Movie review: the new Shaolin

Shaolin was a landmark show when it premiered way back. It had good solid original kungfu showcased by real champions and we know Jet Li because of this show. But more than that it had history, humor and a huge respect for tradition whilst telling a classic good versus evil story with the temple and Buddhism as a backdrop.

There is none of this in the new show. First most of the real kungfu pugulists don't get much air time and instead we get the two HKG stars slugging it out with the aid of wires and stuntmen. Wu JING is the most under-utilized of the lot and doesnt really show off his sublime skills and he is the champion just like Jet Li was. We also milk too much air time out of a fading Jackie Chan who seems to be included for the sole reason of being a crowd pleaser. If you cut out his segment and his annoying accent, you will be none the worse.

Sadly the whole Buddhist line is badly portrayed and the monks are only too eager to steal maim or kill and using their skills seems to be their main Pre-occupation. The story is not well cobbled together and despite genuine attempts by Andy Lau to milk his acting chops it seems likely more than another vehicle to capitalize on his popularity.

There are plenty of big sets and you are made acutely aware of the scale and budget of this production but it is actually dwarfed by the original which had equal numbers of extras, a solid score and far more breath taking scenery.

At the end you do feel chested of your time and money, and even if it will have a superb 7.1 soundtrack and lots of exposure to Andy Lau, i'd rather spend hours re-watching the old one on VCD.

The original is the real deal, and scores of audiences around the world took up martial arts because of that landmark show.

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