If you like classic Kung Fu films you don't want to miss this one! Abbot in charge of Staff Chamber. The training parts while probably not realistic are entertaining and don't bore. 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. If you've watched more than a handful of Chinese martial arts films, you'll be familiar with the iconic Shaw Brothers logo that adorns so many credits sequences. During a brutal Manchu attack, Lui manages to escape and devotes himself to learning the martial arts in order to seek revenge. The martial arts in this film are amazing and every bit as impressive as stuff done today. Gordon Liu returns not as San Te but as a conman called Chao Jen Cheh.
He spends years doing it and inadvertently learns all the skills required for Shaolin kung fu without realising it, creating a whole new style known as 'scaffolding kung fu. Still it's interesting to track the development of the genre through these three films and to, sadly, watch the decline of the Shaws as they struggled to change with the times but reassuring to note, on the whole, that they've not aged badly at all. So this epic film, a 2 hour chop socky flick that's story takes place over 10 years, has a interesting plot. But the boss is sharp, he asks the monk to fight his men, and he ends up losing before the Machurians beat up the rest of the workers. Lord Cheng as Chang Wu-liang. With his learning complete, he takes on the Manchus.
He, too, realizes that Jen-chieh is not what he claims to be, but he announces that he wants to give him a chance: Jen-chieh is to build a set of all around the temple and renovate the entire complex. Gordon Liu returns as actual San Te this time but in a mentoring role to Ho Hsiao who plays another Chinese folk hero, Fang Shiyu. So they travel to the shoalin temple. There's a certain poignancy to Liu's performance too as he gives Jen Cheh an extra dimension; that of the sad clown destroyed by the fact that none of his revolutionary friends take him seriously and that his only real skill is pretending to be someone else a possible metaphor for an actor's lot in life. Once again helmed by Lau Kar-Leung, albeit several years after the classical kung fu genre had peaked, Disciples is a good film but by no means a great one. Jen-chieh returns to town to find that the conditions of the workers have worsened: Their salary has been cut by nearly half, and any who have protested had been laid off to eke out a meager existence. The fights have the usual Shaw Brothers quality to them with some acrobatic moves and fast paced exchanges.
He sets out for Shaolin, determined to be accepted as a kung-fu pupil at the elite temple. But unlike most films of this genre it also has a decent plot and lots of great comedy. Well lets face it I not sure a woman is in this movie at all. As a result, the plot has neither the emotional resonance of the first nor the clever irony of the second, but that's not to say it's all bad. Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here! Elated by his return, some of the ex-workers begin to pester Jen-chieh with their high expectations, which leads to Jen-chieh instinctively and to his own surprise fighting them off with his newly acquired kung fu skills. The sets and costumes are as lavish as you'd expect from the Shaws but the technicality of the filmmaking is off the scale.
At the shoalin temple they are masters of martial arts but they stay out of worldly affairs. So what makes 36th Chamber so special? The acting is all well done. For veterans and newcomers alike, you'll struggle to find many more satisfying and accomplished pieces than The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin. San Te finally corners him and forces him to leave, with a strange smile on his lips. He sets out for Shaolin, determined to be accepted as a kung-fu pupil at the elite temple. Ni Kuang's screenplay took Lau and Liu's idea of a more realistic and philosophical approach to onscreen kung fu and turned it into a political piece based on Chinese folk hero, San Te. Lau was also a highly skilled martial artist and master of the difficult Hung Fist style, which is how he initially met Gordon Liu.
Director Liu Chia liang's masterpiece the 36th chamber was my first purchase in the series. Feeling guilty about what has happened, Jen-chieh leaves and heads for the to learn the real fighting arts. In a short period of time he masters the deadly use of his fists, feet and palms, along with such weapons as swords, sticks, and lances. The kung fu still feels fresh throughout and the original film resonates with all the power it ever did, standing up to just about anything else in the genre quite capably. Shiyu lacks not just good manners and respect for authority but also any sense, making mistake after mistake and nearly destroying the temple in the process with his oblivious arrogance.
A couple of new training sequences, including the glorious 'Chamber Of Jumping On The Roof' as bonkers as it sounds and 'Chamber Of Water Posts' in which a bunch of dudes fight with giant heavy poles while submerged in water are imaginative and a joy to watch. Hilariously, he manages to sneak his way amongst the monks thanks to his uncanny resemblance to the legendary San Te funny, that! The quality of the dyes has noticeably worsened, and the factory owner, Wang, and his subordinate chief, Boss Wa, decide to hire some overseers to improve the work. There's lots of great comedy from beginning to end, and plenty of action at the end when Gordon Liu once again faces his Manchu tormentors. When workers of a dye factory are forced out of their jobs by Manchu bullies, they hire a con-artist Gordon Liu to try to scare them off. The film is the second in a loosely connected trilogy, following 1978 and preceding 1985.
We see some nice martial arts choreography as Chao discovers his movements and realizes that he does indeed know some Kung Fu. He's the son of a fishmonger, sick of seeing his family and friends persecuted by the Manchu oppressors who rule the province with an iron fist. It was directed by and written by Ni Kuang. Finally overpowering Wang, he forces him to pay his workers their full wages again. In the first and third films in the series, Liu portrays the monk , but in Return, he portrays an imposter monk. Although Shaolin is closed to outsiders, the monks take him in and heal him, seeing his arrival as an act of providence.
Depressed the workers and Chao Jen Cheh argue and bicker of the situation before Chao decides to take his role as the monk to the real Shaolin temple in order to attempt to break in and learn their martial arts. However, this causes him to lag behind in his work, and it takes him more than a year to finish the gantry. Well, for one, it's beautifully made. They decide that if they are going to effectively fight back what they learn at the university is not enough. Jen Cheh is terrible at kung fu and unable to learn so the 'real' San Te played this time by Lee King-chue , now a temple abbot, sets him to work on erecting a difficult scaffolding all around Shaolin instead. Others focus on mental discipline, like the 'Eye Chamber' where he stands between two flaming sticks and tries not to move his head while watching a pendulum swing.