The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk Cover Some people call me 'Legend'. Other people call me 'Doris'. Even more people call me just before lunch time, and just after tea time. But you can call me whilst watching this very nice 100 minute movie made in 1996, Directed by Corey Yuen; and Starring: Jet Li, Josephine Siao, Michelle Reis, and Paul Chu. Go on. Ring-Ring.

The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk

Hey, pal! Do you know that idiot, Lui Lo-fu (Chan Chung-yung)? Well, you never guess what he's gone and done?

No. He hasn't sold his mustache to Donald Trump, silly. Not yet anyway. He's just gone and announced that you can marry his daughter, Lui Ting Ting (Michelle Reis), but only if you beat-up his wife in a fist fight first!

Yeah. I'm not kidding. And I tell you something for nothing. Lui's misses, Siu-wan (Sibelle Hu), is one tough filly. Recently I've seen her beat Fong Sai yuk (Jet Li) in a very high-flying bout.

Huh? What's that you say? WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? Fong's mother, Miu Chui-fa (Josephine Siao), has dressed herself up to look like a man, taken her sons place, and has beaten Siu not so long thereafter? All that, despite her son being taken hostage by Lui's men!

Oh, dear! What a palaver that lot is! Still. It could be a lot worse, don't you know. Fok's Dad could be involved with the 'Red Flower Society', inadvertently prompting his family and Luis family to join forces, and face the wrath of the dreaded Governor himself, Kau Man (Zhao Wenzhuo).

Damn! I spoke too soon. Haven't it?

Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when Fok and Ting tie the knot. As battles are hard and rough - kicking is fast and tough - never run when you can always hop - and at the end of the day, one parent dies, whilst the other is saved from the chop.

Not the end. Not yet, anyway.

Wow! What a bloody great film 'The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk' truly is. From start to finish the overall production was one of those flicks that really got my blood pumping. The action scenes were dramatic and fast paced. The comedy actually made me bust a gut. Plus the actors involved really did facilitate the story in both style and content.

The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk Starring Jet Li
Granted. Not everything smelt of roses throughout this film. On occasion I didn't quite understand some of the Asian nuances darted about. Like that whole set up at the beginning of the movie for instance: Where Jet's character got arrested for running in a race. Plus I wasn't quite keen on how it took some time for the actual story part of the story to finally kick in: Leaving the first fifteen minutes or so to come across a mite redundant in retrospect.

Apart from that though -- nah -- this was one brilliant movie. Packed to the brim with all of that Hong Kong goodness I know and love. Such as (1) Conceptually this is a film of two halves. With the first half dedicated to the Fok's and the Lui's bizarre family battle. Whilst the second half is dedicated to the 'Governor' and the 'Red Flower Society' sub-plots. Don't fret though. At the beginning of the second half these two sections do merge together on a narrative level quite nicely, despite them not coming together on a tonal level. The first half was more humorous, whilst the second half was more serious. (2) As I mentioned up above, in places this movie was really-really funny. One of the stand-out scenes for me was when Sibelle's character fell for Josephine's character. My God! I never thought I'd laugh like a loon at a cheesy situation like that one. Trust me. Some of the dialogue was a right hoot to listen to too. (3) Another thing I mentioned up above was how much I enjoyed watching the action and the martial arts depicted in this piece. I mean, what can I say about that? Amazing. Truly amazing. The majority of the high flying antics really kept me at the very edge on my seat. Especially that battle between Jet and Sibelle. Plus all of those sequences involving the Governor and his men. Here. Check this out to see what I mean...

The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk Starring jet Li
Hey! Guess what's coming up next, folks. Yep. You're correct. It's filmic fact time. (1) 'Gala Film' first released this production on the 4th of March, 1993, and clawed back $30 million HK dollars at the Hong Kong box office. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'A Last Luta' in Brazil; 'The Enforcer' in Germany; 'The Prodigal Fighter' in the Philippines; and in Hong Kong it was originally labelled, 'Fong Sai Yuk'. (3) In the scene where Jet Li's character gives the police a fake name, the name he actually gives belongs to the director of this film, 'Yuen Kwai'. Furthermore, in the scene where he tells his mother that he was taught English by an English person, the name he tells her is the name of the woman who actually plays his mother, 'Josephine Siao'. (4) This was the first time Jet Li and Corey Yuen ever worked together. Since then they've become close personal friends, and have worked on many-many other filmic projects. (5) After this flick jumped out of its box, Jet Li starred in 'Last Hero in China'; Josephine Siao starred in 'Kin chan no Cinema Jack'; and Michelle Reis starred in 'The Story of the Flying Fox'. (6) In 1993, this action-adventure won both the 'Hong Kong Film Award' and 'Golden Horse Award' for 'Best Action Choreography'. (7) Kung-Yung Chai, who was one of the three scriptwriters assigned to this project, wrote nothing else in his very short lived career. (8) Four months after this movie was released, the same creative team released its sequel, 'The Legend 2', also starring Jet Li, Josephine Siao, and directed by Corey Yuen.

The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk Starring Josephine Siao

All in all 'The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk' was a great film. Admittedly, it didn't quite balance the humor and the serious nature of this piece all that well. That was rather lop-sided I thought. Still. The action was great. The actors were top class. And overall I can't wait to watch the sequel.

Nuff said.    


THE LEGEND OF FONG SAI-YUK THE LEGEND OF FONG SAI-YUK Reviewed by David Andrews on January 13, 2014 Rating: 5
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