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Temptation of a Monk (1993)

You Seng (original title)
Near the beginning of the Tang dynasty, in 7th century China, General Shi Yan-sheng is tricked into leaving the crown prince unguarded. The crown prince is murdered by one of his brothers ... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as Ling Ching Fong), (screenplay) (as Lilian Lee) | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Hsing-Kuo Wu ...
General Shi Yan-sheng / Jing-yi (as Hsin Kuo Wu)
Ming-yang Li ...
Shi's Mother
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


Near the beginning of the Tang dynasty, in 7th century China, General Shi Yan-sheng is tricked into leaving the crown prince unguarded. The crown prince is murdered by one of his brothers who then becomes emperor. Shi retreats to a monastery, perhaps to hide, perhaps to plan a coup. When his loyal troops as well as the princess he desires are slain, he seeks refuge in a remote, abandoned monastery where an aged abbot schools him with practical, earthy teachings. The emperor's forces pursue Shi: first a woman, then a general seek to overpower him with lust and might. Over the course of the film, the reds of battle give way to blues of meditation. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 August 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Temptation of a Monk  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Joan Chen had her head completely shaved for the role of Qingshou (Violet). See more »


Qing-shou: [kneeling] My worldly name is Qing-shou. My late husband was General Zhang Jin. He led an attack on Eastern Turks. Was ambushed, alas. Died on reaching home. His family is Buddhist. Long connected with your temple. Hope he could be cremated here.
The Abbot: Our temple's dilapidated, unfit for funerals.
Qing-shou: It's my late husband's last wish.
The Abbot: There's no extra hands. Madam, please rise.
Qing-shou: [stays knelt]
The Abbot: I, Madam... I'm 100 years old. I've forgotten the "Great Deliverance Chant".
See more »

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User Reviews

Highly enjoyable medieval spaghetti eastern
5 September 1999 | by (Montreal, Quebec) – See all my reviews

"Temptation of a Monk" has a bit of everything. It starts out as a dry morality tale of a kingdom collapsing under historical duress. Here it is pretty and easily mimics Chen Kaige. It then turns into a wandering ronin movie with comedic touches and low culture carnival. But then our hero, the exiled and chased bodyguard, hides in a monastery and brings violence and sex that threaten the spiritual lessons of the cloistered environment. And so on.

This film manages to make numerous changes of course and imitates almost every genre of historical Chinese filmmaking. From the high culture ideal of the court to the equal severity of the cloister to the comedic about face of the hot-tub scene, director Law shows a playful seriousness and the power of mimicry as she rapidly changes forms--even as the film heads towards a seemingly inevitable spaghetti eastern showdown replete with fire and destruction to make Clint Eastwood blush. That is, if Clint hadn't already blushed at the fabulously hetero sex scene. Stoic lust never looked so good, or so demanding.

The acting is very strong; the cinematography first-class and often breathtaking with its numerous different landscapes and set constructions. And the battle scenes are of course expertly delivered.

SUM: This film is knowledgeable fun for those who know the high forms of Asian cinema but who want the swords put to good, if tasteful, use. Deserved winner of numerous Hong Kong film awards 8.5/10

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