This transformation is at the heart of director Benny Chan's film, which differentiates itself splendidly from the recent crop of period epics with a generous infusion of Buddhist teachings. These nuggets of wisdom elevate Shaolin into a surprisingly thoughtful film, meditating on the fruitlessness of anger, violence and hatred, and preaching ever persuasiveness the merits of peace, compassion and love.
Andy Lau does a wonderful performance as the egotistical warlord on the pursuit of riches and power and as the reformed monk who realises the folly of his past ways.
Benny Chan brings on Jackie Chan in an amusing role as the resident Shaolin cook Wu Dao, a laid-back fellow perfectly content with his circumstance. It is not unlike the one Jackie played in Little Big Soldier two years ago, but it's always enjoyable to see the veteran gongfu actor back on screen, especially in a particularly entertaining sequence where he uses his cooking skills to good measure against the soldiers.
The problem with most of these user reviews is that they excepted ton of action and were disappointed for some reason. It's like watching Red Cliff and Bodyguards and Assassins, I expected allot of action, but it didn't make them bad movies. While you may disappointed in the lack of action, like other users, the action sequences it does have are terrific in many ways and won't disappoint.
Another complain I want to address is that people thought the movie was predictable, when I watched it didn't feel predictable. I actually thought the characters were well written and the actors fit well into their role. The story on the other hand was superb in my opinion, I just couldn't believe how this movie blew my mind away. I think most of these negatives came from people who missed the great spiritual dialogue coming from the Buddhists and the spiritual message of the movie.
In my opinion, it's great movie with a good story line and though lacking in great martial art sequences to some, the action in this won't disappoint. So, don't let the score fool you, pick up this movie, and hopefully you have same experience as I did when I watched it.
A great group of performers along with excellent action choreography are complemented by vast production sets and camerawork to create a truly epic feel. An exciting carriage chase and sweeping coverage of Shaolin monks training highlight the superb visual spectacle. While Andy Lau delivers a fine all-around performance as a warlord-turned-monk (a character with a strong and emotional story arc), his costars suffer from what seems like hastily-written characters despite also providing bravura acting. For instance, Nicholas Tse's villainous General Tsao Man becomes much too cartoony with his emo-hairstyle, evil smirks, and stilted dialogue, while Jackie Chan's moments become as forced as Wu Jing is underused. The script sacrifices its focus on narrative strength at times for cliche segments of oversentimentality, which appear merely to provide stirring nationalism that has become much to prevalent in contemporary Chinese cinema - a crippling and extremely unfortunate hindrance to not only this film but the entire industry itself.
Nevertheless, SHAOLIN delivers the goods in terms of action and scope; simply an entertaining film that sadly could have been so much more.
The film is set in Dengfeng, Henan, during the warlord era of early Republican China. The warlord Hou Jie defeats a rival named Huo Long and seizes control of Dengfeng. Huo Long flees to Shaolin Temple to hide but Hou Jie appears and shoots him. Hou Jie ridicules the Shaolin monks before leaving. And the faith starts its role... things change quickly and the vilains have a chance to become good guys...
I won't go to the story too much, if you see it it can spoil some of the moments...
This carefully crafted film started in October 2009 with a jubilant ceremony held inside Shaolin Monastery. News first spread of the project when the film's co-star Jackie Chan announced on his official website that he was involved with the project but was not able to talk about it due to contract restrictions. Chan and his crew built their own "Shaolin Temple" in Zhejiang province that cost 10 million yuan (US$1.47 million) to avoid damaging the actual temple. The cast members shaved their heads bald for filming, whereas Chan, who wore a hat, shaved around his head where his hair was sticking out. I loved the final result of the whole effort but I was dissaponted with the lack of "spirit" in the actual feel of the movie... it was always something BIG lacking... on the edge most of the time... but I can't say it was a bad movie!
And if you like theme song, Wu (悟), it was performed by Andy Lau himself... (by the way his left hand was injured while he was filming a fight scene not signing).
On this movies, it was very easy to became shaolin apprentice and learn shaolin kungfu... On others shaolin movies, it was so hard, the training etc etc. I dont know if this is an compliment for this movies or not.
And about the shaolin again? does it as easy as this movie to destroy the shaolin temple? is kungfu beaten by gun or infantry? ~i guess i seen some shaolin monk in real life, perform their abilities of kungfu, the can use needle as a gun... etc etc~ perhaps this movies wanna show the Attitude that every people deserved a life, not killed.
What i ddnt like is the usual Andy lau on epic movies, Die at the end. I was hoping that Jacky chan would do more action rather than Andy lau... :p
If you're expecting to watch Jackie Chan whoop ass, forget it. He's done doing most action fight scenes (even though there is one with him in it). This one is all Andy Lau, and he's not bad at all. The choreography is well done.
This is was a good B movie, but because it's not really based off anything from history, I was left not caring much about the temple...just seeing the fight scenes, and when they happen, they deliver.