Packed with Kung Fu fight scenes and enough drama to call it a tearjerker. The Hong Kong production Shaolin will provide you with two hours of entertainment suitable for those who love action movies, as well as those who like a good story with lots of emotion and character development.
Directed by Benny Chan and starring Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse and Jackie Chan, the Hong Kong martial arts film Shaolin (Tan Thieu Lam Tu) is a story about hate, revenge and the need for power and influence, but also about love, loss, faith, hope and personal growth.
Warlords + Shaolin monks = Kung Fu
The movie is set in Henan’s Dengfeng, at a time when warlords fought for survival, continuously conquering more land, thus gaining more power and influence (1916 to 1928). The arrogant Hou Jie (Andy Lau) is one of those young warlords. Fuelled by his desire for more power and his previous successes. He hunts down a rival warlord all the way into a Shaolin temple. Sneering at the monks, he kills the warlord on sacred grounds.
When he, his wife and young daughter are threatened by a warlord competing for power. His pride becomes his own downfall. Losing everything that is dear to him, he is forced to seek refuge in the same Shaolin Temple he cursed. Scarred by intense hate, feelings of revenge, unbearable loss and intense grief and regret, his personal journey begins. With help from the monks he learns what life is truly about.
As terror continues to spread, the Shaolin (phim hanh dong thuyet minh 2020) monks are forced to defend themselves and their temple against a new warlord: Hou’s previous second in command. Hou – now fighting alongside the monks, must face and overcome his own mistakes, his own creations, his own past.
Not just about the Kung Fu
Not only is the movie packed with action in the form of the many Kung Fu fight scenes. But it also offers countless life lessons, which – to a viewer open enough to realize these truths and see them for what they are, will offer great insight into Eastern cultures, Buddhism, today’s popular spirituality and the true meaning of life.
The intensely dramatic but realistic events the characters face in the story force them to battle with their own personal beliefs. The personal change that each and every one of the story’s characters undergoes is not only interesting to watch, but because of the high quality of the actors’ performances, it is also highly believable and will leave you with great food for thought.
Though some of the special effects might leave a seasoned action moviegoer slightly disappointed. The beautiful setting and atmosphere certainly make up for this.
The casting of Andy Lau for the lead role in this movie proves to be a perfect choice. The same goes for Jackie Chan, whose character lightens up the tragedy with a touch of Chan’s unique sense of humor and on occasion, his delightfully funny facial expressions. Supported by a strong cast, this movie most certainly has our recommendation.
Rating: R (for violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama
Directed By: Benny Chan
Written By: Cheung Tan, Chi Kwong Cheung, Khan Chan, Wang Qiuyu, Alan Yuen, Zhang Tan, Chan Kam Cheong
In Theaters: Sep 9, 2011 Limited
Runtime: 131 minutes
Studio: Variance Films