Friday, December 28, 2007

Toughest Gaze in the MasterBlaster Maze

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
directed by Chia-Liang Liu
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

The Weinsteins should be proud of their new Shaw Brothers transfers; I'm sure Quentin is. A better transfer means blood like a neon light and shaolin robes shining down on Manchurians run amok through the shrines and streets of the Central Kingdom. Kung-fu films are tough on the spirit of the Netflix shuffle - trying on the patience if you're not in the mood - but that mostly means asking to be won over. Steady as the steam from a tea kettle (unless you leave it on the stove too long like I did the other day), training sequence upon training sequence accumulated each small, then sum, success, almost as engrossing as the near-silent theater duel at the end of Scaramouche that I stumbled upon on TCM (it's nice to be home for the holidays).