15 user 12 critic

Return to the 36th Chamber (1980)

Shao Lin da peng da shi (original title)
R | | Action, Comedy | August 1982 (USA)
The workers of a dye factory have their pay cut by 20% when the factory owner brings in some Manchu thugs to try and increase production. Desperate to reclaim their full wages, the workers ... See full summary »


Chia-Liang Liu


Kuang Ni


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chia-Hui Liu ... Chao Jen-Cheh
Lung Wei Wang ... Boss Wang Kao-feng
Hou Hsiao Hou Hsiao ... Ho Chiao
Lun Hua ... Chen Hsi-sheng
Yeong-Mun Kwon Yeong-Mun Kwon ... Yuan Li-hao (as Yung-Wen Kuan)
Kara Wai ... Hsiao Hung (as Kara Hui)
Szu-Chia Chen ... Mai Yin
Tsui Ling Yu ... Hsiao Ling
Wei Hao Teng Wei Hao Teng
Kang Shih Kang Shih
Tao Chiang ... Ma Hui
Yi Tao Chang ... Erh Kun
King Chu Lee ... Monk San Te (as Ching Chia)
Ching-Ching Yeung ... Hsiao-Ching
Sae Ok Kim Sae Ok Kim ... Laborer (as Hsi-Yu Chin)


The workers of a dye factory have their pay cut by 20% when the factory owner brings in some Manchu thugs to try and increase production. Desperate to reclaim their full wages, the workers hire an actor to impersonate a priest and kung-fu expert from the temple of Shaolin. The factory owner proves the actor a fraud, and punishes all those involved. The young actor feels he has let the workers down, and promises to atone. He sets out for Shaolin, determined to be accepted as a kung-fu pupil at the elite temple. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Comedy


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Hong Kong


Cantonese | Mandarin

Release Date:

August 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Return of the Master Killer See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shaw Brothers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard's debut album was titled after this movie, with adding "The Dirty Version" to the end. Ol' Dirty Bastard's album is titled "Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". See more »


Boss Wang: What style of Kung Fu is this?
Chao Yen-Cheh: Roof-top Kung Fu!
See more »


Followed by Disciples of the 36th Chamber (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

scaffolding kung fu action!!
1 January 2007 | by wandering-starSee all my reviews

I thought this would be a sequel to the original "36th Chamber of Shaolin" but actually it's more of a light-hearted "sister" to the original. Gordon Liu still stars as a would-be hero on a quest to learn kung fu to defeat those pesky Manchus... but this time around it's lighter and more comedic. The film centres around the local dye mill, where wages are cut due to the hiring of 10 new Manchurian bosses. Liu plays "Chao", who is able to fool the mill bosses into thinking he is a shaolin monk possessing almost magical kung fu skill. But his luck runs out, he is exposed as a fraud, and he promises the mill workers that he will go to the Shaolin monastery to learn kung fu, and return to protect them.

The comedy really begins at the monastery where Chao makes several bungling attempts to get accepted. This sets up lots of really funny moments, and lots of great fight choreography. Continuing in the "36th Chamber" tradition we see all kinds of neat and interesting (and supremely hokey) training methods at the monastery as well as creative uses of wooden benches as weapons.

Also unique and of note is the blending of kung fu and the craft of bamboo scaffold building. Chao is not accepted as a student at Shaolin but is made to build bamboo scaffolding for the "10 year restoration" of the monastery. On the DVD I bought there is a special on bamboo scaffold building and the inspiration that director Lau Kar-Leung drew from it. This is a craft many hundreds (perhaps thousands) of years old, and in Hong Kong scaffolding is still built of bamboo even on large high-rises, though the West exclusively uses steel tubes and clamps. As a result of his scaffolding work, Chao develops a special style of kung fu... when asked what kind it is, he hilariously replies "scaffolding kung fu!!" which he first tests during a dust-up with the monastery's Abbot. In the final confrontation with the Manchus, there is a dazzling array of creative uses for bamboo poles and ties.

From a comedy perspective, I think it's one of the best of the kung fu genre. As a kung fu film in general, it also stands out... I recommend it to anyone!

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