The Prodigal Son Movie Review

Starring: Yuen Biao

Directed by: Sammo Hung

Year: 1981

Set in Foshan in the mid 1900’s, The Prodigal Son features Yuen Biao starring as Leung Chang, a self proclaimed martial artist who comes from a rich family, and is not as good as he thinks he is when it comes to kung fu. Chang believes he was a master in kung fu, when in reality he doesn’t even know the basics. He is trained by 2 men that were hired by his wealthy father; these men would pay Chang’s opponents to lose whenever there was a fight challenge. Chang was very popular throughout the town for having over 100 fights where he was victorious, but everyone but him knew his opponents were paid to lose, hence giving him the name “The Prodigal Son”. Chang would eventually find out his father has been paying for his opponents to lose, after his father’s men try to bribe a wing chun master, in Leung Yee-Tai (Lam Ching-Ying). Leung Yee-Tai exposed the bribery and revealed to Chang how all his fights were paid off by his father. Chang was outraged and requested Yee-Tai to become his master. At first Yee-Tai refused; but after Chang’s relentless persistence, Yee-Tai agreed to be his master, but did not train him in kung fu just yet. The story sends Chang and Yee-tai on retreat after a failed assassination attempt on Yee-Tai’s life. This is where the movie gets interesting if you are a wing chun practitioner, Yee-Tai brings Chang to hideout at the home of his kung fu brother, Wong Wah-Bo (Sammo Hung). Yee-Tai has yet to teach Chang any kung fu up to this point, however when Wah-Bo finds out Yee-Tai hasn’t taught Chang any kung fu, he decides to show Chang a way to fight freely with no rules. Yee-Tai would eventually start to teach Chang wing chun after some influence from Wah-Bo, and Chang now has two teachers. A wonderful showcase of wing chun training along with it’s philosophy, Chang would eventually master the arts taught by both Yee-Tai and Wah-bo, which helps him avenge the death of his master. We’ve all heard the same plot twist before, avenging a teachers death, however this time we get to have some good ol fashioned wing chun action to go with it. This movie gets 5 out of 5 stars due to the wonderful display and genuine philosophy behind the wing chun kung fu system.

Lam Ching-Ying plays role as wing chun master Leung Yee-Tai

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