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Film / My Rebellious Son

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"Fearless (2006)? Never heard of that one. Why'd you ask? "

My Rebellious Son is a 1982 Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Movie starring Alexander Fu Sheng as the titular character.

Fu Sheng (in his last leading role as titular protagonist, before his untimely death two years after this movie) is Cheng Siu Tai, a rebellious (see the title?) young punk and kung fu practitioner, and the only son of Master Cheng Tak Tai, an esteemed healer and martial arts teacher in town. While reluctant to help out his father in their family's clinical business, Cheng unfortunately ends up in trouble after a fight with some local punks, which leads to the Cheng family's heirloom, a priceless relic, gets targeted for theft. One thing leads to another, and Cheng ends up fighting against a rival kung-fu academy led by Master Robert Tang (Shaw villain veteran Johnny Wang), a pair of huge western brawler brothers, a rival fencing expert and a trio of deadly samurai led by the Japanese kendo expert Yamaguchi (Michael Chan).


The plot bears an uncanny resemblance to Jet Li's Fearless (2006); a hotheaded kung-fu expert learning to mellow out, the theme of honour among wushu practitioners while facing Japanese and Western challengers, a setpiece which is a battle on a boxing ring where the relatively diminutive protagonist battles a huge Western brute in a David vs. Goliath battle, and a finale where the hero takes on all his challengers in a competition, one-at-a-time. But while Fearless is a serious drama, this movie takes whatever tropes Fearless has and plays all of them for laughs, with the comedy running fast and loose everywhere.


My Rebellious Tropers:

  • Amusing Injuries: Every onscreen injury, either from Cheng and / or his challengers, are played for laughs.
  • Blade on a Stick: Master Cheng's quarters has an impressively huge guandao which gets used in a few scenes. Firstly a punk tried attacking Master Cheng with that weapon, but Master Cheng instead steps the weapon down, crushing the punk's fingers non-fatally. Later on in the final duel Cheng tries using his father's guandao against a fencing opponent, but when the fencer complains about the unfair disadvantage in weapon length, Cheng decide to switch to a jian instead.
  • David vs. Goliath: The boxing ring battle between Cheng and Johnny, the latter who is a huge, muscular brawler some five times larger than Cheng.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: If a character have a name and more than five minutes of screentime, they're a fighter.
  • Giant Mook: Johnny and his brother, Thomson, both which are huge wrestlers and hulking brutes whose muscles makes them difficult for Cheng to defeat.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Cheng's battle against Robert Tang consists entirely of fists against fists. Cheng was armed with a weapon prior to that scene, but ditches his weapon to fight barehanded.
  • Groin Attack: How Cheng defeats Thomson in their final duel. By Cherry Tapping it a dozen times with his shoe. It's as ridiculous as it sounds.
  • Kevlard: Johnny's absolutely huge and bulging gut can absorb and No-Sell whatever punches in his way, and Cheng have to improvise a different strategy in order to defeat him. Averted for Johnny's brother Thomson, whose strength lies in his muscles instead of fat.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Played straight with Cheng and his father, Master Cheng, especially in the opening scene. What with their antics upon waking up and getting out of their bedrooms.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Basically every onscreen defeat in the film. Cheng even managed to knock out his opponents... using his sword.
  • Punch Catch: Cheng vs. Robert Tang. When the former lashes out at Cheng, Cheng used his snake-fist to catch Robert's punch and deflects it back on him.
  • Run the Gauntlet: The film's final battle had Cheng taking on various challengers to reclaim his father's honour. In respective order, against the fencer, then Johnny's brother Thomson, afterwards against Robert Tang, and later Yamaguchi's associates, before finally facing Yamaguchi.
  • Samurai: Yamaguchi and his underlings are all samurais, who strictly believes in the code of bushido, and are even willing to commit hara-kiri if they failed to uphold their personal honour.
  • Seppuku: Attempted by Yamaguchi at the end after he's defeated by Cheng, but Cheng stops him by blocking his katana with a jian, saying their match isn't a matter of life and death.
  • Sword Fight: The final duel involves Cheng taking on sword-wielding challengers, while armed with a jian himself. Notably Cheng against a fencing expert, and then against Yamaguchi who wields a katana.
  • Ur-Example: The movie is basically the Fearless (2006) of it's time, albeit a Lighter and Softer variant where the onscreen death count is zilch.