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cover: Shaolin Temple, The

Shaolin Temple, The

Director(s): Cheung Yam Yim

Theatrical Release: 1982

Cast: Jet Li

Genre(s): Action, martial arts, Dean's List

Countries: Hong Kong


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Running Time: 99m.

This is the first Hong Kong kung-fu movie to be shot in mainland China, actually using the location where the Shaolin martial arts were born as the site for filming. A real Shaolin champion plays the lead (Jet Li), and perhaps because of his training in this form of kung-fu, he comes across as respectful and sincere. The story centers on a legend painted as a mural in one hall of the Shaolin Temple itself. During the Tang dynasty (618-906 A.D.), 13 monks from this temple saved the life of the emperor, and when the story begins, one man (Jet Li) has just escaped certain death at the hands of the emperor's cruel retainers and is looking for asylum in the temple. A kindly priest and his acolytes nurse the man back to health, and although his decision is not made lightly, he finally enters the monkhood and begins training in the martial arts. His motivation is not exactly saintly - he wants revenge for the murder of his father - and that desire leads him out into the world to subdue his enemies. Eleanor Mannikka (allmovie.com)
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