This is another crazy Kung Fu movie from the 90’s starring a young Jet Li working across from Hong Kong movie Legend Sammo Hung and Collin Chou. ‘The Evil Cult’, also known as ‘Kung Fu Cult Master’ is a film which revolves around many different martial arts clans and their plan to destroy the Evil sect.
The movie starts with Chang Mo Kei ( later played by Jet Li ) as a small child with his parents. Living in seclusion with his parents, they travel to visit Chang San-fung (Sammo Hung) on his 100th birthday but are cornered by members of many different Kung Fu clans. They are asked to give up the location of Mo Kei’s godfather. After trying to communicate their refusal Mo Kei’s parents commit suicide to destroy any chance of them getting the information out of them.
During this whole situation Mo Kei is hit with ‘Jinxes Palm’ a technique that would leave him weak and unable to learn Kung Fu for the rest of his life.
8 Years alter Mo Kei is a young man, who lives with San-Fung and is constantly tormented by his elder Sung Ching Su (Collin Chou). When a cruel prank sends Mo Kei into a rage he is beaten by Ching Su and the others before being saved by a woman looking to steal a sword from them. During the chase Mo Kei and the woman, Tsu Chu, find a man who can cure Mo Kei’s condition by teaching him a rare type of Kung Fu known as the Solar Stance.
Mo Kei learns the Kung Fu and is completely healed!
He then ventures out into the world to exact revenge on those who killed his parents. But first he tries to find his grandfather and along way learns another form of Kung Fu known as the Magic Stance. He then saves his grandfather and the ‘evil sect’ when he learns that the 6 clans are being manipulated and that the ‘evil sect’ isn’t really evil, and must fight their real enemies.
So things take off from there and there’s lots of super fast kung fu fights to be seen from that point!
Lots of Questions left unanswered
This movie was intended to be the first part of a trilogy, but unfortunately it never saw a sequel.
Due to this it can be seen as confusing and hard to follow with so many questions being asked when the credits do finally roll.
Along the way, Mo Kei meets a woman identical to his mother. He mentions their similarity and she even manipulates Mo Kei and makes him promise not to use his Solar Stance or Magic Stance. But the movie ends before we can find out exactly why she looks the way she does.
Also many problems lying between the evil sect and the other clans are unresolved, including the man behind the whole war between the clans and the sect. There are also 2 golden swords mentioned at the start of the film which can reveal the greatest knowledge of martial arts, but we only see one sword in the whole film, naturally the other would have come into play during the second or third – much like the other unanswered questions.
This whole problem creates a very unsatisfying movie once it finishes. Had the next two movies been made it may have worked well. But it just ends up being confusing and leaving you asking the questions mentioned above, along with a few more.
The Action & Martial Arts
This movie has some pretty cool fights and is just plain cool to watch.
Sure it has a lot of wire work (which I usually despise), but it’s put into the fights in an entertaining way, as the fights are also played back at a faster speed than the original recording. This does put a date on the film using these old and somewhat outdated techniques, but it does create a fun feel about the fights in this film (in particular).
Most interesting is the way the Kung Fu is learned from character to character. Training and perfecting technique isn’t how you get good kung fu – you learn it very quickly and in Mo Kei’s case, he can master an entire style in 6 hours thanks to his existing solar stance.
There’s even a mention of ‘points’ at one stage during a fight – when one character steps back thinking ‘this guy is really powerful, if I have 8000 points, he must have 10,000 points’. Maybe there’s some connection or misinterpretation on the subtitles, but it’s one of those things you just need to accept when watching a movie like this.
No bad, many will hate while many others will think it’s just ok. I recommend it to Jet Li fans who want to see some of his older work, but other than that it’s another kung fu flick with nothing really outstanding going for it.
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
The Evil Cult
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Evil Cult [DVD]