The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk with Jet LiThe original Legend of Fong Sai Yuk starring Jet Li is a well balanced action/comedy from 1993 and is based on the life of Chinese folk hero Fong Sai Yuk.

Jet Li plays Sai Yuk, and is a young (slightly cheeky) guy getting around town often getting into to fights and never losing!  A run in with an athlete trying to hit on a young woman by the name of Ting Ting, causes him to be challenged by one of the men, and the two compete in some athletic events before eventually getting into a fight – which Sai Yuk wins easily.

This fight leads to Sai Yuk getting thrown into jail, but he doesn’t care since he met Ting Ting.  Later, Ting Ting’s father holds a competition – the first to beat his wife in a fight can marry his daughter.  Sounds a bit weird, but his wife is an extremely accomplished fighter and Sai Yuk enters to win the girl’s hand in marriage, believing it to be Ting Ting.

Unfortunately Ting Ting hides and Fai Yuk throws the fight, but later ends up living with Ting Ting’s father after his mother, dressed as a man, wins the competition.

While all of this is happening a man is out searching for an traitors to the Emperor, and Sai Yuk’s father is member of such a rebellious group – the Red Flower Society.

From there paths converge as Sai Yuk marries Ting Ting but is on the run once his father’s identity is uncovered.

Action / Comedy – Good Balance?

This whole movie has a very lighted feel to it until the end as things seem to darken up.  Unlike the sequel (The Legend of Fond Sai Yuk 2) the comedy seems to be on par with the action – and not in front of it.

This movie seems to have a good blend of action and comedy that seems to work.  Sai Yuk is very young and plays an almost childish character, but gets more serious toward the end of the film – funnily enough he still doesn’t seem that threatening.

One big happy family

One of the funniest things about this movie is the unintentional things like Sai Yuk’s hair defying gravity to show him moving at a great speed, or jumping on an almost statuesque horse at the beginning of the film or my personal favourite – throwing a man into a fire who is quite obviously a giant rag doll.

It’s about as fake as you can get but you come to expect that of some kung fu movies, and it just adds a couple of humorous moments to the film.

The whole mix up of Sai Yuk and Ting Ting is also quite funny but not overdone – which I was fearing it would be.  Sai Yuk is forced to marry a girl who he believes is quite ugly after the competition, and spends his time avoiding the whole thing like the plague. Of course once he realises it’s Ting Ting he happily agrees.

The Martial Arts

As I mentioned before – some parts are cheap and fake, but ultimately a good physical performance his delivered by Li and many of the other actors.

Jet Li’s physical ability is represented quite well in a mixture of wire work and genuine movements.  But one thing I was happy to see was less ‘environmental wire work’ (I don’t know what it’s called – that’s what I’ll call it for now 🙂 ).

Jet Li

As in the second movie and many other Jet Li movies, overuse of their surrounding environment moving in completely unrealistic ways has ruined scenes (for me personally – I don’t like it, just think of the end scene in Once Upon a Time in China) in the past.  This movie had a little but was not overdone – relying more on actual fight scenes between people – not ladders and wobbly structures.

While the scenes were fast, well done and entertaining, it’s not one of Jet Li’s best but more of a good time killer if you want to see some decent martial arts action.  I recommend it but wouldn’t rush out to see it.

On Blu Ray –

Region A (US & Canada)
The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk [Blu-ray]

Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe etc)
The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk [Blu-ray]

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk on DVD

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Legend Of Fong Sai Yuk [DVD]

More info on Movie Regions here.

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