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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Retro Review: DISCIPLES OF THE 36TH CHAMBER (1984)

Disciples Poster

Day 3 of Ronin on Empty’s unplanned retrospective on The 36th Chamber of Shaolin franchise comes to an end with Disciples of the 36th Chamber, the third and final installment in the series. In comparison to the previous two films, Disciples turned out to be an extremely disappointing way to close the trilogy, as star Gordon Liu was relegated to a mere supporting role as the monk San Te in favor of Shaw regular Hsiao Hou, who plays quite possibly the most annoying Fong Sai-Yuk in the history of Hong Kong cinema. Looking back, I was probably a little too hard on the film and perhaps somewhat misguided in my criticism of the film’s portrayal of Fong Sai-Yuk. While I’m fairly certain Sai-Yuk’s annoying hypocrisy was intentional, I have to say that it didn’t make for a very enjoyable film. Sure, Sai-Yuk’s utter repugnancy makes the film “interesting” and perhaps worthy of further discussion, but I think my review was written from the point of view of a martial arts film fan, and the film just didn’t measure up to its intensely fun predecessors.

However, I will say that the movie is cool to look at, particularly if you’re a fan of the “heightened” period realities of these Shaw Brothers productions. And the fights, as always, are pretty nifty, too, thanks to director Lau Kar-Leung. Perhaps even worth the price of admission (aka DVD price) It’s not a great way to end the series, but it is an end, of sorts. For interested parties, you can read my review here. And I’ve embedded a trailer, which shows so much, you probably don’t even have to watch the movie:



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