7.2/10
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9 user 4 critic

Shaolin vs. Lama (1983)

Shao Lin dou La Ma (original title)
| Action, Drama
Skilled fighter Sung Li Ting is looking for a Kung Fu master who can beat him in battle and teach him new techniques. Shaolin monk Shao Si Yer introduces Sung Li to the Shaolin teachings, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chi Ping Chang ...
Head Abbot
Yi Tao Chang
Hou Hua Chen
Kuo Chung Ching
Hsing Nan Ho
Wen-Yui Hui
Hui-Yun Li ...
Girl on the run
Min-Lang Li
Alexander Rei Lo ...
Yu Ting
Chin Wan Peng
Jung Chi Sun ...
Grandmaster
Chi-Sheng Wang ...
Mr. Tso
Hsiung Yang
William Yen ...
Hsu Shi
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Storyline

Skilled fighter Sung Li Ting is looking for a Kung Fu master who can beat him in battle and teach him new techniques. Shaolin monk Shao Si Yer introduces Sung Li to the Shaolin teachings, but Sung Li is not allowed to enter the school until the return of a Lama monk who stole a secret scroll containing every known fighting style from the monastery 12 years earlier. Written by Il Tesoro

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shaolin | See All (1) »

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Action | Drama

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Shaolin vs. Lama  »

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2.35 : 1
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Quotes

Monk in Library: When facing your enemy, always aim for his weakest point. Use the Bhudda finger, aimed correctly, and you will find you will win, whatever your enemy may try to do.
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User Reviews

 
you'll like it if you like kung-fu movies
20 July 2013 | by See all my reviews

Out of the classic martial arts movies that are actually well made and competently plotted, this has gotta have the highest kung fu-to-chatting ratio. It's only 90 minutes, but halfway through there are already like 10 great fight scenes, with no sign of slowing down. That's not my only criteria, I'm not one of those "fast forward to the fights" type guys-- good action is nothing without something in the story to "grab onto" and care about, and that's where Shaolin vs Lama succeeds: it matches crisp, intricate choreography with a well paced plot full of charming characters, and as a bonus there's a LOT of fighting. And there's a LOT going on in said fights. It can be hard to keep up; different forms and animal shapes and come and go without being emphasized for extended periods of time like in a lot of these movies, snake first one second, drunken boxing the next, some strange locks the next. There are some questionable decisions, like slight undercranking here and there, and how the characters projectile vomit when hit particularly hard, but hey.

The story's basic, but it's the little nuances that animate it, like how the villain spitefully refers to his ex-master (against whom he has sworn revenge) by title, perhaps with a bit of honesty. Or the protagonist's surprisingly believable character arc from an ambitious punk to a pious bald monk. Or how the fall guy sidekick manages to endear himself to the audience as subtly cheeky/goofy without the film ever really descending into painful broad Canto-comedy. And then there's the lazy, jaded Shaolin monk who drinks all day and has anger problems, which is pretty much my favorite character archetype ever. Also, grandiose locations and appropriate casting imbue the movie with a sense of authenticity (despite the dimestore outfits), as a sharp contrast to Tso Nam Lee's other films, which have a somewhat childish "play-acting" feel to them.

As a bonus, it's got one of the best dubs ever, full of long awkward pauses and lines like: "for someone who's a shaolin monk, your kung-fu's really lousy!" (with every syllable emphasized like a drumbeat).


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