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Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Master (1992) - fliXposed... Import

'The Master' (in traditional Chinese: 龍行天下) is a 1992 Hong Kong martial arts action film written, directed and produced by Tsui Hark and starring Jet Li, Yuen Walsh, Jerry Trimble and Crystal Kwok.

Jet (played by Li) arrives in Los Angeles to visit his former kung fu master Uncle Tak (played by Walsh).  Along the way, Jet befriends a group of hispanic Americans, who want him to be their Master.
The film's villain Johnny (played by  Trimble) is making his way through Los Angeles, defeating Kung Fu masters in order to be the best. Jet decides to stop Johnny in an attempt to protect Uncle Tak.

Did you know...

  • Jet Li broke his right wrist during the filming of the movie
  • Although the film was made in 1989, it was not released until 1992

Alternate versions

The US release of the film removes four minutes of footage, including:

  • the opening scene, where Anna fights a gymnastics student
  • a scene were Anna is banned from gymnastics school
  • a scene of Jet walking through Los Angeles
  • a scene where Jet finds Anna beaten up

Closing remarks

Although cut from the American film, the opening sequence in the Hong Kong version of the film features some energetic and entertaining gymnastic performances, although this makes little (if any) contribution to the film's story, hence it's deletion.

As the film is set in America, the dialogue is half Cantonese and half English. Most importantly the Mandarin speaking characters do not understand the English speaking characters, and vice versa.
While this can feel a little annoying to the spectator and confusing at first, I found it to be an effective mechanism to show the impact of language barriers in society, and the importance for migrants to assimilate and learn to speak the native language of their host country, in this case English.

The film's plot of weak, with no compelling motivation for the violent acts in the film. That said, there are a few funny moments including a memorable scene with a cab driver.

Overall, a below average Hong Kong crime-action film, and is not anywhere as good as John Woo's pre-Hollywood era films.

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