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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Prodigal Son [DVD]
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2011
Undoubtedly one of the very best martial arts films ever. Features several legendary martial arts performers at the top of their games, and some top-notch choreography which some would say has never been matched.
Consider also that most martial arts films don't have a story to speak of - this film defies this and in the famed "ninja" scene you genuinely fear for the lives of the leading characters.

This DVD is as high quality a version of the film as you're ever likely to get hold of - the film is from the early 80's - it's unlikely to have better picture or sound quality than you see here.

Also note that the last time this film went out of stock, copies were being sold for over £50 on ebay etc. -- not quite antique pricing, but it's a genuine example of the much overused phrase "cult classic".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2011
Yuen Biao has always been one of the most under rated martial arts actor and always in the shadow of Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan. In Prodigal Son Yuen Biao is given the top billing as actor, choreographer and stunt men for his co stars. Before there was the "Ip Man" films that made Wing Chun popular to the masses. Sammo Hung has already successfully captured Wing Chun on film but due to world wide distribution being relatively small back then this feature was only witnessed by a select few.

Sammo Hung choreographs some fantastic fights that makes Wing Chun look beautiful on screen and it is helped by top performer Yuen Biao who excels in the role of the legendary Leung Jan. Yuen Biao really sells the Wing Chun and you believe that he has been practising it for years. The fights are fast and furious and compliment with some exellent editing. The late Lam Ching Ying gives a fantastic performance as Biao's master and he too delivers in the action departmemt. Fights feature frequently and maintain the high standards that it sets early on. The only problem may be the final show down between Frankie Chan and Yuen Biao, after so many fights of a high standard the last fight does not quite up the ante.

Sammo hung also lets loose in some Wing Chun but his character is introduced mid way through the film and seems to be at odds with the rest of the film but this was the usual style of HK film making in the 80's.

Comedy is the norm of any HK traditional kung fu film and this is no different. The is a mixed bag sometimes it is successful in gaining a chuckle but other times it is nonscensical. This can be tolerated because it does not linger long enough to grate.

Highly recommended for traditional kung fu fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2012
I have to admit I am not a martial arts film expert but I know good quality films when I see them, and this is one of them. The tone, direction and acting (especially the lead actor) is fantastic. The action sequences are incredible and I quite enjoyed the humour.
A must see. I only wish they would upgrade this for blu-ray!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2012
This movie truly is a great one. It's in the historical style, and the costumes and sets look great. Part of the story revolves around the chinese opera, and you get some great scenes there. The story is much better than many movies of this type, it's also generally much less corny/cheesy than many of these kind of films. Although Yuen Biao is the star, and has some great performances here, to me the true star of this movie is Lam Ching Ying. He is absolutely amazing. Sammo Hung is great and very funny too.

The version I got was the Cine-Asia re-release of the Hong Kong Legends version, and it's great. The picture and sound are great, and the extras are solid.
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on 19 March 2015
Leung Chang believes himself to be great at Kung Fu. He even names himself the Street Brawler but when he is easily defeated by Opera singer Yee-Tai he finds out that his father had paid all his previous opponents to lose. Feeling humiliated he attempts to get Yee-Tai to become his master.

With many people regarding this as one of the greatest Martial Arts movies ever made, I was really looking forward to watching it. However I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed. I had not long before watched Warriors Two (also directed by Sammo Hung) and I felt that, that was the far superior movie.

Here we have Yuen Biao in the lead as Leung Chang the rich man's son who believes himself to be a great Kung Fu fighter. He is followed around by his irritating sidekick a fat man who looks like he has to grapes in his mouth. Regular bad guy Lam Ching-Ying gets to star as Yee-Tai a cross dressing opera singer who also happens to be a master of Kung Fu. Unfortunately though his character suffers from asthma would could lead to his downfall. Sammo Hung gets a small role as Yee-Tai's brother who appears an hour into the movie. His role is that of a comical character who has a rivalry with his brother and he also has a chubby daughter who he attempts to teach Kung Fu to. Then we have multi talented Frankie Chan (who is also the films composer and would go onto become a director), as the noble Ngai Fei who roams the land looking for people to challenge him.

For me the film is let down by all the attempts at comedy which I didn't really find funny. I know they are to be expected in these Chinese films but I would've prefered if it was left to a minimal like in Warriors Two. However the fight scenes are still very impressive. The final fight between Yuen Biao and Frankie Chan is brutal and executed perfectly.

Overall its a decent film in my opinion but there is far more enjoyable Martial Arts movies out there.
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on 22 July 2013
A cocky young rich kid (Chang) learns his kung fu is not all it's cracked up to be, when a drag artist (and Wing Chun master ~ Leung Yee~Tai) from a local theatre group gives him a lesson in reality. From there the humbled rich kid pays to become Leung's student, however Leung is having none of it and refuses to teach Chang. Then one day, a kung fu master happens to challenge Leung and although a 'friendly' bout, this leads to the massacre of the theatre troupe and Chang and Master Leung barely escaping by the skin of their teeth. They go back to Master Leung's home and there he eventually agrees to teach Chang Wing Chun...

I've seen this movie scores of times over the years and there is a good reason for that. The fighting on display here is brilliantly choreographed and it is without doubt one of the best of it's kind. Lam Ching Ying, Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung and Frankie Chan all very good. Of course there is a little melodrama and some rather silly slapstick humour but I don't mind that at all, even if it wont be to everyone's tastes. All in all a very entertaining martial arts movie that has some top drawer fight action and should not be missed by any fans, old or new.
The disc I watched is my old chinese dvd by Universe Laser & Video Co. Ltd. The picture is better than vhs but hardly great by today's standards. Though it is clear and nicely letterboxed and the subtitles are obvious enough. No extras except for a couple of very brief biographies though.
Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2011
Prodical Son .... Very good film. Full of humor and wit, a real gem of a film which shows Yuen Biao in top form. A great cast, solid enough story and the extras in the dvd were excellent.
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on 21 December 2012
The best kung fu film ever made. I really can't say much more than that - you can keep your wires, your super powers and your video game style violence. This boils it all down to the nitty-gritty and showcases the late great Lam Ching Ying at his best. Brilliant.
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on 30 May 2013
This film along with Warriors Two are the best films of the time which showcased the Wing Chun style in Hong Kong cinema. One of my favourite kung fu films!
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on 2 April 2013
I have been looking for this film for a while but could not remember the title. So pleased I found it. I love it!
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