God, that’s a silly title isn’t it? It sounds like the single greatest buddy cop show ever: “Veteran detective Craig “The Kung Fu Master” Kavorsky teams up with hot young cop Andre “Opium” Andorhal, and together, they solve the cases no one else can” *cue Isaac Hayes-style opening theme* Then again, the title it was known by upon arrival in the U.S. back in the day, “Lightning Fists of Shaolin”, isn’t much more dignified.
Nah, but great title aside, “Opium and the Kung Fu Master” is a shockingly dark, well made film from the twilight years of Shaw Bros. Studios, and shows that, even if it is corny, a Kung Fu film can deliver a good story alongside its kick-ass fights. Starring several all-time greats at the top of their game, including legendary leading man Ti Lung and future Gallants star Chen Kuan-tai (who I wish so hard played a character named “Opium”), and featuring immensely satisfying fight scenes choreographed by six (yes, SIX) fight directors, O.A.T.K.F.M. (I am not typing that whole thing again) is a worthy send off for Shaw and an amazing film in its own right.