Martial Arts of Shaolin (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

Martial Arts of Shaolin (1985)





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Movie Info

This is the third in a series of Shaolin Temple films starring China's martial arts champion Jet Li (aka Li Lianjie). Li's good looks, star presence, and stunning gymnastics -- as he twists, turns, and somersaults through a series of well-choreographed battles -- carry this otherwise routine action film. He plays Zhi Ming, trained in the Northern Shaolin Temple after his father was murdered by the evil magistrate He Suo. Zhi Ming plans on attacking the magistrate during a lion dance performed at an annual festival. That attempt at retribution fails but introduces him to Sima, a woman who was trained in the Southern Shaolin Temple after her father was framed by He Suo. (The translation of the title for this film is North-South Shaolin Temple.) In fact, Zhi Ming's father died because he protested the treatment of his friend, Sima's father. It does not take long for Sima and Zhi Ming to discover that they have matching ankle bracelets -- meaning they were betrothed by their parents while still too young to know what that meant. Now they team up to bring down He Suo, engaging their enemies on the Great Wall of China and in the Forbidden City. Jet Li would make another Shaolin film in 1994 and gained recognition in the West when he played Mel Gibson's nemesis in Lethal Weapon 4 (1998).
Action & Adventure , Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Celestial Pictures

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Jet Li
as Zhi Ming
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Critic Reviews for Martial Arts of Shaolin

All Critics (2)

Crouching Matrix, Hidden Kill Bill... The best movie I've seen this year.

Full Review… | October 19, 2004

Audience Reviews for Martial Arts of Shaolin


I won't go until you pay me. Zhi Ming has been a student and now teacher in the Northern Mountains of Shaolin. A ruthless dictator threatens the school and student's way of life so he sets out on a mission out of the temple to assassinate the ruler. Two other students from a rival school are sent on a similar mission. "If we don't save lives, it is a sin. But if we take lives, it is a sin..." Chia-Liang Liu, director of The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, The 36 Chambers of Shaolin, Return of the 36 Chambers, Shaolin Mantis, Dirty Ho, and My Young Auntie, delivers Martial Arts of Shaolin. The storyline for this picture is entertaining but not overly unique for the genre. The martial arts are wonderful and well executed as is the main character delivered by Jet Li. "Release the prisoner." This was recently added to the Netflix online queue so I added it to my wish list. I was surprised I had never seen this but this was an entertaining addition to the genre that is borderline worth adding to your DVD collection if you're a fan of the genre. I recommend watching this if you enjoy martial arts pictures. "He's gone." Grade: B-

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

On Netflix!!! My first time seeing this in non-bootlegged form. Lau Kar Leung (Liu Chia Liang) directing (or co-directing?) a Mainland Chinese film starring Jet Li and the results are as brilliant as one would hope (but wouldn't dare expect). Why isn't Gordon Liu in this? The Shaw Bros. fanfare at the beginning seems like a ret-con, as well as the "Another Shaw production" at the end, but I don't really know the history behind the production, and I could never watch those awful bootlegged copies all the way through.

George Isaacs
George Isaacs

Martial Arts of Shoalin is the first and only collaboration between Jet Li and Lau Kar-Leung. There is some slightly unconventional weapon use as well. This is also one of the few times that Jet Li has used this particular combination of weapons on screen, and it turns out to be one of his best fight sequences. This is Yue Sing-Wai's best action performance, and he delivers it with his signature style. It's some of the best fighting Lau Kar-Leung ever choreographed. It is a combination of the best that Hong Kong and mainland China had to offer at the time.

Steven Vincent Gee
Steven Vincent Gee

Super Reviewer

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