This one has to be in my top 5 of all time Kung Fu Flicks! It is also known as “Unbeatable Dragon”. The word Dragon had to be in just about every American release of a Martial Arts movie to have any traction or gravitas. When I moved to Reno, NV, in 1987 I found a teacher that was teaching Wing Chun Kuen (Ip Man > Leung Sheung > Kenneth Chung system) Kung Fu. After my first lesson I thought that it seemed very familiar as I sat in my car. I raced home and popped this movie into my VCR and I was right! The son of the Southern Shaolin school’s teacher (Sifu) was taught the exact style that I was learning. By this time I was already familiar with the movie for about 6 years. It gave my real life a connection with a fun, stylised, fantasy. It has been almost 30 years since that first lesson, not my first or last art to be learned, I now teach and I still watch this cult classic!
Invincible Shaolin is the second proper Venoms movie, following on from Five Venoms. Legendary director Chang Cheh returns to explore how the Ching Governments attempts to stamp out the influence of the Shaolin – a theme he also explored in Heroes Two.
The plot involves an evil Qing general (Wong Lung Wei) who comes up with a brilliant plan to rid the Qing Empire once and for all of the Shaolin masters. He invites three Northern Shaolin experts to his mansion and has them fight the in a contest against three novice Southern Shaolin men already present at his mansion. By royal decree, Shaolin was required to supply experts to teach the Qing troops martial arts.
The Northern Shaolin experts easily and decisively win against the South Shaolin men. After the contest, the general visits the South Shaolin men in their quarters later that night and secretly kills…
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In an era where things things that were once taken lightly are now treated with respect, and everything is done on an epic scale, this should be pretty good. I never played the game, although I wanted to, nor did I read the books. I did play some of the video games and enjoyed them immensely. I also happened to like the movie they put out. It was good for what it was on a cult film level.
Will this be a “Can’t Miss Flicker” or a “Meh, I’ll wait for it on NetFlix”? We shall see. After a few minutes of thought, the above image is what we may see with the current prevailing winds in Hollywood, at the moment. I am OK with that.