My Young Auntie

1981 [CHINESE]

Action / Comedy

Plot summary

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Top cast

Chia-Hui Liu Photo
Chia-Hui Liu as James
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.07 GB
Chinese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 59 min
P/S ...
1.99 GB
Chinese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 59 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by winner5510 / 10

along the lines of a Hollywood-style musical

Some martial-arts purists think that comedy was the worst thing that could have happened to the old-school kung-fu flick; and it is true that the introduction of comedy into the genre signaled the end of the "chop-socky" period in Hong Kong film. But the fact is, one can only carry-on a primarily physical exhibition of prowess for just so long, then everyone gets bored with it. And that's really why the chop-socky died and how the Hong Kong "New Wave" action film was born: the producers, the actors, the directors all just got bored with hitting people for ninety-minutes straight.

Given that, and given the fact that Liu Chia Liang is a professional director with a considerable list of films in his resume, this film has to be seen as something other than just another kung-fu comedy. Rather, it is a comic film within the martial-arts genre, and in fact one of the best ever made.

What Liu has done with this film is really a pleasant surprise: he has taken a martial-arts plot and re-constructed it along the lines of a Hollywood-style musical! Complete with episodes of singing and dancing! It was around the time of the making of this film that some film-makers and film fans began to recognize that the cinematic performance of martial-arts (really derived from the acrobatics of the Chinese opera) has more in common with dance than with fighting. (I will continue to point out this connection until most Americans realize what they are actually supposed to look for when watching a martial arts film - well-choreographed body movements, using the plot of an action film as an excuse for their performance.) At any rate, quite clearly Liu Chia Liang made this connection and decided he would explore it close to its limits.

The result is an incredibly charming entertainment, filled with marvelously human characters attempting miraculous kung-fu (and tripping over their own shoelaces as often as not when they do so). and the film being set at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, allows Liu the opportunity to explore the nature of the Westernization and Modernization of China that contributed so greatly to the making of the China we know today. So the film has considerable historical import as well.

Also, fans of Stephen Chow's recent Kung Fu Hustle should really watch this movie carefully, as Chow clearly learned from it before the making of his own film.

A very amusing, well-made film. Oh, yes, and the kung fu in it is really, really good.

Purists won't admit it, but this is probably director Liu's best film.

Reviewed by phillip-588 / 10

Great film, often misjudged

This is one of the great modern kung fu films. A lot of the reviews seem to miss the point that the comedy is based on a quite subtle at times (at other times right in your face) contrast between old and new China. Kara Hui for instance is called a country bumpkin and gets into trouble whenever she tries to adapt to the new but in the end to save her families honour dresses as an old fashioned heroine in contrast to the modern military style of Hsiao Ho. Gordon Liu seems to have played his part for laughs playing off his serious, monk persona with silly wigs and a guitar. The end fight is simply fantastic and ends in a defeat for Johnny Wang rather than death. Kwan Yung Moon should be mentioned for his great playing of a thug with 'invincible armour' - simply terrific. And Kara Hui does some magnificent acting and fighting. A great film.

Reviewed by dee.reid7 / 10

She's a dashing "Young Auntie"

Liu Chia-Liang's 1981 martial arts action-comedy is a rather unusual entry in the Shaw Brothers Studio output of kung-fu kick-'em-ups released in the '70s and '80s. "My Young Auntie" has a very strong emphasis on slapstick comedy - which stretches a lot further than I think the material really allows it to - over elaborately staged fighting sequences, which don't really come into play until the film's last half-hour.

Until then, the audience has to sit through a lot of familial comedy, which does not always work, and can make the film a drag. (It's 124 minutes in length, according to the official runtime on the Dragon Dynasty DVD, but it actually clocks in somewhere around 119 minutes.) Even I found the slapstick comedy to bring the film to a halt in some places, which is sometimes alleviated by a well-choreographed, if slapstick, fight scene, which seems more in the vein of Jackie Chan.

But even in the midst of it all, we get one of the very best performances out of its lead actress, who became one of the more noteworthy female martial arts action stars of her era. In the film, Tai-Nan Cheng (Kara Hui, credited here by her birth name, Hui Ying-Hung) is the dedicated servant of a dying elderly patriarch who marries him to prevent his inheritance from falling into the hands of his greedy brother Yu Yung-Sheng (Wang Lung-Wei). And of course, she butts heads with her new in-laws, even as she continually clashes with Yu Yung-Sheng's band of hired martial arts-trained hoodlums.

"My Young Auntie" primarily suffers from an overly long running time, which causes the slapstick comedy bits to wear themselves out pretty quickly and leaves you waiting for the fighting to begin. Perhaps if "My Young Auntie" was shorter, this could have worked. But what keeps you watching, really, is the dashing lead performance of Kara Hui, who had no prior martial arts background (she was a dancer),but relied on her physicality and grace to aid her in the film's fight scenes. And this also means that she is a great actress, too, and is easy on the eyes. In short, Kara Hui really carries this film.

All in all, if you're in the mood for a kung-fu movie that's slightly different from so many of the others, then give "My Young Auntie" a spin - if for nothing else, to watch Kara Hui in action.


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