Reviews

  • Apr 16, 2010

    Shaolin: Wheel of Life is a tremendous live staged performance by the Shaolin Monks. It tells the story of the betrayal of the monks by the emperor. It is amazing to see the strength, endurance, and flexibility that these boys and men have, due to many years of training.

    Shaolin: Wheel of Life is a tremendous live staged performance by the Shaolin Monks. It tells the story of the betrayal of the monks by the emperor. It is amazing to see the strength, endurance, and flexibility that these boys and men have, due to many years of training.

  • Sep 14, 2004

    [img]http://www.weid.org/Parties/Year%202002/Shaolin%20Monks/Pics/Shaolin%207.jpg[/img] [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] (2001, Nick Morris) - [color=seagreen][51][/color] The stage production of [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] is quite spectacular. Unfortunately, director Nick Morris doesn't do a very good job translating it into the PBS television production that this DVD consists of. While it is, at many times, like simply watching the stage production, Morris will often employ some amateurish and annoying tricks, and by the end, he has taken a great show and translated it into an almost unbearable film. [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] is a production not to be missed, but this DVD, I warn you now, is a poor substitute for the real thing. Use this as a last resort, if you can't see it live. [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] is a martial arts show performed by an international group of artists and bonafide ordained Soldier Monks from The Shaolin Temple itself. It tells the tale of the formation and struggle for preservation of The Shaolin Temple, and the monks' belief in the Wheel of Life. Beyond that, it also features plenty of jaw dropping stunts and feats, including a guy being suspended in the air by resting on spears, and one guy standing on his index fingers. There's also, of course, some crazy kung fu and a display of a variety of their weapons. It's a humbling, spiritual experience, but also an incredible and entertaining show. It's a very enjoyable production, to say the least. Two things about the show really stand out. First is the music. Composed by John Harle, the music is an impressive, passionate accompaniment to the visuals. It contains traditional Chinese sounds, but boasts a modern flavor, and makes for an appropriate score. I'd like to get my hands on that score. The other thing that really stands out is that many of the monks performing some of these feats are children. And some of them are danged young. There are six year old monks here who I swear could kick the collective ass of my friends and I all at once. Those kids are incredibly impressive! It kind of makes me wish I had done more as a kid than just sit on my ass, but then I remember I'm extremely lazy and couldn't have been bothered to. As great as this show is, I can't really recommend the DVD, as it is just a poor substitute for the live show. It wouldn't be if it had a better director, but we're stuck with Nick Morris, who simply does not prove his worth. This whole film is sloppily directed, and often times quite annoying to watch. Morris' camera is all over the fucking map, refusing to stop, even for a minute, to just show you what the hell is happening. It continually cuts to a multitude of angles, and will even go in far too close, obscuring much of what is happening. It needlessly cuts away to external material, such as footage of the monks training or walking through China. It also has plenty of annoying cuts, such as the "white flash" cuts. And then there's still the matter of the slow motion, which is used all too frequently, and often repeats shots. Ugh. Still, [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] is a stage production I recommend anyone who has the chance to see sees, and its strength is what gives this DVD the marks. Otherwise, avoid the DVD, unless there is no other way to see the show. This is a wortwhile DVD if it's the only way you can check the show out, as it is most definitely worth checking out. But given the director's shoddy work, it should be a last resort and nothing more. A truly poor substitute for the real thing, indeed.

    [img]http://www.weid.org/Parties/Year%202002/Shaolin%20Monks/Pics/Shaolin%207.jpg[/img] [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] (2001, Nick Morris) - [color=seagreen][51][/color] The stage production of [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] is quite spectacular. Unfortunately, director Nick Morris doesn't do a very good job translating it into the PBS television production that this DVD consists of. While it is, at many times, like simply watching the stage production, Morris will often employ some amateurish and annoying tricks, and by the end, he has taken a great show and translated it into an almost unbearable film. [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] is a production not to be missed, but this DVD, I warn you now, is a poor substitute for the real thing. Use this as a last resort, if you can't see it live. [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] is a martial arts show performed by an international group of artists and bonafide ordained Soldier Monks from The Shaolin Temple itself. It tells the tale of the formation and struggle for preservation of The Shaolin Temple, and the monks' belief in the Wheel of Life. Beyond that, it also features plenty of jaw dropping stunts and feats, including a guy being suspended in the air by resting on spears, and one guy standing on his index fingers. There's also, of course, some crazy kung fu and a display of a variety of their weapons. It's a humbling, spiritual experience, but also an incredible and entertaining show. It's a very enjoyable production, to say the least. Two things about the show really stand out. First is the music. Composed by John Harle, the music is an impressive, passionate accompaniment to the visuals. It contains traditional Chinese sounds, but boasts a modern flavor, and makes for an appropriate score. I'd like to get my hands on that score. The other thing that really stands out is that many of the monks performing some of these feats are children. And some of them are danged young. There are six year old monks here who I swear could kick the collective ass of my friends and I all at once. Those kids are incredibly impressive! It kind of makes me wish I had done more as a kid than just sit on my ass, but then I remember I'm extremely lazy and couldn't have been bothered to. As great as this show is, I can't really recommend the DVD, as it is just a poor substitute for the live show. It wouldn't be if it had a better director, but we're stuck with Nick Morris, who simply does not prove his worth. This whole film is sloppily directed, and often times quite annoying to watch. Morris' camera is all over the fucking map, refusing to stop, even for a minute, to just show you what the hell is happening. It continually cuts to a multitude of angles, and will even go in far too close, obscuring much of what is happening. It needlessly cuts away to external material, such as footage of the monks training or walking through China. It also has plenty of annoying cuts, such as the "white flash" cuts. And then there's still the matter of the slow motion, which is used all too frequently, and often repeats shots. Ugh. Still, [u]Shaolin: Wheel of Life[/u] is a stage production I recommend anyone who has the chance to see sees, and its strength is what gives this DVD the marks. Otherwise, avoid the DVD, unless there is no other way to see the show. This is a wortwhile DVD if it's the only way you can check the show out, as it is most definitely worth checking out. But given the director's shoddy work, it should be a last resort and nothing more. A truly poor substitute for the real thing, indeed.

  • Feb 18, 2004

    "A live performance that premiered on PBS in December 2001, SHAOLIN: WHEEL OF LIFE is a [color=red]spectacular [/color]stage performance that features the soldier monks of China's Shaolin Temple, who have been immortalized in countless kung fu films. Revealing their history through a stunning combination of theater and martial arts, the performance also features a thrilling story of jealousy and betrayal that would not be out of place in one of the movies inspired by their heritage. Beautifully filmed and impeccably performed featuring almost superhuman feats of strength and agility, SHAOLIN: WHEEL OF LIFE is essential viewing for martial arts film devotees and a sheer delight for those unfamiliar with the mysterious world of the Shaolin monks." I saw this live and spectacular it is. Move over, Jet Li... I'm in love with a Shaolin Monk! [img]http://userimages.rottentomatoes.com/profiles/81622/1784034264dd771b.jpg[/img] [img]http://userimages.rottentomatoes.com/profiles/81622/18240342be521580.jpg[/img] Well... I'm back, I'm back! I've been gone so long I forgot how to get here. I'm not writing much now 'cause I have lots of tweaking to do now that I'm online again. I've been keeping myself so busy the months just slipped by. I'm taking a break this week, I'm burning out. I got back into the physical fitness craze when I realized spending so much time on the computer was making me chubby and LAZY! I'm off to catch up on reading the other journals now. EEEEEEEEEEwwwwwww, did I write all this boring stuff? Lemme delete some of this...

    "A live performance that premiered on PBS in December 2001, SHAOLIN: WHEEL OF LIFE is a [color=red]spectacular [/color]stage performance that features the soldier monks of China's Shaolin Temple, who have been immortalized in countless kung fu films. Revealing their history through a stunning combination of theater and martial arts, the performance also features a thrilling story of jealousy and betrayal that would not be out of place in one of the movies inspired by their heritage. Beautifully filmed and impeccably performed featuring almost superhuman feats of strength and agility, SHAOLIN: WHEEL OF LIFE is essential viewing for martial arts film devotees and a sheer delight for those unfamiliar with the mysterious world of the Shaolin monks." I saw this live and spectacular it is. Move over, Jet Li... I'm in love with a Shaolin Monk! [img]http://userimages.rottentomatoes.com/profiles/81622/1784034264dd771b.jpg[/img] [img]http://userimages.rottentomatoes.com/profiles/81622/18240342be521580.jpg[/img] Well... I'm back, I'm back! I've been gone so long I forgot how to get here. I'm not writing much now 'cause I have lots of tweaking to do now that I'm online again. I've been keeping myself so busy the months just slipped by. I'm taking a break this week, I'm burning out. I got back into the physical fitness craze when I realized spending so much time on the computer was making me chubby and LAZY! I'm off to catch up on reading the other journals now. EEEEEEEEEEwwwwwww, did I write all this boring stuff? Lemme delete some of this...