THE NEW LEGEND OF SHAOLIN
LEGEND OF THE RED DRAGON; LEGENDS OF SHAOLIN
The New Legend of Shaolin is one of the most outrightly enjoyable of Hong Kongs Wu Xia entries. There are all the expected wild moves and acrobatics but Wong Jing adds a few moves of his own people dont just do flying attacks but do them three deep; a leader flies in over his followers heads by running across their thrown swords; the opening battle is a wicked parody of the Japanese Baby Cart series and features the villain facing the hero while swinging a burning twelve foot long pole on the end of his hooked arm; the alleyway fight where the heroines mother dodges a machine-gun like hail of needles and defeats her opponent with a gob of spit; and the poison man who flies into battle in a beetle-shaped chromium car, while a phalanx of soldiers fly in with their shields rolled into one giant chromium ball.
As one might gather, The New Legend of Shaolin is one Wu Xia entry that has a considerable sense of humour. There is a good deal of play made out of the heroines mother pretending to be a corpse as part of a scam she and her daughter run. Wongs direction is equally adept with the martial arts as with the comedy, sometimes both at once, like a fight that ducks around a sleeping man and especially a romantic flirtation as the heroine does needlework ending with both she and Jet Li tying one another into various positions.
Jet Li is characteristically wooden, although is balanced out by Chingmy Yau who has a wonderful perkiness and a delightful range of expressions. The show is fairly much stolen by young Tse Miu as the son who has some incredible martial arts moves, including at one point the delightfully tongue-in-cheek one of being able to do push-ups while balanced upside down on a single finger.