HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Arhats in Fury Hey Abbott!Buy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: Wong Sing-lui
Stars: Lau Jang-ling, Go Hung-ping, Hoh Fook-Sang, Lee Tak-Shing, Wong Chi-wa
Genre: Martial Arts, Historical
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: As a Buddhist monk, Zhi Xing (Lau Jang-ling) is something of a rebel, and as such for going against the rules of his temple and the strict Abbott in charge there, he is being severely punished by having to go on a gruelling ascetic journey. While he and his master are at the point of collapsing, back at the temple the monks feel under threat from the army of Jins, but as they have taken their vows of non-violence any use of martial arts is banned. The villagers and bandits who are against the Jins wish the monks would use their combat training to fight back, and the leader of the bandits comes to see the Abbott to try and persuade him to change his mind - when this doesn't work, he swiftly escapes. But soon Zhi Xing will be pushed over the edge by the brutality of the Jins, no matter what the punishment may be...

Both lavish and unforgiving, Arhats in Fury, or Ba Bai Luo Han to give the film its original title, was a mid-eighties throwback to the historical martial arts vehicles of the nineteen seventies, only this was made on the Chinese mainland, a co-production with Hong Kong. Due to this it has a grittier feel than the glossier Hong Kong films of the period, but there's still attractive photography to be enjoyed and the spectacle of brightly clothed extras swarming around the screen. Another thing that distinguishes it is the anti-religious sentiment that was surely a consequence of the political climate in which it was made, as the Buddhists' course of non-violence, unless it's doled out as punishment, is plainly presented as a tolerance of the invaders' methods to save their own skins.

Yes, these Buddhists are supposed to be cowards, or the Buddhist leaders are at any rate, so Zhi Xing's bravery in going against the grain is seen as a ray of hope towards defeating the Jins. We see him do so when he can't help but fling himself into a conflict between the soldiers and some villagers and the customary martial arts sequences ensue. He also saves his temple from the invaders when they turn up to flex their muscles, and although the Abbott is grateful to him for his assistance, he nonetheless orders that the hero be tortured to castigate him. But does he bow down to such pressure? No, he does not, and in one bizarre scene he even calls the birds out of the sky and the monkeys out of the trees to fend off an attack by the evil army, which looks like animal cruelty for the sake of the film, more so for the birds than the monkeys. How much you enjoy Arhats in Fury may depend on how you feel about Communist China, for their authorities' point of view is stamped all over this; the action is impressive, the characterisations broad, and the scenery is eye-catching, but the not-so-hidden message may leave you uncomfortable.

[The 55th Chamber Region 2 DVD features a scratchy print, an original trailer, a plug for other releases and, amazingly for a DVD this cheap, a selection of languages so you can watch in Cantonese or Mandarin with subtitles instead of opting for the English dubbed version.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6137 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: