Eight Masters (HK 1977)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/6/01
Director: Joseph Kuo
Cast: Carter Wong, Lung Jun Er, cameo by Judy Lee (Chia Ling)

A pointless and confusing non-stop kung fu barrage featuring Carter Wong in a typical sins of the father plot line. After his father killed one of the infamous eight masters, a young Chu Sau Cheh (Carter Wong) is whisked off to Shaolin Temple to be raised and learn kung fu. After eighteen years, he passes the trial of the eighteen bronzemen and leaves the temple to visit his mother and repay his blood debt (but not by revenge). When the eight (seven?) masters learn that Chu is back in town, they immediately issue him a challenge to avenge their dead colleague. Being the nice guy that he is, Chu refuses the challenge and goes into hiding with his mother and pretty Lung Jun Er. But the eight masters don't give up so easily. After being mercilessly beaten on for the entire first hour of the film, Chu finally accepts the challenge following the tragic death of his mother. And then for the final thirty minutes, we get to see Chu kick the stuffing out of everyone.

The kung fu is fun and plentiful and Carter Wong is wonderful to watch. Unfortunately, the story is so thin and undeveloped that the non-stop fighting becomes rather tiresome to watch after a while. The editing and continuity are laughably poor, which just adds to the confusion. A particularly amusing moment comes when the last villain finally reveals his face. "So it's you!" Chu proclaims out of astonishment, while the audience looks on in bewilderment since we've never even seen this guy before. And the weak attempts to explain who he is fall incredibly short. Lung Jun Er is cute and charming as both a love interest and a damsel in distress, but she sadly doesn't get to do much. But the real disappointment is kung fu diva Judy Lee, who barely gets ten minutes of screen time and only has one fight scene. What a shame.