played by Chung Wa who is searching for Cliff Ching's character for past deeds. Again, no explanation is ever given for this side-plot. I'm probably being too picky on plot points in a kung fu movie, but it adds to the overall sloppiness of the film. The one true highlight is the presence of Leung Kar-Yan in his role as the grumpy old kung fu master. There is one top-notch fight scene where he takes on Chi Kuan in the rain. Kar-Yan is holding an umbrella and says that if a single rain drop touches his head, he loses the fight. Although the quality of the DVD made for some less than ideal contrast ratios (the scene takes place at night), the fighting is incredible. Kar-Yan uses the umbrella as both a shield and a staff in fantastically choreographed fight. Not surprisingly, when Leung Kar-Yan exits the picture the movie suffers immeasurably. The rest of the combatants, save for Chi Kuan, are not at the level of Kar-Yan, and the film slips back into the average bin.

Reviewer Score: 6