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Shaolin Reviews

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Andrew Schenker
Slant Magazine

Benny Chan's kung-fu film Shaolin both benefits from and is ultimately defeated by its own epic ambitions.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 2/4

September 4, 2011
Simon Weaving

Evil warlords and nifty monks battle it out physically and spiritually in this epic and histrionic tale of how the most nasty of men can find enlightenment.

Full Review Source: Screenwize | Original Score: 2.5/5

January 27, 2011
Maggie Lee
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A well-mounted but soft-edged reinterpretation of a martial arts classic that gives precedence to drama over action.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

July 14, 2011
Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This crude, overlong chunk of kung-fu kitsch lays its scene in a 1920s Republican China, torn by internecine fighting and weighed down by drably expensive production design.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 6, 2011
Brent Simon

Ambitiously staged set pieces fall victim to portentous technique, creating an ultimately irreconcilable chasm between how much one wants to like this movie and how much they actually do.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: C

October 2, 2011
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

More action, less talk should be the order of the day, but it isn't.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

September 9, 2011
Daniel Eagan
Film Journal International

Large-scale melodrama is short on action and long on histrionics.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

September 9, 2011
Burl Burlingame
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

This is not a subtle film, and certainly not a great one, but it's made with bubbling brio and it's spectacular to look at. It's action filmmaking of the highest order.

Full Review Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 8, 2011
Rob Hunter
Film School Rejects

Full Review Source: Film School Rejects | Original Score: B+

September 14, 2011
Don Groves

A bloody tale of redemption, with a credibility gap.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3.5/5

January 28, 2011
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The kung fu itself is great fun to watch, from the discipline of balancing on one foot on a wooden pillar, the other in the air, for hours at a time to the confrontations that send fist and feet flying.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3/5

September 8, 2011
Matthew Pejkovic
Matt's Movie Reviews

With its mix of high octane martial arts and Eastern spirituality, Shaolin succeeds as a stirring anti-violence action epic.

Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews | Original Score: 3.5/5

February 4, 2011
George Palathingal
Sydney Morning Herald

A thoroughly satisfying period action flick with heart and soul; a wholesome step on the path to cinematic enlightenment.

Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Original Score: 4/5

January 26, 2011
Nick Schager
Boxoffice Magazine

Frequently gripping and featuring a surprisingly spry supporting turn by Jackie Chan, it's a sturdy if unremarkable effort.

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Original Score: 3/5

September 9, 2011
Philippa Hawker
The Age (Australia)

An expansive, energetic, big-budget martial arts action film that encompasses combat, explosions and moments of introspection.

Full Review Source: The Age (Australia) | Original Score: 3/5

January 27, 2011
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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The epic feel to this Hong Kong action-drama helps balance a lack of hand-to-hand combat scenes.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

September 9, 2011
Cole Smithey

"Shaolin" compares favorably with the biggest blockbuster Hollywood has to offer.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: B-

August 31, 2011
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Common Sense Media

Jackie Chan brings some warm energy to his supporting role -- a rarity for this big star -- and turns in a delightfully self-effacing performance.

Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Original Score: 3/5

September 16, 2011
Rachel Saltz
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Shaolin" fits in the more somber kung-fu tradition. But it also finds room for the genre's comic strain.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3/5

September 9, 2011
James Plath
Movie Metropolis

One of those films that impresses you, even though it fails to set itself apart from other films in the genre.

Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Original Score: 7/10

December 29, 2011
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