Shaolin Temple (1982)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2007-04-08
Summary: Lots of star power with mediocre results...
In his first film, Jet Li stars as Jue Yuan, a teen who finds a home in the Shaolin Temple after escaping from his oppressive captors. Although at first there is controversy about accepting him, the young monks and their teacher (Yue Hoi) finally convince the Abbott to let him stay. Jue's first inclination is to learn kung fu in order to exact revenge on those that kept him captive and killed his father. He fails to understand the concept of restraint and decides to abandon the tenants of Buddhism in order to kill the cause of his troubles, the warlord Wang Ren Ze (Yue Sing-Wai). When this attempt fails, he returns to the temple for forgiveness and further training. He is also drawn home by his love for a local shepherdess (Ding Laam) whom he rescues from the clutches of Wang Ren Ze.

As mentioned in previous reviews, this would be a pretty standard kung fu revenge film, save for the presence of the young Jet Li. He is able to show off his entire repetoire of styles and capabilities in this starring role. He is helped out by the supporting cast of very well known mainland wushu champions and practitioners, including Yue Hoi, Woo Gin-Keung and the legendary Pan Qingfu as a ruthless general. Yue Sing-Wai is also very entertaining as the warlord. The action scenes are good, but the fight choreography is not outstanding, leaving the most interesting kung fu scenes as those where Jet Li performs weapons forms on sets depicting the different seasons. It's a shame, considering the wealth of talent available to the action directors. This being the case, it' hard to give this film an overwhelmingly positive review, considering the plot does not present any new paths.


As an additional warning to those presented in previous reviews, there is a scene where soldiers attack Ding Laam and her flock of sheep. Unless they came up with the most realistic acting puppets in all of China, I'm afraid they killed a few of the animals in order to complete the scene. There are really grotesque shots where lambs are speared and brutalized during the fight.
Reviewer Score: 6