6 August 2016 | Leofwine_draca
Average kung fu with a political back story
THE BEST OF SHAOLIN KUNG FU sounds like a clips compilation but in fact it's a politically-themed kung fu film starring Carter Wong. The storyline is about a prince who is travelling the countryside, searching for a secret document to reveal the truth about his heritage; to this end, his loyal bodyguard (played by Wong) fights off various opponents and enemies who stand in his way. The prince even enlists the aid of a relative to enter the Shaolin temple itself in a hunt for the missing scroll, thus undergoing a series of gruelling tests designed to push him to the limit.
The prince character is somewhat amoral in this film and takes a back seat to the proceedings, allowing Carter Wong to do the hard share of the fighting. The action is entertaining enough while at the same time lacking the finesse of, say, a Shaw Brothers movie, but then of course it was made in Taiwan for a lot less money without the wealth of talent that Shaw were able to afford over in Hong Kong. Cliff Lok does well in a fairly complex role and his episode in the Shaolin temple is the most interesting part of the movie.
THE BEST OF SHAOLIN KUNG FU features a cameo appearance for the popular 18 Bronze Men characters, although they only stand around and don't do any actual fighting. However, there are plenty of bouts with the monks themselves which are fun, and the use of no less than 12 different styles (including bird's foot style!) is engaging. One of my favourite moments is a fight with monk Phillip Ko on some vines hanging down a cliff face! The final fight, which is usually the highlight of a kung fu movie, is a little undistinguished, although not the worst I've seen.