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Arhats in Fury
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2008
Now potential buyers should be warned that the first 20 minutes of this film will have raised your eyebrows all the way up to the North Pole. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. The lead character is only glimpsed in that time. My recommendation is to re-watch that first mysterious chunk after the film is completed, and that will help... some.

The basic story concerns a young monk named Chi Sing (Lau Jan Ling) and his master (Go Hung Ping), who are sent out on the Shaolin equivalent of a "vision quest". No food, no water, nothing. It seems that this pair are constantly at odds with the strict and antiquated rules of the temple, and as a result, are constantly being punished for their insubordination, Chi Sing specifically. In the name of defense and starvation, Chi Sing is forced to kill some crows, another mega-no-no. While making their way back to the temple, they encounter a village being attacked by the invading Jins (who ruled Northern China for most of the 12th century), and though he tries hard, Chi Sing can't take the slaughter and jumps in to help. Though he becomes a hero to the village and a group of rebels, he is determined to return to the temple and accept his punishment. To make matters worse, the Jins show up at the temple to look for the humble hero and start killing monks; until Chi Sing, his master, and some rebels intervene. Now hailed as a hero by the younger monks of the temple, the older abbots still wish to punish him severely. The rebels then free him from captivity and his secular temper eventually decides to help them.

If you start paying attention at the part where he and his master are being eaten by crows, you should be alright. I don't normally like to give too much plot away, but there's still a lot more to this film to see and enjoy, including bizarre animal attacks, and some awesome fights. The choreography in mainland Wushu films is quite different from Hong Kong films. Full of grace and form, they are a real joy to watch. Of course, the editing could have been a little better but...

As with all of Xenon's releases that I've seen, it's hard to say if it's really remastered or not. The widescreen presentation and good picture quality would indicate a strong "possibly". There are a couple of brief scenes where hardly anything can be distinguished, though it's not really a big deal. This is another case where I wish there was an option for subtitles (English language only). They might have helped clear up some of the confusion early on. Probably not though. Either way, it's a good story, with some original plot elements, emotionally-charged content, and good fights, though more would have been nice. Watch with a friend: It'll make for some interesting and speculative conversation. 3.5/5 and RECOMMENDED.

Special thanks to Morgoth for clarification. My apologies for the title.

1985
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on May 19, 2012
Arhats in Fury is a 1985 martial arts movie, produced in China, that can be a little confusing at times but is ultimately an enjoyable kung fu movie to watch. This review refers specifically to the DVD version of this movie with ASIN number B00006L93H (the photograph on the front cover shows a bearded monk holding a young woman in pale blue aloft, with the title in red Chinese characters on the right-hand side). Amazon has this DVD listed as a '2-Disc Version;' this is incorrect, as there is only one disc.

This historical film revolves around a young monk, Zhi Xing, and his involvement in the conflict between the local people and the Jins who are invading. Zhi Xing's monastery leaders are stubbornly clinging to the temple's rules of nonviolence and therefore forbid any physical resistance to the Jin incursion, yet any infraction on the part of the monks is met with very violent discipline by the abbots, including brutal beatings, severing of limbs and death. Zhi Xing ends up fighting the Jins in order to defend people at a local village; this act starts a sequence of conflicts between Zhi Xing and both the Jins and his monastery.

There is a nice, non-obtrusive romantic interest for Zhi in the film, but the platonic master-student relationship of Zhi and his master, Jiao Yuan, turns out to be the more moving relationship in the film. The depiction of Jiao's fatherly protection and compassion towards Zhi gives this film much of its humanity, and the scene in which Jiao desperately pleads for the abbot to spare Zhi's life and take his own is striking in its emotional effect. The Jin characters, on the other hand, are mostly one-dimensional and treated essentially as crude, repulsive villains.

There are only four or five main fight sequences in this movie - although each is fairly lengthy, if you expect wall-to-wall action in your martial arts films, you won't find that here. This film is very heavy on story, especially in the first thirty minutes, and the long fight scenes are not gratuitous, but rather are well-integrated with the plot. The first fight between Zhi and a Jin soldier has some impressive acrobatics that look fairly natural (that is, without wires or excessive editing tricks). I always enjoy watching this fight, as well as the one between Zhi's shackled master and the Jins that takes place at the monastery. There is another large-scale fight involving many animals and birds that must have been difficult to film, but is unusual and interesting to watch. Of course, there is the big show-down at the end. On the whole, the movie seems to be fairly big-budget, with beautiful photography, locations and costumes.

The first time that I watched this DVD, I was confused by the sequence of scenes early in the film. Only a second viewing cleared up some of the confusion. When you watch, the movie begins with Zhi and Jiao struggling to survive out in the wilderness. What then follows are a series of rather quick and often baffling scenes of events that have already happened that have lead up to the two monks being in the wilderness. About twenty minutes later, the film picks up once again with them in the wilderness as they are attacked by birds, and from there the action moves forward and is quite linear. On first watching, I thought that the wilderness/birds scenes were two separate instances and wasn't sure what had happened, so I hope that this helps you to make better sense of the story. There are still a few odd moments, like the flying head-to-wall suicide and the brief 'horror-movie' element while Master Jiao is being beaten, but they just add to the fun. It is a serious film, but there are several instances of intentional and unintentional humor.

You can hear the movie in Mandarin, Cantonese or an English dub, and view subtitles, as well. The English subtitles do not exactly match the spoken English dub. In order to get the most from the movie, I would suggest watching it once with the English dub, which is often quite humorous (one of the temple's masters sounds a bit like John Wayne). But with the Mandarin language enabled, the voice acting is very good, full of emotion and gives the movie the weight that it deserves.

The picture quality is not perfect but is very good, except for about the first couple of minutes and the last couple of minutes. At those points, the picture has some noticeable film damage, but almost all of the rest of the DVD has a clean picture. There are no extras to speak of, apart from some trailers of other movies from the same studio. (Incidentally, one of these, Chun Tao, is also a very good, if somewhat depressing, movie.)

I consider a movie to be good based on whether I would like to watch it again. I have watched Arhats in Fury three times and plan to watch more, so I give this one the full five stars for its genre. You may not like it as much as I do, but if you enjoy martial arts films and have patience to follow a sometimes complicated story-line, then you may enjoy this one.
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This movie is akin to 'South Shaolin Master', not quite as good, but I thought it was just as good as another similiar film called 'The Undaunted Wudang'. All are mainland Chinese films that use a much different type of fighting style. Of course no kung fu movie shows real kung fu but rather they will pose and then sort of dance around. In 'Arhats in Fury' they do similiar fighting but focus much more on the art of the martial arts with Wushu masters showing beautiful movement on screen.

Now the movie starts off very oddly. A young man and his master who are monks at a temple are sent out into the wilderness and starved as a punishment. Next we see a strange scene where monks are hanging by ropes off of a cliff to grab herbs and are being worked very hard. The head monk who is ordering them is getting mad and ends up causing many rocks to fall and kill some of the monks. Next thing we know the temple is being invaded by monkeys. There is literally about a 1000 monkeys who storm in to the temple and take it over. I have never seen anything like this in a movie before. The scene took me a couple viewings to understand but it finally made sense. We learn later in the movie that the young monk has become very good friends with all of the animals and when the young monks friends are being killed, the monkeys take action. Only one monkey really attacks but this sets up a scene later in the movie where he has to call on the animals to take on an army. It is truly one of the most spectacular scenes in cinema history.

Now the movie itself is boring but still tells a very good story. The final fight is average but there is 3 other fights to look forward to and any fu fan will love these scenes.

The version of this movie I have comes in the Wu Tang 20 pack. While I cannot highly recommend that DVD collection, I will tell you that it does have VERY good picture quality for this particular movie.
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on August 5, 2014
This mainland China production, like all wushu movies produced and directed by the People's Republic, features some of the most extraordinary fight choreography ever captured on film, in particular those involving the leading actress, Hongping Gao, who is indubitably one of the lesser known but greatest female martial arts practitioner I have ever encountered in my over forty years of experience watching wushu movies; far eclipsing the main star, Lau Jan Ling, who nevertheless puts in a commendable performance as the hero who challenges the traditional rules governing the Shaolin Temple elders and lends the movie a thought provoking aspect in questioning the wisdom of strictly adhering to rules and laws even though they have been established over a period of time; and also contains some of the most remarkable scenes involving attack by animals, namely birds and monkeys, which lends for great cinematic effect as one of the most incredible moment ever captured in the history of film.
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on September 10, 2011
I have had this movie some over 4 years and I still find myself watching this good movie. The fight scenes are choreographed very well and the story line is easy to follow. This movie has good picture/sound quality and you will enjoy this one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2005
The movie should be looked at for it's stunning cinematography, not it's lack of kung fu action! There is only like maybe 4 kung fu scenes in the whole movie but the fights in this movie were great! There were some great stunts performed! The cinematography was great! I loved all the shaolin monks scenes and use of animals in this movie! And don't listen to these fools for saying this movie had a bad story! The story was great! Maybe it was the dialouge in the Xenon Group version that through off some cuz when these people dub stuff they usually change the dialouge and the story all together!! Anyways the story is about these 800 monks who live at peace until one of their kind got into some trouble, using his kung fu! Now the blame is on the Shaolin Temple and these evil soldiers will kill them! What will you do!?!

The copy I got was from Tai Seng video! It comes in it's original language with subs and the DVD plays how it's suppose to! No screw ups nothing!
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on March 2, 2015
do not buy
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on November 13, 2014
love it
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2001
DO NOT BUY THIS MOVIE,the whole movie was not enjoyable and no action at all.i threw my copy away.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2000
This is one of the worst martial arts movies I've ever seen. The dubbing is horrible, there's no way you can tell what they are saying. Jet Li's not even in the movie even though you see him on the cover. The very first fight in the beginning was really good but then the story completely collapsed. I suggest you get SHAOLIN TEMPLE, the first Jet Li movie.
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