Shaolin & Wu TangAnother cool Shaw Brothers film from the early 80’s?  Try Shaolin and Wu Tang! This is a movie which takes a look at how styles can evolve, however indirectly.

It starts off by introducing two characters – Hung Yung-Kit, played by Gordon Liu and Chou Fong-Wu played by Adam Cheng.  These 2 guys are both members of two opposing clans – Shaolin and Wu Tang.  After the two men show off their skill down town, a local Qing lord determines that btoh styles are quite powerful, and vows to learn both.

After Master Law is poisoned, Fong wu is arrested.  This is after his master killed himself by deliberately stepping into the path of Fong’s sword.  After some time he is rescued and released by his friend Yung-Kit, and the two have a small argument over who really killed Master Law.

Meanwhile, the Qing Lord has trained in both styles and has a good grounding in them, yet not fully complete.

After the death of his sister, Yung-kit wants to avenge her death. Meanwhile Fung wu wants to avenge his Master’s death.  After a contest is staged by the evil Qing Lord, the two are both chosen to enter, and must reluctantly fight each other.  But things escalate and change as we learn that the whole contest was a plan for to have both clans to kill each other so the Lord could be the only real master of both styles.

The Evolution of Kung Fu styles?

There’s a hint on this at the beginning of the movie, when Master Lawis playing Chess and says “A game of chess is like a sword fight. You must think first before you move.”   The game of Chess was organised instead of a fight, and is a bit of a statement that tells you a fight is a fight regardless of style.


It’s not until the end of the movie when both Yung-Kit and Fung-Wu are fighting the Qing lord that we see the men mixing their styles and ‘evolving’ them into  one single style.  They each explain that they are not traitors, learning another style but are instead working together and letting it evolve – blurring the line between the two clans and neutralizing the rivalry to some degree.

To me it seems to be an apparent theme told throughout the story, and is an important message for all martial artists to understand.  Style should not be cemented but grow like a living thing and each practitioner’s skill and style is unique to themselves.

The Action & Martial Arts

This movie has some really awesome action!

The gem is the weapon work, so fluid and technical and just seems to go on and on using a variety of levels and movements to create some really fantastic action.  The action is strongest at the beginning and the end of the movie, with the best work being performed toward the end.

The same fast pace and technical approach to the fights seems to be carried over to some really traditional looking hand to hand fight techniques.  All in all the fight a little more fluid then previous Shaw Brothers movies I’ve seen and I really enjoyed them!

The Verdict?

Yet another Shaw Brothers win!  A definite classic that just about anyone can appreciate.

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Shaolin Wu Tang

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Shaolin And Wu Tang [1981] [DVD]

More info on Movie Regions here.

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