( Movie review )
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin, English
Genre: Action, Drama
Running Time: 131 mins
Director: Benny Chan
Cast: Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Jackie Chan, Fan Bing Bing, Wu Jing
“China is plunged into strife as feuding warlords try to expand their power by warring over neighboring lands. Fuelled by his success on the battlefield, young and arrogant Hao Jie sneers at Shaolin’s masters when he beats one of them in a duel. But pride comes before a fall. When his own family is wiped out by a rival warlord, Hao is forced to take refuge with the monks. As the civil unrest spreads and the people suffer, Hao and the Shaolin masters are forced to take a fiery stand against the evil warlords. They launch a daring plan of rescue and escape.” -GSC.com.my
This film is a loose remake of ‘The Shaolin Temple’ (少林寺) which was released in 1982 featuring Jet Li in his debut role.
Verdict: This is like a combination of ‘Running on Karma’ (which also featured Andy Lau as the protaganist) & ‘The Last Samurai’. Impressive acting performance by Lau, notably for the fighting scenes, and for the emotional ones as well. The film itself, compared to the original, focuses more on Buddhism values rather than martial arts. There are quite sufficient action scenes but it lacks of comic relief; something that Jackie Chan was supposed to provide here, I believe. Certainly a film to avoid if you aren’t really interested in the whole Buddha/Karma stuff.
Flawed scene: (SPOILER BEGINS HERE) The scene where Nan, Kit’s daughter, dies. The monks performed CPR on her and then shake their heads after doing the wrist-check for heart beat. That is supposed to indicate that she is already dead but she still talks for a bit before dying for real. (SPOILER ENDS HERE)
Weird: Why does everyone in China here speak in Cantonese but the foreigners can speak in Mandarin?
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Date for the show: Benjamin Foo Sik Vai
His verdict: Read his review