Director: Lee Lik-Chi
Cast: Huang Xiao Ming, Jingchu Zhang, Richie Ren, Natalis Chan Pak Cheung, Cheng Pei Pei
This is a prequel of the first installment that was released in 1993 which starred Stephen Chow and Gong Li. It’s basically about how Tang Yin, better known as Tong Bak Fu, became one of the legendary scholars in China. The character really did exist according to the history of China but the story in this film and its predecessor are very distorted from what’s written.
Natalis Chan Pak Cheung (nicknamed Ah Lek Gor in the Hong Kong entertainment industry) reprised his role as Chuk Chi San and a few more other casts returned as well. However, what’s really missing here is a good sense of humour, and… Stephen Chow. It’s the same director as the first installment but it seemed that he had probably ran out of inspiring ideas for this one. I understand that this is a mou lei tau comedy but it is perhaps TOO “mou lei tau” for my liking. Even during 15-30 minutes into the show, I already felt like walking out of the cinema. Fortunately, there’re some considerably laughable scenes in the second half of the show.
What was the director thinking using Huang Xiao Ming to replace the great Stephen Chow as Tong Bak Fu? He can’t even really speak Cantonese and he kinda sucked in Ip Man 2. The best performance I’ve seen from him was in The Return of the Condor Heroes 2006. I’m guess he probably has a really huge fanbase in Hong Kong.
Verdict: Same director, poor prequel. Too nonsensical and inconvincing. A total waste of time. But to be fair, I’ve seen worse.
Rating: 0.5 / 5