Fans of Jet Li should check out The Master, an early movie by the Hong Kong action star. Li is the anti-Stallone, all sinew and smile. His boyish grace makes him seem almost weightless as he whips through his fight scenes in peak physical form. Though the story isn't as strong as the Once upon a Time in China series or Fist of Legend--the plot, about a student of kung fu (Li) from China who comes to Los Angeles to help his former master, is serviceable but generic--the action scenes are dynamic and give ample room for Li's sprightly charisma. Everything about The Master is a little cliché, but at the same time it's all much more enjoyable than you'd expect. The editing is brisk, the actors are enjoying themselves, and the direction (by dependable Hong Kong auteur Tsui Hark) keeps things hopping. --Bret Fetzer
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First, though, to find the deeper story! So, to help the penny drop and to help find full appreciation of the consummate mastery of this Tsui Hark movie (especially its script), consider the possibility that the Master = Bruce Lee, the first internationally-recognized master of martial arts. On another level, to move closer to the story's higher purpose, consider the Master as the true spirit and/or reason for the practice of martial arts.
Second, consider the possibility that the movie is an extremely respectful criticism of the post-Bruce-Lee commercialism of martial arts (and the resultant use of martial arts in street violence).
Finally, consider the possibility that the martial arts people of the East saw a need to reinforce (via another master: Jet Li) the true spirit and/or reason of martial arts to the people of the West. This last point helps explain why the movie is set in modern-times and why it deliberately avoided the high-wire tricks; the movie is introducing to America the real martial arts mastery of Jet Li.Read more ›
It's set in the late eighties and in LA. Why should it have wire work? It would'nt fit. The fight scenes are filmed fairly well and look down to earth. The plot is fun and quite humourous. Especially Jet Li's American counterparts. Jet Li is his usually respectable self looking out for the under dogs.
There's a skilled American villan, Jonny, with a signature late eighties hair cut. He does a good job of playing the over confident jerk. (similar to the cocky kid in the Karate Kid) There's several confrontations between Jet's crew and Jonny's student lackies until the finale at the end.
In the end this film should be viewed as a fun down to earth Kung Fu flick. It was'nt meant to be the next kung fu master piece. If watched in the right light it should be a fun and familiar(if from the US and LA in particular) addition to your Jet Li collection.
Most recent customer reviews
Jet lee was dorky in this film, and the cholos he was teaching were just as bad. This film was made in a desperate attempt to relaunch his career in America. Read morePublished on June 5 2004 by Taddese Zicke
Hard as it is to do, this film manages to make Jet Li look very, very bad. I kept having Karate Kid flashbacks! Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2003 by S. Ott
I love Jet Li, I collect all his dvds but this movie really [stank]! Don't buy it even for the collection! Nobody will notice that you don't have it!Published on Sept. 24 2002
I know this was one of Jet Li's earlier films based on the clothing, music, and hairstyles of the characters in the movie, and Jet Li looked much younger. Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2002
I have watched this movie along with many other Jet Li films. To be very honest with you this movie is one that you can keep out of your collection. Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2002
This is a showcase of Jet Li's brand of martial arts...fast and furious. While this is no Fist Of Legend the movie has enough action to keep the exitement going. Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2002
Jet Li stars in this crazy but funny movie. Li comes to America to find his master and runs into 3 latinos who try to steal his luggage. Read morePublished on Dec 14 2000 by KING GHETTO
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