Redemption For A Raging Warlord: Shaolin

Redemption For A Raging Warlord: Shaolin

Static Mass Rating: 3/5

Release date: September 9th, 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 126 minutes

Country of origin: China

Original language: Mandarin/Cantonese with English subtitles

Director: Benny Chan

Cast: Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Bingbing Fan, Jackie Chan, Jacky Wu, Yu Xing

As a kid growing up, I had an older brother who had more than just a passing interest in martial arts. He trained extensively and studied the movies that came from China and Japan during the 70’s and early 80’s.

It was through his interest I got to see films like Drunken Master (1978), Shogun’s Samurai (1978) and The Shaolin Temple (1982) which this movie is a remake of.


Filled with breathtaking sword fights and daredevil hand to hand combat sequences, these films demonstrated not only the physical capabilities you would need to master such arts, but also the dedication to it. While I was never inspired to take up kung fu, karate or jujitsu like my brother, the cinematography and music in these films had more of an impact. They were beautiful to watch, such elegantly choreographed pieces that were yet so bloody and violent.

Shaolin, directed by Benny Chan, is set in Dengfeng, Henan, during the early period of Republican China. General Hou Jie (Andy Lau) is a warlord who will stop at nothing to gain power and he kills ruthlessly, mercilessly and without hesitation, even when it comes to spilling blood on the sacred grounds of the Shaolin temple when he corners a rival warlord, Huo Long (Chen Zhihui).


  • Audio Commentary
  • 10 Deleted Scenes (44:21)
  • Making of Gallery (39:51)
  • Interview Gallery (195 minutes)
  • Behind the Scenes Gallery (65:00)
  • 3 Trailers (06:53)

However, the tables turn when Hou is betrayed just as ruthlessly by his second-in-command, Cao Man (Nicholas Tse), leaving him to take refuge in the very same monastery he had only just desecrated. He’s taken in by a master who teaches him kung fu and it’s here that Hou really begins his journey of becoming a better man.

As war threatens to tear the region apart, Hou finds himself converting to Buddhism and working together with the monks he had previously ridiculed to try and bring peace back to the kingdom.


As a remake of the 1982 film which starred Jet Li and was directed by Chang Hsin-yen, Shaolin takes the action several levels higher and on a much grander scale, but the story essentially remains the same. Hou Jie’s journey is one of redemption and although his success and wealth in the past came at the expense of those below him, what we learn is that even a man like him can change.

It’s not a subtle approach, but martial arts movies have never tread softly when it comes to the messages they carry. Amidst its redemption arc, the kung fu, special effects and set pieces look great but there was the feeling the film was much longer than it really to be.

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