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Film / Shaolin and Wu Tang

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The Hong Kong Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Movie of 1981 staring and directed by Gordon (Chia Hui) Liu. Also known as Shaolin vs Wu Tangnote  in some of the early dubs.

Two best friends belong to rival kung fu factions. They are Chao Fung-Wu of Wu Tang sword style and Hung Jun-kit (played by Liu himself) of the Shaolin boxing. Hung Jun-Kit has a sister, Yan-Ling, who has a crush on his best friend, Chao Fung-Wu. Each student, of course, has a master, and both masters are NOT aware that their respective students are best friends. It wouldn't be appropriate since their schools are bitter rivals. Wu-tang's founder was actually expelled from Shaolin!

So anyway, the two friends go out to drink and when one throws some thugs out of the brothel in which the friends are drinking, they both have a friendly sparring match to show off their Kung Fu.


The Manchu Prince hears of their sparring and remarks "The Shaolin and Wu Tang could be dangerous (if they merge their respective styles into a stronger kung fu)." He vows to learn both styles. He invites Hung Jun-Kit's (Shaolin) master over for dinner, but the master refuses to teach him. Worried about a similar reaction from Chao Fung-Wu's master, Master Law (or Lao) he hatches a plan to gain the secrets of both.


This show provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Chao Fung-Wu kills his master, Master Law.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil / The Evil Prince: The villain of the movie is a regional prince of the Qing Dynasty.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The Manchu Prince and his Sister.
  • Celibate Hero: Jun-Kit, in contrast to Handsome Lech Fung-Wu.
  • Cyanide Pill: Master Law due to the poison impales himself on Chao Fung Wu's sword, after instructing him to do drills knowing where his sword would be so he can place himself there before anyone could stop him.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Definitely has that.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Yan-ling attempted this with Chao Fung Wu but the Wu Tang pulled him away before she was completely dead.
  • "Get out of Jail Free" Card: The prince lets everyone go at the end and the protagonists after beating him are actually concerned with the level of injuries they gave him more then getting revenge for the hell he put them through.
  • Handsome Lech: Chao Fung-Wu loves prostitutes, and prostitutes love Chao Fung-Wu.
  • Hard-Work Montage: One for both schools.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Yue-lam
  • Hong Kong Dub: This film is quite interesting in that there are subtitles AND a dub. The subtitles seems to be somewhat direct translations and the dub is more creative. Nevertheless, the subtitles seems to be set in wide-screen while the movie is set in standard resolution. This means that the subtitles are often cut off.
  • Human Pincushion Yan-Ling at the hands of Manchu archers.
  • Idiot Ball: Chao-Fung Wu when the Manchu Prince and his attendant tell him that it was the Shaolin who poisoned his master and despite his master telling him not to give the Wu Tang teachings to the Manchu and Hung Jun-kit telling him it wasn't true, he believes the lie until the climax.
  • Just Between You and Me: The Manchu Prince, during Chao Fung-Wu and Hung Jun-kit's battle after becoming the representatives for their individual styles, grows tired of their restraint and begins explaining his plan to have the styles destroy each other and his own stolen knowledge of the two styles. This is a terrible mistake on his part.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The Manchu Prince's scheme is to exacerbate the rivalry between the Shaolin and Wu-Tang schools so that they'll destroy each other.
  • The Mole: The less-crazy woman that helps Chao Fung Wu escape is actually Yue-lam, the Manchu Prince's sister and spy.
  • Mood Whiplash: The abrupt ending.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fung-Wu is the red oni, being a fun-loving Handsome Lech, in contrast to the more serene Jun-Kit.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Slightly subverted in that the two side don't fight to the death in the end of the film. The two protagonists turn on the big bad instead.
  • Sampling/Sampled Up: The reason many more people outside of the kung fu fandom remember this is because of the extensive number of samples the Wu-Tang Clan made from this movie. The line "the game of chess is like a sword fight: you must think first before you move", sampled in "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'", comes from this movie, and not - surprisingly - from The Mystery Of Chessboxing. This movie's director and star, Gordon Liu, also appeared in The Man with the Iron Fists, directed by RZA. You can see RZA talk a bit more about this movie and other kung fu flicks that influenced Wu-Tang's music in this video produced by Vanity Fair.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Although they were good to begin with, Chao Fung-Wu and Hung Jun-kit at the end definitely take a level or two at the end.