Shaolin Wooden Men (1976)

Shaolin Wooden Men (1976)

Released: 1976
Genre: Action, Genre
Director: Chi-Hwa Chen
Starring: Kang Chin, Chun-Erh Lung, Jackie Chan, ,
Run time: 106 min
IMDb: 6.5/10
Country: Taiwan
Views: 159616


Jackie witnesses his father’s death by the skilled hands of a martial arts master with an unknown killing technique. Jackie vows to become a Shaolin monk and avenge his death, but soon finds that he’s the chump of the class. After befriending a variety of Shaolin Masters, each of whom teaches Jackie a particular style of kung fu (drunken, killing, slippery snake, et cetera), Jackie suddenly finds himself good enough to go give the beatdown to the one hundred “wooden men”, who all Shaolin (in this movie anyways) have to beat to get the funky haircut. Jackie then proceeds to go around laying the beatdown on everyone, but shows his humility and compassion at the end.
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User Reviews: A Jackie Chan movie is like pizza, even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. First the good, it’s a standard revenge plot. There’s nothing wrong with seeing that for the millionth time. We’re here for the martial arts not the story and the martial art does deliver. Even the hokey part fighting the wooden men (which easily could have failed) was done surprisingly well. The movie never dragged and the funny parts were reasonably funny. There was the expected build up to the big fight at the end and the fight finale could have been better but again, that pizza analogy.

The bad part was making Jackie a mute until the last fight. Whoever’s idea that was (did I hear someone mumble Lo Wei?) totally blew it. Really, not that I love to hear his voice or anything and it would have been dubbed by some British guy anyway, but the hero has to say a few syllables. I really think that keeping Jackie silent made the difference between this movie being a miss instead of a hit on it’s initial movie theater run. Think of how history would have changed if Jackie came to stardom in 1976 instead of a few years later! The world would be a different place and we all might have our flying cars if Jackie had only spoken up sooner.

Back in July of 2012, I posted the above review here. Today I watched the movie again. I decided to edit my review to compare the two views. I stand by everything written in my original post. Today I would change nothing in the original post and would add as below.

I had a problem with the final fight. Jackie fights Kang Chin first and that is all wrong. Kang Chin’s henchmen would certainly intercept Jackie before he could get to their big boss. The fight against Kang Chin must be absolute last.

Also in the Jackie versus Kang Chin fight sequence it looks like Kang Chin is attacking and Jackie defending. Jackie should appear aggressive, attacking with full power and low accuracy. He could even act angry. Instead it looks like Kang chin is leading with his dance moves and Jackie is following.

Despite that I still consider the movie above average for the year and genre. I also recommend this movie to all fans of martial arts movies of the golden age from 1967 to 1984.

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