The Kung Fu Cult Master 1993 Review: Jet Li’s Wuxia Epic Is Fast, Furious and Frenetic

An overly confusing plot weighs down this Wong Jing flying kung-fu extravaganza, which was based on Jin Yong’s novel “Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre” (Yi Tian Tu Long Ji). Here we go: there’s a huge hullabaloo about two swords that everyone wants to find, because ownership means you’ll be master of the world of martial arts. Two factions arise from the competition for the swords. One is a group composed of all your famous martial arts clans, i.e. Shaolin, Wu Tang, and all those guys. On the other end is the Ming Sect, sometimes called the Evil Sect, which is led by weird fellows like Green Bat and Gold Lion.

Things get weird when two young lovers from opposing factions (Francis Ng and Cheung Man) sire a young child. Chang Mo-Kei, who eventually becomes a pawn of these warring sects. His parents commit suicide to protect the location of Gold Lion, who has one of the fabled swords in his possession. Chang Mo-Kei grows up to be Jet Li (Ly Lien Kiet). But he’s a total wuss because he was struck with the “Jinx Palm,” which makes practicing martial arts impossible.

Mo-Kei is ousted by jealous schoolmate Ngai Sing. And finds himself at the mercy of a wacky monk who teaches him the “Solar Stance”. Which heals his wound and makes him invulnerable. Mo-Kei sets out to stop the insanity – especially after he discovers that the whole sect vs. sect war is a clever plan formulated by the government to reduce the power of the martial arts clans. And if that’s not enough plot for you, I left out a bunch of stuff.

Only Wong Jing could take a Jin Yong story and turn it into crass entertainment. Meaning bad jokes and toilet humor. Luckily, the over-the-top fight sequences from Sammo Hung are amazing. Sure, it all makes next to no sense, but the spectacle is almost peerless. The female leads give surprising performances. Chingmy Yau is quite appealing as the good girl and Cheung Man is quite effective as the femme fatale. Sadly, many of the films plot points are never revealed. It seems that the film was intended as the first of a two-parter – but The Kung Fu Cult Master (Y Thien Do Long Ky) was a financial flop, so a sequel was never made. Regardless, enjoy it for what it is: fast, furious, frenetic, and fundamentally forgettable.

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