The saga revolves around Yang Luchang, a martial art prodigy who is unwittingly killing himself by using his skills in the battlefield. However, he is informed by the army doctor that he needs to learn internal Kung Fu from the Chen village in order to prevent exerting himself during fights, and when the camp is attacked, he escapes and sets out for the village.
When he finally comes to the village, he finds out that the secrets of the Chen Kung Fu are not taught to outsiders and he is beaten by everyone he challenges, even young children. However, Yang does not give up easily and learns from some moves of the secret fighting style by observing his opponents.
The villagers call him an “idiot” but when they are attacked by a railway company trying to lay a track right through their village, they soon come to realize that their hopes now lie on the shoulders of this idiot and their secrets of Kung Fu skills. The film can be categorized into 3 sections.
The film is a combination that almost makes it a comical movie with some heart wrenching scenes. The first part of the movie deals with our hero’s early childhood. Its starts off with a scene in the battlefield and the rewinds to when the protagonist was born. It also explains how he ends up as a soldier and it gives the audience an idea of how strong (or stubborn) the hero is.
The next part involves his time in the battlefield and we get to witness how he is used. It’s also this part that he learns about the health implications practicing hard external martial arts is having on him. We are also introduced to the mystical style of Kung Fu that could save his life. The last part, and almost half of the film, is about his attempt to learn this Chen style Kung Fu or Tai Chi.
The film employs a number of Kung Fu screen heroes in Chinese cinema and if you are a fan of these type of films then you will notice many familiar faces and kicks like the guy who acted Seven in the Once Upon a Time in China trilogy alongside Jet Li who produces the film.
Another action star, Sammo Hung, choreographs the fight scenes and he does an amazing job making unrealistic moves look believable, and watching in 3D also heightens the sense of excitement which would undoubtedly be missed in 2D.
The saga ends abruptly (not really) but sets the pace for a bigger sequel, Tai Chi Hero.