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少林寺 (1976)
Shaolin Temple

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 10/13/2003
Summary: Pretty ordinary

An all star cast, with no plot and training scenes. Fight scenes seem slow and outdated for todays standards.

I guess the main focus is on Alexander Fu and he does well with his limited time.

Because there are so many characters that it is difficult to have any empathy for the characters.

The ending too will annoy many people!! An out dated martial arts movie with plenty of old school stars. I feel generous giving this


Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 05/27/2003
Summary: Rousing Tale

Chang Che tells the classic tale of the fall of the Shaolin Temple in the eponymous title. The story follows the oft used phrase of "down with Ching and up with Ming" rule of China as the Shaolin Temple squares off against the emperor. Chang Che's epic scope is utilized to its fullest, with a who's who cast of stars, featuring Fu Sheng as the main protagonist, Fong Sai Yuk. "Shaolin Temple" would be one of the last Che films to star Ti Liung and David Chiang, while introducing what would later become the "venoms" crew of characters (Sun Chien, Phillip Kwok, Lo Meng, Lu Feng, Wai Pak).

As the Shaolin Temple is having problems with the emperor, the abbot allows outsiders into the temple to learn and practice Shaolin martial arts, in a bid to promote the temple and preserve its history. The abbot sees trouble ahead and wants to secure the Shaolin legacy to those who are deemed acceptable.

Much of the training sequences would later become legendary and further exploited in films featuring the Shaolin Temple or disciples of the temple, like Jet Li's "Shaolin Temple," which would take another six years before hitting the screens. Students get to work on their martial arts skills by applying themselves in the kitchen. Their efforts are rewarded as they see the direct results of their toil fit into the practice of one of the six animal styles or with weaponry training. While the students are hard at work, spies and traitors for the emperor abound. This conflict would lead to the climax of imperial forces versus the temple and its inhabitants.

The action choreography by Hsieh Hsing and Chan San Yat is a perfect fit to the film that displays a 25-minute finale of out-and-out mayhem. The camera work and the action are very well coordinated and some of the most confident in any Chang Che flick. See the film that helped to propel all the myths and legends we know today in "Shaolin Temple."

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/03/2003
Summary: Not that great

The SHAOLIN TEMPLE film most people are familiar with is the one with Jet Li, but some years before that Chang Che made a film with the same name, and set in the same place. Unlike Jet's mainland production, Chang Che had to make do with some random temple as the real Shaolin was run-down and off limits to film makers at the time.

In Chang Che's SHAOLIN TEMPLE depicts the final years of the temple, as the Ming government has outlawed martial arts (or is it Ching? After hundreds of movies I can still never remember which are the good guys). In order that the Shaolin martial arts may live on, the grand master relaxes the temple's rules and agrees to teach them to outsiders. Several young men enter the temple, and find that Shaolin's ways of teaching are both obscure and quite unpleasant. Much of the first hour is spent on these guys' learning kung fu Karate Kid style. But, the government has a spy inside the temple, and he tells them it's time to attack... leading to a showdown between the monks and several hundred Ming soldiers that lasts for a good half hour.

That's pretty much the whole plot there, and though I am normally loathe to give away a spoiler I don't think its really an issue here as the plot is incredibly thin. The movie is quite an ensemble piece featuring a star studded cast that includes Alexander Fu Sheng, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Lo Lieh and I think I spotted Yueh Hua. Of them all, the only one that gets any character development whatsoever is Fu Sheng, and even then it is minimal.

In many respects, SHAOLIN TEMPLE is quite a bad movie... except in the important one, which is the presence of lots of quality kung fu. The training I could mostly do without, except for some nice demonstrations of various Shaolin animal fists. When it gets to the one on ones or the grand many on many finales the movie shines though, with some great kung fu action and performances. Fu Sheng again has slightly more action than the others, and his skills impressed me quite a bit - much more than they did in HEROES TWO. I still find him mildly annoying though, and (not to speak ill of the dead) there's just something about his face that I don't like.

I guess the fights are the main reason the majority of viewers will pick up SHAOLIN TEMPLE, so in that respect it gets a mild recommendation. Taken as a whole film though, it's further confirmation that Chang Che was in some ways the Shaw Brothers' weakest link.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 07/09/2000

I don't know if this was advertised as a prequel to FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS, but it is, beginning with Fong Sai Yuk's (Alexander Fu Sheng) admittance into Shaolin temple. He and his pals train a lot and wonder about the mysterious rebels (Ti, Chiang, and Wang) who are staying in the temple. Sai-yuk leaves the temple for a while, then discovers the monks have been sold out to the government. He returns in time for the climactic, lengthy battle with the soldiers with ultimately ends with the Temple being burned and the cast of FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS running off into that film.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 07/09/2000

This film chronicles the events leading up to the burning of the main shaolin temple by the chi'ing dynasty army. Ti Lung and David Chiang are rebel soldiers come to hide out at the temple, Fu Sheng and friends have come to learn kung fu to avenge personal disputes. As they reside at the temple they discover that there is a traitor amongst them. Unusually for a Chang Cheh film, Death Chambers is thematically unbalanced with no real focus or message. Fu Sheng is totally watchable, as usual, and there are some good training sequences. The end sequence is what makes this movie unmissable though as it contains all of Changs trademark cinematic devices - tragic deaths, slow-motion, training flashbacks and an amazing slow-mo shot of Fu-sheng executing a flying kick which makes you remember why Chang cheh is so good after a strangely unco-ordinated film.

[Reviewed by Andrew Best]