Shaolin | Chicago Reader


131 minutes 2012

This loose remake of the old Jet Li favorite The Shaolin Temple (1982) is a familiar but perfectly competent genre entertainment, its creaky storytelling countered by its well-choreographed action and old-fashioned star power. Andy Lau, casually charming as ever, stars as the heartless warlord who comes to fight alongside Buddhist monks when their monastery is threatened by advancing armies; Jackie Chan turns up as the monastery's chef, beating back his enemies with a giant wok. This differs most significantly from the original in its emphasis on Buddhist values of compassion and repentance; the moralizing makes for an awkward fit with all the fight sequences, but hearing those values espoused in an action film is still refreshing. Benny Chan directed. In subtitled Cantonese and Mandarin.

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