Notable Cast: Gordon Liu, Kara Hui, Hsaio Ho
It's no secret that "The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin" is highly considered to be one of best Shaw Brothers films, if not one of the greatest martial arts films of all time. So for director Lau Kar Leung and star Gordon Liu to return for the sequel, it would simply have to be another perfect to damn-near-perfect kung fu film, right? Well in the case of "Return To The 36th Chamber," the film on hand takes a significantly different direction and comes off as an odd man out compared to the original one. While the film does have a handful of things going for it, including some amazing action, the rest of it does come off as rather disappointing in comparison.
When a corrupt boss begins to incorporate mob enforcers to keep his workers from uprising against his terrible work conditions, a small group of them decide that they have to stand up for themselves. They decide to use a con man Chu Jen-chieh (Gordon Liu) to impersonate the righteous Shaolin monk San-Te and try to set things straight...but when it all starts to fall apart Chu Jen-chieh might just have to get some real martial arts training to set things right.
|Training? Or unfinished set?|
|LOOK AT THOSE TEETH!|
The story might parallel some of the 'people fighting for their rights' morals to a rather cliche extent and some hit and miss comedy graces the rest so its a mixed bag to that extent. The film's saving grace comes in the form of Lau Kar Leung's stunning choreography. The fighting tends to be more for comedic value in the first two-thirds and it's followed by one of his patented extensive training sequences where our hero has to put scaffolding all around a temple, but the finale is a complete stunner. When our hero has to take his "scaffolding kung fu" and battle a handful of villains led by a man using "bench kung fu" - it's a kung fu fanatic's dream. Even when Lau Kar Leung's films are hit and miss, his fight work is always beyond phenomenal and it saves this film from tripping up too much.
|Kicking ass and taking names.|
Written By Matt Reifschneider