Five Shaolin Masters (1974)
Reviewed by: sarah on 2000-01-25
Summary: Yang Gang
A real boy-fest. Fu Sheng oozing boyish charm, Ti Lung looking very dreamy and lots of shirtless warriors with sculpted torsos and improbable pigtails. A star-studded, charismatic cast are set in scenes which artfully complement their awesome manly beauty. Gorgeous silk clothes in flattering cuts, Fu Shengs trademark colour is white, but they all get it on at the end of this splendid movie. Chang Cheh only wanted bands of muscly boys bonding dramatically amongst rivers of their own spurting blood. Luckily his taste and intelligence were highly developed, and the end result was something highly appealling to women and men. The Shaw Brothers kept a stable of actors, who they famously misstreated, and it is very satisfying to see the same talented individuals reappear in movie after movie.
It opens with the burning of the Shaolin monastery by the Manchus, an attempt to quell the rebellion of the Han. These five are the only surviving masters and the legendary ancestors of the Triads. They conveniently encounter five manchu dogs to fight but realise they must brush up their skills if they are going to win, so they retreat to the forest to practise, resulting in some of the most aesthetically pleasing training scenes I have ever seen.