A case of too many Wongs

MASTER WONG VS MASTER WONG, with Alan Tam Wing-lun, Do Do Cheng Yue-ling, Teresa Mo Sun-kwun, Eric Tsang Chi-wai, Ng Mang-tat and Anthony Wong Chau-sang. Directed by Lee Lik-chi. On Mandarin circuit.

THERE is a glut of Master Wongs on the market.

In February, Jet Lee played the Qing dynasty kung fu champion Wong Fei-hung in Tsui Hark's Once Upon a Time in China III; last week saw the release of Last Hero in China, with Lee under the direction of Wong Jing. And now comes a sequel to last summer's comedy spoof Once Upon a Time a Hero in China.

Like its predecessor, Master Wong vs Master Wong is silly fun, the kind of picture the audience likes more than the critics. Alan Tam is back as the hero whose victories are as much due to accident as design.

To preserve his anonymity while on a visit to Guangzhou, he allows his sidekicks (Eric Tsang and Ng Mang-tat) to assume the Wong identity. There he faces a sinister villain (Anthony Wong) who recruits another fake Wong (Do Do Cheng), a kind-hearted country lass who unwittingly becomes the bad guy's girl.

The script resembles a series of skits that allow the stars to engage in over-the-top antics. The fil m opens with a take-off of the police recruitment television commercial. The words ''If there were no Master Wong'' flash on the screen, with scenes of Tam rescuing children from burning buildings and performing good deeds, all to the same rock song used in the advertisement.

Teresa Mo is hilarious as Wong's possessive girlfriend, a far cry from the prim and proper lady played by Rosamund Kwan in the Jet Lee films.

The film occasionally gets in some good satirical swipes at kung fu cliches. This material could have fallen flat in the hands of a less capable cast, but the stars are masters in the field of Cantonese comedy.