It begins with a narrative prologue that tries to explain all these various warring factions and their attempts to become Master of the World of Martial Arts. There is a scroll hidden in a sword that has been captured by the Golden Lion that gives him great powers. Now all the different kung fu sects are trying to obtain it so that the Golden Lion will not be so powerful and so that they can become Master of the World of Martial Arts.
Whew . . anyway when the story begins it follows a married couple and their little boy who are followers of the Golden Lion. An attempt to get the secret of the Golden Lion's location from the couple is made and the boy is poisoned with jinx palm. Later in a gut wrenching scene the couple commits suicide rather than reveal this secret. Before the mother dies, she - Cheung Man - tells her boy "take a look at all these faces. Remember them. Someday you must take your revenge" and in one last motherly bit of advice tells him "never believe a woman. The more beautiful, the more she will lie." Good words for many of us to live by!
The boy of course grows up to be none other than Jet Li who because of the jinx palm has no kung fu powers. A member of his sect tries to kill him, but the ravishing Chingmy Yau turns up to save him. After escaping Jet Li later acquires great kung fu powers by tricking this ogre, who is tied to a rock, into revealing the secret behind his powers.
Soon all the different sects meet up in an incredible spectacle of a battle that is both epic and beautiful - full of color and great characters - almost Authurian in feeling - with the fighting below the earth particularly amazing.
Later, Jet Li tangles with an evil princess who looks exactly like his mother did which is not too surprising since she too is played by Cheung Man. We never learn the reason for this resemblance. In fact, there was suppose to be a sequel to this film, but it was never made due to poor box office results. I can't imagine why because this is a wonderfully fascinating film and it's a great shame that the second part was never made. Even taking this into account it is still well worth watching - an epic HK fantasy flying film. A warning though to those who hate wire kung fu - this film is chock full of it.
My rating for this film: 8.0