The Master (1980)Director: Lu Chin-ku
Starring: Chen Kuan-tai, Wang Lung-wei, Lin Ho-nien, Yuen Tak, Wen Hsueh-erh, Fat Sui
Tagline: "You short-lived arsehole!"
Not to be confused with the confused with the laughable Jet Li effort from 1989, this film starts out with Chin Tien-yun (Chen Kuan-tai) fighting with three evil kung fu masters in a restaurant with the usual freeze frames for the titles.
The masters are really evil, one has a handlebar moustache and is bald, other dresses very extravagantly and the final one has a very impressive hair, beard and eyebrows combo. Chin Tien-yun decided to take them on just because he felt like it, but he didn't count of them playing dirty and ends up stabbed by a ring-in.
Cut to a classic style martial arts school and Gao Jian (Yuen Tak), is being bullied all the time by the other pupils. He does have a silly looking haircut for the entire movie and acts funny though. One night he goes back to his home only to find the injured Chin at his doorstep.
Gao Jian doesn't want to help Chin at first, but when he finds out he is a martial arts master he agrees to look after him. To return the favour Chin agrees to teach him some skills to use for himself on the condition he keeps it a secret.
Due to Gao being silly in the town (the line about a grown man "still wanting to suck on breasts" is a classic), he ends up being rumbled and his other master punishes him. Just when he thought he got away with it, he accidentally shows up his proper master using the skills he has learnt. Chin saves the day, but he is injured, making him easy pickings for the three masters once they find him. Gao runs away and just as his master is coming up with a plan to kill the other masters, they raid the school and kill everyone.
A year later and Gao has been lying low waiting tables at a restaurant and continuing his training. Hearing from some travelling ruffians that they are staying at his school, he goes to find out what has happened which leads to the final showdown.
This is a really fun movie and great to watch if you are bored with all the serious martial arts movies. Even the music gets into the spirit of things with some strange synthesiser music in sections.
Gao Jian is also great in his fighting as he plays around with his enemies like a cat throwing a mouse up into the air. He also looks to be having a good time when he is fighting and pretends to act wimpy and lets people beat him up so they won't suspect him.
Chin is also great in his scenes, but he doesn't really get to fight much past the first part of the film. Chen Kuan-tai is in a lot of martial arts movies, so I recognised him almost immediately. The three evil masters are also great as they have complimentary abilities, which they use to great effect. You don't get to see them much in the film, but they know they are bad dudes and even take it upon themselves to turn up at the right time when they know someone is looking for them.
While this movie may not be as well known as the early Chang Cheh movies for Shaw Brothers or Jackie Chan's kung fu comedies from around the same time, it is well worth having a look at if you live action comedy movies.