TAI-CHI MASTER - TWIN WARRIORS

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Tai Chi Master Cover Couldn't you just imagine what it must feel like to live forever? Well, not only do you get the opportunity to change your wives as many times are you can change your clothing. But in addition to this, you'll get to star in this martial arts film Directed by: Yuen Woo-ping; with the Actors: Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, and Chin Siu Ho. But only in 1993, and for about 93-minute's. OK?


Tai Chi Master / Twin Warriors


THE STORY:
Ever since Tienbo (Chin Siu Ho) first met Junbao (Jet Li) all those many-many years ago, somehow these two super-strong Shaolin students have always gotten themselves into some sort of trouble.

Yeah. No kidding. When they eventually learned how to fight -- POW! -- They got kicked out of their school for beating up their class-mates. When they attempted to help out the impoverished Miss Li (Fennie Yuen) -- THUNK! -- They inadvertently befriended her renegade pals. And when they intervened with Siu Lin's (Michelle Yeoh) marital distress -- THWAK! -- They ended up hiding in a coffee house from her spouse's toffee-nosed wife.

However, sometime later, when they both take a stab at performing a strong-man act to earn themselves some money, something completely different happens to them by default.

No. They don't start a double-act called Tienbo-Junbao. Tienbo gets recruited into an oppressive war-like regime, thus leaving Junbao behind with his renegade brethren.

Alright. I know what you're thinking to yourself. This peculiar turn of events must surely change the dynamics in Tienbo and Junbao's relationship! Right? Well, they're defiantly bound to butt-heads sooner of later!

But no. At first, things seems be fairly amicable between these two old friends. Going so far that Tienbo even helps out Junbao and the renegade's when they get into a right ruckus at the aforementioned coffee house.

Still, due to Tienbo own hard-lined leanings, that's most probably why what next transpires really kicks off when a massacre is prearranged. As betrayers betray - the Tao shows the way - passions lead to hate - and whilst one super strong Shaolin student dies, the other one follows the path of fate.




THE REVIEW:
Now in all honesty 'Tai-Chi Master' is one of those kung-fu comedy's that set's out and achieves precisely what it wanted to accomplish in the first place -- entertain- entertain-entertain. Yet not only is it very funny, very action packed, and manages to tell a pretty decent story in the process, but it does this whilst adding a very cartoon-like edge to the overall package.

Yeah. Honestly. Try to think of this film as a conceptual mix-mash of 'Drunken Master' meets 'Guilty By Suspicion'; just replace the political edge of the latter movie with the polished sheen of a Hong Kong classic like 'Once Upon a Time in China'. Furthermore, I'd say that the conceptual narrative has a touch of 'Tom and Jerry' and a splattering of ' Cain and Abel' too; deliberately making this movie one hell of a movie to watch.


Jet and Michelle in Tai Chi Master / Twin Warriors


Tai Chi Master Film Poster
OK. I know I could go on and compare this film to other such classics of this ilk. But you don't want that, do you dear reader? You're ready for some filmic-facts. Correct? (1) 'Golden Harvest' and 'Dimension Films' released this movie on the 18th of November, 1993. (2) This slice of Hong Kong cinema was referenced in two films made in 2003: 'The Matrix Reloaded' and 'Kill Bill: Volume 1'. (3) When Cine Asia released a UK version of this film in April, 2010, they changed the title from 'Twin Warriors' to 'Tai Chi Master' for marketing reasons alone. (4) Prior to making this action packed adventure, Jet Li starred in 'The Legend 2', whilst Michelle Yeoh starred in 'Supercop 2'. Wow! What a lot of 'two's', huh? (5) The character Jet Li plays in this adventure -- Zhang Sanfeng -- is believed to be a real life 12th century Chinese Taoist priest, who gained immortality through his teachings. (6) I kid you not; the music for the Hong Kong version of this film was composed by Iron Monkey's Wu Wai Lap; whereas the English language version was composed by The Prestige's Stephen Edwards. (7) Yuen Woo-ping directed a sequel to this film in 1996 called 'Tai Chi Boxer' -- just without Jet Li or Michelle Yeoh starring in it. Stay-tuned: a review is in the pipeline. (8) If you look very-very closely at this flick, you'll notice quite a few visible mistakes scattered throughout it. Not only are the wires used very visible in certain scenes, but just prior to Jet kicking that ball against the wall, you can see it explode before the impact.


The Cast of Tai Chi Master / Twin Warriors


Now where was I? Oh, yeah. 'Tai-Chi Master'. Or whatever you may want to call it. Wow! What a great film.

Twin Warriors Movie Still
For me -- personally -- there were quite a few aspects to this piece that I thought made is very cool all in all. Firstly, I enjoyed watching the incremental split between the two 'Shaolin brothers', although you could have second guessed that this was going to happen from the get go. Secondly, the comedy in this movie is very bold and animated in places, yet, at the same, it was able to cement it into some sort of grounded framework. Thirdly, I thought that the majority of the action in this piece was just outstanding to sit through, even if it was slightly heavy handed in the wire-work department. And last but not lest, the actors and the overall story really gelled together all the way through this yarn, and never did I once question if something never felt right to me (well, except for when Jet's character went a bit bananas).

Overall, 'Tai Chi Master' is one cracking film. And I'd personally recommend it to anyone who likes some Tom and Jerry with their kicking and slapping. It's that good.

A Jet Li classic. Defiantly one to watch.

THE RATING: A