The story as best as I could understand (unreadable sub-titles) and with the help of the review in the HK Database by SS is once again about revenge. In the opening scene a man is unlawfully executed by a court magistrate and then the film jumps years ahead to Jet Li as a young Shaolin monk pounding the hell out of a tree in a practice session. Apparently the fellow executed was his father and though Jet is usually a genial fellow, an anger resides inside and he still seeks revenge for his father. The opportunity soon comes.
In the first terrific set piece, a large troupe of performers are giving an exhibition in the courtyard of the magistrate who Jet Li is looking for. Jet is able to join the performance as a lion dancer. This performance on its own merits is a wonderful spectacle full of great acrobatics, lion dancing and beautifully agile women. Just as Jet finally gets the opening to attack, it turns out that he is not the only one with murder on his mind as a number of the participants have conspired to kill the magistrate. The assassination plot fails though and Jet, another fellow and a girl find themselves on the run together.
After many escapes (with Jet spending a lot of time disguised as a female sheep herder!), the final confrontation takes place on an ornate river barge with the three of them taking on a huge number of enemies. Though parts of this were regretfully speeded up too much, it is a terrific fight.
The one supporting actor that I really enjoyed
in all three films is Yu Hai. He plays Jet’s sifu in the first and third
film and his dad in the second. He brings great presence and charm to his
role and displays a very interesting fighting style. In information gathered
from the Internet, Yu Hai began training in wushu in 1954 and became the
coach of the Shandong wushu team in 1966. Apparently, at one time he was
also bodyguard to Zhou En-Lai (Mao’s Foreign Minister for many years).
My rating for this film: 7.0