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The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
"Shao Lin san shi liu fang" (original title)

 -  Action | Adventure | Drama  -  June 1979 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 8,731 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 44 critic

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... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Lieh Lo ...
Chia Yung Liu ...
Norman Chu ...
Lu Ah-cai (as Hsu Shao-Chiang)
Yung Henry Yu ...
Hung Hsi-kuan (as Yang Yu)
John Cheung ...
Lord Cheng (as Chang Wu-liang)
Wilson Tong ...
Tang San-yao (as Tang Wei-cheng)
Hang-Sheng Wu ...
Tung Qian-jin
Yue Wong ...
Miller Six (as Yu Wang)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tung-Kua Ai ...
Abbot in charge of Head Chamber
Billy Chan ...
Soldier
Lung Chan ...
Abbot in charge of Staff Chamber
Shen Chan ...
Abbot in charge of Wrist Chamber
Szu-Chia Chen ...
Yien Pin
Wah Cheung ...
Shaolin disciple
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Storyline

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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He who struggles initially, might succeed eventually, and even finally. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

36th Chamber  »

Company Credits

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie won the Best Martial Arts Award at 24th Asian Film Festival and was the 1978 Top 10 Box Office Hits in Hong Kong. See more »

Quotes

San Te: I wish I had learnt kung fu instead of studying.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Disciples of the 36th Chamber (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
just see it
6 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

for some eight years, Liu Chia Liang worked as martial arts choreographer at shaw bros., especially with legendary director Chang Cheh, from whom Liu clearly learned mise-en-scene, as the french call it - a director's skill in using camera, editing and theme to move from one dramatic episode to another. in turn, Liu tried to show Chang Che the possibilities inherent in traditional kung fu, but to little avail

  • Chang Che really always thought himself a maker of action-adventure


films, not primarily a martial arts director. so Liu began making his own films at shaw bros., and demonstrated what he learned from Chang Che, while developing his own themes concerning the the traditional arts we've come to call kung fu.

one decided difference between Liu and Chang - indeed, between Liu and most of the other shaw bros. directors of the period - is that Liu believed that if the fundamental message of kung-fu - which is really about good health and spiritual growth - is to be carried over to the audience, the arts involved would need to be presented in as realistic a fashion as possible - no wire works, no unnecessary leaping over walls, no mythical 'iron fist' technique of jamming one's hand through someone's chest. and once that decision was made, clearly it would also be necessary to develop plots and characters as equally realistic, or the effort would be for nothing.

Liu's movies are thus 'about' kung fu in the purest sense; they are not about fighting, but about discipline. they are not about revenge, they are about using one's training to get beyond revenge.

although the heavy tone of this film obscures it a little, the fact remains that the characters in this film are all very believably human in a way that Chang Che's characters never were. and they don't learn their skills all that quickly - the time frame of the shaolin episode is at least three years - but by doing the same excersizes over and over again until they are perfectly comfortable with them. at which point, of course, they can perform with almost no show of effort.

by the way, there are documentary films of real performances of real shaolin monks demonstrating real martial arts - Liu is pretty close to the real thing, here.

Liu, by the way, appears to be the son of someone who trained with lam sai wing - aka 'butcher' wing, but in no way the country bumpkin he's sometimes made out to be, as in yuen woo ping's 'magnificent butcher'. lam sai wing studied with the legendary Wong Fei Hong, who was taught not only by his classically trained father, but by a well-known former shaolin monk - in short, the Liu credentials are rock solid.

Gordon Liu, star of the film, is Chia Leung's adoptive brother. he is probably the finest performer of traditional kung fu ever filmed, bar none, and utterly fascinating to watch. he also does a solid piece of acting in this film, as well.

shaw bros. quality, Liu bros. skill - don't ask, just see it.


19 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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