Martial Arts of Shaolin (1986)

Directed by
Expected more from this collaboration
Reviewed by Simon on 2022-04-03

The plot is generic, the acting dubious, the comedy cringeworthy and the repetitive theme tune unbearable... but by god the action in Martial Arts Of Shaolin is phenomenal!

The fights are fast, fierce and practically non-stop... Lau Kar-Leung really makes his wushu champions work for their (small amounts of) money, and their skills are incredible - particularly those of young Jet Li.

Apparently this Hong Kong/China joint venture wasn't a particularly happy experience for Jet, who has spoken about the way the Hong Kong crew were treated compared to the mainland cast being eye-opening for him.

The stunning landscapes of mainland China and the location shoots at the real Shaolin Temple give the film a distinctive look, quite unlike Lau Kar-Leung's more studio-bound 36th Chamber Of Shaolin films.

Come for the action, stay for... the action, that's really the only reason to watch this. Thankfully there's plenty of it!

Maybe it's just a case of high expectations given the talent behind this co-production, but I think it's the weakest of the Shaolin Temple trilogy - yes, I even prefer Kids From Shaolin.