Beggars are being killed left and right to get their old leader to come out of hiding and face an old enemy. Meanwhile, young Wu Han Wei is being instructed by his blind grandfather to ... See full summary »


(as Pao Ko)


, (screenplay)

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Credited cast:
Yi-Min Li
Pu-Liao Hsu
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Chung-Kuei Chang
Pao-Shan Chang
Chin Hai Chen
Hui Lou Chen
Kuo Chung Ching
Wei-Hsiung Ho
Chang Sheng Ko
Ching Ku
Ming-ming Lai
Lung Yin Li
Chang Ma
Chin Ku Ma
Yi-yan Pai


Beggars are being killed left and right to get their old leader to come out of hiding and face an old enemy. Meanwhile, young Wu Han Wei is being instructed by his blind grandfather to learn all six styles of the Butterfly technique. But when an old crazy beggar befriends the young student, his fate turns out to be intertwined with that of the fearsome Lu Din, a man with no arms or legs. Written by Il Tesoro

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Adventure






Release Date:

1979 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Butterfly 18 Styles  »

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Beggars, bandits and butterflies
8 October 2009 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Hu Die Shi Ba Shi aka Secret of Shaolin Kung Fu (though the DVD jacket I got mistakingly lists it as 'Secret of Shaolin') starts off potted plants. That is, Jackie Chan Lookalike Yi-min Li practicing Kung Fu in a room full of greenery during the credits, complete with the usual sound effects. Not sure what kind of threat these plants are supposed to be to the young student, or why every hand movement makes the exact same (but loud) noise, but this is exactly the way one would expect a Kung Fu movie to start.

Lu Din, a man with no arms or legs, is being carried across China in a chair. He demands to see his old friend the abbot, and after a lot of zooms on both their faces, the abbot commits suicide without any further explanation. Next Lu Pin visits strong man Tiger who breaks lose from his iron chains and also takes his own life. Clearly the men owed Lu Din some kind of debt of honor that had to be paid, but the exact reasons for this are not explained until we near the end of the story which makes for an intriguing watch. Needless to say, now that I've mapped out this mystery, the following paragraphs will contain some spoilers.

We cut to Wu Han Wei (Yi-min Li) chopping trees with his bare hands. Then we get the first of many extended training sequences where Wu Han is being grilled by his blind grandfather (obviously a young man in make-up). Wu Han has to learn all six styles of the Butterfly technique: Butterfly style, Butterfly Flower, Water Butterfly, Butterfly Thief, Butterfly in the mist and Butterfly Drunk. Further more, each of these has different three versions but unfortunately Grandpa never goes into detail about those. Meanwhile, beggars are systematically being killed by thugs. The beggars form a group that has been without a leader for 18 years and decide to seek out their lost leader before there's no one left. By pure coincidence one of the sillier and noisiest beggars (a slightly older looking man in old man make-up) has already struck up a friendship of shorts with our hero Wu Han (who happens to be 18 years old - another coincidence?) after helping the young man battle somebody called, of all things, Hector Bean Curd. However, when Wu Han overhears the final cryptic words of a yet another dying beggar, both his grandpa and the old beggar tell him never to speak them aloud again.

Eventually the old beggar reveals himself to be the blind grandfather's older brother, who in turn turns out to be the long lost leader of the beggars. 18 years ago, the beggar leader, the Abbot and the Tiger fought Lu Din (remember him?) whom they accused of killing champion boxer Wu Ling Hi. However, Lu Din turned out to be innocent and carrying Ling Hi's only son (three guesses who that turned out to be). So, Beggar Leader gouged out his own eyes and went into hiding with the baby. Now that the child has come of age, it is up to him to avenge his father's death at Green Cloud Hill.

So you see, there is plenty of action and intrigue in this film and the Kung Fu fights are elaborate and don't disappoint. Apart from all this, there is also a lot of cartoon comedic music as well as pieces from the scores to On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Star Wars incorporated into the soundtrack.

7 out of 10

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