Disciples of the 36th Chamber (1985)

Also known as Disciples of the Master Killer or Master Killer III, this is the third film in a loose trilogy of movies that began with The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Like those movies, this was written, directed and choreographed Lau Kar-leung.

Hsiao Ho (Mad Monkey Kung FuLegendary Weapons of China) takes on the role of another legendary hero of the martial arts, Fong Sai-Yuk. He’s a troublemaker and keeps running into trouble with the Manchu warlords. To save his family’s honor, his mother asks San Te (Gordon Liu) to allow her son to study in the 36th chamber, the place where non-monks may train. However, Sai-Yuk’s pride and lack of respect make quite a headache for the monks.

Sai-Yuk keeps going into town at night, which is forbidden and becomes friends with the Manchu. They are using him to get the secrets of the Shaolin, so that they may destroy the temple. The film closes with Sai-Yuk poisoned and all of the monks trapped inside the Manchu fortress for what they believed was a wedding. The battle that closes the film is absolutely astounding, with every art show in the film paying off in a final battle that is as much about the Shaolin’s refusal to hurt anyone and help one another as it is combat. Nearly every cast member is involved in a gigantic battle that simply must be experienced.

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