Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) 
Includes Audio commentary with RZA of Wu-Tang Clan and film critic Andy Klein
(third audio track)

The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton, disguised as school masters. During a brutal Manchu attack, Lui manages to escape and devotes himself to learning the martial arts in order to seek revenge. In a short period of time he masters the deadly use of his fists, feet and palms, along with such weapons as swords, sticks, and lances. With his learning complete, he takes on the Manchus.

This is a Run Run Shaw Brothers classic film and widely considered to be one of the greatest Kung Fu flick of all time . Epic imperial and subsequent upheaval during China's Ching dynasty , being spectacular and colorfully directed . The picture starts with an opening credits showing a demonstration of martial arts against an empty backdrop . The anti-Ching rebels , under the guidance of Ho Kuang-Han, have secretly set up their base in Canton , posing as school masters . During a cruel Manchu attack, the patriot San Te or Liu (Chia Hui Liu) arranges to getaway and devotes himself to learning the martial arts at Shaolin temple in order to seek vengeance . In a short period of time he learns the art of fighting , thanks his expert Bhuddist masters . When his learning is completed , he battles the Manchus commanded by his chief , General Tien Ta (Lo Lieh).

This luxurious Kung Fu film was marvelously filmed with good production design , colorful cinematography , a lot of zooms and breathtaking scenes . The flick displays lots of violence, action filled , thrills and fierce combats . This is a colourful, Hong-Kong set and quite budget movie ; leave no cliché untouched , though the fighting are magnificently staged . The picture is full of tumultuous sequences with frenetic action , surprises ,fierce combats and groundbreaking struggles . Amid the glamour and grandeur of the scenarios is developed an intrigue about nasty Manchues and a learning period at famous Shaolin temple , including betrayal , crime and exploring the dark side of Chinese Ching dynasty . Despite the US title for the film ¨The Master Killer¨, the idea of taking a life would be abhorrent to a real Shaolin or Bhuddist monk . Impressive and rousing fights with deadly use of fists , feet and palms , along with such weapons as swords, sticks , and lances . And hundreds of armored warriors reenacted by lots of extras . Overwhelming attacks and exciting combats very well staged , the result is a strong entry for action buffs . Kung Fu training scenes are a direct reference in ¨Kill Bill¨ by Quentin Tarantino , enhanced by the fact that Gordon Liu stars in both movies . Even the faded colours in this scene match that of the Shaolin movie . The movie was well directed By Chia Liang Liu and won the Best Martial Arts Award at 24th Asian Film Festival and was the 1978 Top 10 Box Office Hits in Hong Kong . Chia Liang Liu or Lau Kar Leung made stunts and directed several Kung Fu movies as ¨Legend of drunk master¨ , ¨Shaolin executioners¨, ¨The invincible pole fighters¨, ¨Seven swords¨ and the following : ¨Return to Shaolin¨ with Gordon Liu and ¨Shaolin 3 : Martial arts of Shaolin¨ with Jet Li .

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