The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. 1978. Hong Kong. Directed by Lau Kar-leung. With Gordon Liu Chia-hui, Wong Yue. DCP. In Mandarin; English subtitles. 116 min.
Lau Kar-leung and Gordon Liu Chia-hui’s most celebrated work is a quintessential, all-exhaustive course in Shaolin kung fu. Liu plays San Te, originally a commoner on the run from oppressive Manchu officers. Taking refuge in the Shaolin temple, he devotes himself to the most rigorous kung fu training ever seen on screen. Each of the temple’s chambers specializes in one aspect of training, from arm strength to vision, balance to the mastery of individual weapons. No acting lessons ever prepare an actor to undergo such a grueling process—documentary-style. Liu proves himself one of the most sensational and enduring kung fu stars.