Disciples of the 36th Chamber
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Fong Sai Yuk's uninhibited arrogance toward a Manchu lord forces him to seek refuge in a Shaolin temple. Although abundantly trained in the martial arts, he is no match for Master San Te, the creator of the 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Exhausted by his frequent defeats, Fong seeks to escape his prison and crosses paths with a governor, who rewards him with a yellow robe granting immunity from any Manchu. But what are the governor's true intentions? Will Fong feed his foolish ego and betray the Shaolin Temple?
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Top customer reviews
After a fun and explanatory fight-based prologue, Hsiao Hou ("My Young Auntie") plays mischievous and proficient kung fu expert Fong Sai Yuk. After getting into some serious trouble with the Manchus, his mother (Lily Li Li, "Shaolin Mantis") and step-father send him and his brothers to the Shaolin Temple to avoid execution and learn discipline from San Te (Liu). The problem is that the grueling training that Shaolin offers is no match for the robusticity of Sai Yuk. He is almost San Te's equal and has plenty of energy after the day's exercises to sneak out and venture into town for more trouble.
If one can pretend that this was made in the late-'70s, it's liabilities decrease significantly and one can just enjoy it as an old-school fu-flick. It's got some groovy things to offer. Fans of Gordon Liu may be disappointed that he's not the main character but he's still got plenty of screen time and physically, Hsiao Hou delivers as much grace, agility and effortlessness (see also "Mad Monkey Kung Fu") as anyone, including Yuen Biao. His character is a little annoying and impetuous, but that's what happens when you're that young and that good. The fights aren't the best anyone has ever seen but are mostly fast & fluid and I like them quite a bit.
This may have been the last Dragon Dynasty release to include Bey Logan's commentary and that is the only special feature. However, unlike the bootleg copy I endured for years, this has an English dub! Or English subtitles with original Mandarin language if you prefer. The picture is also fully remastered by Celestial with their usual gorgeous quality. I am reluctant to recommend this whole-heartedly but old-school fans should definitely see it, if for no other reason than being a direct sequel to the best kung fu movie ever made. I rated this at 4.5 stars when I first watched & reviewed it but have a hard time maintaining that praise. I do still like it and have watced it a handful of times. 3.5 of 5.
1985. aka: Disciples of the Master Killer
Fang Shiyu/Fong Sai Yuk (Hsiao Hou) is the rebellious son of a martial arts woman. So rebellious that he is kept bound at all times (even in school) for fear that he may get into trouble. Fang Shiyu is not a bright young man, in fact, he is so headstrong and uncontrollable he must attend class with younger students who look to be in first or second grade while his own peers sit in the next class. Fang Shiyu's behavior and overall thick-headedness leads to problems when he misinterprets the intentions of a monk (Gordon Liu), and pursues him at a Manchu gym for a fight.
In doing so, he brazenly offends a Manchu official and is told he will be beheaded and the local Cantonese gym will be torn down. However, thanks to swift thinking by his doting mother, he is instead, sent to the Shaolin 36th chambers where he ends up with the same monk.
There, Fong Shiyu gets into more trouble, and is constantly reminded by the wisdom and skill of his superior that he still has a lot to learn despite his excellent kung fu. Fang Shiyu means well and has a strong sense of justice. But he's thick, and doesn't listen so of course, Monk San Te (Liu) must do what he can to keep the school out of trouble. This doesn't stop Shiyu from befriending the same Manchu principals who not only wants him dead, but has secretly hatched a deadly plot against the Shaolin Temple,in particular, the 36th Chamber.
Excellent performance by Gordon Liu, he looks like a monk, and there is something regal about him. He is very believable in this role and I like him much better here than in the original 36th Chambers.
But this is Hsiao Hou's movie all the way through. His Fang Shiyu is tough, but too stubborn to see the error of his ways and as a result, he is always getting the people he cares about most in trouble. Some may not care for Hsiao Hou's portrayal, but legend has it, that the Chinese hero Fang Shiyu was a bit of a trouble maker whose antics lead to the historical burning down of the Shaolin Temple. Hsiao Hou plays this character to perfection. He comes across very convincibly as hard, which is exactly what the role calls for. If you understand this about the movie's folk hero, then you'll appreciate Hsiao Hou's portrayal that much more.
Hou shows excellent kung fu and acrobat skills, while managing to flex some serious on screen muscle. You can see how much work went into getting his body in shape for the role. There is a very impressive stunt at the beginning of the movie, which is what I look for when I watch one of these movies and Hsiao Hou is in them. This same stunt was copied by Uma Thurman's character in Kill Bill, in which, Gordon Liu also has a role. Definitely worth watching.
Lau Kar Leung takes a smaller role, and as always, is terrific.