Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Film review: Shaolin Temple (2011)

I watched the New Shaolin Temple film earlier in the year.  At the time I thought it was pretty good, but perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind.  I didn't rate it that much.  I recently brought my own copy on DVD.  I sat down and watched it one night.  I felt very moved and the moral and spiritual message was very clear.  The characters were very real, the monks showed the spirit of Shaolin.  The villains showed what people can be like.  Unlike many other films based on the Shaolin Temple.  A lot more emphasis was made on the heroic actions of the monks.  It wasn't about flashy fight scenes, it was about the strong moral fibre and goodness in them.  The monks in Buddhism are called the Sangha.  Monks are not people who just sit and meditate, but people who teach or serve as an example.  It was all about helping those in need and not consider one's own safety or comfort.   I liked how they expressed compassion for each other and how they looked at all the strife in the world with a certain perspective.  Andy Lau was the leading man, who's character went from warlord to somebody who lost everything.  He accepted his lot in life, he accepted the wrongs of his past.  His character made becoming a monk, repeat and changed for the better.  He understood the wrong done by his underling was itself caused by himself and therefore it was his responsibility to put it right.

Not many films have moved me like this.  The last film was Jet Li's Fearless.  This is definitely a film I'll watch again and again.  I'm sure many will watch it just for the fights.  To be fair, there wasn't much in terms of fighting and it is better that way.  It ought be be about the characters and here it was.