White Lotus Cult (HK 1993)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 12/12/13
Cast: To Siu Chung (Too Shu Chun, Sui Chun Do), Yip Chuen Chun (Chuan-Chen Yeh), Lily Li, cameos by Cho Wing, Fennie Yuen

An entertaining kung fu romp in the spirit of "Tai-Chi Master" (1994) and "Once Upon A Time In China 2" (1992). Chinese folk hero San (To Siu Chung) and Keung are brothers who end up on opposite sides of the law. The kind-hearted San becomes a wanted man after helping an injured kung fu master, while the gullible and generally rotten Keung gets seduced and recruited by a violent religious cult called the White Lotus Clan. The White Lotus is dedicated to wiping out foreigners and Western influence in China, and their ambitious leader is plotting to overthrow the Empress Dowager as well. With the help of Hung (Lily Li) and Chin Tieh (impossibly pretty Yip Chuen Chun), San learns the secrets of White Lotus kung fu and takes on the clan leader in a kung fu free-for-all full of flames and flowing fabric.

It's a good looking and well made film that suffers only from its B-list cast. To Siu Chung is a charismatic lead and a good fighter, but his acting is a bit stiff. I'm almost certain he's the same actor from "Forbidden Arsenal" (1990) with a different spelling. It's nice to see Lily Li in action again, even though she's aged and a bit slower in this outing. I've always had a soft spot for starlet Fennie Yuen, and she's the reason why I picked up the film. However, even though she's listed third in the credits, she has less than twenty seconds of screen time as an inconsequential character. Fortunately, the breathtaking Yip Chuen Chun makes up for that as the gorgeous daughter of the kung fu master, and she is simply stunning to watch. The kung fu is fast and furious, and the choreography and cinematography are quite good. The film tends to drag in spots and the plot is a bit heavy handed at times, but overall it's a fun excursion that serves as a pleasant reminder of the kung fu renaissance of the early 1990's.