Made only six years ago, Yuen Woo-Ping's quasi-sequel to 'Tai Chi Master' seems to have aged far faster than most.
This is due in no small part to the inclusion of the musical scores from Armour Of God and Tiger Cage - a totally out of place addition to a film set in the early 1900's.
Aside from the quite awful acting of lead villain Mr. Smith (Darren Shahlavi) - I've seen pantomime dames with more menace - the rest of the cast are all average to good.
As the film's main star, young Jacky Wu handles himself admirably. The light-hearted, cheeky-chappy persona his character possesses borders on the irritating, but never quite gets there. The same can be said for Christy Chung's utterly thankless role as Wu's love interest.
Whilst there's some semblance of a plot involving opium smuggling and the like, it really has little baring on the film's main draw.
Yuen Woo-Ping shows the very best, and worst, of his choreographical abilities, with each of the numerous fight scenes.
The horribly obvious and overused wirework which infests a number of set-pieces lies uneasily alongside the far more impressive hand to hand combat sequences.
Disappointingly, the action scenes reach their peak about three quarters of the way through, leaving a finale which ooks like an ultra-cheap Once Upon A Time In China rehash.
The most impressive scenes are those which use the (obviously stylised) Tai Chi movements of which Jackie Wu's character is an expert.
The film is competently directed, although it does have a very low budget feel to it, with little attention paid to plot development or cinematography.