Review Date: 9/24/16
Cast: Liu Zhenling, Gao Hongping
A kung fu propaganda film about a rebellious monk named Zhi Xing (Liu Zhenling) who secretly practices kung fu and uses it to protect his friends and the common people. His actions come to the attention of the evil Jins, who commit themselves to slaughtering villagers and plundering Shaolin Temple. The Buddhist priests preach mercy throughout the film, but they're just as cruel as the Jins and Zhi is eventually forced to flee the monastery. A feisty swordswoman named Zhao Xiang (cute Gao Hongping) comes to Zhi's aid and together they take out the Jin army.
It's a gorgeous film and the Chinese locations are spectacular. Unfortunately, the story is a jumbled mess and the film jumps all over the place with no sense of direction or continuity. I had no idea what was going on for most of the film, and the only scenes that make any sense are the fighting scenes. Liu Zhenling and Gao Hongping are excellent wushu practitioners and the ground based action scenes are fast and fluid. The film also features several scenes of shocking animal brutality which are hard to stomach and serve no purpose. While the kung fu scenes are brilliant and fun to watch, the Communist propaganda leaves a bad taste and ultimately spoils the film.