The Prodigal Son
Dir: Sammo Hung
Scrs: Sammo Hung, Barry Wong
Cast: Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Lam Ching-ying, Frankie Chan
1981 / Colour / DCP / Cantonese / Chi & Eng Subtitles / 100min
Following Warriors Two (1978), Sammo Hung turned the story of Liang Zhan into another film, The Prodigal Son which, like Drunken Master (1978), was about the growth of a young boy. It was also the last period kung-fu film Hung directed at Golden Harvest. Through two young martial arts fanatics—one good, one bad—Hung described his own growing pains. He makes the point that walking in a father’s footsteps is more a curse than a blessing, and mocks traditional father-son, teacher-disciple and master-servant relationships. He also shows the importance of hands-on experience and honours the pragmaticist values of the self-made warrior. The film demonstrates Hung’s mature skills as a director. The plot is solidly structured, in particular, the parts combining Chinese opera and martial arts. In the film’s final section, the master teaches Liang wing chun moves, alternating between strength and grace, solemnity and comedy. The film is no doubt a masterpiece from Hung’s early career.
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