AKA: The Master of Tai Chi

Year of release: 1997 (original TV airing; released on video in 2005)

Genre: martial arts

Directors: Yuen Woo-Ping, Yip Chiu Lee, Lee Kin Wu

Action director: Yuen Ching Yan

Producers: Yuen Woo-Ping, Chow Ling Kon

Writer: Wong Wing Fai

Stars: Wu Jing, Amy Fan, Yu Hoi, Wong Kwun, Wai Ying Hung, Billy Chow, Shing Fui-On

Not rated; contains IIA-level violence

DVD Information

Company: Tai Seng

Format: full frame (originally made for TV)

Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin

Subtitles: English

Extras: trailers

Notes: Not much for extras, but this looks and sounds pretty good for something shot on video nearly ten years ago.

Movie Reviews / Main Page

The Tai Chi Master
(TV version)

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Okay, to try and clear up some potential confusion right off the bat, this is Tai Seng's edited version of a TV series called The Master of Tai Chi, which was a semi-prequel to the movie Tai Chi II, which, despite its' title, had nothing to do with the Jet Li/Michelle Yeoh film The Tai Chi Master, even though Yuen Woo-Ping Was involved on all of the projects. Yeah, I know, that probably didn't help you much, but welcome to the goofy world of Hong Kong movies.

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At any rate, as far as Tai Seng's edits of Hong Kong TV series go, this is one of the better ones I've seen. They did a good job of distilling a twenty-five episode series into two hours. As you might expect from a project involving Yuen Woo-Ping, the fights are very solid. Of particular note is a Tower of Death-inspired sequence where Wu Jing has to battle a succession of opponents, each with their own unique fighting styles.

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However, as good as that part is, it kind of highlights why The Tai Chi Master only ranks as slightly above-average. Everything is done well, but most martial arts movies fans have seen this kind of stuff done dozen of times before. Still, if you're itching for some wire-fu and have gone through the classics already, you could do a lot worse than this... with the exception of the lame plot device of the cute girl dressing up like a guy so she can use kung fu -- do film-makers think that anyone will be shocked when the skinny "guy" with nice eyes and lipstick takes off her hat and reveals that she has boobs?

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