Dojo Review: Martial Club
Directed by Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar Leung)
Plot: A teenage Wong Fei Hung ( Gordon Liu) along with his friend, Wang Yinlin ( Mak Tak Law), and sister Wang Juying ( the lovely Kara Hui Ying Hung) run afoul of seedy Kung Fu Master Lu Zhengfu ( Jue Tit Woh) and his son Lu Shanhou creating animosity within the martial world of Canton. Fei Hong must mature, develop his martial skill, and confront an awesome Northern Kung Fu Master ( Wang Lung Wei) who is a friend to Master Lu Zhengfu.
Martial Club is a Kung Fu masterpiece!!! Fight directors Liu Chia Liang, Hsiao Ho, and King Lee King Chu deliver the goods in what I consider to be the ultimate Kung Fu artistry expression. Many fans and critics rave about the final fight between Fei Hong and Master Shan ( come on, they should) but the whole movie is an example of old school Kung Fu at it’s best! From the opening Lion Dance and the street fighting chaos of rival martial clubs to the breath control of Wang Yinlin and the scene in which Fei Hong has to carry the huge bags of rice with Master Shan screaming ” Fei Hong use your family’s Kung Fu” Martial Club is Kung Fu bliss. Since it is a Liu Chia Liang production the stance work is top notch( be sure to re-watch the scene where Fei Hong and his dad Wong Qi Ying have a battle of the stances) and the martial artists all have correct posture and precise movements of the arms and waist. Gordon Liu’s trademark Hung Gar is on display and he looks sharp! So, in other words, the Kung Fu in Martial Club is certified platinum!
Martial Club is another Liu Chia Liang movie telling the tale of folk hero and Liu’s Grandmaster Wong Fei Hong and it embodies the virtuous stories about the legend. What I like about the movie besides the fight scenes is the story of how Wong Fei Hong matures and comes of age through the martial arts. Although I like bloody Chang Cheh movies also, I really enjoyed how Director Liu created tension, drama, and redemption without buckets of bright red Shaw Brothers blood. This type of movie really exemplifies the example of Wong Fei Hong and other legendary Chinese Kung Fu Masters who used their skill to enlighten and expose others to Wu De or martial virtue. If you don’t own this movie, go get a copy and enjoy a true old school classic.