Shaolin Legend (1981)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2010-02-28
Summary: Horrible DVD limits the enjoyment...
A child disciple unleashes the spirit of an evil monk named Devil Claw and is immediately possessed. After he grows up, he seeks the men that imprisoned him and kills them off one by one. Soon though, the possessing spirit and the mind of the original man are battling for control of the body. With detachable limbs and unearthly fighting abilities, it seems that the only way to defeat him is from the inside.

This is another example of what could have been a decent film in its original form (much like previously reviewed Silver Spear) made nearly unwatchable by the transfer and dubbing. Based on the number of characters and what seems to be a major back story, I have to assume this is based on a wuxia novel, but the either the film is severely cut or the director decided to only focus on the latter part. Entire plot lines and characters appear and disappear with no explanation, making the story impossible to follow. There are certainly some cool fights, with Devil Claw being able to shoot his limbs like spears and become a ghost at will. The choreography is well done as well, what can be seen of it. Unfortunately, the quality of the DVD release sends the film to the trash heap. As mentioned on many other sites, the dubbing is awful, with voice actors whose first language is clearly not English, making it almost impossible to figure out what is going on. I'm not sure what the point of this was, other than trying to fool people into thinking the audio track is the original. They clearly should have done a better job though, as you can hear the original Mandarin pop in every time someone speaks abruptly, then quickly fading out as if the dubbers were manually controlling the volume of the original film as they were recording their own. What a hack job! Pair that with full screen cropping that eliminates nearly half the picture and you get a complete disappointment. If I can ever see the film in its original form, I'll revisit the review for an update.

Reviewer Score: 3