12 February 2001 | Ebenezer Beelzebub
I'm trapped. Let's die together!
An entertaining kung fu film, with acting, plot and fight scenes a cut above the average chop socky. All of the cast are likeable characters and skilled martial artists. Alexander Fu-Sheng's proto-Jackie Chan comedy antics are fun to watch, and his austere companion shows particularly impressive skills. For me, the film's only glaring flaw is the size of the cast -- at times, things get a little confused as the film chops and changes between various subplots, and some of the characters are not as fully fleshed-out as one might wish.
But a kung fu film should be judged first and foremost on the quality of the action, and Shaolin Temple definitely delivers on that count. The film climaxes with a high-bodycount battle that allows each character to show off his skills against a worthy opponent.
Overall, Shaolin Temple is an enjoyable low-budget kung fu movie. Not up to the quality of a good Jet Li film, but definitely worth a look for fans of the genre. My rating: 8/10.
Misc notes: The 1987 Warner Home Video release I saw was (predictably) poorly dubbed, and lacked full cast & crew credits.