Hong Kong Cinema

Tai Chi Master

(Twin Warriors)

  • Made: 1993
  • Format: DVD
  • Region: 1
  • Release Date: 20/6/2000
  • Company: Dimension Home Video
  • Length: 93 minutes
  • Picture: Widescreen 1.85:1 & Full Screen
  • Extras: Trailers
  • Classification: R

Director: Yuen Woo Ping

Cast: Jet Li ... Junbao
Michelle Yeoh ... Siu Lin
Chin Siu-hou ... Tianbao
Fennie Yuen ... Miss Li
Yuen Cheung-Yan ... Rev. Ling
Shun Lau ... Master Jueyuan
Hai Yu ... Head Master

In 1993, when Jet Li ruled the box office and Yuen Woo Ping was busy reinventing the Kung Fu genre (again), the box office was graced with a truly legendary movie, Twin Warriors. This movie features the dream team of Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, with support from Chin Siu Ho and Yuen's brother; Yuen Cheung Yan. Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh played the leads after being cast together in a 90's remake of Dragon Inn, which fell through due to Michelle Yeoh getting Mafia stress (eventually it was played by Tony Leung and Brigitte Lin). This is not the only case where they have been cast together either, Jet Li was cast as the lead in Crouching Tiger, but pulled out to do Romeo Must Die!!! One of the soundest career moves since Eddie Irvine decide to leave Ferrari.

Yuen Woo Ping clearly decided that the Tai Chi Master should be his brother (Yuen Cheung Yan), after his performance as the Master in 1984's Drunken Tai Chi (which starred Donnie Yen). Chin Siu Ho's performance must have caught Gordon Chan's eye as he cast him alongside Jet Li, in the classic Fist of Legend one year later. Few could question the quality of the set, fighting, weapons work, costume and choreography in this monumental display of wire-fu at its best.


Jet teaches the way of Tai Chi...


Great training sequences

The 'expulsion from the Temple' staff fight cannot be missed


This film used an amazing number of extras



This film directed by the legendary Yuen Woo Ping is the story of two young orphans that grow up as friends in the Shaolin monastery. While both undergo their kung fu training Junbao (Jet Li) learns the teachings of the Buddha, while Tianbao (Chin Siu Ho, originally Donnie Yen was lined up for this role) thinks only of becoming the best fighter in the monastery. After being expelled from Shaolin the two friends find their own personal philosophies begin to draw them apart. Junbao becomes a friend of the anti-government movement (amongst whom is Michelle Yeoh). While Tianbao joins the government's forces in the hope of rising quickly to a position of power. The two friends part company but their paths are soon to cross again.

Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh form a plan with their gang to assassinate the government official. However the whole gang is double crossed by Tianbao, who turns on his former childhood friend. Tianbao ends up sacrificing all that he had for his position of power. After this betrayal Junbao goes a bit loopy and has to recover from his mental as well as physical wounds. In the process of his recovery Junbao begins to go back to the roots of Taoism and formulates a way of kung fu in tune with nature, the result is Tai Chi. Jet Li and Yeoh go back to deal with the evil eunuch and then go on to finish off what was started with Tianbao.


This film is one of the best examples of Jet Li's back catalogue before he headed out to Hollywood. Directed by Yuen Woo Ping, who has also taken his talent onto the US, this film is a true masterpiece of Hong Kong cinema. The story itself is a traditional one of childhood friends that end up mortal enemies (see Yuen Woo Ping's 1980 offering; Buddhist Fist). It is simple but works really well, as Chin Siu Ho ends up becoming really really evil. The main characters have more than adequate support from Michelle Yeoh who turns in one of her best performances.


The action is as you might expect from a combination of Yuen Woo Ping and Jet Li is of the very highest quality. As one of the original architects of 'wire-fu' the film sees Jet Li and Chin Siu Ho flying around a lot of the time. However there is also some exceptional fighting going on in the film as well. From the start of the movie at the Shaolin monastery, right through to the Jet's training and his final fight with Tianbao the action is pretty unrelenting. Jet Li gives us a performance that reminds us of why he has had so much hype in the States and really turns on the style in a number of the fights. There is also a notable scene when the rebel gang numbering about 15 tries to take on the army of about 5000 with rather predictable results.

This is one of the 1st Jet Li films that I watched that turned me round to being a fan. After having watched some of his earlier work (The Master, Born To Defend) I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. This is definitely worth watching if you are a fan of Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh or the work of Yuen Woo Ping. The scale of this movie cannot help but impress, as noted before Jet and company take on a whole army, which must have involved several thousand uniformed extras and a grand set


This is a disappointing disc by Dimension, as it is dubbed (poorly) and does not contain a subtitled version. It is Widescreen and the print quality is high, but apparently the Twin Warriors version is missing some footage from the original movie - Tai Chi Master. Plus there are no extras of note either.


This film comes extremely highly recommended. If you are new to the work of Jet Li, or have just seen what he has produced so far in Hollywood then this is one of his best from his time in Hong Kong. Tai Chi Master, stands alongside Once Upon a Time in China and Fist of Legend as real classics of Hong Kong Cinema. The direction of Yuen Woo Ping should also be commended alongside the performance of Jet Li, Chin Siu Ho and Michelle Yeoh. This film does not disappoint, five out of five.



Intro by Paul



Michelle Yeoh gets airborne

Jet practices his hostage negotiation