Directed by Yuen Wo-ping
Hong Kong, 1993, 96 min
The film centers on the relationship between two youths who meet as boys at the Shaolin temple. When Tien Bao enters the Temple. he chaffs at being told that he must regard Jun Bao, another youth who is smaller than him, as his senior. Still, the two become friendly competitors and grow up to be portrayed respectively by Chin Siu-ho and Jet Li in a lovely transitional shot.
Tien Bao's fiery personality and independent nature get him kicked out of the temple, and Jun Bao is forced to leave also. The two must now make their way in the material world, and their different attitudes lead them to take divergent paths. Tien Bao, seeking wealth and power, joins the forces of Governor Liu. an evil eunuch. (Really now, aren't there any nice eunuch's in Chinese films? Guess not, at least none that I can think of.)
Meanwhile, the simpler and kind hearted Jun Bao has joined with a group of rebels who oppose the oppressive Liu. Also joining them are Siu Lin (Michelle Yeoh), whose husband left her for Liu's niece and Miss Li (Fennie Yuen), for whom Tien Bao has strong feelings. After suffering a defeat, Jun Bao goes a bit bonkers and is given the nickname "San Feng" (Thrice Crazy), which appears in the Chinese title of the film.
But as we all know, you can't keep Jet Li down, and he eventually hits upon the principles of Tai Chi, or Supreme Ultimate. (The martial art is more properly referred to as Tai Chi Chuan, which translates as Supreme Ultimate Fist or Supreme Ultimate Boxing.) With this new-found approach, he returns to face Tian Bao in the climactic final battle.
The film was directed by Yuen Wo-ping, best known in the West for his choreography/direction of action/fighting sequences in The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Kill Bill: Vol 1, etc. And here he doesn't disappoint.
The story line, though better than that of many Hong Kong martial arts films, is primarily a means to get from one action/fighting sequence to another. There are plenty of them, and they are fantastic. Check out the incredible work in the lengthy fight sequence that leads to the two youths being expelled from the temple. And even a relatively static shot of dozens of monks doing headstands - using only their heads, no arms or hands - will have you wondering, "How'd they do that?!"
This is one great film and, as seems to always be the case, the Special Features Dragon Dynasty provides are outstainding. So the film gets 3.5 out of 4 stars, the Special Features get 4 stars.
- Languages: Cantonese Dolby 5.1, Original Cantonese Mono, and English Dolby 5.1
- Subtitles: English and Spanish
- Closed Captioned
- Feature Length Commentary By Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan
- Nemesis: An Exclusive interview With Star Chin Siu-ho (Since he's not well-known in the West, I have to mention that Chin Siu-ho quite holds his own whether fighting alongside or against Jet Li. It's good for him to be getting some well-deserved exposure.)
- The Birthplace of Tai-Chi: On Location In Chen Village
- Meditations On The Master: Director Brett Ratner and Critic Elvis Mitchell On Director Yuen Wo-ping
- Twin Warriors: Critic Elvis Mitchell And Director Brett Ratner On Stars Jet Li And Michelle Yeoh
- Original Home Video Trailer