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xx (1977)
Executioners from Shaolin


Reviewed by: Jackal
Date: 02/25/2007
Summary: Standard

This is classic kung -fu film production Show Bros Studio. In role occupied many stars of that time. The Plot is easy and line. Presently fighting have already grown old, since skim in classical stiletto 70-h. As a whole, the film distinguishes the range, great to window dressings, more amount of the combat scenes and known actor. Recommend all admirer an classic kung-fu film.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 09/02/2006
Summary: A retelling of the Hung Hei-Goon legend

Hung Hei-Goon (Chen Kuan-Tai) escapes the burning of the Shaolin Temple by White Brows (Lo Lieh) along with a few other disciples. After getting married to Yong (Lily Li) and living a fairly domestic life (he even has a son) and of course training hard, he seeks revenge for the killing of his master. He fails, and spends another ten years training in the Tiger style. Meanwhile, his son Wending (Wong Yu) is becoming a force in his own right. Although Hung refuses to learn his wife’s Crane style, his son becomes quite adept at it. When more years pass, the time for revenge is ripe…

EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN is like a companion piece to the earlier Shaw Brothers films HEROES TWO and 5 SHAOLIN MASTERS, which were both helmed by Chang Cheh. When Lau Kar-Leung had a falling out with Chang Cheh during the making of MARCO POLO, Leung went his own way and became one of the most respected directors of kung fu films and certainly one of the most famous overseas. In this one, Hung Hei-Goon (which incidentally is the Cantonese name of the film) doesn’t meet up with Fong Sai-Yuk as told in HEROES TWO, but instead gets married and has a son before seeking revenge on the ruthless Qing defilers.

It’s a bit of a mixed bag. Firstly we have a cracking scene in which Lau Kar-Fai kicks some serious Qing ass as the Shaolin disciples flee the burning Temple. Alas, he doesn’t survive, but the scene is seriously exciting – which makes what follows seem all the more puzzling. We then drift off into scenes of broad comedy as Hung gets married to a feisty young lady by the name of Yong. Whether this works or not is dependent entirely on your tolerance for this kind of thing – in the scene where Hung tries to force her knees apart, I didn’t know whether to laugh or be appalled. He eventually succeeds by the look of it because soon after they are blessed with a son.

The whole film jumps in sections of several years, and the next thing we know the young Wending is ten years old. I must say it was an excellent piece of casting with the young lad – when I first saw him I thought for a split second that it was Wong Yu, not knowing that Wong Yu would eventually be that character! Hung takes on White Brows and fails (inevitably, as we’re still only about half way through the film) and when he returns, we have another jump forward in time to about seven years later.

Older and wiser, and with a bit of grey in his moustache and hair, Hung trains with the knowledge he has learnt from his previous experience. He uses a strange copper device that is part training dummy and part bagatelle machine. It’s here that the film does pick up a little. The scenes with Wong Yu (who I always want to call “Dirty Ho” for some reason) and Chen Kuan-Tai are actually quite funny, and they show off a fair few moves together.

However, the ending of the film is a real let-down for reasons I’m not going to go into in case it gives too much away. Suffice it to say, this has got be the one of the worst cases of the Shaw Bothers’ patented Sudden Ending Syndrome.

Some good bits, for sure, but I found it frustratingly unsatisfactory on the whole.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 11/07/2005
Summary: Great historical offering from Liu Chia Liang

Executioners from Shaolin is an expertly-paced, martial arts fightfest from Liu Chia Liang. Telling the historically based story of aftermath of the destruction of Shaolin temple, Liu weaves the tale around the fierce Hung Sze Kwan (Chen Kuan Tai) and his development of the Tiger Claw style. After escaping from the burning of Shaolin temple by Pai Mei and the Qing troops, Hung and some of his fellow students travel around China via "red boats" putting on shows combining acrobatics and politically disruptive plays. After the government is able to track down and kill some of the students, Hung meets Yung Chun (Lily Li Li Li), a master of the White Crane style, and they settle down in marriage. Eventually Yung Chun bears him a son (Wong Yu), but still Hung spends night and day perfecting his Tiger Claw style in order to confront Pai Mei and exact revenge for his master's death. After an initial challenge ends in near disaster, Hung must work even harder to figure out Pai Mei's body protection technique and fulfill what he believes to be his ultimate purpose - the destruction of Pai Mei and the restoration of respect to the Shaolin name.

This is a classic film for fans of Chinese and traditional martial arts history. Liu Chia Liang once again proves that he is the master of bringing true martial arts training and fight choreography to the big screen in a convincing and exciting style. Although I am not a huge fan of Chen Kuan Tai's acting, he does a good job in his portrayal of the aging and obsessed Hung. However, it is Lo Lieh who steals the show as the legendary Master White Brows Pai Mei. Lo is incredibly menacing and seemingly indestructible in his fight scenes, and the sound effects of his fighting style and ability to move his chi from his lower to upper body will be instantly recognizable to classic Kung Fu theatre fans. Although Wong Yu is a bit annoying (and strangely dressed as a girl even in his twenties), his fighting scenes are enjoyable as well. Definitely recommended for all fans of martial arts films.

8/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: weirdcat
Date: 07/03/2004
Summary: White eyebrow monk, Pai Mei destroys Shaolin Temple and it's students seek revenge.

This is a classic Shaw Bros kung fu film from master martial arts movie maker Lau Kar Leung.
It is about students of the Shaolin temple who seek revenge after Pai Mei destroys Shaolin and kills it's masters.
It's main protagonist travels with his brothers on the red boats under the guise of Opera performers all the while training for the confrontation with his nemesis, Master White Brows.
Chen Kwan Tai is excellent in the lead and is ably supported by Lo Lieh, Li Li Lee and an early appearance by Lau Kar Fai.
The movie features traditional Hung Gar Kuen techniques and they are excellently performed By the stars.
I have had it only a week and have watched it 5 times so far. Considering the year it was made the action choreography is very complex but extremely well executed and watch out for Lau Kar Leung as a villain wielding a 3 section staff. good stuff!!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/22/2004

***1/2 EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN: I guess this is considered a classic, but I thought it was just pretty good. The story was a bit perfunctory, and didn't carry much emotional impact for me - plus Wang Yu was annoying (and looked like a girl). The ending was very anticlimactic - in fact, nothing in the film managed to live up to the superb opening scene with Gordon Liu. Lo Lieh as Pai Mei was a great character though. I'm sure the martial arts were very authentic and the hard core kung-fu fans will cream themselves over that fact, but I didn't think the styles on display were particularly exciting to watch or aesthetically pleasing. So there From what I remember, the Lo Lieh-directed remake CLAN OF THE WHITE LOTUS was better, but it was one of the first Shaws films I saw so maybe I'll say different when the Celestial remaster eventually comes out.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 03/10/2004
Summary: Agree with battlemonkey

Boring comes to mind
I was hoping Gordon Liu Chia Hui would be in it more, but hes only in it for the first 10 minutes, after that, a boring 30 minutes of a love story then back to the training and action. Unfortunately the action isn't great either. See Lo Lieh pull someone around with the power of whats between his legs!! or what isnt;...........

Not worth watching, a rountine revenge story

3/10


Reviewed by: CaptainAmerica
Date: 06/20/2002
Summary: Winning one for the Shaolin!

I saw CLAN OF THE WHITE LOTUS aka FIST OF THE WHITE LOTUS before I saw this film, and it's hard for me to say which version of the story of Pai Mei, the White Eyebrow Monk, is the better one. This film plays it serious for the most part, with comedy brought in at the right moments...while the remake (1980) had an undercurrent of comedy that crested into a wave from time to time in spite of the pathos. I suppose Lo Lieh wanted to direct the remake so that he could have more fun with the character, crafting a villain more than one-dimensional and less serious than the original. Either way, both movies have the same structure and virtually the same plot turns -- Pai Mei and a governor conspire to burn down the Shaolin Temple and cull the monks, but eventually the monks get their revenge. In the remake, it was Gordon Liu who played the hero...here it's Chen Kuan Tai, then Wong Yu, who teach the monk the error of his ways!

Some things mark this movie as a bit better than the more exuberant remake...the detailing of the fugitive Shaolin monks' taking sanctuary with Peking Opera actors using the Red Boats, the often hilarious and bittersweet romance between Chen Kuan Tai and Lily Li Li-Li, and some very inventive set-pieces and fights that err on the side of realism (unlike some of the more fantastic moments of the remake!).

I'd say go see both this film AND the remake! You can't go wrong with either one!


Reviewed by: battlemonkey
Date: 12/21/1999

Picking up where MEN FROM THE MONASTERY left off, Hung Hsi Kuan (arole being revived once again by Jet Li, who seems to want to play every character from Chinese history, ever), played by Chen Kuan Tai, escapes the carnage that ended that movies and trains to defeat the white-haired hermit (Lo Lieh). Hung has a son who also trains. Hung is killed, but not before discovering that the villain does have a weak point--the only problem being that the weak point floats around to different locations on his body. The job of revenge is left to Hung's son. Where most films about Shaolin characters are more about Shaolin than people, Liu has put a lot of work into characters. Still, I personally find the movie a bit dull, and the final fight ends ridiculously, with Hung's son punching the hermit, then a freeze-frame, and a narrator going, "And eventually, he was victorious."


Reviewed by: Areles
Date: 12/09/1999

Lau Kar Leung's marvelous re-invention of the un-armed combat film. Finally we get to see the intensive training involved with Gung-fu. Chen Kuan Tai gives the best performance of his career. This look at the development of the "Hung Family Style" boxing method is facinating. The film is very well plotted with wonderful character development (could I say a first for the genre), and fantastic plot twists. One of the all time best.