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Fong Sai-Yuk
  |     review    |     notes     |     awards     |     availability     |     also see      |  
AKA: The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk "Up, up and away!"
Jet Li and Josephine Siao in Fong Sai-Yuk.
Year: 1993
Director: Corey Yuen Kwai
Producer: Jet Li Lian-Jie, Ann Hui On-Wah
Action: Corey Yuen Kwai, Yuen Tak
Cast: Jet Li Lian-Jie, Josephine Siao Fong-Fong, Michelle Reis, Chan Chung-Yung, Zhao Wen-Zhou, Sibelle Hu, Paul Chu Kong, Adam Cheng Siu-Chow
The Skinny: Probably the Webmaster's favorite Jet Li film. An entertaining blend of kung-fu action, comedy, drama, gender switcheroos and much more. In short, a near-perfect Hong Kong film.
  Review
by Kozo:
     This 1993 Corey Yuen-directed Jet Li flick ranks waaaaay up there on the list of great Hong Kong Cinema experiences. It's about legendary hero Fong Sai-Yuk, who was a member of the Red Flower Society, a secret society who desired to take back the country from the Manchu-run Ching Dynasty. As portrayed by Li, Fong is a happy-go-lucky kung-fu expert who spends his time fooling around with his buddies. By strange happenstance, he gets involved with Ting Ting (Michelle Reis), the daughter of the new Manchu governor (Chan Chung-Yung).
     However, Fong really doesn't just get involved with Ting Ting. Circumstances are much more involved and screwball-comedy complex. He wins a kung-fu contest to determine Ting Ting's future husband, but he doesn't realize that Ting Ting is the girl whose hand he's won. Even more, his supermom (Josephine Siao) dresses up like a man to try to bail out her son, and ends up winning the affections of Fong's new mother-in-law (Sibelle Hu). Plus, the new governor doesn't know that Fong's dad (Paul Chu) is a high-ranking Red Flower Society officer. And last but not least, the supreme government baddie (future Wong Fei-Hong Zhao Wen-Zhou) arrives to act mean and terrorize everyone in sight. I've said it before and I'll say it again: hijinks ensue.
     What makes Fong Sai-Yuk such an incredible delight is the overabundance of eager-to-please yet very agreeable comedy and action sequences. The comedy is typically Hong Kong, meaning lots of minor shtick, gender confusion and mistaken identity silliness. Still, unlike usual comedymeister Wong Jing, Corey Yuen manages to make the comedy pleasing and unobstrusive. The action is in another entire class. Fong Sai-Yuk is loaded with intricately choreographed classic set pieces, including a famous fight atop the heads of a crowd, and a showdown between Wong Fei-Hongs Jet Li and Zhao Wen-Zhou. Even the drama manages to work.
     To assign negatives to Fong Sai-Yuk would seem like ungrateful nitpicking. The film is a rarity: a popcorn crowd-pleaser that elicits so many different cinematic emotions that calling it exhilirating would be an understatement. In a perfect world they would still make Hong Kong movies like this. (Kozo 1995/2002)
Awards:

13th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Winner - Best Action Design (Corey Yuen Kwai, Yuen Tak)
• Nomination - Best Actress (Josephine Siao Fong-Fong)

Notes: • Yes, Miramax/Dimension/Disney now owns the US rights to Fong Sai-Yuk, and they've changed the title to The Legend. Not The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk or The Legend of the Kung Fu Kid or some other vaguely descriptive title. No, it's just The Legend. And its been rescored and dubbed. Bastards.
• For a full report on any cuts and changes made to the US version of this film, as well as other Asian films purchased by Disney/Miramax, visit the Web Alliance for the Respectful Treatment of Asian Cinema.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Also see: Fong Sai-Yuk II (1993)

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

   
 
   
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