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The Legend - Fong Sai Yuk

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The Legend - Fong Sai Yuk / Jet LiThe Legend - Fong Sai Yuk, Hong Kong, 1993

Director: Corey Yuen

Cast: Jet Li, Lung Chan, Adam Cheng, Sung Young Chen, Man Cheuk Chiu, Kong Chu, Xian Gao, Sibelle Hu, Michelle Reis, Josephine Siao

Martial arts matinee idol Jet Li portrays a real life turn-of-the-century Cantonese patriot, the dauntless Fong Sai-Yuk, in The Legend. This is a much more blunt and straightforward effort than Tsui Hark's flamboyant Once Upon a Time in China films, but codirectors Ann Hui (Song of the Exile) and Yuen Kwai (Yes, Madam) deliver many lively and funny sequences. The film's revelatory performance, however, comes from Josephine Siao, a Cantonese star of the 1960s in both comedies and high-flying swordplay films, who here plays Fong Sai-Yuk's martial mother. Siao disguises herself as a man to enter a martial arts competition and ends up winning both the prize and the heart of a high official's daughter--mostly because the girl has never met a hero with so much poetic sensitivity lurking just beneath the surface. Chu Kong (Sidney in John Woo's The Killer) plays Fong Sai-Yuk's father as an anti-Manchu patriot so unbendingly upright that he's a bit of a prig. As the action heats up, political stakes emerge more clearly. In the grand finale, Fong Sai-Yuk squares off against a Manchu killer played with great panache by newcomer Chiu Man-cheuk.

The Legend II

 


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