Review: New Legend of Shaolin (1994)

Directed by:
Cast: , , , ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

This is a pretty enjoyable Jet Li action vehicle as handled by Wong “I’ll do anything to entertain you” Jing. Because of the Wong factor, Li’s usual heroics are placed alongside various lowbrow comic set pieces (it’s just not a Wong Jing film without a fart gag), left field craziness (the villain drives a Chinese batmobile) and borrowed ideas: it steals liberally from Lone Wolf and Cub and other Li films like Fong Sai Yuk and Once Upon A Time In China.

Li is effective but doesn’t really have to do much here other than look solemn and play it straight whilst everyone around him pulls faces. The real star is 7 year old martial arts prodigy Tze Miu: he’s good as Jet Li’s son but it’s saying something when arguably the best fight in the film features a group of kids aged under 10. The action is mostly wire-enhanced swordplay choreographed well enough by Corey Yuen. Many people don’t like wire work because it masks Li’s natural ability, but it effectively enhances the fantasy in films like this. What’s more impressive though are the frequent poses struck by our heroes: Li really knows how to stand with a kid on his shoulders.

Wong Jing packs a lot into 90 minutes so it’s unlikely boredom will set it. It’s fun and nonsensical but nothing feels particularly inspired. Worth a look.

7 pieces of chicken ass out of 10.
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