Opium and the Kung Fu Master (Master of the Hung Clan)(Lightning Fists of Shaolin)(Hung kuen dai see Reviews
At times the movie is very over-dramatic, with multiple tragedies often happening for no real reason. The final fight is pretty decent, especially when the hero uses some cunning to finally defeat the villains.
This is an extremely well acted fu flick, starring several of the stable SB actors, most notably the always solid Ti Lung and Chen Kuan-Tai, as well as Phillip Ko Fei and Lee Hoi San. Ti Lung is one of SBs best actor-martial artists, and Chen Kuan-Tai is one of all time HK great martial artist-actors. Putting these two together in the same film was always a winning combination (e.g., Blood Brothers and Savage 5), whether David Chiang was present or not.
In Opium, Ti Lung plays a character not quite a hero, not quite a baddie. He starts out admirable, descends into addition, redeems and resurrects himself, and ends admirable but mature at the conclusion of the movie. In contrast, Chen Kuan-Tai play a baddie throughout, complete with henchmen Ko Fei and Hoi San. Both are solid though Ti Lung's part is larger and emotionally more meaty and he plays it to the hilt. He turned in a number of great performances while at SB, but this is certainly one of his most solid, start to finish, both for dramatic quality and action/fu.
There are lots of things to like about this flick, starting with the opening credits and the main title theme music - brooding and atmospheric (don't know if its original but its solid). The fight choreography is thoroughly enjoyable, and much is creative with plenty of simple but effective weapons work. The first big fight scene between Ti Lung's 'whites' and Chen Kuan-Tai's 'blacks' (symbolism with the fu uniforms? I wonder...) is short but cool with fights occurring in mid-air as dudes hang from banners and streamers, kicking and punching. The climatic fight between Ti Lung and Chen Kwan-Tai is classic Shaw pole vs spear stuff; when Phillip Ko Fei and Lee Hoi San (both with broadswords) join Chen Kwan-Tai to make it 3 on 1, things get really good â?? fight choreography is solid and the cinematography is excellent with good camera work, use of slow motion, stops and strike repeats.
At 1 hr 28 min from opening credits to end credits Opium and the Kung Fu Master plays shorter and is an easy watch, enjoyable throughout for both the fu and drama (played exceedingly well by nearly every actor in the movie).