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  • TEN BROTHERS OF SHAOLIN (1979) has a simple plot, one that we've seen plenty of times before, but it has a strong cast of notable kung fu performers, most notably the always dazzling female star Chia Ling (aka Judy Lee, from QUEEN BOXER and IMPERIAL SWORD), so it remains worth seeing. The plot involves an effort by Shaolin monks to smuggle the deposed Ming "king" (emperor) past the assembled forces of the upstart Ching invaders to safety in southern China. Wong Tao (CHALLENGE OF DEATH, DEATH DUEL OF KUNG FU) plays Chi Yung, the disciple assigned to personally escort the emperor through back roads. The ten brothers of the title lie in wait along the route, in various guises as travelers, peddlers, farmers, etc. to provide backup support for the hero when Ching spies and scouts spot their quarry along the way.

    Chia Ling plays the niece of a Ming General who waits for the emperor so he can rally an army on his behalf. Chia has three fight scenes, including one extended spear fight about an hour into the film. Venerable kung fu performer Phillip Ko (FEARLESS DRAGONS) plays one of the Shaolin Brothers. The villains include kung fu heavyweights Chang Yi (EAGLE'S CLAW), Leung Kar Yan (THUNDERING MANTIS) and Tung Wai and Chan Chia Kai, both from MARS VILLA.

    The low-budget film is shot on location, with a number of fights staged in the woods. The fights may not be the best we've seen in these films, but at least there are lots of them to keep us interested. The music score features a number of familiar Chinese tunes (including the oft-used Wong Fei Hung theme) splattered indiscriminately across the soundtrack. (Well, at least we don't hear the theme from HANG 'EM HIGH for the umpteenth time.)

    One amusing aspect of this film is that it points up a curious tendency of kung fu films to show characters traveling long cross-country distances on foot without any luggage whatsoever. No changes of clothing, no food, no water, no materials for sleeping or shelter. And when the hero and his royal charge stop at a roadside inn to eat, they're recognized and immediately attacked by Ching spies, so they can't eat or sleep that way either. How do they survive on the road? Best not to ask.
  • Opening with the classic Drunken Master (Wong Fei Hung) theme, we are instantly introduced to the titular ten brothers of Shaolin, hired to protect Master Chu from the enemy. Working on the regular late 70's plot-line of Ming versus Ching, with the great Chang Yi getting to put in another performance as an evil general. If you think you recognise the face of his son, its popular Hong Kong fight choreographer, Stephen Tung Wei (the kid who gets a quick life-lesson from Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon).

    Neatly shot and with some great locations, especially the opening temple which looks like a stunning place, 10 Brothers Of Shaolin keeps a steady pace and offers plenty of kung fu action courtesy of the fantastic Tommy Lee (The Hot, The Cool & The Vicious). This is complimented by the great cast on offer of course, including the brilliant Wong Tao. I'm a big fan of Don Wong Tao. Its rare that a film he is in proves unwatchable. By the time he had made this, Wong had only been in the business 5 years but had already made over 20 films as a leading man, including the classic Secret Rivals!

    His supporting cast of the ten brothers do pretty well themselves - one of which the great Philip Ko and another,Jimmy Lee. Fan-favourite Leung Kar Yan (aka Beardy) gets to impress as an ass-kicking, evil brigadier who works for the general. Stereotyped actor, Shaw Luo Hui, returns as a shifty monk, and another co-star that gets to show some great moves, is the fantastic Judy Lee Chia Ling who never fails to impress...

    Not without its flaws, 10 Brothers Of Shaolin has enough going on with its characters, nicely choreographed fights, tidy direction and great cast to make it an above average kung fu flick. Highlights include the obligatory teahouse fight and any against Tung Wei, although I was expecting more in the finale against the heartbroken, Chang Yi.

    Overall: Not amazing, but definitely not boring, 10 Brothers Of Shaolin entertains!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    10 BROTHERS OF SHAOLIN is an enjoyable Hong Kong kung fu story based around the Shaolin Temple. The titular characters are a bunch of monks and their students who team up to battle evil Qing forces desperate to get their hands on the deposed Ming emperor, now being cared for by the monks. The goal of the protagonists is to transport the emperor south to safety while eluding Qing forces along the way.

    Although the narrative is simplistic in the extreme, I liked the way that 10 BROTHERS OF SHAOLIN has plenty of momentum to keep it moving along nicely. The plentiful action scenes also help with rarely a slow moment in the whole thing and there's a ton of hand-to-hand combat in the woods. In addition, the viewer is treated to an ensemble cast of familiar faces, all of whom supply solid performances. Don Wong is the erstwhile heroic lead while kung fu-fighting heroine Judy Lee is a valuable ally. Phillip Ko kicks plenty of backside in his role as a Shaolin monk, one of the good guys for a change. The villain duties are left to old hands Chang Yi and Beardy, the latter being suitably imposing as always.
  • The Chings are after a Ming leader and Don Wong Tao and his 9 Shaolin brothers must help escort him to safety. This leads to fight after fight. There is a match with Chia Kai, Wong Tao and Steve Tung Wei that you will not want to miss. And the 3 on 1 finale with Chang Yi taking on Wong Tao, Phillip Ko fei and another guy is also a good scene. Leung Kar Yan and Judy Lee round out the cast and both have good fight scenes. The action is done by Tommy Lee and all of the fights are good. This is a dream kung fu movie. Just look at that !*^#^%@^ cast!!!! The picture quality on the Crash DVD is full screen and faded, but still more than watchable.
  • Very cheap production, mostly costumes in the woods. The saving grace is the plentiful fights and a large number of characters to prevent boredom.

    Typical ho-hum about Chings oppressing innocent Hans and the Shaolin running about. What I found notable was the different number of actual Kung Fu styles being represented here. Many of the characters fight with a specific style that actually contains moves from the style. You can even see some relatively accurate Eagle Claw (briefly), Preying Mantis and Hung Ga during the film. That said the choreographers frequently revert to movie style kung fu. Unfortunately the martial art fighting is just OK with a lot of slow fighting and unrehearsed moves.

    The film available is a horrid TV print with screwy English dubbing. Not only is there no pan and scan on the original widescreen, the image is set dead center, it's also zoomed in to avoid the original subtitles. I might have liked this better if I saw an original print.
  • It has been a while since I've seen it, but I remember it was badly dubbed, and there was hardly any story. There were a lot of fights though from which none was worth watching for more then one time. Because I like classic kung fu movies I rated it a 6. If you want a great kung fu movie don't watch this one.