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The Legend of Wisely
Photograph: Courtesy The Legend of Wisely

The most iconic film adaptations by late novelist Ni Kuang

A look back at the works of celebrated Hong Kong author Ni Kuang

Cherry Chan
Written by Cherry Chan
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Last Sunday, influential Chinese wuxia novelist and screenwriter Ni Kuang passed away at 87 years old. As one of the ‘four great talents of Hong Kong’, Ni has created more than 300 wuxia and science fiction novels and contributed to more than 400 film scripts. Ni is most well known for the adventure-science fiction series Wisely, and other timeless creations like The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, and iconic Bruce Lee films such as Fists of Fury and The Big Boss.

Numerous written works by Ni have also been adapted into films. Let’s take a look at some of his most iconic works that made it onto the big screen.

RECOMMENDED: Check out our list of new movies and series to watch on Netflix this month.

Ni Kuang's best novel-to-film adaptations

The Seventh Curse (原振俠與衛斯理) 1986

Based on Ni’s Wisely novel series, The Seventh Curse follows the series’ eponymous novelist and protagonist, Wisely, on his intrepid adventures. Despite being the first novel written by Ni to be adapted into a film, this movie certainly didn’t hold back in its shock factor. Played by Chow Yun-fat, this gory thriller sees Wisely teaming up with his friend Dr Yuen, braving the thick jungles of Thailand to save Betsy from being sacrificed to the Worm Tribe. In doing so, Yuen gets plagued with blood curses where his leg periodically bursts, but he must find an antidote or he will die.

The Legend of Wisely (衛斯理傳奇) 1987


With Samuel Hui playing the film’s protagonist, The Legend of Wisely sees Wisely being called by a millionaire to find an ancient pearl with alleged magical powers. Throughout Wisely’s adventures, this action packed movie is full of chases, stand offs, and fights. From braving sandstorms in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza to speeding around on motorcycles in the towns of Nepal, this film offers no breaks when it comes to nail-biting tension.

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Bury Me High (衛斯理之霸王卸甲) 1990

As the sequel to The Seventh Curse, this fantasy film jumps throughout the past and present. Wisely is hired by a rich traveller to investigate the mysterious site of his family’s feng shui centre in the fictional country of Carrinan. With Carrinan’s evil dictator general Ngyuen using feng shui for evil, Wisley has to stop him before Ngyuen rules over Carrinan with an iron grip. This film is another tough one to wrap your head around, and could require multiple watches.

The Cat (衛斯理之老貓) 1992

Based on the written novel Wisely’s Old Cat, Wisely is joined by his friends Li Tung, police inspector Wang and his trusty partner Pai So to investigate a girl and cat who came from outer space. Despite being suspicious of each other, the group work together in order to defeat the alien that can possess humans. If reading that synopsis was tough to comprehend, you’re better off watching the film. 

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Deadful Melody (六指琴魔) 1994

This fantasy wuxia film from the 90s revolves around an ancient magical lyre that is desired by martial artists of various clans. If fallen into the wrong hands, this powerful lyre can cause devastating damage. Lau (played by actor Yuen Biao), a young man who was unexpectedly given the task of guarding and delivering the lyre to its rightful owner, sets off on a journey without knowing the consequences that come with having such a coveted item. Fighting off baddies at every twist and turn, along with epic fights and arduous quests, this wuxia film will keep you captivated.

The Wesley’s Mysterious File (衛斯理藍血人) 2002

The best-selling series takes a modern turn as one of the first Wisely film adaptations in the new millenium. Famous Hong Kong actor Andy Lau stars as Wesley, the protagonist working as a special agent for the United Nations investigating extraterrestrial sightings. Joined by Fong (starring Rosamund Kwan), an alien from the Dark Blue Planet who arrived on earth 600 years ago on a mission to look for her brother's remains, along with two agents from a secret FBI alien department (​​played by Shu Qi and Roy Cheung), Wesley works to uncover the mystery of the Blue Bloods. This big-budget, sci-fi action movie is the last of Ni Kuang film adaptations as the new releases –The 'W' Files (2004) – were already made for TV.

More iconic Hong Kong films to watch

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