Shaolin新少林寺(2011) ~ Chinese Movies&TV

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Today, I’d like to introduce a 2011 Hong Kong-Chinese martial arts film, Shaolin (新少林寺xīn shàolínsì). It is also known as The New Shaolin Temple produced and directed by Benny Chan, starring Andy Lau (刘德华Liú Déhuá), Nicholas Tse (谢霆锋Xiè Tíngfēng), Fan Bingbing (范冰冰Fàn Bīngbīng) and Jackie Chan (成龙Chéng Lóng). It is an updated version of Jet Li’s film debut, Shaolin Temple.

Plot

The film is set in Dengfeng, Henan, during the warlord era (军阀时期jūnfá shíqí) of early Republican China (民国时期mínguó shíqí). A warlord named Hou Jie defeats a rival, Huo Long, and seizes control of Dengfeng. Huo flees to Shaolin Temple to hide but Hou appears and shoots him after getting his treasure map. Hou ridicules the Shaolin monks before leaving.

Feeling that his sworn brother, Song Hu, is taking advantage of him, Hou sets a trap for Song in a restaurant, under the guise of agreeing to his daughter’s engagement to Song’s son. Meanwhile, Hou’s deputy, Cao Man, feeling that he was being used by Hou, decides to betray him. During the dinner, Song shows his intention to retire and cedes everything to Hou but was informed that Hou intends to kill him. Out of rage and embarrassment, Hou fatally wounds Song. Both families were then attacked by Cao’s assassins. Despite being shot by Hou, Song saves Hou to allow him to escape and he dies subsequently. While fleeing, Hou’s wife and daughter separated. Hou’s wife is rescued by some passing-by Shaolin monks, who were stealing rice from the military granary to help the refugees living near the temple. Hou manages to escape with his daughter, but his daughter was severely injured when she was knocked down by the assassins’ horse carriage. After a chase by the assassins on horse carriages, Hou and his daughter fall off a cliff. In desperation, Hou brings his daughter to Shaolin, begging the monks to save her life, but it is too late and she dies of her injuries. Hou’s wife blames him for the death of their daughter and leaves him. Hou attacks the monks in anger but is quickly subdued.

Hou becomes disillusioned and wanders near Shaolin, until he meets the cook monk Wudao, who provides him food and shelter. Hou feels guilty for his past misdeeds and decides to become a monk and atone for his sins. During his stay in Shaolin, Hou gradually understands Shaolin’s principles through study and practising martial arts, mends his ways and finds peace and enlightenment from his heart. From the refugees, Hou discovers Cao had recruited male refugees to build a railway, which he objected when he was still a warlord, and they have yet to return after several days. Hou discovers that Cao was unearthing Chinese relics on pretext of building a railway and the refugees were massacred afterwards to silence them.

After Cao is informed that Hou is still alive, he leads his soldiers to Shaolin temple to capture Hou. Hou volunteers to go with Cao to distract him while the monks break into Cao’s house to save the imprisoned labourers. Hou was reunited with his wife and escaped with her when his plan to rescue the labourers succeeded. Hou’s senior, Jingneng, is brutally killed by Cao while covering for his juniors to escape. Upon returning to Shaolin Temple, the monks decide that they need to evacuate the temple to avoid further trouble. Wudao leads the refugees away while Hou and the other monks remain behind to defend the temple and buy time. Cao arrives with his troops and attack Shaolin. At the same time, the foreigners feel that they have been cheated and decide to silence Cao and Shaolin. They bombard Shaolin with artillery, resulting in heavy casualties for both the Shaolin monks and Cao’s forces. Hou defeats Cao in a fight and eventually sacrifices himself to save Cao from being crushed by a falling beam and falls into the Buddha statue’s palm and dies peacefully, leaving Cao feeling guilty. The surviving monks succeed in overcoming the foreigners and stopping the bombardment. Meanwhile, the refugees, fleeing on a mountainside, begin crying as they gaze upon the Shaolin temple in ruins. Wudao tells them that the Shaolin spirit will continue to live in them even though the temple has been destroyed.

Before the evacuation of Shaolin Temple, Hou meets his wife for the last time. Repenting for his past mistakes, Hou passes the urn containing his daughter’s cremated ashes to his wife. Hou’s wife forgives Hou for his past, and accepts the fact that she can no longer be with him even though she prefer the present Hou compared to the past. Hou refused to leave Shaolin and stay behind for Shaolin’s and refugees’ defence, in admission that Cao’s present evil doings stems from his own past misdeeds and he is responsible in guiding Cao back to the correct path.

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