֪Lx (1982)
Shaolin Temple

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 04/08/2007
Summary: Lots of star power with mediocre results...

In his first film, Jet Li stars as Jue Yuan, a teen who finds a home in the Shaolin Temple after escaping from his oppressive captors. Although at first there is controversy about accepting him, the young monks and their teacher (Yue Hoi) finally convince the Abbott to let him stay. Jue's first inclination is to learn kung fu in order to exact revenge on those that kept him captive and killed his father. He fails to understand the concept of restraint and decides to abandon the tenants of Buddhism in order to kill the cause of his troubles, the warlord Wang Ren Ze (Yue Sing-Wai). When this attempt fails, he returns to the temple for forgiveness and further training. He is also drawn home by his love for a local shepherdess (Ding Laam) whom he rescues from the clutches of Wang Ren Ze.

As mentioned in previous reviews, this would be a pretty standard kung fu revenge film, save for the presence of the young Jet Li. He is able to show off his entire repetoire of styles and capabilities in this starring role. He is helped out by the supporting cast of very well known mainland wushu champions and practitioners, including Yue Hoi, Woo Gin-Keung and the legendary Pan Qingfu as a ruthless general. Yue Sing-Wai is also very entertaining as the warlord. The action scenes are good, but the fight choreography is not outstanding, leaving the most interesting kung fu scenes as those where Jet Li performs weapons forms on sets depicting the different seasons. It's a shame, considering the wealth of talent available to the action directors. This being the case, it' hard to give this film an overwhelmingly positive review, considering the plot does not present any new paths.


As an additional warning to those presented in previous reviews, there is a scene where soldiers attack Ding Laam and her flock of sheep. Unless they came up with the most realistic acting puppets in all of China, I'm afraid they killed a few of the animals in order to complete the scene. There are really grotesque shots where lambs are speared and brutalized during the fight.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Wu'xiaBadger
Date: 02/03/2003
Summary: GOOD

Not Jet Li's best, but a great introductory role. His charisma is evident even here, and his fighting is impressive for such a youngster. The plot is weak, but other than that everything works quite well. The cinematography could've been better, but its passable; and the fighting is great.
The training sequences are very enjoyable, and all the fighters are quite skilled. I found the choreography to be passable, and the humor quite funny.
There is a bizare amount of cruelty to animals, be it dogs, frogs or sheep. No disclaimer either, so one wonders if they used real animals. Nasty villians, heroic heroes, good old school fighting. 7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 05/09/2002
Summary: BAD

Pretty poor film, especially for '82. This is one of Jet Li's easliest films, but that is certainly no reason to watch this.

Apart from some scenes with Jet Li showing off his skills (he didn't seem to be using wires for the only time in his life!), there is little else worth watching for.


Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/04/2001
Summary: one of Jet Li's worst

Rather ordinary plot, poor fighting choreography, ok acting, but very solid training scenes from an actual crew of Shaolin Monks(or could be professional martial artists, if I'm not mistaking). I had heard from my family that this is one of the biggest classics of all time, so I had great expecations. Sadly it came out to be one of the biggest disappointments. Shows how even with brilliant martial art skills, you just can't display them at all without good choreography from Yuen Woo Ping, Yuen Hua, Liu Chia Liang, or other action experts.

One thing that really bothered me about this movie is the little usage of words here. The characters just go "umm, hmm, ehhe, hehe, eeehhhh, hmuuum, waaaa, yaaaaaa," and stuff like that all the time, in replacements of words. I personally thought it sucked. I mean, if your best friend has just been killed, realisticaly, you're not just gonna look at him without saying anything run and kill the person who killed him, and afterwards still not say anything to your dead friend. You would at least say something like "no" or "you [the person who killed] must die". But anyway, a lot of old school films lack sophisticated language, which is kinda sad. Fortunately, this problem was eliminated in nearly all new wave kung fu movies. [6/10]

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 08/04/2000
Summary: OK

I won't say much since there are lots of reviews here but i thought it was average!! It talks about Buddistism and at the end, even the head monk loses it and say KILL THEM ALL!! I guess some people can only take so much.....


Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 07/15/2000
Summary: Cruel to Animals !

There's a warning that has appeared in most American films over the past 20 years or so, about no animal cruelty actually taking place in the filming.
Well, it may not have actually taken place, but there's plenty depicted here.
Near the start, Jet Li kills the adored pet dog of a shepherd girl, then he and his fellow monks eat the animal. The girl is initially upset, but then falls for Li's character.
Wow, what an approach ! "Sorry honey, I ate your dog, will you be mine anyway ?"!
And it doesn't stop there. When the girl is later captured by the bad guys, they do horrid things to her sheep.
The message here is that, if cruelty to animals offends you, stay away !
If not, and especially if you like non-stop mind-boggling fu fighting, then you'll love this film. Once things get going, this bunch of incredible fu talent really shows what they can do.
Incidentally, many of the same actors made several other films together in the following years. Some were sequels, some were not (e.g. the excellent Yellow River Fighter).
Keep the dog away, and enjoy !

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

Crudely made film that succeeds for two reasons. First, the run-of-the-mill plot about a student driven by revenge is delivered with plenty of humor, never taking itself too seriously. Second, it utilizes the tremendous athletic talents of the Chinese wu-shu experts to full extent. Particularly impressive is the young lead, who energizes the screen every time he appears. I predict a bright future for him. OK, so it's Jet Li and this was his first major film. But even without 20/20 hindsight, it's obvious from his first few scenes that he is a real standout.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Jet Li's first big film, from what I understand. This film has great fight scenes, most with little or no wire work. The entire cast is great, especially the other Shaolin students (who can kick butt with anybody). Lots of cool weapon work. If I had only been able to rent a copy with English subtitles, I'd better understand the story, but it seemed to be a pretty standard, "You killed my father, I must avenge him!!!!" type story.


[Reviewed by Dale Whitehouse]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

The first installment of Jet Li's trilogy begins like atravelogue of regional history, but soon relates the legend of how thirteen monks defeated immense dynastic forces hundreds of years ago. After his father is killed, Chu Yuan (Jet Li) escapes from a chain gang, and is eventually nurtured, fed and trained by high-spirited monks in the martial arts. While there, he meets a lovely shepherd girl and her father (himself a monk); but vengeance is foremost in Yuan's mind, and his rather unmonklike habits (he likes to eat meat, drink when using the drunken fighting style, and very much likes the shepherd girl) eventually makes him an outcast; not only that, but he's shielded a political prisoner from officials, which only serves to make him a wanted man and the temple a military target. There's humor as well as superior fighting here, matched by exceptional use of Shaolin scenery (it was filmed on location) captured on widescreen (at least on the film version). All this serves to make the film a real charmer; on its release, the Chinese government apparently had to issue an announcement for kids not to leave school to join the Shaolin monastery.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 8