31 July 2016 | Leofwine_draca
A forgettable film but plenty of action to recommend it
Another day, another cheap Taiwanese-made kung fu movie. ADVENTURE OF SHAOLIN is based on a true-life character and for once it's not Wong Fei Hung. Instead the film's subject is Chang Zhang Fong, the man who invented Tai Chi, although if you're looking for an exploration of that particular style you're likely to be disappointed because this is very much an ordinary basher in the kung fu mould.
There's very little plot of sorts, other than an evil baron who goes around with a huge bounty on his head. The protagonists are an assembled bunch of heroes, each with their own particular skill set or style; one of them is a female fighter, played well by Polly Shan. Part of the film is a running battle between heroes and villains, but it's all very routine; watchable enough at the time, but forgettable instantly afterwards.
There are some fun stylistic elements in this film, including a Japanese influence with claw hand weaponry and the like. One character seems to be wearing a Spanish conquistador helmet. The best part of the movie is the big fight climax, set in an old quarry by the looks of it. The baron has a withered black arm which is pretty deadly whenever he hits anyone with it, so the heroes must team up to outwit him. There's a twist of sorts and it all gets pretty violent and frenetic. ADVENTURE OF SHAOLIN is no classic but I liked it all the same.