Kids from Shaolin (1984)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2007-08-25
Summary: Great wushu, lacking elsewhere
Kids from Shaolin is Jet Li’s follow up to his debut in Shaolin Temple and shares many of the same actors, but has a completely unrelated set of characters and story. Two families, the first practitioners of the Wu Tang sword style and full of daughters and the other, disciples of Shaolin Kung Fu and full of boys, are separated by a river in the open countryside. Although they are amiable towards each other, there is a certain level of rivalry between the two, especially with two daughters (Ding Laam and Wong Chau-Yin) and the oldest son (Jet Li). The Shaolin family, led by Yue Hoi, is also trying to build their means enough to provide a cow to the Wu Tang family (led by Yue Sing-Wai) in exchange for the permission of an uncle to marry one of the oldest daughters. When a group of bandits that destroyed the families’ original town find out the Shaolin men survived, they decide to exploit the family rivalry to their own ends.
As mentioned in previous reviews, Kids from Shaolin plays like a Disney movie for the majority of its length, with over-the-top displays of filial piety and love. There are numerous practical jokes played and lame attempts at cute humor. However, mixed into this saccharin mess are truly fantastic demonstrations of wushu styles by some of the top athletes of that time. As with most mainland kung fu productions, expert martial artists and wushu champions were chosen to portray the main characters. This provided excellent kung fu, but usually poor acting, scripts and plots. Kids from Shaolin is no exception. The film meanders along until the finale in which a furious and expertly-choreographed battle with the bandits ensues. It is violent, exciting, and a fight scene to hold others in comparison to. Kids from Shaolin can be recommended, but only slightly, and solely on the basis of the wushu displayed and the climatic fight.

Reviewer Score: 6