I had to post this as my first movie for Wuxia Cinema. This was the first Kung Fu movie I had ever seen, I was only 13 years old and it was amazing! I just watched it again and I enjoyed it now just as much as I did all those years ago. My only regret is I’ve never been able to watch it in its original Cantonese. Only with that horrible English dubbing. However I have recently found out that there is now a 36th Chamber of Shaolin Trilogy Blu-ray Region All Hong Kong version that was released earlier this year. It contains The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978), Return of the 36th Chamber (1980) and Disciples of the 36th Chamber (1985) and includes special features. For me the best part is that it has the original Cantonese Audio track (as well as the original English dubbed) with English subtitles. It comes at a hefty price of US$79.99 (UK£52.76). Currently you can get Regions 0, 1 & 2 for DVD but only Blu-ray Region A/1 before this Hong Kong Trilogy Version was released.
One of the reasons I like this film is that the training sequences are so essential to the film so it does away with the bog standard five minute training montage. Also I have always enjoyed the Kung Fu demonstrations during the opening credits of older Shaw Brothers films and this one is no exception.
Chia-Hui Liu who is also known as Gordon Liu plays the character San Te who leaves his home to learn Shaolin Kung Fu so he may avenge his family who where murdered by the occupying Manchu army. This was Gordon Liu’s tenth film out of the 103 that he has currently been in. Younger generations may recognize him better as Johnny Mo in Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), the head general of the Crazy 88’s, and kung fu master Pai Mei in Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004).
The legendary Lau Kar-wing plays General Yin. I have admired Lau Kar-wing‘s work for many years not only for his acting (Odd Couple 1979, The One-Armed Swordsman 1967) but also for his amazing martial arts choreography (5 Fingers of Death 1962, Armour of God 1986) and directing (Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon 1990)
I also like the fact that all the actors and stunt men had a real understanding of Martial Arts which I think is missing in many of todays Martial Arts Films and television shows. Gordon Liu studied Hung Gar from Lau Cham’s martial arts school. Lau Kar-wing was the fourth son of Lau Cham who himself studied under Lam Sai Wing, pupil of the legendary Chinese folk hero, Wong Fei Hung (this is according to wikipedia).
I don’t know what else to say other than even after all these years and all of the amazing movies I have seen this is still one of the better Martial Arts films I have seen and even after watching it so many times I never get bored of it.
Gordon Liu Chia-Hui as Liu Yu-de/Monk San Ta
Lo Lieh as General Tien Ta
John Cheung Ng-Long as Lord Cheng
Wilson Tong Wai-Shing as Lord Tang San-yao
Wa Lun as Liu Yu-de’s classmate
Hon Kwok-Choi as Lin Zhen
Lau Kar-Wing as General Yin
Wai Wang as Teacher Ho
Chan Sze-Kai as Yien Pin, Teacher Ho’s assistant
Wong Ching-Ho as Liu Yu-de’s father
Woo Wang-Daat as Shaolin abbot
Lee Hoi-Sang as Shaolin Justice Officer
Keung Hon as Abbot in charge of Cleanliness
Hao Li-Jen as Abbot in charge of Top chamber
Shum Lo as Abbot in charge of Dining Hall
Lui Tat as Abbot in charge of Arm chamber
Chan Shen as Abbot in charge of Wrist Chamber
Chiang Nan as Abbot in charge of Eye Chamber
Aai Dung-Gwa as Abbot in charge of Head Chamber
Simon Yuen Siu-Tin as Abbot in charge of Boxing Chamber
Wang Han-Chen as Abbot in charge of Leg Chamber
Peter Chan Lung as Abbot in charge of Staff Chamber/soldier
Kung Fu Cinema review of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
Kung Fu Kingdom review