Raiders of the Shaolin Temple (1984)
Reviewed by: kiliansabre on 2007-08-22
Summary: Appropriately overlooked
The emperor's brother decides that Shaolin temple will eventually pose a threat to him and decides to eliminate the threat before it happens. Meanwhile monk Wisdom sets out to some near by schools to ask for help should a confrontation happen. The Emperor's brother sees this as an opportunity and sets in motion a plan to turn the schools against each other. At a horse farm near by Little Loo has heard about the trouble with Shaolin and wants to improve his kung fu to help defend it. His two crippled kung fu master friends begin to teach him their techniques. Little Loo (Sonny Yue) soon learns that there is a temple in Shaolin that can teach the technique of 24 bronze horses and sets off to try to face the challenge that crippled his friends. When Shaolin temple eventually is attacked it's up to Little Loo to turn the tide if he can defeat the bronze horses.

This movie is about as rediculous as the plot sounds. There is a lot of time spent on Sonny Yue's character fighting the bronze horses, though they really look more plastic than anything. The fight scenes throughout most of the movie are very brief - less than a minute a piece. The ending pays off a bit more in this regard with some decently choreographed action. There's also a couple great sequences with the crippled masters; for having no arms one pulls off some impressive staff work regardless.

Another strange aspect of this film is the camera angles. Most of the time it's fine and coherant, but some of the shots were clearly experimental; at the begining we are treated to an eagle-eye view of the scene below - the camera literally swoops back and forth as if it were a bird flying. There is also a strange tendency to draw out the jumping sequences. It's not uncommon for groups of people to be filmed from below jumping over the camera for several seconds. Also some of the secondary characters have rather dramatic slow motion deaths for not being of any real relevance to the story.

Unfortunately the decent ending action isn't really worth sitting through the fragmented and inconsistent plot. If you come across this one, fast forward to the end and forget about the rest. For being made this late in the game, this 'old school' martial arts flick could have benefited from a few more lessons.
Reviewer Score: 3