Loyalty. Honor. Vengeance.
Starring: Jet Li, Jerry Trimble, Crystal Kwok, Yuen Wah, Stefanos Mitsakakis
Director: Tsui Hark
1989 | 88 Minutes | Rated R
“That guy must think he’s Bruce Lee or something.” – construction worker
Jet Li is the man who got me into martial arts movies. That might make me a bit of an oddity (what else is new) since most people seem to have gotten into “kung fu” movies by discovering Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan or the bad late night kung fu classics.
The Master is one of Jet Li’s first movies. Jet (Jet Li) has come to America to find his master, Uncle Tak (Yuen Wah), who now runs a small herbal shop. A group of martial artists led by Johnny (Jerry Trimble), one of Tak’s former students, has been terrorizing local martial arts schools and Tak’s shop. It’s up to Jet and a few of his new friends to stop Johnny and his thugs.
I originally thought Bruce Lee was too old school, Jackie Chan was too comedic and those late night “classics” were too silly so Jet Li was the perfect martial arts star for me. Thos late night “classics” are still a bit too silly but I’ve come to love and appreciate both Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan (and Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao and Michelle Yeoh and…).
The plot of The Master is all pretty silly. Jet bums around with some homies, meets a cute girl and gets into a fight once in a while. No one really cares about plot, though, when it comes to martial arts movies. The problem is, the majority of the time in The Master is spent developing plot rather than actually fighting.
That said, what fights are here are good. Nothing mind blowing but the final fight between Jet Li and Jerry Trimble is a nice extended scene with some really solid martial arts from both men.
The Master isn’t really “must see” material for anyone other than hard core genre or Jet Li fans. I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from seeing it but I’d certainly recommend about a dozen Jet Li movies before this would come to mind.