Shaolin vs. Lama

Year Of Release: 1983
Running Time: 90 Minutes
DVD Released By: Ground Zero Entertainment
Directed By: Tso Nam Lee
Writing Credits: Chang Hsin-yee (script)
Filming Location: Taiwan

Starring: Alexander Lo Rei, Chen Shan, Wong Chi Sang, Sun Jung Chi, William Yen

Tagline: None available.

Alternate Titles:
Shaolin dou La Ma (1983)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
William Yen, who played Hsu Shi, was an opera trained acrobat.

Rogue Reviewers Round Table Review: August 2004
Review Topic: "Kung Foolery"

Cast Of Characters
Sung Yu Ting (Monk Name: Chi Sing): This guy wandered the country looking for a kung fu teacher that could actually beat him so that he could become his student and actually learn from someone better than him. He hasn't been beaten in five years. Boy, does he have a rude awakening coming. Pretty much every Shaolin monk he meets puts the beatdown on him. I guess he finally found some people he could learn from.

Hsu Shi: He's a young Shaolin monk who introduces Sung Yu Ting to his master after Yu Ting saves him from a beatdown by some local gamblers that he ripped off. He's a good little fella and one heck of an acrobat.

Yah Lan (Monk Name: Pu Chi Eh): This guy totally reminds me of a Chinese version of Loc Dog from the movie Don't Be A Menace. I put a picture of both here just so you could see who I'm talking about in case you haven't seen the movie. There were some shots where he was making the same kinds of facial expressions as Loc Dog, but they were all too close up and his head was at an angle, so I couldn't get a decent character shot of any of them. Anyway, this guy was Chi Kung's teacher until Chi Kung pulled his little stunt and took off. Ever since then, he's had some rules that he lives by. He eats meat and drinks wine every single day, and he never takes on any students. I think he forgot to mention the rule about no bathing, but his feet pretty much tell the story on that one. He does kick serious butt though, especially when there's a roast chicken involved.

Pu Chi Eh

Loc Dog

Yao Feng Lin (Monk Name: Chi Kung): This creep joined the Shaolin monastery a long while back in order to avenge his Tibetan Lama master. While there, he was an incredible student, but eventually stole the Shaolin manual of the Iiching style and left the monastery. Well now he's back and he's scheming to take over all the fighting clans in the area. He kills the chief of the Skyhawk clan and then hunts down his daughter Miss Su. In his spare time, he likes to write poetry, arrange flowers and abuse small animals...especially gerbils, if you know what I mean.

Miss Su: Well she was pretty much worthless. She was the daughter of the Skyhawk clan leader that Yao Feng Lin killed. She has some fighting ability, but more often than not just ends up needing to be rescued by other people. After Sung Yu Ting becomes a Shaolin monk, she decides to become a nun. Not that it matters because she ended up dead anyway when Yao Feng Lin caught up with her.

Screen Shots

This is what a Chinese guy looks like after he takes one in the nards. Come to think of it, that's probably what any guy looks like after he takes one in the nards. I think that look pretty much crosses all racial and ethnic boundaries.

"I sure wish people would clean up after their animals. You can't even walk barefoot around here anymore without stepping in a big steaming pile. Just look at my poor feet!"

"When was the last time you washed them ears of yours boy? Look at that! There's potatoes growing in there! Now go dig out them potatoes and roast 'em up with a chicken. I'm hungry!"

Damn, this Shaolin stuff is hard! Maybe I should re-think this whole monk thing.

"What'd joo say about my lama?"
(Ok, I know that was bad, but I just couldn't help myself.)

Best Quote

"Master, let me be your student, and I'll give you a chicken."

- Sung Yu Ting offers the dirty old Shaolin Grand Master a roast chicken if he'll teach him kung fu. - (Reviewer's Note: The old guy was probably thinking, "No no, cash is fine, really." Doesn't really do much good to offer someone something they can take away from you anyway now does it? That's exactly what happened too. The dirty old fart took the chicken from him, but Sung Yu Ting learned some kung fu in the process, so at least he got something out of it besides hunger and bruises.)

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Shaolin vs. Lama
Sung Yu Ting gets a little lesson in Shaolin Kung Fu, as well as a lesson in proper hygiene.

Summary and Conclusion

I'd like to start this review off by making two statements. First, I absolutely love kung fu movies. Second, I know this movie doesn't fall into my usual range of "classic years" but I had already seen it many times, I knew it was good, and it's a year older than the newest movie I've reviewed on this site, so that's why I went ahead and chose this one.

Shaolin vs. Lama is about a man named Sung Yu Ting (Alexander Lo Rei) who's traveling the world looking for a kung fu master that can actually beat him in a fight so he'll know that he can actually learn something if he becomes the person's student. Unfortunately for him, he hasn't been beaten by a kung fu teacher in about five years, so he's having a really hard time finding someone worthy of studying under. Fortunately, he meets up with a young Shaolin monk named Hsu Shi (William Yen) who takes him back to the Shaolin monastery to meet his master Pu Chi Eh. Pu Chi Eh however, doesn't accept students ever since he was betrayed by one of his best many years earlier. He refuses to take Yu Ting as a student, but Hsu Shi comes up with a plan to help Yu Ting get schooled anyway. He gets Yu Ting to question his master's fighting ability and to do other annoying things like trying to keep food away from him. This way he gets the master to fight him and he can learn new styles and techniques from each fight. Pu Chi Eh is no fool though and knows full well what's going on, but he goes along with it anyway because he sees that Yu Ting is a good man and has a true desire to learn kung fu.

Enter Yao Feng Lin (Chen Shan), the student who betrayed Pu Chi Eh and stole the Iiching style manual from the monastery. Yao Feng Lin went to the monastery to avenge his Tibetan Lama master, and ended up stealing the book rather than actually killing anyone while he was there. The Shaolin masters sent out many monks to look for him over the years, but no one ever found him. Well now he's back, and he's looking to take over all the fighting clans in the area, starting with the Skyhawk clan. He kills Miss Su's father and gets some of his own men to turn against him, and then when Miss Su escapes, he sends his men after her, and that's when they meet up with Sung Yu Ting who saves her life and runs the bad guys off.

Well, things kinda went downhill from there. The Skyhawk clan sends some people to kill them and eventually they end up seeking sanctuary at the Shaolin monastery. That brings the Shaolin monks into the fight, and you can pretty much figure where things go from there. Sung Yu Ting becomes a Shaolin Monk and his name is changed to Chi Sing, and eventually Yao Feng Lin kills Pu Chi Eh and Miss Su and Chi Sing busts his butt to become a Shaolin master so he can avenge their deaths. Then at last there's a final battle where Chi Sing defeats the evil Lama and all is right with the world once more. Well, everything except for all the dead people and stuff, but hey, you can't have everything.

One of the problems with Asian movies is trying to keep all the names of the characters straight. What makes this even more of a pain is when various people have not just one, but two names. See, when one becomes a Shaolin monk, he's given a new name and has his hair shaved off as a symbol of the break he's making with his past life. Naturally, in a movie where it's already hard to keep the names straight, this made things a lot more difficult. Still, the names weren't as important as the characters themselves. The characters in this movie ranged from comical, to boring, to straight up bad ass, and everyone, with the exception of Miss Su (Li Wei Yun) did a great job with their roles. Li Wei Yun always looked like she was suffering, no matter what she was doing. She was supposed to be the daughter of a fighting clan leader and she was good with a sword, but she brought no toughness at all to the role.

The martial arts and acrobatic skills displayed in this film were just amazing. The fight scenes were all beautifully choreographed and well played out, and there's a definite feeling of tension during some of the fights as you wonder if things are going to go one way or the other. It's a great thing when a martial arts film combines great characters with great fight scenes and a few good laughs. That's a combination that just works, and this movie did a beautiful job in bringing all three of those elements together. Every aspect of this movie was just brilliant...except for one thing. If I hear, "Buddha's name be praised," one more time, I'm gonna kill somebody. Nah, I'm just kidding. It's just that I've seen so many movies where that phrase is repeated over and over and over again, that it gets a little annoying after a while. Hell, just in this movie alone it's probably said at least seventy-five times or more. But hey, that's what Buddhist monks do.

This movie was obviously shot in widescreen, but the DVD is presented in a full screen format. It's not even pan and scan, so a lot of times the characters are way off to the side of the screen, and sometimes they're partially cut off. It's frustrating when companies do this, because you always feel like you're missing something off to the sides. In my opinion, if you're going to go through all the trouble to release a DVD, then at least do it right. The visual quality wasn't bad, and was actually quite good compared to some other kung fu releases I've seen. There was a kind of a magenta tint to some of the darker scenes, but it wasn't bad, and the movie as a whole looked quite good and had good sound all throughout. Speaking of sound, I just wanted to mention that I've always felt sorry for the guys that had to do the sound effects for kung fu movies. Every arm and leg movement has a swish, every hit has a pow or a thud, every flip has a flapping sound. It's incredible when you stop to think about it. The sheer number of sound effects they have to put into a movie like this would literally take ages to accomplish, so I'd like to take a moment to salute them for their work. The sound effects in this film were all synched up beautifully and they just did a great job with it.

I've loved kung fu movies ever since I was a kid, so it was a pleasure to review a quality movie like this one. I almost chose the movie Shaolin Chastity Kung Fu for this roundtable, as it's also a really fun movie, but in the end, the quality of the fight scenes as well as the comical old Shaolin monk character in this particular film won me over. Shaolin vs. Lama is a highly enjoyable film, and it's my pleasure to give it my highest rating of...

B-Movie Central's Rating: 5 Bees!

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