HK Cinema - 1982
The martial art craze had pretty much passed the
Chinese Mainland by. This is not too surprising as under the leadership
of Mao Tse Tung and the Communist Party – kung-fu films were viewed as
bourgeois entertainment. After Mao died and certain reforms took place,
it occurred to someone that perhaps they should make a few martial arts
films. They needed someone for the part of the young man and decided to
let an untested (in films) fellow by the name of Jet Li star in this film.
Jet Li had been training in the art of Wushu since
the age of eight. One story told of him is that in elementary school, Jet
got into a fight with another student and during the fight leaped on top
of a table. A teacher saw this and was so impressed with Jet’s athletic
ability that he got him enrolled in a Wushu training program. Li
became obsessed with his training and in a few years was competing for
Martial Arts Champion. He won it while still a teenager and did the same
for the next four years. So it was only natural that Li was the first choice
to star in The Shaolin Temple.
It turned into a trilogy of films – Shaolin Temple,
Kids from Shaolin and Martial Arts of Shaolin – that are very traditional
kung-fu films, but display the incredible athletic abilities of Jet Li.
These were in the days before he began utilizing wires and he is amazing