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|Index||30 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The battle between warlords complicates life in the Shaolin temple.
When the winning warlord is betrayed, he eventually finds a safe place
and solace in the temple. However evil never rests and soon a
confrontation is brewing.
This is film of massive set pieces. They are the sort of thing that makes you go wow. Capping it all off is the climax a huge action sequence that floor you with its non-stop action.
Unfortunately the film is dramatically simple, perhaps a little too simple. The trouble is that the film didn't seem to have all that much depth beyond those minimally required for the story. The film his all the points it should for each sequence but little else. Other than the scale the film also seems to be tad TV movieish in execution.
It's never bad, it's just not as great as the spectacular set pieces make you think it should be.
Definitely worth a look, you'll just wish it was better.
This might be the first film I've ever seen with Jackie Chan in a
genuine supporting role. Since he started in films in the early 80s he
has either been the STAR, the star, the co-star, or a mere cameo. There
has been precious little in between.
In an are in China where many warlords fought and struggled over territory and power, the Chinese Army were cruel and violent pricks at least that's how they are portrayed here.
One of the worst of these was leader General Hou Jie, he callously orders the killing of innocent villagers for fear that they may possibly be harbouring the enemy, and the killing of the enemy because well they're the enemy (can't argue that one). When his reluctant 2IC Cao Man expresses doubt at the level of violence and whether those targeted even deserve what is being dished out he receives an impromptu lesson: 'it is better to be the aggressor and be wrong than the passive dead guy', or something along those lines.
On this day though they follow an enemy into peaceful monk territory, a Shaolin temple. While the monks refuse to take sides they will not allow violence on their turf, and they protect the man. Initially.
Hou Jie backs down on his word and guns down the soldier in an act of proactive violence, pausing on the way out only to deface some sacred Shaloin signage. He gets home to his wife and adoring daughter who proudly shows him a drawing of him in action with the title 'My Daddy likes fighting' (I shouldn't judge, my boy might say 'My Daddy likes chips and beer!) Back in cautiously peaceful time Hou Jie becomes increasingly nervous about the prospect of being betrayed or attacked even by his good friend and ally. In another unnecessary pre-emptive strike Hao Jie takes his friend out in cold blood purely to advance his own station and eradicate another potential rival and hindrance to his success.
Unfortunately though Hou Jie's actions and teaching eventually (and inevitably) work against him, his former 2IC Cao Man betrays him and Hou Jie must seek refuge immediately but where? What follows is a generally rewarding tale of realisation and redemption. Jackie Chan (see how long it took to even mention him!) plays a humble and peaceful yet eccentric cook who kindly takes Hou Jie under his care.
After a period of time Hou Jie embraces the life of a monk montage-style, shaving his head a la Britney for a clean start albeit without the insanity and finds peace for now. Because meanwhile Cao Man has effortlessly and successfully stepped into his shoes and is now just as ruthless and violent a leader.
Confusingly enough in a film about a violent and cruel man realising the error of his ways we always know that this pro-peace film will end in violence, and the action in the latter part of the film is worth the wait. There is an ax-fight that seemed quite realistic and dangerous, a chariot chase (of sorts) and the wire work was used sparingly enough to be forgiven for the most part. Andy Lau proves himself an adept and reasonably athletic martial artist, and there is no shortage of random monks ready to throw down in self defense of course.
It takes a long while but even Jackie Chan gets to try his aching muscles out near the end of the film, even though in truth his entire role and fighting scenes are thematically at odds with the rest of the film and stand out like a sore thumb. It is like Jackie has now entered the Brian Dennehy / Morgan Freeman phase of his career as the elder statesman, only every director and perhaps even Jackie himself can't help but remember that he was once the pre-eminent cinematic martial artist on the planet, so they clumsily try to work him in.
Shaolin is a film book-ended by violence, the redemptive tale in the middle is supposed to provide the moral of the story I guess, but that could easily be forgotten by the 30 minute finale that ends in many dead when even the monks say 'enough'.
Final Rating 6 / 10. Muddled morals aside Shaolin is well acted, reasonably well paced (aside from one interminably long 'will she / won't she?' scene that I can't spoil here) and contains a few of the better martial arts sequences filmed in the last few years.
I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this film. The acting was on point and seeing the main characters grow and evolve was simply amazing. The story is so rich and is absolutely refreshing to watch. The main character's journey is just.... powerful, honest and epic. You know the story....Build yourself up to be torn down, only to be built anew again - the story of life in my opinion and this was just executed beautifully. Of course the cinematography was great. There was so much THOUGHT in some of the shots that told a story in itself. Just incredible! I experienced every emotion and was thoroughly entertained the entire time.
A competent and action pack Shaolin movie
It is of a moment of
distinction to proclaim that Benny Chan's latest blockbuster, not only
revisited the glory days of Jet Li's first ever movie, but also
reunited two of the biggest Hong Kong actors ever. Mr. Andy Lau and Mr.
Jackie Chan appears on screen together for the first time since 1994's
Drunken Master 2. The moment they appear together, the screen goes on
fire. It is a special little segment that excites HK cinema fans,
including myself. However, Shaolin fails to exceed the audience
expectation and the result is a competent and efficient movie that
contains wonderful action sequences, but nothing more.
The real problem of director Benny Chan is not direction, but rather the criminal under usage of Fan Bing Bing and Nicholas Tse respectively. Tse for one, should be critical of his own performance. His villainous turn is neither convincing or menacing. In fact, he should take a leaf out of Mainland's actor, Liu Ye book of acting. His evil laugh is more cheesy than imagined and his overacting is far too laughable than villainous. A poor effort from someone who have improved immensely in films like Beast Stalker and Pigeon Stool. As for Fan Bing Bing, she performs wondrously in her extremely limited screen time. Her teary eye caught my attention, but with just two significant scenes, she is officially wasted.
All in all, Benny Chan improves from his previous Aaron Kwok's endeavor City Under Siege. From cheesy to competent action blockbuster, Chan perfectly casted superstar Andy Lau in a role that allows him to go through the motions. At the end of the day, this is a highly effective film for what it is. Unfortunately as with most Benny Chan's movies, the film entertains, but fails to delivers anything special or original to make a good film, great. Basically, Shaolin is a good film, but not great (Neo 2011)
I rate it 7.5/10
Shaolin is one of those stories that integrates a number of life
lessons into an action adventure. This movie is akin to top grade
martial arts films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which has
long been one of my personal favorites. The story gives the viewer
something of a history lesson into the tyranny in China when warlords
had no concern for the people only a desire to increase their
territorial hold and gain power.
In this story Hou Chieh commands a massive army that wages war to take control of the city Tengfeng,Henan, China. This ruthless, dispassionate tyrant is portrayed very convincingly by Andy Lau, who has quite an impressive film career, I recall him from House of Flying Daggers. Second in command to General Hou is Cao Man (Nicholas Tse) who is very astute in taking in all the Tyranny 101 lessons.
This film had some off the chain equestrian stunts, with horses traversing stairs, doing front and side flips, whereas I could not help but to cringe at some of the scenes. I can only hope that no animals were harmed during the filming, so PETA is not up in arms, perhaps the visuals were the result of some very creative computer generated imagery, but things looked very real.
This is a religious based film where the territorial war spills into the Buddhist monks Shaolin temple, we see that the monks are the only entity that cares for the people and the temple is the only sanctuary that the people have against the warring armies. There is a bit of a Robin Hood mini story taking place in the background of everything else that is going on with some of the monks at its core. I found it interesting that the Shaolin temple was identified as the birthplace of martial arts, having seen quite a few of these tales I do not recall credit being given for where it all began.
There were several recognizable faces in this tale including the Shaolin cook, Wudao(Jackie Chan), this seemed like a small role compared to some of the other big movies he has performed in, but he did show he still has it where martial arts are concerned. This was a very entertaining story, with plenty of martial arts and other action so much so that the two hour running time is barely noticeable. I give this film a big Buddha green light.
In SHAOLIN, a fantastic first act with stunning action sequences and
compelling drama is drastically offset by an uneven remainder of the
film in which cliché plot elements and bad direction painfully take
over. Director Benny Chan's story of the destruction of the Shaolin
Temple is impressive to watch and easy to appreciate from every
technical standpoint, but the narrative falters as it progresses,
resulting in muddled and inconsistent pacing - a pity given the big
budget and ambitious designs.
A great group of performers along with excellent action choreography are complemented by vast production sets and camera-work to create a truly epic feel. An exciting carriage chase and sweeping coverage of Shaolin monks training highlight the superb visual spectacle. While Andy Lau delivers a fine all-around performance as a warlord-turned-monk (a character with a strong and emotional story arc), his costars suffer from what seems like hastily-written characters despite also providing bravura acting. For instance, Nicholas Tse's villainous General Tsao Man becomes much too cartoony with his emo-hairstyle, evil smirks, and stilted dialogue, while Jackie Chan's moments become as forced as Wu Jing is underused. The script sacrifices its focus on narrative strength at times for cliché segments of over-sentimentality, which appear merely to provide stirring nationalism that has become much to prevalent in contemporary Chinese cinema - a crippling and extremely unfortunate hindrance to not only this film but the entire industry itself.
Nevertheless, SHAOLIN delivers the goods in terms of action and scope; simply an entertaining film that sadly could have been so much more.
The movie is great when it comes to life values. the story line is to redundant. It is used to many times in other Chinese movies. The actors did well. The special effects is good but not great. on a budget of 29 million that was not bad. This morons who did not understand why Andy Lau became a monk did not get the story. They did not understand that the Shaolin is the purest place on the planet. That is why he went there for protection as well as atonement. After he understood the Shaolin way he needed to protect it. Jacki Chan makes a cameo in the movie. He plays a ex monk who can't be pacifistic. He in the end is the one who must continue with the traditions and teach the future monks somewhere else. Budda Bless All of You
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS!!! Andy Lau (Hou Jie) plays a blood thirsty tyrant who thinks
nothing of eliminating all his opponents in cold blood - even if they
happen to be his sworn brothers. Eventually the cruel and cunning Hou
gets ambushed in a double-cross perpetrated by his trusted aide. Hou
loses everything he cherishes and is forced to take refuge in Shaolin
temple, one of the places he had desecrated in his search for an enemy.
You can probably guess the rest. The movie's plot is not its strongest point but rather the characters and the acting. The fight scenes are excellent as well without going overboard on the wire-fu. The scenery and cinematography are excellent, looking very realistic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was a remarkable story of a General (Andy Lau) who became a Shaolin monk through tragedy. A man who had everything, a career, a wife and daughter, and a knowing ability to conquer anything in his path. Yet to quell his desires for fame and fortune, his subordinate Cao Man (Ncholas Tse) had set him up during a dinner party with the General's own superior. During this supposed get together, a militia team storms in and creates pure chaos in Cao Man's name. General Hou Jie (Andy Lau) escapes his death along with his wife and daughter who were then split up to escape on their own. During the frightful night, the General manages to rescue his daughter and to take refuge among the very monks he was trying to evict from the province. With his daughters death, his wife blames him for every bit of turmoil they had succumbed to and leaves him, which causes his path to open and learn the words humility and self sacrifice. During this time of self discovery, Hou Jie learns the art of Shaolin martial arts as well as becoming a kind of helper to those who really need it. His kind of mentor would be the cook (Jackie Chan) who gives in his own way the ability to see how a noodle bends, or cooks in boiling water. Not much of a teaching tool, but to Hou Jie, it was more than enough to calm his nerves and his soul. I found this to be a really uplifting film, to see a General find his calling, and to create a chain reaction to those who felt war was the only answer. Cao Man learnt this as his ex superior gave his life to save Cao Man's during a raid of one of the last monasteries in china's existence. A riveting action film packed with emotions, guns, the turning of the period to the twentieth century, and the music was top notch. Highly recommended for those who wish to see how China's survival depended on their most needed and most cherished institution -- 'The Shaolin Monks.'
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow, what a great movie. To me this movie is as good as or better than Jet Li's Fearless and what a great movie that was. This movie is a movie with a good message, that sticks in the hart. The martial art, the way the monks protected themselves or fighting a righteous fight was sooooo beautiful and magnificent just as the IP Man movies where. What a beautiful story, not a cliché movie but a story with a surprising ending. I can't understand why this movie is rated 6.7, I rated this movie for the full 10 cause it's worth it!!! I can recommend this to everyone who likes the styles of martial arts and good plots. You will really enjoy this. I did and I cannot get enough of these kind of movies!
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