Arlington Chinese Corner Message Board › Shaolin 2011 Movie Review
|A former member||
Shaolin (2011) is pretty good for practicing Chinese language comprehension. First of all, it is an action movie and so a lot of the dialogue is simple one sentence things. I thought I had learned how to say Buddha be praised, since that is what someone says every 5 minutes -- but I'm not sure if I got that right.
The actors are box office sure-things. Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Fan Bing Bing. And Jackie Chan as a benevolent Buddha himself, in a side role as the cook.
This is a melodramatic kung fu movie. 1930-ish warlords wreaking havoc amongst themselves. Andy Lau is the successful young general who has a change of heart and joins the Shaolin crowd after his young daughter dies from a double-cross coup gone wrong. Fan Bing Bing is just gorgeous as his wife. She has a face like one of those transparent jade cups.
Nicholas Tse plays the evil young dissolute prince-type villain. He is so perfect for this, with the lock of hair over one eye and the permanent sneer. Actually he didn't have to act, this is the guy who crashed his Ferrari in Hong Kong one night a year or two ago.
Jackie Chan is not the star of this film. He just makes an occasional appearance and I think there is only one scene where he does a little kung fu action. He probably contributed to the design of the action scenes
The cinematography was good but not breathtaking. Everything has a green-gray palette, to suggest the dreary war-torn times. I had just seen Hero on TV the day before and that's like day to Shaolin night. This is not Scorsese or Zhang Yimou.kind of visuals.
The prettiest thing I saw was the closing credits. It was the shaolin temple exterior from above, with snow gently falling. It was beautiful.
In sum, a good film, but not great.