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What they say: In a young Republic of China, where greedy warlords fuel a period of war and strife, Hou Jie (Andy Lau) arrogantly shows no mercy to his enemies seeking refuge with the benign and compassionate Shaolin monks. After unscrupulously killing a wounded enemy, Hou Jie pays a terrible price for his actions and is forced to seek refuge in the same Shaolin Monastery he blatantly disrespected. Hou Jie s traitorous second-in-command Cao Man (Nicholas Tse) continues where the once-warlord left off, betraying his country and his own people. Hou Jie must adapt to Shaolin principles to stop the monster he created.
What I say: Shaolin pretty well slipped in under my radar. It is a crying shame that films like this don’t get the attention they deserve. This film is truly epic. In the early 20th century greedy warlords are tearing China apart, and General Hou Jie is just about the greediest of the lot. As he attempts a coup on his superior, one of his men, Cao Man, is pulling a double cross on him. Now Hou Jie, on the run, must go to a Shaolin temple he disrespected to ask for help. With the help of the temple cook (a very understated Jackie Chan) he goes from greedy warlord to enlightened monk. But Cao Man is still out there, and he doesn’t want to risk Hou Jie returning.
Everything about this film is a joy to watch, from the writing, to the excellent performances, to the breath taking cinematography this is an amazing film. The film was made in a real 1500 year old Shaolin Temple, and the rich history just oozes from every frame. The martial arts scenes and fights are incredibly choreographed. THIS is a movie. If this was an American production, it would be played for laughs. Thankfully Benny Chan directs the film with style and grace. This is a phenomenal story dune very well.
The real star is the sound design. The DTS MA HD 5.1 track makes you feel like you are right in the middle of the fights. The sound design and effects are unbelievable.
Extras include deleted scenes, Making of, trailers, a DVD copy of the film, and a nice lobby card of the movie poster. A great package!
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