1981 • Hong Kong • Directed by Sammo Hung
In 1978, actor/director Sammo Hung gave Hong Kong audiences the Wing Chun crash course of Warriors Two, while his next directorial effort, 1979’s Knockabout, gave Yuen Biao the chance to shine as its lead star. But it would be in 1981 that he would combine Biao’s newfound screen presence and the legacy of Warriors Two’s Leung Tsan into what is still considered one of his best directorial efforts: The Prodigal Son.
Leung Tsan (Biao) is a wealthy young man living the dream, thinking he’s the "Kung Fu King" of the town of Foshan. However, his dream is about to become a nightmare when he is easily beaten in a fight by the star of a travelling opera troupe, Leung Yee-Tai (Lam Ching-Ying). It is at this low point that the truth is revealed to Tsan - all of his “victories” have been nothing but paid-for set-ups by his family out of a misguided act of protection. With this revelation, Tsan pleads with Yee-Tai to train him in the form of combat that led to his defeat: Wing Chun. Yee-Tai, with the help of fellow Wing Chun master Wong Wah-Bo (Hung), will train Tsan to not only be as skilled as he once thought he was, but even better. Though a mysterious challenger (Frankie Chan) and his ruthless Manchu bodyguards may end the journey before it can even begin…
Winning the award for Best Action Choreography at the inaugural Hong Kong Film Awards in 1982, The Prodigal Son is considered by many to be not only one of the best films to showcase the style of Wing Chun, but also one of the best martial arts films of all time, with some of the most tightly choreographed and fast-paced fight scenes that remain just as jaw-dropping over four decades later!