Almost three decades after Jet Li's breakout film Shaolin Temple
(1982), the legendary Buddhist monastery in China has finally opened the door for another film to shoot there. The film granted this honor is blockbuster director Benny Chan's hotly anticipated Shaolin
, which breaks new grounds with its highly sophisticated production values, exciting original story, and cast of staggering starpower. A-list actors Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, and Jackie Chan topline the mega-budget action epic with the support of the gorgeous Fan Bingbing, Yu Shaoqun, Michelle Bai, as well as renowned kung fu stars like Wu Jing, Shi Yanneng (a.k.a. Xing Yu), and Xiong Xin Xin. Indeed Shaolin
boasts jaw-dropping martial arts sequences choreographed by Corey Yuen, but the action drama goes beyond visual spectacle to find its spiritual foundation, touching upon the ideas of Zen Buddhism that advocate compassion and forgiveness.
In 1920s war-torn China, ruthless warlord Hou Jie (Andy Lau) is double-crossed by his trusted lieutenant Cao Man (Nicholas Tse) during a pivotal battle that culminates in him losing everything he has, including his wife (Fan Bingbing) and daughter. Devastated by the betrayal and consumed with revenge, Hou Jie is befriended by Wudao (Jackie Chan), an uneducated Shaolin cook who nonetheless has a profound understanding of Buddhist philosophy. Eventually Hou Jie finds enlightenment in Shaolin and becomes a monk himself after making up with young monks Jingneng (Wu Jing), Jinghai (Yu Shaoqun), and Jingkong (Shi Yanneng). Leading the heroic monks against the oppression of the treacherous Cao Man and his henchman Suo Xiangtu (Xiong Xin Xin), a reformed Hou Jie vows his life to defending the Temple and protecting the people in distress...