This costume comedy-adventure about a female martial artist who protects a young widow from lustful bandits in a provincial Chinese town is a fine showcase for Hong Kong action star Michelle Yeoh (SUPERCOP).
An ailing traveler dies in a remote river town. His widow, Charmy, finds sanctuary and a job with Yim Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh) and her aunt, Abacus "Stinky" Fong, who together manage a shop serving soybean cube. One night, bandit leader Flying Monkey leads a raid to kidnap Charmy, but Wing Chun,
disguised as a man, fights off the attack with her superior kung fu. Scholar Wong (Waise Lee) seeks to marry Wing Chun in the hope that she will go back to his village with him to protect it from bandits, but he soon falls for Charmy.
Leung Pok To (Donnie Yen) has returned home after a ten year absence seeking his childhood sweetheart Wing Chun. Seeing Charmy in the attractive Miss Soybean Cube costume once worn by Wing Chun, he believes it is she. Wing Chun recognizes Pok To, but won't reveal herself because she doesn't want
to interfere with his true feelings. The leader of the bandits, Flying Chimpanzee (Tsui Siu Keung), leads a second raid to kidnap Charmy. After a battle with Wing Chun, he succeeds in taking Charmy and challenges Wing Chun to a duel.
Wing Chun journeys to the bandits' fortress with Pok To, after informing him of her true identity. She fights Flying Chimpanzee, narrowly beating him, and is allowed to leave with Charmy. She leaves Charmy and Pok To together and goes off to visit her master, Ng Mui (Cheng Pei Pei), who tells Wing
Chun she should settle down.
Pok To realizes he loves Wing Chun, not Charmy, and is happy to receive a message from her, prompting him to return to the bandits' fortress to join Wing Chun who confronts Flying Chimpanzee one more time for a knock-down, dragout battle which ends with the defeated Chimpanzee and his men humbly
agreeing to call Wing Chun "Mommy" and vowing to give up thievery. Wing Chun and Pok To get married. Scholar Wong winds up marrying Aunt Fong and Charmy remains alone, running the soybean shop.
Although based on the true story of the only female disciple at the famed Shaolin Temple, the film prefers to avoid historical details altogether in favor of light comedy and clever stunts. Director Yuen Woo-ping previously teamed with Michelle Yeoh for TAI CHI MASTER (1993) and with Donnie Yen
for IRON MONKEY (1993), both of which boasted spectacular battles with all sorts of exaggerated feats of strength, fanciful props, and elaborate settings. The fights here are equally imaginative, but favor acrobatics and comedy with no blood or lethal tactics. All of the fight scenes feature the
graceful dancer-turned-fighting star Yeoh, while the skilled and agile Yen plays second fiddle. Some of the secondary characters, such as Aunt Fong and Scholar Wong, are amusing, but their comic antics might irritate the fight fans in the audience. (Sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: This costume comedy-adventure about a female martial artist who protects a young widow from lustful bandits in a provincial Chinese town is a fine showcase for Hong Kong action star Michelle Yeoh (SUPERCOP). An ailing traveler dies in a remote river town.… (more)