Heroes Among Heroes (HK 1994)

Rating: ***
Director: Yuen Woo Ping
Cast: Donnie Yen, Xin Xin Xiong, Sheila Chan, Fennie Yuen, Ng Man Tat

Director Yuen Woo Ping comes through again with this spectacular kung fu action piece featuring Donnie Yen and company in top fighting form. Wong Fei Hung (played by a fantastic martial artist that I didn't recognize) has allied himself with a group dedicated to banning opium in China. Proud, stubborn, and naive Beggar So Chan (Donnie Yen) goes up against him, but after becoming addicted and recovering, he joins forces with Fei Hung. Ng Man Tat plays his shameless father, and Sheila Chan (with a ridiculous overbite for the first half of the film (???)) is his overbearing aunt. Ultra-pretty Fennie Yuen is the educated woman who studied abroad (i.e. Aunt Yee from "Once Upon A Time In China") and causes a lot of commotion due to her foreign influences, but sadly she doesn't get to fight. Unfortunately, the film is disjointed and suffers from some awkward and abrupt editing. For the first half hour, I was convinced the film was a goofy period piece comedy a la Wong Jing, but then it completely turned around and became a serious ass-kicking fest (much to my delight). And the fighting is brilliant, inspired, spirited, and plentiful. We even see Donnie Yen perform a little drunken boxing.