I've just seen the VCD of Kung Fu Cult Master so here's a short review.
The first thing to say is that the story in this is completely mad, it seems like a mix of Zu Warriors and Swordsman 2 and is insane. It is fast paced though so you never have the chance to ponder it or get bored. Jet Lee is excellent and shows off some of his best martial arts in years. Samo also looks surprisingly good considering in his own films he'd started to alter the choreographer to suit his 'age'. No one else stands out in the cast except, as usual, for Richard Ng. The fights are good and not marred by too mush wirework and the combination of real MA and wire is near perfect. All in all this is a good fantasy and a very entertaining film.
(***) Achieves such levels of incomprehensibility that even the Chinese in the audience slumped in their seats, defeated. When sickly Chang Mo Kei (Jet Li) is nearly killed by his brother, a flesh-eating kung fu master that rolls around like that huge boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark not only cures the young man of an illness inflicted by"Jinx's Palm", but imparts powers[the "Great Solar Stance"] that make him invincible. Chang retreats to a cave with comely Chingmy Yau, and love blossoms. In the mean time, armies from all of the kung fu sects (including the Master of the Ming Sect, the Evil Nun of No-Mercy, the Master of the Evil Sect, and the King of the Green Bat -- and then there's a woman who shoots darts on her auto harp, and a pair of villains who freeze their victims with what looks like Xmas tree flocking spurting from under their sleeves) are in a huge battle scene; that is, before Chang reveals that their conflicts are part of a government plot to destroy the influence of the martial arts schools. Whew! The movie ends abruptly, (all the Chinese guys in the theater simultaneously groan a disappointed "Aw..."), which means that part two should be on the way. Or maybe not. Epic battle scenes, scads of fun.
Any person who loves movies and the home theatre experience will love Kung Fu Cult Master. I feel that this is "The Greatest Film Ever Made". Is that too strong for you? How about "A Masterpiece of Cinema"? How about "Man, This Flick Rocks!"?
1993 was a very busy year for the prolific Wong Jing, having directed and/or produced at least seven films including Last Hero in China and Holy Weapon. I believe that Kung Fu Cult Master is his best work of the lot. Wong Jing is the subject of much derision in the fancy world of criticism. He has been called the "Roger Corman of HK Cinema" which, I think, is not a bad thing. In the unsettled climate of pre-1997 Hong Kong, Wong has continued producing films at a feverish pace while other filmmakers have sought the pot o' gold in Europe and the USA. The ever popular Jet Li is featured, along with a galaxy of HK movie stars, in a fantastic martial arts story based on a traditional novel by Yin Jong. The story has been made into numerous films and television shows in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
There are so many incredible sequences in the film that it is impossible to know which ones to tell you about. It starts off right in the titles, with furious kung fu and a spoken narration that gives the historical background leading us to the saga of Chang Mo Kei and the events on his granduncles 100th birthday. On this fateful day, Mo Kei witnesses his parents double suicide at the hands of the 6 Schools of Martial Arts led by the monks of Shaolin.
As a child Mo Kei was hit with "Jinx's Palm" by enemies of his father. He is unable to practice kung fu and gets the chills from his lack of inner strength. His granduncle Chang San Feng has cared for him since his parents death. Yes, you read it correctly. He doesn't know how to fight and couldn't learn kung fu!
Jet Li is just great as the master Mo Kei. The wide scope of fighting styles and wire tricks suit his unique skills. Samo Hung plays the granduncle and is also the films Action Director. This great star is at his finest in KFCM. Under his skillful supervision, the action never lets up from the first frame until the last frame[really]. Oh, yeah...if I mention Chingmy Yau and Cheung Man[in two roles] does that tell you anything.
I now realize my humble words could never express to the readers how really beautiful this film truly is. I urge every HK movie fan to seek out Kung Fu Cult Master!
Perhaps director Wong Jing's best film to date. It's still flawed, but compared to the crap he's usually releasing, this one's a masterpiece. Martial Arts master Jet Li plays a young man who is torn between avenging the death of his parents and helping the very killers in a battle against a far greater enemy. A fantasy[almost horror] chop socky actioner with enough kinky subplots to gain cult status over time.updated 2/4/99