Abandoned in the vicinity of the Shaolin whose very monks he once ridiculed face-to-face, Hou Jie is taken in and taken care of by the sanctuary’s simple chef, Wudao (Jackie Chan, in one of his better, least-annoying performances to date). As time goes by, Hou Jie decides to atone for the sins he had committed in the past, and joins the temple to become a monk. Unfortunately for all, Song Hu’s bloodthirsty and vengeful second-in-command, Cao Man (Nicholas Tse), has since seized the armies that were left behind, and sends his men to arrest Hou Jie upon learning his nemesis is still alive so that he may avenge his master; a vow of revenge that threatens to destroy all, especially since Cao Man has been conspiring with the gwailo for the possession of advanced weaponry!
I couldn’t help but wonder how things would have worked out had Hou Jie simply said to his rival: “Hey, don’t have a Cao Man!” Ha-ha.
Shaolin emerges is an enjoyable period drama with some fine performances from its cast. The fight scenes have a rather classic quality about them, and thanks to modern computer-generated imagery, all of those wires have been erased. CGI is also used a bit in the film’s fiery finale, but — and I rarely say things like this — said CGI is well done. Well Go USA ’s Blu-ray “Collector’s Edition” release of Shaolin presents the movie in a lovely 1080p transfer, with original Mandarin and English-dubbed soundtracks (optional English subtitles are included for the Chinese-language audio tracks). Special features are housed on a second disc (a DVD) and consist of several deleted scenes, a couple of featurettes about the making of the masterpiece, and trailers for this and other Well Go USA releases.