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Film Review: Shaolin Temple (少林寺) (1976) - Hong Kong (Shawscope Volume 1) (Arrow Video)

Andrew Chan

Film Review: Shaolin Temple (少林寺) (1976) - Hong Kong (Shawscope Volume 1) (Arrow Video)

Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)


“Shaolin Temple” serves as a pseudo prequel to "Five Shaolin Masters" and depicts the Shaolin monks' rebellion against the oppressive Qing dynasty. It also featured a talented Shaw Brothers cast including David Chiang, Ti Lung, and Alexander Fu Sheng. Director Chang Cheh expertly combines intense action with moments of introspection, resulting in a memorable depiction of the historical tale.

The film excels in immersing viewers in the world of the “Shaolin Temple”, providing detailed depictions of the monks' daily lives, training regimens, and philosophical debates. This attention to Shaolin culture and traditions adds depth and authenticity to the overall experience.

The fight choreography is outstanding, featuring a variety of martial arts styles showcased in thrilling one-on-one duels and large-scale battles. The production values effectively transport viewers to the historical setting.

All in all, “Shaolin Temple" offers a deep exploration of the traditions and culture of the Shaolin Temple all buried within the Chang Chen’s film. "Shaolin Temple" has had a significant impact on the martial arts genre, inspiring subsequent films like the 1982 classic "Shaolin Temple" starring Jet Li and the rest is simply history.

I rate it 8/10.

Reviewed as part of Shawscope Volume 1 Limited Edition Blu Ray Set (Digitally restored in 2K format)

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