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After the massacre of a small village a group of survivors lead by one of man called Ah Tien is trained by a mysterious monk in the deadly arts of the Shaolin Chastity Kung Fu. The group of survivors includes women and children but this is not an obstacle for them to get the training, after they learn the arcane secrets of Tong Zi Kung, the remaining villagers decide to avenge their loved ones and face the people responsible for their deaths, the Nine Devil Gang. Written by
Above-average kung fu movie with many novel touches
SHAOLIN CHASTITY KUNG FU (1981) is an early team-up of star Alexander Lou (aka Alexander Lo Rei) and director Robert Tai and boasts a simple, well-told, coherent tale in contrast with the more frenzied, delirious action found in such later collaborations of theirs as MAFIA VS. NINJA and NINJA FINAL DUEL. Although Lou is the nominal star here, he doesn't dominate the proceedings, but is instead one member of an ensemble cast and shares the stage with a number of talented fighter/performers. He does, however, get the girl, one Liu Hau Yi, who proves a capable partner for Lou in several scenes where they train and fight as a team.
The most original touch is the presence in the cast of two dozen or so boys and girls who train together in Shaolin Chastity Kung Fu and work as a team to defeat the bad guys, employing a number of bold, fresh strategies. The kids are evidently members of an actual acrobatic troupe and put their training and skills to great use here.
The action starts when a group of teens and children led by one older pair, Lou and Liu Hau Yi, flee their village in the wake of an attack by a bandit group, the Nine Devils, who overrun the village and kill all the inhabitants they can find. The bandits' motive is to use the village as a base from which to rescue their imprisoned boss, Golden Tiger, who is scheduled to be taken to court by a security team passing through. The bandits' attempt to pursue the fleeing kids is thwarted by a traveling Shaolin master and his disciple who fend off the bandits with their kung fu. The two monks then take the village refugees into hiding and teach them all kung fu in preparation for a spectacular climactic battle with the bandits after they've freed their leader.
A friendly Japanese martial artist, en route to meet the Shaolin Master, is waylaid by the bandits but puts up enough of a fight to allow his two sons to escape into the woods where they are later found by the village refugees and incorporated into the group. One amusing scene has the Japanese boys blithely enter the pond where the girls are bathing and dismiss the girls' loud protests, unaware that the two sexes don't bathe together in China. The master then sits them all down for a lesson in different customs. It's all handled with abundant good humor and charm.
The villains are big and muscular and wield a number of exotic, lethal weapons. Most of them are also somewhat buffoonish, which makes for plenty of comic encounters with the wily, agile kids. The action culminates in a series of battles in which the top martial artists in the group take on the most formidable bandits, while the kids, working in separate groups, ambush and entrap the rest of the gang using a host of different acrobatic team maneuvers and such simple tools as bamboo poles and ropes. It's all very imaginatively staged and employs the boys and girls equally in the action.
The cast is quite good and includes some familiar faces from Taiwan-based kung fu films. Liu Hau Yi is new to this reviewer, however, and her qualities of strength, spirit, fighting skill and abiding beauty make one wish her additional films, if any, were easier to identify and track down. As for the kids in the cast, "adorable" may be an overused term, but it certainly applies here. How often does one get to see large numbers of eager boys and girls engaging in rigorous Shaolin training scenes and then putting that training to use? All in all, it's a thoroughly invigorating and delightful kung fu film that should prove a pleasant surprise to longtime genre buffs. Be warned that there are some very quick, gruesome moments--one bullet-headed villain splits a villager in two with his head--but if the younger or more squeamish kung fu fans in your circles can handle such bits, the rest of the film could be a real treat for them. Be also aware that the current edition of this film being distributed in the U.S. is a low-cost, English-dubbed, poor-quality transfer which will simply have to do until a better copy comes along.
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