Disciples of the 36th Chamber is a 1985 Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Movie starring Gordon Liu, Lily Li, and Hsiao Ho. It is Gordon Liu's third outing as the Shaolin monk, Master San Te, and together with The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Return to the 36th Chamber, the films forms a Thematic Trilogy of Shaolin kung fu -based martial arts movies.
This time Gordon Liu takes a backseat to the newcomer Hsiao Ho, who previously made it big with Mad Monkey Kung Fu. In a role earlier portrayed by Alexander Fu Sheng, Hsiao is the martial artist Fong Sai-yuk, a teenage troublemaker and rebel, much to the chagrin of his father, Master Fong - who also happens to be his Martial Arts Instructor and owner of the kung-fu school he studied in.
The Manchurian government is plotting to eradicate all martial arts, and Master Fong's academy is targeted. Picking a fight with the local Manchu thugs, Sai-yuk ends up getting into trouble, and to save his family's honor and prevent closure of Master Fong's academy, Sai-Yuk is enlisted to be trained by the legendary Shaolin monk San Te (Gordon) in the infamous 36th Chamber. But Sai-yuk is too full of pride to even respect the Shaolin monks until a run-in with a powerful Manchurian governor had Sai-yuk uncovering a bigger conspiracy towards the Shaolin practitioners.
Contain examples of:
- Action Mom: Fong Sai-yuk's ass-kicking Absurdly Youthful Mother, Miao Tsui-fa.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: The final battle between Sai-yuk, San Te and the Shaolin monks against the Manchurian governor's legion of hired fighters. Given the massive numbers of extras involved in the beat-down, the good guys are in purple while the thugs are in yellow or red.
- Blade on a Stick: The Governor tries using a halberd with a massive blade to hack uop the Shaolin monks, only to fail spectacularly.
- Disguised in Drag: San Te arriving to back up Sai-yuk... while disguised as Sai-yuk's supposed bride.
- Epic Flail: San Te uses his trusty multi-sectioned nunchucks in the final battle.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: The Shaolin practitioners tends to forfeit their weapons and use their fists instead in big fight scenes.
- Human Ladder: In the final battle, the Shaolin monks uses this method to flee from the Governor's mansion, leaping over each other's heads and shoulders to scale the walls and roof while leaving the governor's soldiers behind.
- Nobody Can Die: Despite having plenty of action and fight scenes, not a single onscreen death is shown. Well, Sai-yuk does seemingly kill a spear-wielding fighter in the opening credits, but that was only a dream sequence.
- Pride: Sai-yuk's biggest flaw and weakness, which the training in the Shaolin Temple entails to help him get over.
- Slipping a Mickey: The Manchurian governor tried taking down Sai-yuk during the final banquet by spiking his wine, and Sai-yuk, upon realizing he's been poisoned, had to fight off scores of thugs while trying to gag the wine out. The fight ends when he managed to spit it out... into the Governor's mouth.
- Training Montage: No Shaolin Temple-themed movie would be complete without one.
- Uncertain Doom: Whether the Manchurian governor died after Sai-yuk regurgitate the poisoned wine back into his mouth, or not, is never made clear in the film.
- Wedding Smashers: One performed by the good guys, for once. Because said wedding is a trap and part of a conspiracy to eliminate all Shaolin practitioners.