Hero of Shaolin (1984)

Posted in Reviews by - November 18, 2014
Hero of Shaolin (1984)

A zany Taiwanese head kicker which barely pauses for breath and throws just about every kung fu movie trope into the mix. The real star of the film is Robert Tai’s incredible choreography: fast, fluid and bursting with creativity, not to mention unrelenting. A Shaolin abbot is killed at the hands of a creepy eunuch court official and his androgynous sidekicks who have been sent by the Emperor with an edict for the monks arrest. The monk is slain by his own second-in-command when he is distracted by one of the royal fighters who reveals dragon tattoos on her boobs. As a dying wish, he entrusts the Golden Sutra – said to represent the spirit of Buddha – onto wannabe monk Alexander Lo and his three Shaolin brothers. The group don Samurai garb and take to the hills on a voyage to Tibet to help guarantee the sutra’s safekeeping, but a myriad of fight scenes delay their progress – most of which make absolutely no sense. A group of sword fighters in bright pink wigs and kabuki masks spring out of nowhere, before the naive monks wind up in a haunted temple and flying fighters in sheets start attacking them. That perennial 80s favourite – the ninja – spring up towards the end, throwing Shurikan stars, leaping from hidden traps and disappearing behind coloured smoke bombs. Alexander Lo does brilliantly well to keep a straight face throughout, despite sporting a dubious mullet, fierce eyebrows and far too much blusher, like someone in a Duran Duran video. The film is an absolute hoot.

AKA: Guards of Shaolin; Ninja vs Shaolin Guards

Hero of Shaolin

Hero of Shaolin

Hero of Shaolin is available to buy on UK DVD from Terracotta Distribution as part of their Classic Kung Fu Collection.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

1 Comment

  • Michael Johnson

    When I was maybe about 10, one Saturday afternoon I recorded this movie on VHS tape. However I started recording ten minutes after it began and…. for yrs never knew the name of it and…… BY FAR this is my favorite Kung Fu movie I’ve ever seen. The fights are fast and there was sub bosses, Chinese ghosts, and a GREAT ending. How all the monks minus one sacrificed their lives to retrieve the Golden Sultra is an ending u rarely see in movies like this. And last thing I’ll say about this EPIC, AWESOME movie is….. All the sacrifices and hardships the monks went through during this non stop classic movie, the boss, the last FINAL BATTLE with head honcho,….. THE ULTIMATE CLIMAX of an ending I’ve ever seen. I love this movie and today marks over 30 yrs I’ve seen any acknowledgement of its existence. I can watch this movie every day I swear to God

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