All Men Are Brothers: Blood Of The Leopard (HK 1993)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 6/11/00
Cast: Tony Leung (Ka Fai), Tsui Kam Long, Joey Wang, Wu Ma, Lau Ching Wan

Based on a famous Chinese novel, "Blood Of The Leopard" tells the tale of Lin Chung (Tony Leung), a chief military instructor, kung fu expert, and all around nice guy. He has a strong sense of justice and fair play, which makes him a threat to the greedy and corrupt government. He finds a friend in Lu Chi Sum (Tsui Kam Long), a brash and thick-headed monk with immense strength, and together they practice kung fu and eventually become brothers. All would be well except that General Kao's appalling son has his mind set on wooing Lin Chung's beautiful wife (Joey Wang), and in an act of foul play Chung is framed for treason and sent far away. Will Chung be able to survive long enough to save his family and friends?

The film has a great nostalgic 90's feel to it, when high flying frenetic kung fu was at its peak. While there aren't any big kung fu names in the cast, Tony Leung and Tsui Kam Long perform admirably. Loyalty and brotherhood are the central themes, and the ridiculous male bonding can get suffocating at times. Tony Leung does what he does best, which is quiet stoicism matched with graceful and fluid movement. Tsui Kam Long's goofy and overly enthusiastic performance is meant to lighten the tone of the film, but his long winded tirades quickly become tiresome and annoying. Joey Wang is lovely as always, but her character is only window dressing. The film looks very nice and the lighting, colors, costumes, and cinematography are wonderful. The action scenes are fast, fun, and exciting, but do nothing to distinguish themselves from similar fare of the same time period. While "All Men Are Brothers: Blood Of The Leopard" can be tedious at times, it's an entertaining reminder of what the Hong Kong film industry used to look like.