The Kung Fu Master is another of Tai Seng Entertainments attempts to introduce Martial Arts television series to the west. Just like with The Master Swordsman and Assassin Swordsman they took a full series and edited it down into an extended movie. They did a much better job with The Kung Fu Master than they did with the previous two mentioned titles as The Kung Fu Master is more coherent as a movie. The original series is around twenty-two and a half hours long where both The Kung Fu Master and its sequel Revenge of the Kung Fu Master is just seven hours long.
The Flying Guillotine makes an appearance in this series as does the Sun Moon Sect which is a popular fictional Wuxia Sect found in his novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer Which also features heavily in the Swordsman Trilogy in the 90’s produced by Tsui Hark.
The Kung Fu Master takes place during Qing Dynasty and is loosely based on the story of folk hero and legend Hung Hei-gun. It tells the tale of how he begins his rebellion to restore Han (Ming) over Manchurian (Ching) rule. Other famous folk legends make an appearance such as Wing Chun and the Shaolin Priest Sam Tak (or San Te) who was popularised by Gordon Liu in the 36 Chambers of Shaolin movies.
The series is very fun to watch, the Tai Seng version offers original Cantonese Language as well as English Dubbed and English Subtitles. Despite having 16 hours chopped off of it the movie is still watchable and doesn’t leave that many unanswered questions unlike The Assassin Swordsman and The Master Swordsman where you could tell there are chunks missing from the story. It’s a fun series and you can definitely tell it was made in the 90’s with all the white powder flying about, but I’m a fan of 90’s martial arts so it was nostalgia for me. I can only hope that someday I will be able to watch the series in its entirety.
Anna Ng as Mother of Hung Hei-gun
Pat Poon as Father of Hung Hei-gun/Red Dragon
Tang Ho-kwong as Kong Wai-lun
Lawrence Yan as Ko Chun-chung
Erica Choi as Yim Wing-chun
Wong Wan-choi as Qianlong Emperor
Ben Ng as Monk Sam Tak
Hon Yee-sang as Monk San Kai
*Unfortunately Hong Kong Movie Database (HKMD) is currently down. I’m hoping to return and update the cast list and other films they have been in at a later date.