Notable Cast: Jet Li, Wah Yuen, Jerry Trimble, Crystal Kwok
I'm not one to fully defend what Dimension Films did to the martial arts films they released to capitalize on the successes if Jet Li in the early 00s, but without those mass releases I might not be the kung fu fan I am today. Yet, I had never seen "The Master," one of those horrible chopped up films, until now. Although the film lacks a logical plot and character work, it was hard not to be entertained by its ridiculousness and silliness. At least that's something, right?
Jet (Jet Li) has decided to finally come visit his master who has been doing herbal medicine in LA. The problem is that his master (Wah Yuen) has been targeted by one of his old students (Trimble) and has had to flee and hide from his abode. This leaves Jet high and dry looking for his master and on a collision course with a villain he's never even met before.
|Leaving...with a Jet Li...don't know when I'll be back again.|
It does, however, display that great modern kung fu vibe that martial arts films started using in the 80s and 90s where they threw classic elements into modern settings. Although the Jackie Chan vehicle "Rumble In The Bronx" would tighten and strengthen this notion a couple years later, it's hard not to be entertained. The villain might not make sense, but he's a great counter to Li's hero and the ensuing fights between the two are awesome. Unfortunately, some of the secondary fights tend to be a little goofy, including a brawl between the three Hispanic friends and the villain's students, but overall it does have some great moments.
"The Master" is simply an incohesive film with little depth that works and a plot almost seems too random to serve the narrative. An odd and pretty violent gun fight in a bus towards the end that seems to come out of the blue is the perfect example of this. It's a fun film, but one that never rises above being a popcorn kung fu flick.
Written By Matt Reifschneider