ReviewWriter: Peter ChaiWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Hotel Deluxe” and “Kung Fu Hustle”
Directed by comedy expert Wong Jing, "Princess And Seven Kung Fu Masters" leads us through the early years of the Republic era in the North-East region of China. Whereas citizens are fighting among themselves and against the Japanese invasion at the same time, a small and peaceful town called "Lucky Town" has not been a target of the invaders. The place is well-protected by seven kung fu masters including Manysons (Eric Tsang), Madonna (Sandra Ng), Nam Mor Bing (Yuen Wah), Madonhong (Xie Na) Little Tailor (Wong Cho Lam), Little Trumpet (Ronald Cheng) and Mamasan Maggie (Natalie Meng), who hide their secret identities from acquaintances and visiting strangers. One day, all the masters have to reveal their skills to save the Kuo Ming Tang leader - Warlord Lam (Sammo Hung) from the hands of Tiger Hong, Jaguar Hong, Phoenix Hong and the female ninja Kiyoko Kurosawa, after they are approached by Chinese patriots Lok Tin, Yan Fang and Lam's daughter Princess Cheryl (Tong Fei).
After gaining impressive box office results in Mainland China and good reception from critics with his Shanghai-themed drama "The Last Tycoon", Wong switches his attention back to comedy, the genre he is most familiar with throughout his career, by utilizing the intensive period of war between the Chinese and Japanese army as the background of the film. He has also tried this in "The Last Tycoon", but this time the director chooses to tickle the audience's sense of humour with his trademark "Mo Lei Tou" style of content and martial arts as the main force against traitors and secret agents from the Land Of The Rising Sun.
However, Wong's attempts have failed. Frankly speaking, despite having a heavyweight gang of comedians in the main roles, the reviewer does not find most of the jokes made by the characters hilarious, especially when Little Tailor and Nam Mor Bing commit suicide during a quiet night because of lovesickness. The only thing that can get your attention is the endless kung fu fighting scenes at Tiger's Den, Warlord Lam's bungalow and the cat-and-mouse game in "Lucky Town".
Luckily, the film gets a helping hand from Sandra Ng who successfully demonstrated her comedic persona opposite her frequent onscreen partners like Ronald Cheng and Eric Tsang. Her portrayal of Madonna is not like the practitioner of "The Lion's Roar" in Stephen Chow's "Kung Fu Hustle", but her cliched misunderstanding for Little Trumpet helps put an end to our boredom in the middle part of the film. A kind reminder to her die-hard fans, do not puke when she is kissing with Eric Tsang!
It is a little hard to relate the old big brother Sammo Hung in making fun on the silver screen as he has landed himself more serious roles these days. Nevertheless, in Wong's feature, Hung has reduced his counter-punching and kicking against the villains, instead playing a strict warlord and a single parent who decides to compromise with his young daughter Cheryl, whom he thought has a new boyfriend.
"Princess And Seven Kung Fu Masters" does not fool us with more than one hour in the cinema but it can be much better in terms of storytelling and dialogue, considering the all-star cast line-up Wong has.Cinema Online, 05 March 2013