Shaolin Against Lama (Taiwan 1980)

Rating: **
Review Date: 4/4/04
Cast: Alexander Lo Rei

A poorly edited and nearly incomprehensible kung fu outing featuring the impressive Alexander Lo. Alexander Lo is a Chinese prince of some sort, who has been practicing kung fu in Tibet with the Lamas (or "lahmers" according to the standard bad dubbing team). The time comes for him to leave and take over the throne, but dark forces conspire to see that that doesn't happen. The Black Sect has been subjugating kung fu schools all over China, but Shaolin Temple refuses to bend to their will. Lo is duped into believing that Shaolin are the troublemakers and goes to confront them, but eventually learns the truth. But does it really matter? The main reason for watching the film is to see the exhausting kung fu sequences which are plentiful and quite enjoyable. Alexander Lo is fascinating to watch, and his skill and precision are quite impressive. In fact, all of the fighters are quite good, and apart from some undercranking here and there, the fight scenes are fabulous. Unfortunately, it's a pan-and-scan nightmare, and quite often you can't even see both combatants simultaneously - or at all, for that matter. The film also utilizes some excellent location filming (interspersed with out of place stock footage), which makes the film seem much more elegant and grandiose than it actually is. Kung fu buffs will likely be pleased.