Return to the 36th Chamber (1980)

Shimmy shimmy ya, indeed. If there’s one thing Hong Kong movies have in store, it’s always plenty of sequels. And yet, we welcome those here with open arms.

Directed by Lau Kar-leung, this is the spiritual second film in a trilogy. Unlike the first and last movie in said triad, Gordon Liu does not play San Te, but instead an imposter monk Chu Jen-chieh, who just so happens to look like the master of the 36th chamber.

After using his likeness to the famed warrior to help his friends — a scheme that doesn’t last all that long — Jen-chieh runs to the temple, where he’s soon kicked out. Only when he meets San Te is he given the opportunity to build scaffolds all around the temple and renovate the entire complex.

From high above the school, Jen-Chieh is able to watch all of the forms of the monks. Finally, when asked to dismantle his work, he rebels and runs through the chambers with ease. That’s because he changed his work to practice each of the forms, which was exactly the plan of the smiling San Te.

In spite of himself, our hero has become an expert at kung fu. Another lesson from San Te. Jen-Chieh saves his village and continues his training.

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