only six years ago, Yuen Woo-Ping's quasi-sequel to 'Tai Chi Master'
seems to have aged far faster than most.
This is due in no small part to the inclusion of the musical scores
from Armour Of God and Tiger Cage - a totally out of place addition
to a film set in the early 1900's.
Aside from the quite awful acting of lead villain Mr. Smith (Darren
Shahlavi) - I've seen pantomime dames with more menace - the rest
of the cast are all average to good.
As the film's main star, young Jacky Wu handles himself admirably.
The light-hearted, cheeky-chappy persona his character possesses
borders on the irritating, but never quite gets there. The same
can be said for Christy Chung's utterly thankless role as Wu's love
Whilst there's some semblance of a plot involving opium smuggling
and the like, it really has little baring on the film's main draw.
Yuen Woo-Ping shows the very best, and worst, of his choreographical
abilities, with each of the numerous fight scenes.
The horribly obvious and overused wirework which infests a number
of set-pieces lies uneasily alongside the far more impressive hand
to hand combat sequences.
Disappointingly, the action scenes reach their peak about three
quarters of the way through, leaving a finale which ooks like an
ultra-cheap Once Upon A Time In China rehash.
The most impressive scenes are those which use the (obviously stylised)
Tai Chi movements of which Jackie Wu's character is an expert.
The film is competently directed, although it does have a very low
budget feel to it, with little attention paid to plot development
few marks and speckles and grain is noticeable in certain scenes,
but otherwise this a superb transfer.
The print is in very good condition and high detail levels give
the transfer a very crisp look.
Whilst very little attention has been paid to the film's cinematography,
thanks to some effective usage of Mainland Chinese locations and
excellent period costumes, the transfer has something to get its
Few scenes drop their high detail levels to any noticeable degree,
which means the transfer keeps an impressive consistency.
Colours are good, though not particularly striking, but remain natural
This is a top quality presentation from HKL.
to make your hair stand on end, but none the less solid. Rear effects
are almost non-existent, but the general standard of the mix is
improved translations are found on this HKL disc, which stay faithful
to the film's dialogue.
The Tai Chi techniques used throughout are all translated accurately
with no attempts made to Anglicise them.
designed and composed menu screens feature throughout, which utilise
the Yin-Yang symbol to good effect.
Conducted by Bey Logan, this light-hearted interview is extremely
disappointing. Only a few minutes are spent discussing Christy's
views on the production, with the remainder filled with her opinions
of Chow Sing-Chi, Jet Lee and Jackie Chan.
The only high point comes in the interviews final
minutes, but to explain would spoil the surprise for any male (or
Darren Shahlavi (40 minutes)
A superb discussion with the film's lead villain, British martial
artist Darren Shahlavi. Interspersed are illuminating clips of behind
the scenes camcorder footage, much like those found on the City
Shahlavi may be found wanting in the acting department, but he comes
across as a totally down-to-earth person, and is happy to regale
the interviewer with his experiences on the set.
Christy Chung Photo Gallery
A decent selection of snaps mostly taken (I presume) from her much
(self) publicised book.
Easy to navigate, though not particularly interesting.
Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery
A very large selection of production stills, which are far more
interesting than the majority of photo galleries put together by
Once again, exceptionally easy to navigate, and well worth a look.
Behind The Scenes Footage (2 minutes)
A very short but eye-opening selection of more footage from Shahlavi's
UK Promo Trailer
Original Theatrical Trailer
It goes without saying that this is yet another excellent Logan
commentary, littered with facts and behind the scenes knowledge.
immensely lacklustre plot, and some average extras are bolstered
by some excellent fight sequences in this latest of HKL releases.
As an entertaining 90 minute kung fu flick this undoubtedly holds
the attention. However, it's questionable whether this Tai Chi Boxer
will last the distance irrespective of its impressive transfer...