Wong Fei-hung Bravely Crushes the Fire Formation*
Dir: Law Chi Scr: Szeto On
Set Design: Chan King-sam
Cast: Kwan Tak-hing, Shek Kin,
Chan Koon-tai, Chan Fung-ching
1970 / B&W / D Beta / Cantonese / 82min
This is the last Wong Fei-hung film to be made in Cantonese. The year was 1970, a time when most overseas markets of Cantonese Cinema had shrunken or vanquished. Production numbers had been in drastic decline. Despite its popularity over the years, the film had had a tough time to find financial backers. To inject new blood into the film, Kwan Tak-hing, the veteran actor who played Wong, hired young action director Law Chi to helm it. For the role of Ling Wan-kai, Wong’s favourite student, he gave up Kenneth Tsang Kong, who had played the character in at least eight previous Wong Fei-hung films, and cast real-life kung-fu practitioner Chan Koontai (who’d later become one of Chang Cheh’s regular leads at Shaw Brothers) for it. The story tells how Wong and his students, together with inhabitants from the Chan Village, were trapped in a derelict temple by a gang of villains. The deadlock situation, envisaged by Chan King-sam’s design of the dilapidated temple, is unmistakably a pertinent metaphor for the makers of Cantonese films in its bleakness and desolation. Never has Master Wong appeared to be so desperate and vulnerable on the screen. Undeniably underrated and overlooked, Wong Fei-hung Bravely Crushes the Fire. Formation is a must-see for fans of the series.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
* Due to unavailability of print, the above screening has been cancelled. Ticket holders please bring along the tickets (with stubs) to the box office of Hong Kong Film Archive from 6 to 22 October 2012 for cash refund. For enquiries please call 2739 2139.
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