HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
   
 
  Shaolin Abbot A pious punch for Pai Mei
Year: 1979
Director: Ho Meng-hua
Stars: David Chiang, Lo Lieh, Cheng Miu, Goo Goon-Chung, Lily Li, Norman Tsui Siu-Keung, Yeung Chi-Hing, Chiang Tao, Yue Wing, Helen Poon Bing-Seung, Si Wai, Bruce Tong Yim-Chaan, Chan Shen, Shum Lo, Jamie Luk Kim-Ming
Genre: Action, Martial Arts, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: At the time of the Qing Dynasty the monks of Shaolin Temple were so skilled in martial arts their mere existence was enough to threaten the Emperor. Fearful their days are numbered, the head abbot sends mighty monk Zhi Shan (David Chiang) to nearby Wen Shu Temple to learn how to make guns from sagely Master Wu Chan (Yeung Chi-Hing). Strangely, despite this seemingly crucial plot point, Zhi Shan never gets around to this, being content enough to hone his kung fu, hopping down steps while hefting heavy buckets of water, punching a giant bell, exploding jars with his palm power, and chopping wooden blocks with his bald head. Perhaps if he had stuck to the brief, he might not have come home to find his fellow monks slaughtered by soldiers working for fanatical General Yue Ying-Qi (Yue Wing). Zhi Shan promises his dying elder he will build a new temple in Southern China and heads down to Guangdong where trouble awaits.

Where would the martial arts genre be without Shaolin Temple? Not only were its legendary fighting monks responsible for creating kung fu in the first place, but its historical background inspired an entire subgenre. Among these was Lau Kar-Leung’s groundbreaking production for Shaw Brothers, 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) the success of which seemingly inspired the studio crank out this similarly-themed adventure. What we have here is a classic case of a studio cashing-in on an inspired auteur film with a vapid cookie cutter remake. Also known as A Slice of Death, Shaolin Abbot adheres to the tradition of stoic chivalry that by 1979, post-Jackie Chan, had begun to seem dated and dull. Lacking the spiritual dimension that distinguished 36th Chamber, the plot plods along aimlessly, its sole aim to underline what a pious, virtuous soul Zhi Shan is, which proves as tedious as that sounds.

Shaw superstar David Chiang sports a rare slaphead look and is simply miscast. His stock in trade were impetuous heroes or loveable rogues not solemn monks. Looking more comfortable is veteran Lo Lieh who once again essays what became his late career signature role: the villainous, white-haired monk Pai Mei or Bak Mei. Supposedly one of five legendary elders who survived the destruction of Shaolin Temple by the Qing Dynasty, Pai Mei (whose name roughly translates as “White Eyebrows”) was the Benedict Arnold of martial arts folklore, though scholars continue to debate whether he truly was as evil as all that or simply misrepresented in tall tales. Whatever the historical truth, Lo Lieh played the indestructible priest with the one vulnerable spot in such Shaw classics as Executioners from Shaolin (1976) and his self-directed Clan of the White Lotus (1980). Later another Shaw icon Gordon Liu played the part in tribute to his frequent co-star in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (2003).

The historical background is interesting but poorly integrated into the pulp adventure, with the mass slaughter of monks at Shaolin Temple a strangely perfunctory set-piece devoid of emotion despite a lot of soap opera speech-making. Choreographer Lung Yi-Sheng, later director of the delightful children’s film Demon of the Lute (1983) and equally excellent martial arts fantasy Long Road to Gallantry (1984) stages the pole-swinging, acrobatic action with customary verve but the talents of martial arts diva Lily Li and genre stalwart Norman Tsui Siu-Keung are wasted in stock sidekick roles. The man behind the camera was Shaw Brothers’ most versatile journeyman, Ho Meng-hua, who brings professionalism but not much else. Followed by the sequel: Shaolin Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein. Only joking.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3099 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: