A SLICE OF DEATH / ABBOT OF SHAOLIN (1979) is another Shaw Bros. kung fu film with a Shaolin Temple theme. David Chiang stars as the monk Chi San, who survives the burning of Shaolin Temple and travels south to Kwangtung to raise money to re-build the temple as forces loyal to the Ching Emperor follow in close pursuit. He meets a merchant in Kwangtung who becomes his patron and he develops a group of followers, including Hung Si Kwan, a familiar character from Shaolin lore. There are lots of good fight scenes and a well-written script with interesting encounters between the varied characters.
David Chiang excelled as a star of many kung fu films in the 1970s, but I don't believe I've ever seen him as he is here--as a Shaolin monk with a shaved head--and it's quite a refreshing change of pace for him. Also in the cast are Lo Lieh, a frequent villain in these films; Lily Li, one of the better kung fu divas of the 1970s; and Norman Chu (Tsui Siu Keung), who plays one of the monk's students. Over all, this is a solid historical kung fu film, which compares favorably with earlier Shaw Bros. Shaolin films, such as HEROES TWO, FIVE MASTERS OF DEATH and MEN FROM THE MONASTERY, although it remains outclassed by the epic scope, big budgets and large casts of SHAOLIN MARTIAL ARTS, 1974 (listed on IMDb as Shao Lin Martial Arts) and SHAOLIN TEMPLE / DEATH CHAMBER (1976).
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