Two friends ex Shaolin monks part ways as they brush with the ongoing rebellion against the government. The ambitious one rise up to e a powerful military commander, while his betrayed friend resorts to learn the calm ways of Tai Chi.
Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial arts hero Wong Fei-Hung (1847-1924) against foreign forces' (English, French and ... See full summary »
Two rivaling families live on opposite sides of a river. One of them practices Shaolin kung fu and has only sons, while the other has only daughters and practices the Wu-Tang sword. The ... See full summary »
The story is set in both Hong Kong and the U.S. So goes to the U.S. to open a martial arts school. Around this time, many Chinese people were sold off to U.S. railroad companies, and were ... See full summary »
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 ... See full summary »
A martial artist/doctor steals from the corrupt authorities as a masked thief to give to the poor while another martial artist/doctor is forced to hunt him down. But a major threat unites them as a powerful and traitorous shaolin monk takes over the authorities.
Wing Chun, a woman living in a remote village often pillaged by robbers. When Wing Chun finally loses her cool and defeats them, her heroic actions stir up even more trouble in this ... See full summary »
Jet Li was a monk in Shaolin. In a friendly competition for a higher place in Shaolin, his childhood friend almost kills a fellow student for using a concealed weapon (which cannot be used in the competition). He and his friend got kicked out of the Shaolin. They met rebellions at that time of China. His friend betrayed Jet Li and his rebellion friends for money from the China government. Jet Li went crazy and discovered the art of Tai Chi at the recover period. Revenge seem to the only thing he is going to do. Written by
Han Kin Hung <email@example.com>
Tai chi is a wonderful thing. I count myself fortunate that I was exposed to it through my experience with meditation, because deep down it is the same means of absorption. It can be a viable fighting art, though if your ass is on the line and you need quick fighting skills, you better join your nearest boxing or thai school.
This film about it is a superb introduction. I'm not talking strictly about the story or the fighting itself, though the story is rousing and Jet Li is an artist at what he does. The story is of how the Shaolin monk Shanfeng according to legend came to originate taiji. When you see this, it helps to know that Sanfeng was most likely a fictional person invented for political reasons. And some of the wire-work is noticeably obvious, which only abets the air of artistic license and fictional disguise.
No matter. In fact, I think a lot of the appeal of this is the contrast between superficial fabrications and deep truths, the contrast being strangely affirmative because both are modeled in the same way. It flows, hard to soft and back again.
'Hard' - young Shanfeng adhering to the teachings and being pure of heart doesn't cut it, his friend -turned rival- beats him, loved ones perish. The world is cruel, you don't meet force with force.
'Soft' - sudden enlightenment in the mountains, madness and gibberish as meditation, coupled with a series of visual meditation in the exercise doll centered low, spinning ball and transference by wave, all of which are also keen in-sights into taiji structure.
And 'hard' again in the rousing finale where he defeats hordes of opponents - nevermind the far-fetched fiction, look for the noticeable transition in Jet Li from previous kung fu into now fluid motions, circular evasion and low stances.
It works much better for me than Once Upon in China or the later Crouching Tiger, where again you will see Michelle Yeoh and a lot of taiji. The outer circle is what each of the two Shaolin boys chooses as his personal fate expressed through the action plot, and this is decided by the inner 'small' circle of cultivating the mind, and the change reflected in the change of dance in the movements of the body. Nice.
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