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Shaolin Brothers
cast: Carter Wong, Tang Wei, Tong Li, and Chin Mong

director: Joseph Kuo

90 minutes (15) 1977
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
MIA Old Skool Kung Fu DVD Region 2 retail
Also available to buy on video

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Ian Shutter
Chaotic slapstick and carnival humour, cringe-worthy dialogue (at least in this English dubbed version) and expertly choreographed martial arts supporting a flurry of supernatural goings-on. This is the sort of action that's wrapped around an old chestnut plot of young friends (brotherly Shaolin students not actual male siblings) who grow up to become political opponents, one an cruel establishment figure, the other an enlightened rebel.
   Shaolin Brothers (previously released as Kids Of Shaolin) is no better or worse than it sounds, and only about as good as an average episode of The Water Margin. As one of a slew of traditional style kung fu flicks churned out by Joseph Kuo, it tries to cling to familiar genre conventions even as Bruce Lee and his imitators sought to overthrow the 'old skool' using their action thrillers with contemporary settings to turn the genre's quasi historical folklore on its head.
   In this drama of corruption in high places and heroic outlaws outnumbered by an army of villains, the synchronised hopping of a funeral procession, as undead corpses are shepherded home through night mists for burial by magician priests, is oddly compelling despite the later campy farce of a spook on the loose. Elegiac, yet deliciously creepy, this sequence will haunt you long after all the chop-socky deeds have been forgotten.
   The DVD is a dubbed widescreen version, but only extras are an original trailer for this film, plus trailers for the same director's Unbeaten 28 and Return Of The 18 Bronzemen.
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