Review: Shaolin Kids in Hong Kong (1994)

2014-09-08 12.18.00

Starring Gordon Liu, Wang Lung Wei, Philip Kwok, Anita Lee, Choi Yue, Lee Hiu-Tung.

Fight Choreography by Philip Kwok

Directed by Stephan Yip Tin-Hang

Shaolin Kids starts at the Shaolin Temple, where Master Chi (Lui) has the unenviable task of trying to train a new generation of shaolin monks. Two of his youngest students, enamored with things like a Nintendo Gameboy, decide that there’s a better world out there and go out to seek their fortune, and so leave for Hong Kong. Master Chi follows them in order to bring them home, but must face his own ignorance of the outside world. The two boys are taken in by a young woman named Money (Lee) but find themselves in trouble when they uncover a belt of counterfeit money, and danger chases them in the form of a local drug boss (Lung Wei), and only Master Chi can save the day. (Of course he can. Like two little kids can take on Wang Lung Wei. Please.)

Shaolin Kids is a really cheap movie that was made to appeal to kids, but there is some casting that just makes you go “this is a kids film?” Aside from the mugging and overacting for the camera, and goofy sound effects, I have to admit I was wanting a hell of a lot more, and with that cast, who could blame me? Gordon Lui is, well, Gordon Lui, or as I like to refer to him, The Greatness. He plays the Shaolin master as well as ever, even in his more sillier scenes. On the other hand, in one section of the film Gordon Lui gets into a scuffle with Philip Kwok, who looked as if he stepped off of another film, and don’t even get me started on Wang Lung Wei. Hell, he does the famous finger wag, even in a damn kids movie! No one escapes the Wang Lung Wei finger wag. The man acted as if he thought he was in Outlaw Brothers 2!

This one is for you, Heroic Sisterhood!
This one is for you, Heroic Sisterhood!

The fights are kidified and relatively bloodless, and the plot is truly silly, but with a decent final bout between Gordon and Wang Lung Wei, I couldn’t complain, except that this is a kids’ movie! The cinematography is shoddy at best, and there is not really anything of any artistic value from a directing standpoint. It’s hard to grade a film like this, as it was meant for kids, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. A better director would have made far greater use of his talent.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 3

It’s breezy entertainment meant for the wee ones. Some odd casting keeps things slightly above the kid level. Not really one to recommend. Let the kids watch Kung Fu Panda instead.