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The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Gordon Liu (Actor) | Lo Lieh (Actor) | Wong Yue | Yu Yeung
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The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8.9 out of 10 (11)

YesAsia Editorial Description

One of the most famous titles in the Shaw Brothers canon, the 1980 kung fu classic 36th Chamber of Shaolin from acclaimed director and martial arts choreographer Lau Kar Fai (a.k.a. Liu Chia Liang) stars Gordon Liu as a young student whose family and school are wiped out by oppressive Manchu government. Injured and on the run, he seeks refuge at the Shaolin temple and excels in his martial arts training. When his training is complete, he returns to the outside world to seek revenge and eventually establishes the 36th Chamber, dedicated to the training of secular disciples at Shaolin.
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Technical Information

Product Title: The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) 少林三十六房 少林叁十六房 少林寺三十六房 (少林三十六房) The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Gordon Liu (Actor) | Lo Lieh (Actor) | Wong Yue | Yu Yeung 劉家輝 (Actor) | 羅烈 (Actor) | 汪禹 | 于洋 刘家辉 (Actor) | 罗烈 (Actor) | 汪禹 | 于洋 劉家輝(リュー・チャーフィー) (Actor) | 羅烈 (ロー・リエ) (Actor) | 汪禹(ワン・ユー) | Yu Yeung Gordon Liu (Actor) | Lo Lieh (Actor) | Wong Yue | Yu Yeung
Director: Lau Kar Leung 劉家良 刘家良 劉家良 (ラウ・カーリョン) Lau Kar Leung
Release Date: 2003-05-15
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Bahasa (Malaysia), Bahasa (Indonesia)
Country of Origin: Hong Kong
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Sound Information: Dolby Digital
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Rating: IIB
Duration: 111 (mins)
Publisher: Intercontinental Video (HK)
Package Weight: 160 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1002817553

Product Information

Director: Liu Chia Liang

  The legendary martial arts director wanted to do the impossible: create a kung-fu filled epic about the making of a Shaolin Temple master - a "love story of the spirit," as he called it. The result (a.k.a. Master Killer) was Shaws' number one hit of 1978, the 24th Asian Film Festival's Best Martial Arts award winner, and is considered a trendsetting, innovative masterpiece throughtout the world. Liang's adoptive brother stars as a reluctant rebel who arduously masters one training "chamber" after another.

The 24th Asian Film Festival - Best Martial Arts

* Dolby Digital
* Widescreen 2.35:1
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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Professional Review of "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

April 12, 2006

And there is a 36th chamber? Not until one young man enters the famous Shaolin Temple in pursuit of the knowledge of the kung fu masters with one take it outside of the Temple, to train laymen in their ways and to defeat the corrupt generals who are tearing his home village apart. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is all that exists outside of the Temple and San Te is determined that he will be the one to build it. But the Shaolin monks, who have kept their knowledge secret, are not so keen that he leaves. A desire for vengeance, though, is a powerful emotion.

San Te (Gordon Liu) actually begins the film as Liu Yu Te, a young student of Teacher Ho (Wai Wang) who watches a powerful group of Manchu generals occupy the village where he grew up, his father owning a fish store. From their public torturing of rebels to their destruction of his school, General Tien Ta (Lo Lieh) and Tang San Yao (Wilson Tong Wai Shing) are hated but the villagers are powerless. Particularly when the rebel General Yin (Lau Kar Wing) is captured and hanged in the village square as an example to anyone who intends on following his lead. Declaring Yin a hero, Liu Yu Te joins his teacher in the rebellion but Tang San Yao acts quickly, killing Teacher Ho and all those sympathetic to his cause. With his father's shop destroyed in the search for messages from the rebels, Liu Yu Te leaves the village in search of help but finding none, travels to the famous Shaolin Temple to learn kung fu. But the journey to enlightenment is hard and despite his progression through the thirty-five chambers of Shaolin, there may be no way back for the young monk now known as San Te. And certainly no way home.

The apparent aim of director Lau Kar Leung in making The 36th Chamber of Shaolin was to create a martial arts drama that was realistic in the time and effort that is needed to learn an art such as kung fu. No Karate Kid-style picking up of a martial art within a long summer here. Lau aims for authenticity with a training regime within the Southern Shaolin Temple that lasts for seven years, beginning with learning to balance on a raft of sticks - as well as some humility - long before unarmed combat and the art of fighting with weaponry. Despite a running time of close to two hours, there isn't enough time to reveal the inner workings of all thirty-five chambers and so Lau chooses a handful - the aforementioned raft, the carrying of buckets of water up a hill, the striking of a bell and the following of a candle attached to a large metronome. As straightforward as these sound - and the Shaolin monks have a habit of making the tasks within their chambers very simple indeed - each one is made difficult by a testing of the novice's skills in kung fu. So, the carrying of buckets of water, as easy as that may be, is made difficult, deadly even, by the Shaolin monk strapping knives about the novice's arms, which will pierce their skin should the buckets not be held outright. Again, in a later chamber, Sun Te learns to watch an opponent by only using his eyes and not the movement of his head by having two large sticks of burning incense placed close by either ear. A moment of comedy is added later in the film as Sun Te and the other novices develop the strength of their skulls by butting heavy bags of sand. Cue a group of novices confused both by the methods in the task and by the blows sustained within it.

If this makes The 36th Chamber of Shaolin sound dry, that's really not the case. Yes, most of the film is concerned with the training of a novice monk, but it is bookended by two scenes of high action. There is an early sword fight between Lau Kar Wing and Wilson Tong Wai Shing and the climactic return of Gordon Liu to the village is accompanied by much bloodshed. But the scenes of training in the Shaolin Temple are well-staged, mixing action and humour with some sense of the order of the Shaolin Temple. Hence, any excitement is balanced with the need to place the training in a particular order. As much as we might want to get to the kung fu, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is paced such that it only comes late in Sun Te's training and where another film might end with his success in the thirty-five chambers and the Shaolin monks wishing him their very best as he leaves to restore order to his village, this one does not. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin prefers to stall Sun Te's ascension to a seat of some importance in the Temple by a Justice Officer who asks that Sun Te beat him in a fight before he take it. Given how often The 36th Chamber of Shaolin has overturned convention up to that point, it comes as no surprise to learn that Sun Te does not succeed, at least not at his first attempt.

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is well-regarded in martial arts circles, not as flashy as Enter The Dragon but manna from heaven for those who hanker after a more realistic portrayal of martial arts. By any stretch, the seven years that Sun Te spends in the Shaolin Temple is still a short time to master a martial art - being awarded a black belt ought to be thought of as only finishing an apprenticeship and that can still take ten years or thereabouts. But it's still a good deal longer than the traditional martial arts feature, where syrup-slow reflexes are honed in weeks. By choosing to frame his film in such a way, director Lau Kar Leung has produced The 36th Chamber of Shaolin to be not only a "love story of the spirit", as he called it, but a love letter to the legend of the Shaolin Temple and their legacy of martial arts. Knowing that success in kung fu comes from within, Lau dwells on the fight Sun Te has with his own spirit and how his initial failure comes from his inability to bring his heart, and not his fists, to the tasks at hand. That The 36th Chamber of Shaolin brings that internal conflict to film so successfully, as well as the bloodshed that opens and closes it, it ends a very satisfying film and a rare treat within the genre.

Presented anamorphically in 2.35:1 and with Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks - there are English, Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian subtitles - The 36th Chamber of Shaolin looks good but is let down by a lack of detail in the background of the image. Appearing much the same as colour newspapers do when the printing process fails to bring the colours together as one, the blurring and fuzziness to the picture draws one's eyes to the foreground in spite of those events elsewhere. Colours are, however, good and the image shows good stability.

What I assume to be an original mono audio track has been remixed into stereo and sounds fine, nicely separating the action across the left and right speakers. Fans of martial arts movies won't be disappointed at all by the solid thwack of fist on bone and everything, action and dialogue, sounds clear. The subtitles read well and although there is the occasional misspelling, there's not enough to criticise.

Shaolin - A Hero Birthplace (15m58s): The main extra on the disc is this short feature, which is part documentary on the Shaolin temple and part behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. An interview with Gordon Liu Chia Hui fulfills the latter part of the feature but the history of the Shaolin temple is rather sketchy, choosing to dwell on small parts of the legend rather than what is known. Hence, there is some repetition of the methods of the Shaolin monks and of the principles behind kung fu but nothing that most of us won't already be familiar with.

Movie Information: This section contains all of the special features that don't quite fit elsewhere, including a Photo Gallery of behind-the-scenes shots and movie stills, the Original Poster and one page of Production Notes. The last extra here is a Biography and Selected Filmography for Gordon Liu Chia Hui, Lo Lieh, Yu Yang, Wang Yu and Liu Chia Lian.

Finally, there are a set of trailers for The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (3m42s, 1m03s), the first of which is the Original Trailer whilst the other is a new one produced for this DVD release. The DVD also includes trailers for The Grand Substitution (1m10s), Behind The Yellow Line (1m06s), The Venus' Tear Diamond (1m02s) and Passing Fickers (1m10s).

For anyone raised on terrible, western ninja movies, but who remains optimistic about there being something better, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin will be warmly welcomed. Surprisingly thoughtful, this comes on a well-presented DVD that, flaws in the picture aside, does the film proud and, as Lau Kar Leung intended, the legacies of the Shaolin Temple.

By Eamonn McCusker - DVD Times

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8.9 out of 10 (11)

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November 28, 2007

36th Chamber of Shaolin Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Yes, I totally agree with the other reviewers that it's a gradual leadup to the big plan. Here, you can pick up a brief idea of how those 'rebelious revolutionary groups got started during the Ching Dynasty (Manchu rulers). Although some people may perceive it as 'blood and gore' and totally wrong for monks to kill, the main task for 'San Te' to want to create the 36th chamber was to ensure all shaolin kungfu were successfully passed down to future generations because in those days only shaolin monks were allowed to learn these martial skills. With his previous encounter with the Manchu warlords (having killed and destroyed his family, home and many friends) he was still inspired by his teacher (also killed) to help in anyway to overthrow the Manchus. And in this, the oppressed Han citizens got to be strong. Therefore, only those brave enough were recruited to be trained. But here they undertake studies and 'moral lessons'. Killing without reasons and bullying the weak is a 'no no'. Here is the introduction of new recruits like Hung Hei Kun (creator of the now famous Hung Gar or Hung Fist martial arts/technique) to which Gordon and the director himself (Liu Chia Liang) are exponents of and Fong Sai Yuk (played by Jet Li in Tsui Hark's movies).

Gordon Liu got his big break in this one. Some of the training techniques may seem 'stone age' but the basic principles are there. Examples are the poles (circling different diameters of objects)and arm strengthening exercises (carrying 2 buckets of water with a bamboo pole on your shoulders is very famous at Shaolin temples). Directions and display of various fighting techniques by both Liu Chia Liang and Gordon were spectacular. Don't miss this one for your collection!
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Phoenix Lin
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April 12, 2007

1 people found this review helpful

Satisfaction gauranteed Customer Review Rated Bad 9 - 9 out of 10
Regretfully I was only able to obtain a VCD copy of this movie but anything beats seeing this movie scratchy & dubbed in corny English. I forgot how long the set-up to the story was but once you've gained admittance to the Shaolin Temple it is all classic training that you never forget. (It's what anyone who is a fan of pugilistic films remember the best) Worth the DVD & I'm seriously considering getting a copy in this format.
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April 2, 2007

The Greatest of them All! Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Most people have gotten tired of the cliche chop socky storyline (Man's family is killed, man trains hard, man returns and defeates "bad guy"). But this isn't another copycat, this is the trendsetting martial arts epic that kickstarted Gordon Liu's career in Hong Kong. I have to say if your into straight up action films this isn't for you, this movie has an interesting storyline that focuses more on the training rather than REVENGE. San Te (Gordon Liu) is on the run after evil government officials find out he is part of a revolutionary group, and

The whole idea of each style of fighting having a chamber is ingenious, the most famous one being the wrist chamber (where San Te must hit an extremely heavy mallot on a bamboo rod on a gong over and over and over until his wrist are black and blue!) Eventually he completes all 35 Chambers in less than 5 years, which is very fast for any Monk. But the time has come to seek new worthy students for his new 36th Chamber and to challenge the general who killed his father with his new kung fu skills for a classic finale that cannot be missed. If you haven't seen this film you know NOTHING about Kung Fu cinema!
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British Racing Green
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December 5, 2006

When HK cinema was great Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is a classic kung fu movie that everybody who knows and enjoys the genre talks about. Oddly and sadly, not officially available in the UK. Oddly, it must be really good to not be able to find a copy in HK. Having got my copy from Yesasia, I was very pleased to find that the pictures have been restored to a high standard. Very little scratches and only the colour gives it away as an old movie. The fights scenes are good and directer Lau Gar Leung shows us how good he was back then and his brother Gordon Lau proves to be a professional martial artist and actor. This is real martial arts and real action. Considering the technology of the time, this movie has to been seen. The movie appeals on many levels, as it is not just about fighting, but the Buddhist teachings that run throughout the movie. There is a reason for the violence and unlike modern cinema in both East and West, it is not mindless or silly. Moral education and martial arts go hand in hand.
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November 30, 2005

1 people found this review helpful

classic training sessions Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
One of the best film about the life of the shaolin student. Great story with superb sets. The only drawback is the slown start of the movie.
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