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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal
I gotta agree with everyone. This movie is really good, and the fights are fantastic(ranking right along side Fist of Legend for pure brutality). The fighters perform their moves fast and realistic, like they're really trying to hit each other. It's not like other movies where it seems they are being too flashy showing off moves rather than actually fighting. You'll...
Published on June 21, 2004 by Low-Ranking Reviewer

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao Kung-Fu Flick
I was surprised when I saw The Prodigal Son. It was a lot different than I thought it would be. Although Sammo's scenes are great, they're small. Yuen Biao's final fighting scene is fun to watch. The big problem was that you spend most of the film wondering whether you should hate Ching-Ying Lam for not teaching Yuen, or hate Yuen for being such a pest. An original...
Published on August 30, 1999 by drexmo


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars someone owes me an apology, December 24, 2007
By 
Mantis (Detroit, MI USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Prodigal Son (DVD)
Someone owes me an apology because I didn't see this sooner. Probably the white man. I've been in to kung fu for years and had never seen this until yesterday. What up with that? Out of all of Sammo's ground-breaking films, I've never even seen this in a store. I've seen "Iron-Fisted Monk" and "Warriors Two" in the store, but not "The Prodigal Son"? That makes no sense at all. While I like the other two, this one blows them away. It's by no means perfect, but what is?

This movie wastes little time. Yuen Biao is the self-proclaimed town champion, not knowing that all his opponents are bought off by his old man. After getting his tail kicked by a cross-dressing, eyebrowless opera star (Lam Ching Ying, who's excellent), he begs the man to teach him real Wing Chun. The man declines, of course, so Biao joins the opera for the sake of persistence. After the opera troupe is wiped out by hired goons, Lam takes Biao home to teach him, with the aid of Lam's brother (Sammo Hung, who directed and is pretty amazing himself).

The story is really nothing great, but the fight scenes totally are. Absolutely magnificent. You feel every hit, even every block. And talk about fast. The widescreen digital remastering job and optional English dub only makes it that much better. Some things did bother me; like how the slaughter of about 20 dudes seems like no big deal; and how Sammo isn't in this long enough, and doesn't really fight anybody. Those complaints aside, this flick rocks and is a crucial addition to any kung fu collection.

1982. aka: Pull No Punches
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best movie for real Wing Chun fighting, October 13, 2006
By 
B.L. (Dallas, TX) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Prodigal Son (DVD)
"Prodigal Son" has the absolute best authentic Wing Chun fight scenes I have ever seen in a movie. The movie starts off kinda slow and the Cantonese Opera scenes will probably turn off many viewers, however, if you can get past the first half of the movie it gets much better. Basically, when Sammo Hung appears in the movie and the training starts - that's when it gets worth watching. Overall, I would say the movie has some good fight scenes and some decent comedy, but Kung Fu students, particularly Wing Chun practitioners, will probably enjoy this movie more than others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tai Chi, March 14, 2001
This review is from: The Prodigal Son [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The first time I saw the Prodigal Son, I was very pleased to see a Wing Chun movie. Especially the Wing Chun actions done by the character: Leung Yee Tai ( the teacher of Leung Jan, in the movie ) are very impressive. I just don't know if Lam Ching Ying played another Wing Chun movie, but he would be very good. I found it on the other hand, not so good that in the final battle, Yuen Biao as Leung Jan, was using other techniques than Wing Chun. But it stays one of my top 10 fighting movies.
Greetings to all, Mark
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXcellent, October 23, 1999
By 
"overone98" (Chapel Hill, NC USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Prodigal Son (DVD)
This Movie Hands Down is the Best "Wing Chun" Movie ever made.This is Yuen Biao's best movie as an actor and Liu Kang Yar's Excellent Wing chun stlye is Authenthic. Buy It ,Buy it and then buy "prodiagl Son 2"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best films of the Genre, August 4, 2004
By 
Hung Too Lo "Andy" (Woodside, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Prodigal Son (DVD)
Director Sammo Hung creates a story of Chinese folklore hero Leung Chang played by Yuen Biao(phonetically= Beau).

It portrays Leung Chang as rich spoiled kid who thinks he knows how to fight. People actually get paid to get beat up by him.

He meets a peking opera star Leung Yee Tai played by Lam Chi Ying. Leung Yee tells him that he can't fight and has his butt handed to him. Leung Chang then wants to be taught how to fight by Leung Yee.

Anyone who wants to start a collection of Kung Fu DVD's should consider buying this. Prodigal Son is always in a top 10 of the genre. The Action is non-stop and the story is very good. Go check it out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, November 18, 2004
By 
C. Troxler (New Haven, CT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Prodigal Son (DVD)
Boy, it's good to see that they are finally remastering kung-fu films! Clean and crisp picture! Even in DTS! Although the surrounds are not really utilized much.

This is one of the few films that actually has a good story. It is actually funny, but also has real hard-core fights. Basically, get all of these remastered wide-screen kung-fu films. That fat girl was cute too...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 3 martial arts movies ever made!, May 31, 2000
This review is from: The Prodigal Son (DVD)
An almost perfect movie.
I could'nt believe it was made in '81! The choreography is superb and the speed of execution is unbelievble! The cast is woderfull , from Samo Hung to Yuen Biao to the excellent Frankie Chan to the godly Lam Ching Ying ( his wing chun is really breath-taking ).
Order this movie if it's the last thing you do.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Gong Fu, Great Actors, Well Written 4.65, July 25, 2005
By 
Christopher J. Deasy (Depends on the time of year) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Prodigal Son (DVD)
Its rare that I come across a kung fu movie all my friends can sit down and watch. Although I don't mind the grainy quality and charmingly cheesy dubbings of most ol' gong fu... this copy is really well done; it adds to the movie. Besides good quality, the actors are serious powerhouses and the kung fu par excellence (is that right?). The movie's somewhat predictable plot is pumped up with some old fashion shocking scenes that kung fu should be better known for (if you like these movies- you know what i mean).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Sammo's best, September 12, 2008
By 
Shawn McKenna (Modesto, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Prodigal Son (DVD)
Sammo Hung Kam-Bo's first film on Wing Chun and one of its important experts Leung Jan was the exquisite treatise named Warriors Two (1978). His second movie, The Prodigal Son (1981), would be a much more box-office successful and less didactic prequel to that film and would be his biggest hit until his next movie Carry on Pickpocket (1982). It should be noted that Sammo's importance to the action and martial art genre cannot be overstated and his 1980s directed efforts are still some of the supreme examples of Hong Kong entertainment. This movie is one of his best and among several of the Golden Harvest produced action classics that I have seen many, many times.

In Warriors Two, the important Wing Chun practitioner Leung Jan was an elder gentleman brilliantly played by Leung Kar-Yan. He is now portrayed by Yuen Biao (Knockabout, Project A) as a protected somewhat spoilt kid whose hubris is directly related to the fact that he has won all his fights, unbeknownst to him though they were thrown. He keeps on his fraudulent winning ways until he tries to fight the brilliant and effeminate Peking opera female impersonator star Leung Yee-Tai (Lam Ching Ying: Mr. Vampire (1985), Painted Faces (1988)) who stars as Lotus Poon, is a master in Wing Chun and unwilling to take a bribe. This defeat along with the realization that all his wins were faked (and the help of another defeat by two "mole" people) leads him to seek a sifu in Leung Yee-Tai. He refuses and Leung Jan has his dad buy the opera so he can take a job there and hopefully get Yee-Tai to acquiesce.

Meanwhile, Ngai Fei (played by the composer Frankie Chan Fan-Kei in his second acting performance) the son of royalty sees Yee-Tai fight and feels he must challenge him to a battle. This is analogous to the earlier story of Leung Jan; both are prodigal sons, except that Ngai Fei can actually fight. This leads to an awesome fight on a junk between Ngai and Yee-Tai that is interrupted by Yee-Tai's asthma attack. Ngai being honorable will not take advantage of his sick opponent. However, his two of his cronies employed by Ngai's father are not so exemplary. They see Yee-Tai as a threat and later try to off him in an overly violent attack by hired ninja-like assassins. This is one of the few scenes in the film where compared to the tone of the film was a bit excessive (though still quite cool).

To escape from these assassins and to allow Yee-Tai to heal, they go to Yee-Tai's Wing Chun brother Wong Wah Bo's (director Sammo Hung) house where he is not teaching his overweight daughter Twiggy (Ho Wai-Han) how to fight he is doing calligraphy (one of the funniest and impossible to describe scenes; also shows his interest in this art form analogous to the calligraphy fighting scene in The Magnificent Butcher (1979)). He is a master of the long distance form (masculine) of Wing Chun while his comrade Yee-Tai knows only close fighting. Leung Jan must get both of these masters to teach him so he can become a stalwart in martial arts and take part in the ubiquitous training scenes.

As normal in biographic cinema, Sammo Hung takes some dramatic license in its portrayal of these real-life characters (which he also did in Warriors Two). Leung Yee-Tai and Wong Wah Bo did in fact teach Leung Jan. Leung Yee Tai was in fact in an opera troupe "Red Junk" (also known as the King Fa Wui Goon troupe) and was known for his "Six-and-a-half point Long Pole" technique which was not addressed in this film. Leung Yee-Tai was known for playing a female lead (female players were illegal at this time) which his portrayer Lam Ching Ying also did under the tutelage of sifu Fan Fok-Fa. This helps in his authentic display and wonderful performance. Possibly his best, though he will always be known for being the thick eye-browed priest in Mr. Vampire and he has mentioned his favorite is in Painted Faces. While the history of Wing Chun is somewhat sketchy and anecdotal, the time period for this movie takes place around the 1850s.

Hong Kong action film expert Bey Logan has named this as his favorite martial art film and it is hard to disagree. While there are a few moments of brutality that seem out-of-place and many of the fights make you wish they were longer, it is a thoroughly satisfying film. Two of the fights: with Lam Ching Ying fighting Frankie Chan and Yuen Biao fighting Frankie Chan are worth watching several times. The finale is quite brutal and fits the Wing Chun mantra of "If an opponent is hurt, go for his wounds" quite well. The action is brilliant, fast paced and fits the theme of the movie quite well with gorgeous displays of Wing Chun and other styles. The plot actually helps the film instead of being inconsequential or a distraction. It is also an exquisite looking film with cinematographer Ricky Lau Koon-Wai (director of Mr. Vampire and many more kyonsi films) doing a superb job. There are also the descriptive backstage Peking opera scenes and the Cantonese comedy which works almost seamless with the action helps make this movie a most enjoyable experience. In fact it is one of my favorite martial art movies (cannot choose one though) and one I would recommend to convert others on to this genre.

I have the Fortune Star/Fox release which is uncut, has a good transfer but no extras except trailers. The biggest plus is that there are no dubtitles. However, the spelling and grammar can be atrocious at times (or quite hilarious) like "5There aren't" and "he's fate as a pig". It does not include the original mono release and the remix can sound quite bad at times. Here is another example of an R1 release Hong Kong release that does not match the Hong Kong Legends R2 release for extras. The HKL version has a Bey Logan commentary and other extras (I cannot comment on them since I do not own it).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ever enjoyed a fight scene? GO BUY IT......., April 28, 2003
This review is from: The Prodigal Son (DVD)
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I will begin by stating my #1 kung fu movie of all time is "Fist of Legend".(Jet Li. If you haven't seen this title....Please do, it is a remake of Bruces' classic "Fist of Fury" and it surpassess it...Majorly, and don't question me, it's the best ever.) This is #3 in my top 10..
Yep, it's amazing. I just hope you go get it, for your sake.
Th story is deep, (Revenge is only a fraction of the plot.)and it has very likable characters. Lam Ching Ying is the best in this film. Biao is awsome, but it's all about the Wing Chun master. This exciting form, just about never caught on film,(It's the first time I've seen it besides the fantasy title "Wing Chun" with Michelle Yoeh[Also great]) has juiced me up to try to find a school of Wing Chun. I've always wanted to take up a style, and I've found one. Exhilarating!!
The action direction won an award in China. This choreography can be compared to Yuen Woo Ping's brilliance because it shows just the right angle you need to see at just the right time. The editing is delicious! Slow motion shots, hard hitting realism, and tons of it. Sammo moves like a limber gymnast here, definately in top form. Lam Ching Ying will entertain you with his awe-inspiring technique, while the popcorn flies in your mouth and your eyes bug out at the screen.
Pure action and adventure for any adult!....Wow.
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Prodigal Son
Prodigal Son by Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (DVD - 2004)
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