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The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
Master Killer

Hong Kong 1978
produced by
Shaw Brothers
directed by Lau Kar Leung (= Liu Chia-Liang)
starring Gordon Liu Chia-Hui, Wang Yu, Lo Lieh, Liu Chia Yung (= Lau Kar-wing), Billy Chan, John Cheung, Norman Chu, Lee Hoi-San, Casanova Wong, Henry Yu Yung

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Available on DVD !

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When young San-Ta (Gordon Liu Chia-Hui) sees a rebel (Liu Chia-Yung) against the Tartar oppressors executed, he decides to join the revolutionary movement, but that only leads to manyof his friend & his fanmily being killed as well, & he himself only just escapes his enemies.

So, san-Ta only sees one conclusion, he has to go to the Shaolin Temple to learn Kung Fu. The temp0le though is run by monks who don't meddle in worldly affairs, & for a whole year all he is allowed to do is to clean the floors before even being allowed to Kung Fu training.

After that year though, San-Ta is admitted to the 35 Chambers, a series of training exercises that teach the basic skills needed for fighting. The exercises (which, taken by themselves, have little to do with actual fighting) though are often of an inhumane, humiliating character, & only great perseverance & self assuredness allow San-Ta to run all of the chambers, & in record time, too.

Top be masster of his own chamber though, San-Ta has to first fight the monastery's justice officer - a top fighter in his own right - with free choice of weaponry ... & San-Ta loses not once but several times, until he uses the self developed three-jointed bar to defeat his adversary. But when he, instead of taking over one of the 35 chambers, tells the monastery's abbott that he wants to build a 36th chamber to  teach martial arts to layman, he is expelled from the monastery.

Outside Shaolin for the first time after seven years, he sees his world has changed for the worse, with the Tartars being more evil than ever ... but as the master fighter he now is, he decides to fight them, assembles a small group of rebels who he trains in fighting, & doesn't stop at anything until he can finally face the Tartars' local leader general Tien (Lo Lieh) - & defeat him, again with the 3-jointed bar ...

 

For many, this movie - the directorial debut of Liu Chia-Liang, Chang Cheh's action director, & it shows - is the quintessential movie about #Shaolin Kung Fu training, even though it was by no means the first one. What set it apart from its predecessors though is its increasingly bizarre depiction of training methods that often border the sado-masochistic - & which set the tone for most Kung Fu-training films films to come. On a narrative level on the other hand, the movie has surprisingly little to offer, it has less of a coherent story (or much of a story at all)  & is more of an unreflected celebration of heroiusm. Action choreography & cinematography are without fail though.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD