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Jet Li weasels out of the north Shaolin temple to assassinate a despotic ruler at the ruler's extravagant public birthday celebration. Two other men from the south Shaolin temple also set out to assassinate the ruler, but all three fail and are chased all over by soldiers. Meanwhile, one of the southerners turns out to be a cross-dressed woman, who is also discovered to wear a footbell to match Jet Li's, meaning they are somehow slated for an arranged marriage. Written by
This great film brings together Jet Li and titan-of-a-martial-arts-director Lau Kar-Leung (Seven Swords, Drunken Master II, among scores of others).
Jet Li plays Zhi Ming, a monk in one of the northern shaolin schools who learns that the man who killed his parents, Lord He Suo, is holding a birthday celebration. He leaves the monastery without permission on a quest for vengeance. During the assassination attempt he joins up with Sima Yan and Chao Wei, also wronged by He Suo and out for revenge.
This film is not only chock full of great fights superbly choreographed, but also has plentiful demonstrations of kung fu as the beautiful martial art form that it is. The traditional Chinese dragon dance and drumming at He Suo's birthday celebration is also captivating.
Another strength is the unparalleled scenes for some of these fights - from the Great Wall, to ancient temples, to green valleys surrounded by breathtaking mountainous panoramas. This movie makes you want to travel to China.
Definitely recommended for fans of the genre.
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