Challenge of the Masters

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (174 votes, average: 4.19 out of 5)
Posted On: October 25, 2009
Posted In: Action Movies, All Movies, Kung Fu Fighting, Kung Fu Movie Reviews, Kung Fu Movies, Martial Arts Movies, Shaolin Kung Fu, Shaw Brothers
Comments: 5 Responses

The Great Gordon Liu stars in this Shaw Brothers classic! Not as polished as later films by Chia-Liang Liu, Challenge of the Masters is still a pretty slick accomplishment when gauged against other contemporary Hong Kong films. Shot in 1976, 2 years before Mr. Liu would rise to seminal greatness in 36 Chambers, there’s little doubt in watching this film that Gordon Liu is a star in the making. As always, his physical presence is arresting, his technical skills second-to-none, and heck, he’s just plain likable! His mentor Chia-Liang Liu does a reasonable job with the direction, but the high velocity fight choreography really shines here. Gordon Liu’s one-on-one fight with his protege Chia Hui Liu in the bamboo forest stands out as a high point and may seem familiar as it has been ripped off many times over.

The plot is pretty straight forward: When the son of a Kung Fu master proves himself in a competition, he receives a new tutor as his prize. The youth’s new association leads him to do battle to avenge a friend’s death and protect his family honor. There are some interesting twists and the recurring theme of fraternity amongst martial artists is a rarity for these films. This is a classic and a must see for any fan of the genre, particularly fans of Gordon Liu. Enjoy! Thomas DiSanto