on June 21, 2004
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 need the slo-mo feature on your dvd to capture all the cool choreography in this one. Also, i don't think people are stressing this enough; besides Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung, and Lam Ching Ying, there is another great reason to see this...the incredible Frankie Chan! He makes a great and formidable villain(although he's not quite the bad guy that one would expect...he has respect for his opponents, which makes him a very cool antagonist in the film). ANY kung fu film worth its salt has a formidable villain(otherwise, how would the hero be able to show off his skills?). Also, if you're price conscious(as in cheap) and think all of us who are giving rave reviews are exaggerating, there is a new version that costs less than $10! For that price, surely you can't pass up a chance to see what may become your next favorite kung fu film can you? Highly recommended!
on June 19, 2000
No frills, no wires,no fancy film editing,just some of the flat out best hand to hand martial arts that you'll ever witness period.I just viewed this movie afer reading all the various reviews saying that this movie was so good even for being produced in 81' and was it ever.I must admit that I was a little sceptic myself,but after seeing it all doubt in my mind has been erased and then some.Never before or never again will such a movie be produced,so much work must have been put into the cheoreography that it would take an encyclopedia to remember all the various moves presented throughout the fight scenes(they get that intricate) this is definitley Sammo Hungs' absoulute best directorial edtion and can not be touched,while I must admit that I have already fallen too deep into the Jet Li "wire-fu" era(I've seen them all) to call this one of my favorite movies,it still brings me to owe more respect to this movie than just about all others production wise.For the time it was created this movie can definitley hang with the big boys of the 90s',do not write this one off as another "old school movie" and not get it,it must be in every serious Kung-fu collection out there.If you enjoyed Drunken Master 2,or Fist of Legend this one will amaze you as well with on the ground Kung-fu straight Wing Chun style that is as fast and furious as those two flicks(and made in 81',wow!)As for video transfer it was equally amazing,with the VHS transfer as good as I expected the DVD to be,and the DVD transfer beyond my imagination.This is also probably the only kung-fu movie that I ever learned anything from with some great training sequences.A classic forever and ever more,buy it today!
on September 1, 2005
Prodigal Son is about two-thirds of one of the best kung fu movies ever made. From the film's opening up through the arson and slaughter at the traveling Chinese opera troupe encampment (sorry about that spoiler), the story (about a spoiled kung fu wannabe and his very reluctant teacher) is involving and the action is crisp. The martial arts choreography, which accurately depicts the effective Wing Chun style of kung fu, sets a new standard for the genre. However, when director Sammo Hung makes his entrance as historical kung fu figure Wong Wah Bo in mid-film, the movie veers sharply and awkwardly into comedy and then falls flat. Prodigal Son bounces back a bit in the final reel for the obligatory showdown but with the marvelous actor Lam Ching-Ying having already taken an earlier exit, the film doesn't fully recover. However, Lam's performance as the historical Wing Chun master Leung Yee Tai and his spot-on fight scenes are just enough to earn Prodigal Son a five star recommendation.
Note: I strongly recommend watching this and any other Chinese films in the original Cantonese soundtrack (with English subtitles). English language dubbing is distracting and greatly detracts from the experience of viewing a good foreign film like this one.
on March 28, 1999
I have had this video for almost fourteen years and I have worn it out, that's why I just ordered a new copy of it. It has some(if not the most) realistic fight scenes I have ever seen. The skills of the Martial art actors, the Choreography, the fight scenes, level of skills, movement, techniques, and the use of internal power are all some of the best I've ever seen. I have over eighty-five Gung-Fu movies including most of the best ones ever made and this one ranks right up there with the best of them. Some of the movies I have include "Mad Monkey Gung-Fu, The Victim, The Eight Diagram Pole, Warriors Two, The Magnificent Butcher, Shaolin Vs. WuDang, Fearless Hyena, Drunken Master, Shaolin Vs. Lama, Etc". Hopefully this will give you an idea of what movies I am ranking "Prodigal Son" With. I have been seriously into REAL Shaolin Gung-Fu, Wu-Su for fifteen years and this is a serious, very well done Gung-Fu movie.
on March 6, 2006
I just wanted to comment that you can get this at Best buy for 5.99 and it's not like a videoasia or groundzero release, it is very high quality. Well worth buying if you like jungfu movies. One of my personal top 20.
on October 31, 1999
Many people call this the greatest Wing Chun film ever made. It certainly is, but it's also one of the best kung-fu films ever. Sammo ranks as my all time second favourite film star (after Chan the Man) and this film gives evidence why. A strong plot is fleshed out by good characterisation and exceptional performances. However, it's in the action that this film really excels. Featuring the all time classic finale between the superb Yuen Biao and the underrated Frankie Chan, this is a real crowd pleaser.
on August 30, 1999
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 plot, loads of Kung-Fu, and some interesting characters, make The Prodigal Son a film to see.
on January 10, 2013
This movie directed by Samo Hung is probably the best Yuen Biao martial arts flick ever produced and is sure to please any martial arts fan.
The story revolves around Yuen Biao, who calls himself Kung Fu King, and under the false impression that he is the undefeated champion of China through matches fixed by his side kick under the instruction of Yuen Biao's over protective father, he finally meets an Opera performer whose kung fu skills are unparalled and refuses to throw the match; and, having been so badly humiliated, seeks to convince the opera singer to be his master to hardly any avail.
In the meantime, an expert kung fu practitioner who has really never been defeated is searching for someone with whom he could actually spar in a truly competitive match, and, having witnessed the formidable kung fu of the opera singer, challenges him to a duel whose outcome remains inconclusive given the fact that the opera singer suffers from asthma and his nemesis doesn't want to take unfair advantage.
However, the villain's henchmen burn down the opera troupe, thereby, forcing the opera singer to seek refuge within the vicinity of his estranged brother's home, where, he is gradually persuaded to impart his kung fu skills to Yuen Biao, after his brother, played by Samo Hung in what can be considered a small role, challenges him to do so. While, his master teaches him close range Wing Chun, his master's brother teaches Yuen Biao long range Wing Chun as well as how to take advantage of the opponent through any means available, and when, Yuen Biao's master is killed by his nemesis' henchmen, Biao takes revenge and challenges the villain to a duel, which comprises of some of the most well-choreographed and exhilarating fight sequences ever captured on film, with Biao finally defeating his opponent and, thereby, truly earning himself the title of Kung Fu King.
on March 17, 1999
Newly remastered film that brings a fresh new look once again to the classic movie. Picture is clear for the most part like most remastered films except for slight tears in the original film that probably couldn't be repaired further. DVD contains the basic actor profiles on Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung. Plot-wise it is a story of a spoiled young man who wants to become a top kung fu fighter. However, his rich father, not wanting his only son to be hurt, pays off potential challengers. Eventually, he meets up with his future sifu, or teacher, of the wing chun style thru a travelling opera troupe. Later, the sifu is killed by the henchmen of a government official's son which in turn forces a fight between the two young men. Overall, the training scenes and fight scenes of the wing chun style in this movie are great although true wc practitioners will see that its been modified a bit for filming purposes. The philosphies and teachings though are for the most part true to the wing chun credo.
on August 14, 2005
There are very few films out there that can claim they present any authentic Wing Chun Kung Fu; this movie is one of them. The fight scenes are fast-paced and fluid, they are not the typical choreographed fights of other old school kung fu flicks. The actual movements that the actors perform appear to be some Yip Man lineage movements, so take this film with a grain of salt. As much as the Yip Man students would love to claim they are "The Original", this is simply not so - Their lineage is one of many that are all original in their own way. They just happened to be represented in this film. That being said, it is a very entertaining flick and the actors do a great job of presenting the Wing Chun style. Lam Ching-Ying, who plays "Painted Face Kam," is by far the best of the three main practitioners in the film; this is because I believe he is actually a Wing Chun practitioner off-screen.
There is one part of the film that will make you cringe, however, and that is the fight at the end involving the movie's hero, played by Yuen Biao. The Wing Chun is almost nonexistent during this fight. Instead, Yuen Biao reverts to some flashy wushu garbage that you've seen a million times before. This one fight is not enough to ruin the film, however, and "The Prodigal Son" remains in the number one spot of my favorite Kung Fu flicks (Bruce Lee aside).
The movie is worth purchasing just to watch Lam Ching-Ying's performance. This movie has the best representation of Wing Chun Kung Fu in a motion picture, and Bruce Lee's films aside, is my favorite Kung Fu movie of them all. Bruce Lee's films contain much of the essence of Wing Chun and even some techniques, but he also flavored it with many varying styles culminating in his own Jeet Kune Do. So, I don't consider Bruce Lee's work to represent true Wing Chun; though you can recognize a lot of what he does and the principles of JKD and Wing Chun are very similar.