Shaolin Hero (Taiwan 1982)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/24/06
Cast: Meng Fei, Leung Ka-Yan, Phillip Ko

A sub-par kung fu outing concerning a tragic love triangle and a secret society that's out to shame a respected man. While waiting for her lover to return, a young woman is attacked by bandits and subsequently rescued by a chivalrous man named Willow (stately Leung Ka-Yan). She decides to take him as her husband, while her jilted lover Rocky (dashing Meng Fei) is being framed for crimes he hasn't committed. Through devious cunning, the secret society plots to have Rocky and Willow kill each other so that they can rise to power.

The plot is nearly incomprehensible and the characters are neither interesting or endearing. The film has obviously been re-titled for the international market, as it has absolutely nothing to do with Shaolin Temple or Buddhist monks. Instead, it features a group of blind monks who ingeniously kidnap a woman in a bathtub. You can tell they're blind because they have sour expressions and are always looking upwards. The action scenes contain some fairly satisfying swordplay, but the editing is a bit disruptive. The only noteworthy fight in the film is during the climax when Leung Ka-Yan and Meng Fei duke it out with a villainous Phillip Ko, which is quite enjoyable. Unless you're a Meng Fei or Leung Ka-Yan completist, there's better fare out there to satisfy a kung fu craving.