6 March 2006 | ChungMo
"Kung Fu Instructor" - Solid if standard Kung Fu drama
Another solid offering from underrated and unseen director Sun Chueng. Possibly the most refined director of the Shaw stable, Sun Chueng always shows a fluency and command of cinematic techniques.
Sun Chueng's film frequently feature a couple of very strong central characters forced to fight against overwhelming odds. This film is no exception but it's also very much in line with other Shaw kung fu films of the time. A town is split in two, literally since there's a line going down the center, by two warring clans. One is "good", the other very bad. The town split in two idea was later used by Liu Chia Liang in "Cat Vs. Rat". The bad clan decides to rid themselves of the good clan once and for all by forcing the Kung Fu Instructor to teach them the "Shaolin Rod". Wang Yu plays the righteous kung fu instructor while sporting a spiffy goatee. I didn't know that was ever a fashion in China. Anyway, the bad clan tries to pretend that they are worthy students but their evil nature keeps coming thru.
The martial arts as choreographed by Tang Chia are very well done. While in other Shaw films the fights are as well done if not often better, Sun Chueng almost always picks the right camera angles to compliment the techniques. The action is always right on. The story is a little convoluted but never so you can't follow the action. For some people, the film might drag in parts as it turns into a staff training lesson. A welcome addition to my Shaw library.