New Legend Of Shaolin
UNIVERSE
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Wong Jing
Year:
1994
Run Time:
94 mins
Producer: Universe
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Chinese (S&T)
W/S Subtitles:
No
Ratio:
1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Wire-work / Comedy / Period - Cat.II
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MOVIE
4/10

Playing fast and loose with the tale of Shaolin Temple's destruction at the hands of the Chinese Government, Wong Jing's 1994 film is as demented and ultimately disappointing as you'd expect.
Incorporating his tired fart gags and slapstick routines, Wong Jing undermines a very good Jet Lee performance with his usual brand of convoluted plotting, and slipshod direction.

As mentioned, one of the productions few positive attributes is the performance of Jet Lee, as the stern Hung Hei-Kwun.
Father of Man Ting (played by My Father Is A Hero's Xie Miao), Jet is able to take up the challenge of portraying a somewhat humourless and, at first heartless, character.
Whilst it's no Oscar winning performance - thanks to Jing's poor script and insistence on including unfunny comedy routines - it does add some texture to the film.

Directing the (mostly) impressive fight sequences is Jet's choreographer of choice Yuen Kwai. Yuen manages to design some superb action scenes, many of which involve Jet utilising an extendible spear, and they are by far the productions' highlights. Some dodgy wirework does find its way into a few scenes, but by and large the action adheres to the laws of gravity, and is all the better for it.

So far this doesn't sound too bad, but it's the aspects Wong weaves into proceedings with all the finesse of a one-legged horse which soon irritated and bored this viewer.
The appearance of the tinfoil car in which the lead villain arrives, the child monks who think nothing of "hilariously" beating up a corpse, the ubiquitous toilet humour, the toupee-wearing, waxwork-modelling senior monk and so many other utterly pointless additions.

Watching a Wong Jing production is fast becoming the equivalent of seeing your Dad attempting to dance at a party...the first few times it's mildly amusing, but the joke soon wears thin and you're soon looking for the nearest exit.
New Legend Of Shaolin is not big, or funny, and it's most definitely NOT what I'd call entertainment.

PICTURE
7/10

From the first to the last frame, the print exhibits a large amount of grain, which at times can become distracting. Whilst colours are good, the transfer's detail levels are rarely anything more than good.
Mild artifacting can be seen in many of the film's night-time scenes, thanks to the slightly-too-bright nature of the transfer.
A very basic, serviceable picture which does little to enhance Universe's generally high-standard track record.

SOUND
6/10

Aside from the fact that much of the film's musical score is directly lifted from the far superior Tai Chi Master, the 5.1 soundtrack is passable.
I had difficulty noticing any real surround speaker usage, with most of the soundtrack emanating from the centre speaker. Some shrillness can be heard on occasions, but it rarely becomes distracting.

SUBTITLES
7/10

Spelling and grammar-wise, this is a reasonable job by Universe. Most disappointing however, is the simplification that is apparent in a number of scenes, and the lack of subtitles for Chinese symbols.
Other than that, the subs convey what little plot there is well, and although this doesn't make the comedy any funnier, it at least makes it understandable.

EXTRAS
3/10

Aside from the entertaining trailers for Fong Sai-Yuk, Tai Chi Master and High Risk, and the interesting biography/filmography for Jet Lee and Deannie Yip, there is little to come back to in this feature (un)packed DVD.

CONCLUSION
5/10

Well what can I say?
A typical Wong Jing movie is thankfully given the respect it deserves by Universe - very little.
For die-hard fans of Jet Lee only, this is New Legend grows old very quickly.

MOVIE 4/10
PICTURE
7/10
SOUND
6/10
SUBTITLES
7/10
EXTRAS
3/10
MENUS
4/10
PACKAGING
5/10
OVERALL 5/10