Man, talk about a let down. When I first looked up today’s movie, the first link was for a movie from 1982 that starred Jet Li, which got me pretty excited because I thought I would be getting a really good movie. Then I realized the dates were wrong so I had to do some more looking to try and find the correct movie. So let’s see if today’s movie is worth the hassle of looking up as I watch Shaolin Temple (1976).
The plot: In a Chinese palace, the emperor and his court are watching some girls dance but when the performance is over, an aide rushes into the room and says the Minister of War is coming with his army. As the soldiers begin attacking the city, the Minister of War enters the chamber with some of his top lieutenants, who begin fighting with the palace guards. The Minister says that he was never going to be satisfied with just being Minister of War and wanted to be emperor, prompting the emperor’s wife to kill herself, as she had recommended the general to that position. The prince and princess rush to her side to hold her but after her passing, the princess kills herself as well when she learns the minister plans on taking her as her wife. The minister kills the emperor and tries to kill the prince but the last of the emperor’s loyal guards manage to get him out of the palace. They manage to get out of the city but General Ho stays behind to buy his men time to get the prince to safety, telling the prince that he must get stronger so he can avenge his father. The prince and the other soldiers leave and General Ho manages to fend off the soldiers but when the new king’s general attacks him, he finds himself outmatched. The prince returns to sacrifice himself to save General Ho’s life and ends up being struck by a poisoned dart. General Ho is also struck by a poisoned dart but manages to temporarily blind the general and allow them to escape. They reach the river and have a ferryman take them to the other side but General Ho tells his men that the prince has been poisoned and needs medicine from the monastery, then instructing them to take the prince to his home and contact his two daughters to help. General Ho is killed guarding their escape and the general orders the ferryman to come back but the ferryman continues to head to the other side, then kills himself so he can’t be forced to betray the prince. The prince and the two soldiers stop to rest at a temple, with the prince becoming deranged from the poison, but they are forced to hide when some of the king’s soldiers show up for the night. Suffering from the effects of the poison, the prince scares them off when they think he is a ghost. The next day, they continue on their way and one of the soldiers goes ahead to get General Ho’s daughters but while he is gone, the prince runs off in a delusion and the remaining soldier manages to catch up to him but not before he is seen by an old woman and her son. The old woman tells her son not to say anything about what they saw but another man had seen them with the prince and reported it to the general, who kills them when they won’t tell him where the prince went. The soldier returns with General Ho’s daughters and they all start making their way back to their house. When they are attacked by some bandits, one of the daughters stays behind and kills them while the rest head to the house. With the prince’s condition getting worse, one of the daughters heads to the monastery to ask for the cure but the monks tell her she will have to pass several tests in order to receive the cure. Meanwhile, the other daughter and the soldiers go to an inn to get the prince some food but the king arrives. The daughter goes out to fight with the general, killing his guards, but the king gets past her and kills the guard and the prince. When he learns that the prince was merely the other guard acting as a decoy, the king kills the servers in the restaurant, then heads back outside to fight the daughter and learn where the prince is. Back at the monastery, the other daughter enters the temple and must make her way up to the top, battling one of the monks on each floor before reaching the top and managing to obtain the secret cure. Back at the restaurant, the daughter is wounded by the general but manages to injure him as well when he gets distracted by the prince. The daughter is struck by a poisoned dart as she tries to guard the prince but when the general’s attention is distracted by the return of the other daughter, the girl throws the dart into his back and the general is finally killed when the other sister throws her short sword into his back as well. The sisters briefly reunite before the one sister dies from her injuries and, after giving him the medicine, General Ho’s surviving daughter returns to the palace with the prince. At the city walls, they see a sign saying that the king is auditioning for courtesans and the prince decides to use that as a means to sneak into the palace, writing General Ho’s daughter a note thanking her for saving him and to live a good life. The prince disguises himself as a woman and manages to get close to the king, where he promptly stabs him and reveals himself to the court as the prince. The court accept the prince’s claim to the throne and celebrate him as the new king while Ho’s daughter returns to the monastery, to find that the monks she had fought with were actually statues left in their memory.
First off, the movie I watched was not the movie I thought it was going to be. That being said, this was a confusing but somewhat entertaining movie to watch. The acting was ok but the dubbing was pretty bad. The story was definitely unoriginal and has been done numerous times before. I did like the idea of the prince going delusional due to the poison, as those were some funny moments. The fight scenes in the movie were the best part and pretty well coordinated, though they were a little slower paced at times than I would have preferred. Not what I expected and unfortunately, not the best movie I have seen.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5