- Title : Men From The Monastery (C-Movie) (HK-Movie) (1974)
- Hardsubbed or Softsubbed: Hardsubbed
- English Subtitles: Yes
- Date Aired (YYYY-MM-DD): 04/03/1974
The first mini-movie (the first three are about fifteen minutes long each) concerns Fu Sheng as Fong Sai-Yuk, who decides it’s time to leave Shaolin. Unfortunately, you can’t just walk out, but instead must pass through the “alley of death.” This is a maze of various traps Fong must avoid. In all honesty, this whole alley of death sequence comes off pretty hokey and low-budget. In fact, there is a definite low-budget feel to this movie, as most scenes take place outdoors, and those sets that are used, such as the alley, are minimal and inferior to the usual Shaws set design. Of course, Fong is able to leave Shaolin. He goes back to his hometown, only to find that it’s been taken over by a Ching bastard who fights men to the death while standing on poles. Fong takes the guy on, each of them standing on poles, a bed of spikes beneath them. This fight is equal to the finale of a regular movie, but here it’s just the end of Fong’s story, which leads directly into the next mini-movie.
The next “chapter” introduces Chi Kuan-Chun, who plays Hu Wei-Chien. He’s having trouble with a local gang of Ching bullies. They beat the shit out of Hu every chance they get, but he keeps coming back for more, regardless of his woman’s pleading. Finally Fong Sai-Yuk shows up and tells him to go to Shaolin Temple, where he can learn how to fight these guys. Hu goes, and we get a super fast-forward as he instantly returns, three years later, ready to kick ass. What Fong’s been doing all this time isn’t mentioned, but he’s there, ready to help his pal get revenge.
The third mini-film is all about Hung Sze-Kwan, as played by Chen Kuan-Tai. Hung’s running a guerrilla war against the Chings, but realizes he’s just one man, and can’t kill them all. Eventually he hooks up with Fong Sai-Yuk and Hu Wei-Chien, and the three of them manage to get rid of some Ching spies. It’s at this point the trio discovers that Shaolin has been burned to the ground. It’s payback time!
The burning of Shaolin leads into the fourth and final mini-movie. The three heroes hole up with several comrades and train themselves, knowing a Ching assault is soon to come. Sure enough it does, and this last half of the movie is wall-to-wall action. At many points it gets very gory, with men getting impaled by swords and spears and bleeding profusely, but all of this is filmed in black and white, to obscure the gore. Apparently this isn’t just US censorship; the Asian prints are supposedly the same. I guess we’ll find out for sure whenever Celestial gets around to releasing a remastered print. Two of the three heroes give their lives for the cause, one of them dying in a particularly-disturbing manner. This finale isn’t as thrilling as I would’ve wished, as the film lacks any memorable villains to root against.GD Star Rating
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