User Reviews (22)

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  • This is my favourite marital arts film. A brilliant blend of fighting prowess and slapstick humour.

    What makes it so good? Well, I admit that doing (a little) Wing Chun makes me a bit biased, but the training sequences are impressive and informative. The choreography is top notch and more than any other martial arts film I've seen, when the punches and kicks land they actually look painful.

    It's also funny with the strange slapstick that only Chinese martial arts films can manage. Even the over-the top make-up (bright purple bruises!) adds to the charm. Basically if you like Martial Arts films this is a must-see.
  • EchoLeader2 October 2001
    This movie is what every old school kung fu should be about. The action is unpassable. With Yuen Biao, Lam Ching Ying and Sammo Hung in excellent form.

    Also the acting is top class, Sammo and Lam Ching work perfectly as feuding brothers and Yuen Biao is convincing in his role as the prodigal son.

    The movie is well balanced between humour and drama. Sammo is at his funniest when impressing his daughter (and the audience) with his calligraphy skills, Sammo at his best!

    Unlike most Kung Fu movies the story in this one makes some sense and is seamless, there are parrallels between each person and is balanced perfectly between action and moving the story on.

    The musical score is also top class, Frankie Chan does a wonderful job, the final fight music is perfectly suited.

    A must for any Action fan.
  • Excellent period Kung-fu film. It features outstanding Kung-fu scenes, beautiful cinematography, and amusing and clever dialogue.

    We follow the "Street Brawler" (Yuen Biao), as he strives to learn martial arts from a master he has selected. The master is reluctant to teach, and the "Street Brawler" must prove his worth somewhat to learn.

    Although *slightly* over-plotted, this film has a unique balance of all the important elements one looks for in a Sammo Hung film. The comedy, the innovative and savage Kung-fu, and the unusual dramatic structure.

    It is never boring, particularly the start of the film. It is so well made that I could watch at least another hour of this film if it were possible.

    Yuen Biao certainly rivals Jackie Chan in this film. It is his second starring role, but it is played with such ability you would never know.

    Sure, the ending's a little "syncopated", but the overall effect of this film is too much for any niggling details to harm it. A must-see in this genre.
  • I cried from laughter at the pair of marbles they put in Yuen's sidekick's mouth to make him look stupid. Go watch every movie you can that has both Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung, I'm going through them as quickly as I can, and I have yet to be disappointed. I particularly recommend "My Lucky Stars" and "Knockaround." In this movie they clearly pay tribute to their Peking Opera heritage (where they and Jackie Chan received their earliest training). Really, these guys made far better movies after Jackie Chan came to America to make unbridled steaming piles of "oh look, I can hurt myself!" I do realize, however, that these movies aren't for everyone. However, if you're even reading this, your interest must be great enough that you've searched out this movie on purpose, in which case, you must go get it.
  • Simply the best (and most accurate) display of Wing Chun kung fu. Good plot, good action, and also a historical fictional account of Wing Chun kung fu as well. Wong Bah Bo (played by Sammo Hung), Leung Yee Tai (played by Ching-Ying Lam) and Leung Jan (played by Yuen Biao) are all Wing Chun figures. Wong Bah Bo and Leung Yee Tai were members of the Red Junk Opera Troupe who taught Leung Jan. Leung Jan was Yip Man's sitaigung (sifu's sifu) as Yip Man studied under Chan Wah Sun (Leung Jan's student). The most intriguing connection in all of this is that Bruce Lee was also a student of Yip Man (considered by many as the modern grandmaster of Wing Chun). If you like this movie, you might want to check out 'Wing Chun' starring Michelle Yeoh. It's also a historical fictional account of Yim Wing Chun (after which the style was named).
  • Prodigal Son takes the traditional historical setting and standard kung-fu revenge story and creates an amazing comic masterpiece. If you enjoy Jackie Chan, don't miss this. Even the dubbed version I saw (I usually hate dubbing) worked very well. The final fight is one of the greatest in celluloid history.
  • This movie has all: kung fu, comedy, a good story,chinese opera, sammo hung doing calligraphy, trainings... The fight scenes of this movie are jaw dropping!! The fight between Lam ching ying and Frankie Chan is simply wonderful. The end fight is good also but Yuen Biao's wing chun is not as good as Frankie chan's. Overall, a masterpiece.....................................10/10
  • Yuen biao is the man. I think he's one of the best actors in Hong Kong whether it's martial arts or not, it's just ridiculous that he's never been nominated in the best actor category at the Hong Kong awards. I've seen this film about 30 times now. It's one of the few kung-fu films that i can watch from beginning to end, as usually i go straight to the fights. The kung-fu is brilliant, very fast, very realistic, and very precise. The end fight is pure genius, fast and furious. The fight between Frankie Chan and Lam Ching Ying is brilliant too, and the training sequences... this film is just perfect. Brilliant camera work, slick editing and great music. More people should see this film to see the pure genius of Sammo Hung,Yuen Biao, and the brilliant Lam Ching Ying. It doesn't have as many fights as the other old skool kung-fu movies, but believe me this movie rocks. 10/10
  • This has got to be one of the best movies I've ever seen. Ever. Its so good that I can watch over and over and over again. The Wing Chun kung fu choreography is the best I've ever seen anywhere and I've seen pretty much most Kung fu flicks. While the rest of the fights have brilliant grace, the final fight between Lam Ching Ying and Frankie Chan is brutal and has more realistic angry punches than kung fu grace, all to win at all costs. The story, screenplay, cinematography and direction are all brilliant. While I'm aware that the English dubbing may not totally reflect the dialog, it also comes out as hilarious and well done. The characters are really amazing. Its also unbelievable that high flying, poorly choreographed crap like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is made even after stuff like this came out in the early 80s!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Most kung-fu movies either have no story and great fight scenes or horrible fight scenes and a solid story. It's not often you come across one that has a great story and some of the best fight scenes ever made. The Prodigal Son is one of Sammo Hung's best movies. Lam Ching Ying's use of Wing Chun is exceptional. Very reminiscent of Bruce Lee's training videos. This movie presents Wing Chun in it's real form, direct and in your face. The 2 fights that are of exceptional mention are Lam Ching Ying against Frankie Chan and Yuen Biao vs. Sammo Hung (when his daughter calls him to beat Yuen). Tactful and beautifully choreographed for the first fight. Blazing speed and non-stop action for the second. All in all, the best Wing Chun movie ever made. If you like this movie, you should also check out "Warriors 2" with Sammo Hung, Cassanova Wong and Liang Jia Ren (Knockabout).
  • Just a great movie. Never mind the slapstick beginning, when Lam Ching Ying appears as a cross-dressing Chinese opera star, it takes off. (He trained as a Chinese opera singer and used to act as a stunt double for female film stars.) The English dubbing adds rather than detracts, giving him a snide, camp voice. So sad he died young of cancer.
  • This Sammo Hung-directed flick is a must-see for any fan of fast-paced, realistic kung fu. Yuen Biao turns in another great performance as the rich kid who finds out (almost) too late that all of his fights have been fixed. Lam Ching Ying is also first-rate as Biao's cross-dressing sensei. This may be the only portrayal of a gay kung fu hero in existence! Sammo himself all but steals the show, though, once he shows up as Lam's thick-set older brother. Sammo's calligraphy lesson to his daughter contains one of his greatest acrobatic displays! If you're a fan of Jackie Chan's tongue-in-cheek, real-action romps, Prodigal Son is sure to be right up your alley.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When you give your son the false sense of superiority, it will come back to bite him in the ass. Leung Chang (Biao Yuen) has been going around the province getting into "fights" to prove he's the best of the best. The only problem is, he's NOT the best of anything. His parents have been giving money to his servant, Yee Tong-Choi (Lung Chan) to pay off opponents to lose to Leung Chang. All is fine until Leung's brother Yei-Tai (Ching-Ying Lam)gets a crush on Opera Star Yee Tong-Choi (Lung Chan). Yei-Tai is humiliated and Chang ventures to the opera to set things straight. It is Chang who gets schooled by Yee Tong-Choi, with the truth about Chang's fights and a demonstration of how pathetic Chang's Kung-Fu truly is when he takes on Yee Tong-Choi. Disgraced, Chang vows to learn true Kung-Fu at Yee Tong-Choi's feet. Something Yee isn't all that thrilled to hear. He does his best to get rid of Chang. But, when Chang's father buys the Opera, it becomes apparent Yee is stuck with Chang. Adding to Yee's misery is spoiled Lord, Ngai Fei (Frankie Chan) who is determined to fight all the best Kung-Fu fighters in the area. He too has a father working behind his back to ensure he always wins his matches, by ordering his son's opponents killed to prevent a loss. A fight between Yee and Ngai at a dinner is halted when it becomes obvious Yee is sick. Ngai demands a rematch once Yee is stronger. Ngai's guards, under orders from his father, burn the Opera to the ground in order to prevent the rematch and risk Ngai losing. Yee is saved by Chang, who takes him to Yee's brother, Wong Wah-Bo (Sammo) to recuperate. Wah-Bo and Yee have a bit of one-up-manship in Chang's teachings that involves some humor at Chang's expense. Wah-Bo does teach Chang something we all need to learn - no one fights fair. The battle between Chang and Ngai finishes out the movie and is worth every moment. Chang finally gets to prove - He is the Best of the Best.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An enjoyable enough kung fu comedy, utilising the directorial talents of Sammo Hung and the acting skills of Yuen Biao, who pair up to deliver a period-set outing in kung fu tomfoolery with the emphasis on slapstick, open comedy with a few dramatic moments thrown in too for good measure. In fact there is one hair-raising set-piece involving a huge fire lit by a gang of black-clad assassins which is hugely effective, and followed by more serious blood and violence which was enough to earn this film an 18 certificate here in the UK. Despite not being the masterpiece I was lead to believe that this was, THE PRODIGAL SON is an engaging, skilfully made comedy/drama which benefits from some great performances.

    The first belongs to Yuen Biao, taking the lead as Leung Chang, a young, arrogant boy who believes himself to be a kung fu expert when in reality he is little more than a beginner. Biao's credible transform from would-be master to lowly student to real master makes for engaging viewing, and as for the martial arts, Biao has never been better, especially in the final battle where he takes on nasty villain Frankie Chan in a duel to the death. THE PRODIGAL SON also boasts a weird, eyebrow-less turn from Lam Ching-Ying, playing an extremely camp opera singer (whose dubbed homosexual voice is the most annoying aspect of the movie) who becomes an unwitting mentor to our young learner. Sammo Hung stars in a minor but comedic part as Ching-Ying's wise brother, also a kung fu expert who attempts to teach his comely daughter some of the skills of the art.

    The direction is strong, with Hung admirably holding fast, and the film is particularly well photographed. The fight scenes tend to be closely-spaced and both fast and frenetic, and thus hugely satisfying. The end result is a lot of fun. Not perhaps one of the most memorable kung fu movies out there, but THE PRODIGAL SON still has a lot to offer for martial arts buffs and at least proves that Yuen Biao can hold his own in a film, instead of being just another Jackie Chan sidekick.
  • Leung Chang (Yuen Baio) believes himself to be a great fighter, taking on all challengers; in reality, Leung's wealthy but concerned father has been paying for his son's opponents to lose. When Leung discovers the truth, he vows to master kung fu for real, following the Lok Fung Lin acting troupe in the hope that one of their performers, Leung Yee-tai (Lam Ching-Ying), will teach him Wing Chun.

    Meanwhile, martial artist Ngai (Frankie Chan) is looking for experts to fight, unaware that his father has instructed his men to kill any kung fu masters who might hurt his son. After Ngai expresses an interest in fighting Leung Yee-tai, the Lok Fung Lin company is attacked by deadly ninjas; only the two Yeungs escape with their lives, hiding out at the home of portly calligrapher Wong Wah-bo (Sammo Hung) and his chubby daughter Twiggy (Wai-Hon Ho) where Leung Chan finally gets his wish and learns Wing Chun, which he uses to defeat Ngai when he eventually returns home.

    With a cast that includes Sammo Hung, Lam Ching Ying, Yuen Baio and Frankie Chan, there is no shortage of impressive acrobatic martial arts action in The Prodigal Son; unfortunately—for me at least—there is also an equal helping of Asian comedy of the kind that always leaves me scratching my head in bewilderment (are people with red noses, large facial moles, and cotton wool in their mouth really that funny?). The film's humorous content also sits rather awkwardly with the film's occasional brutal violence, the most shocking of which is the slaughter of the Lok Fung Lin performers, whose throats are cut in their sleep.

    The final showdown between Yuen Baio and Frankie Chan offers up the best fight action, but it lacks the emotional wallop to be found in many a classic kung fu flick thanks to the fact that Ngai isn't a despicable villain—it's his dad that deserves the whooping.
  • Review: This is a classic, old school Kung Fu movie with a lot of silly jokes but a dramatic ending. Its about a boy called Leung Chang (Biao Yuen) who things that he's a Kung Fu master because his friends pay people to take his beatings. When he finally comes across someone who is not willing to fall down, he realises that his skills aren't that great and his friends tell him about what they have been doing behind his back. He then seeks training from his opponent, who is reluctant on taking him on as his apprentice. After much persuasion, he finally teaches him Wing Chun, along with his brother who has a different style. When he returns home after some intense training, his master gets murdered by a man who wants to challenge all of the Kung Fu masters, so he steps up to revenge his teacher and friend. Basically it's the old concept of "You Killed My Master" which we have seen many times in this genre but I never get bored of it. Although this film is extremely authentic, with some great action scenes, Sammo Hung's script was quite silly and camp, which was a bit weird for films in this genre in the 80's. I did chuckle at a few scenes, especially the funny English dubbing and it reminded a lot of when I used to watch Kung Fu movies on VHS. Anyway, it's definitely one to have in your collection, if your into your old school karate movies and it's one that I will never get bored of. GREAT!

    Round-Up: This movie was directed by Sammo Hung, 63, who brought you movies like Project A, Wheels & Meals, Dragons Forever, Moon Warriors, Evil Cult, Mr. Nice Guy and One Upon A Time in China and America. He's starred in over 160 movies and he's starred in the lead of a successful series called Martial Law, which made him a household name around the world. He has a comedic style, very much like Jackie Chan, who he has starred alongside for many years and he is highly respected in his native country. This movie, which has become an all time classic, pushed him major stardom in the 80's and his chubby stature proved that you can still pull of some amazing moves, no matter what your weight is. He hasn't directed a movie since 1997 but he is still starring in movies like Once Upon A Time in Shanghai and the Last Tycoon. Personally I find his jokes a bit too silly at times, like I did in this film but it still worked. Anyway, the bonus material on the DVD was as interesting as the movie so it's one worth purchasing.

    I recommend this movie to people who are into their action/comedy/martial arts movies starring Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung. 7/10
  • kung-fu movies just don't get better then this. i wish they would make more kung-fu movies like this old school classic then the CGI'ed stuff that we get today.

    many people consider this as the all-time best kung-fu movie and i can and can't disagree with that. i would definitely put this in my top ten though. every in this movie was top-notch. the people involved in this movie outdid themselves.

    from the kung-fu to the storyline, to the acting, everything was awesome. i must've seen this movie at least 20 times and have never got bored. it is one of my all time favorites, not just in the kung-fu category.

    every major player in kung-fu movies at the time was there except for jackie chan and bruce lee had been dead for a few years already. my favorite fighting guy in the movies is here and his name is " Dick Wei " one of the two bodyguards( not the one who does mantis style ) although the other one is very good also. if you've watched enough kung-fu movies you'll know who i'm talking about.

    yuan baio shows that hes got solid acting chops besides also in my opinion as being the most athletic and having the cleanest moves. if you've watched other movies where the 3 stars are together, movies like...( twinkle twinkle lucky stars, millionaires express, dreadnaught, dragons forever0 and it goes on and on, he always gets the hardest fighting moves and they are not always the fanciest though.

    its hard to find a perfect kung fu movie and this is probably as good as it gets, and they were also able to blend the comedic elements in seamlessly which is always hit or miss. i love movies like this and there were cameos by well known character actors of hk cinema including one from Lee Hoi San and another from James Tien.

    if you are a kung fu movie fan you cannot not watch this alltime classic. it is a must see for kung fu movie fans, just make sure you find a high-def copy which is not hard to do nowadays and enjoy! i guarantee multiple viewings from anybody that watches this movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you're a fan of Jackie Chan's old kung fu comedies you'll like this one. Directed by his buddy Sammo Hung (who also plays a supporting character) and starring his other buddy the acrobatic Yuen Biao this movie has less over-dramatic moments than the typical Chan film.

    Biao is great as the young man who follows the unexpected Kung-Fu master Leung Yee-Tai (Lam Ching-Ying) around hoping to learn from him. It takes a major catastrophe to finally convince Leung to accept Biao as his student and teach him kung fu. This training comes in handy later on when Biao exacts some revenge upon the young nobleman who causes the demise of the theatre troop that Leung yee-tai works for.

    The action scenes are very clean and choreographed well. There are some scenes that look sped up but the ones that they left alone at normal speed are excellent. Biao's athleticism is on display at its finest. Lam Ching Ying also fares well. Sammo Hung is almost unrecognizable (perhaps because he's 30 years younger in this film) and his acrobatic big guy routine is great along with his acting.

    8/10
  • I saw the Prodigal Son today, and I must say that it wasn't a waste of time, it was actually fairly entertaining. However, the Prodigal Son wasn't a great film, its fights weren't overwhelmingly stunning, but its plot was very good and interesting.

    The story was about a rich kid whose parents pay fees for all the kung fu fighters in their area to be defeated by their son. One day, the kid meets a real kung fu master who tells him the truth, the kid becomes very disappointed with everybody. Therefore, he demands that the kung fu master take him as his pupil, however , the kung fu master refuses to take him as his pupil for some reasons. Later on, the bad guys appear, and the kung fu master agrees to take him as his pupil.

    The Prodigal Son has some good jokes and cheesy kung fu fights along with bloody fights. Morever, there is even a good scenes which contains ninjas. I can certainly recommend it to fans of kung fu cinema, however, there are better movies out there. 6/10
  • riki8555826 January 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    I was so disappointed when watching this film after having read such great reviews about it. Whilst there are some decent fight scenes, it would seem that those who rate this film highly do so for romantic reasons, being familiar with the actors back in their heyday. I must admit to yawning a lot & being quite bored. There were only a few scenes that got my full attention. Comedy varies from culture to culture, I know, but even as a comedy, this film failed for me. It was cheesy and almost slapstick for too much of the time. The star of the film was overly gullible and stupid, & so I struggled to take him seriously even if he did something good. I don't mind martial arts comedy - I prefer Jackie Chan's films to Bruce Lee's, for example - but I regret this purchase. The only unenjoyable martial arts film I've bought in recent times.
  • I do not like the majority of kung fu movies I have seen in my life and have always felt many of them do not deserve the recognition they have received. Recently one of the movies i have seen which fits under this profile is 'Master of the Flying Guillotine'. I do not like that movie and yet many people do. This is another movie that many people like, but unlike the others I feel it deserves it's attention and even more so, because it is a very entertaining movie with great fight scenes, comedy, dialogue, characters, and sets! Basically this movie is a win/win firing off on all cylinders- my only complaints are that it ended and maybe there are 1-2 things I would have changed or done differently but overall if you want to watch a good Chinese martial arts film with a great English dub and want to be entertained I say look no further! I just hope you understand some of the jokes in this movie because some are lol funny, and others will make you scratch your head, but you have to take it all into context and realize that the WHOLE movie is a comedy with great action and a good storyline involved, so basically if you see something weird it is SUPPOSED to be that way and it's not that way and it's similar to kung-fu hustle in that sense, though I would prefer watching this movie if i had to be given one on an island because for me it has more value throughout.
  • Golgo-132 September 2005
    With annoying lead characters, pretty lame humor, and just average fights, I found The Prodigal Son to be mostly a disappointment, given the high rating and all. It does have ninjas though, who appear at the midpoint. They're jumping and rolling all over the place (needlessly, of course) to position themselves for a good ol' mass throat slicing. Soon after, there's a fight where a few of 'em use flaming flagpoles on our heroes (one of them Yuen Biao), resulting in some cool, slow-mo action shots. Nonetheless, that's not enough to redeem this flick. Sammo Hung has directed much better films than this, such as Warriors Two and Eastern Condors.