The Master Review
The Hong Kong Legends series deals with classic movies from Hong Kong and Asia and are dubbed or/and subtitled into English to appeal to a Western audience. This film, The Master, was actually filmed in LA, America and features many American actors and stuntmen. But is it any good?
The Master tells the story of Uncle Tak (Yuen Wah), a former martial arts master who has now retired to America where he runs a herbal pharmacy. His greatest student Jet (Jet Li - Hero) has not followed as he cannot get a green card much to the disappointment of Uncle Tak. Meanwhile his pharmacy is trashed and he is assaulted by a local gang led by a former potential pupil of Tak's named Johnny ( Jerry Trimble - World Light Welterweight Kickboxing Champion). Johnny is now set on beating all other martial artists in the area to become The Master.
Unknown to Uncle Tak, Jet has managed to make his way to America on a tourist visa and is trying to locate his Master. Once he finds him, the scene is set for the ultimate showdown between Jet, Uncle Tak and Johnny and is gang.
Now I know there are many fans of Hong Kong Martial Art movies, but I just cannot see how there can be many fans of THIS one. Certainly, some of the movies set in ancient China such as The House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger have some artistic appeal with their beautifully choreographed fight scenes and stunning photography but this is pure drivel. The acting is so laughable it's almost comedic. This film bears many similarities to The Karate Kid, only considerably cheesier if that's possible. Dubbed speech just adds to the farcical nature of this movie reminding me of the Monkey series back in the Seventies which we all loved to mock. Also a little worrying is the evident lack of respect for women. They are routinely slapped, punched, head butted and generally abused. Not nice.
The thing is, the only real appeal of this movie is to fans of good martial art fight scenes, which you can now find in so many high budget Hollywood movies that have so much more to offer besides, such as acting for a start! This movie is really only going to appeal to genuine fans who have already seen it. Someone who has never seen it will not be able to take it seriously and will probably be disappointed with the result. If martial arts are your thing, stick to recent Jackie Chan outings or Bruce Lee classics. The Master may well become a classic, but for all the wrong reasons. One more point to note. The review disc was labelled with an 18 certificate, but the notes on the release stated it will be a 15 on release. So at this point, I am unsure what certificate it will be. Going by the movie itself, a PG would suffice!!