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As feuding warlords fight to expand their power, the noble monks of the Shaolin Temple clean up the mess left behind, tending to the injured while trying their best to protect the poor and weak. General Hou (Andy Lau) has caused much of this mess with his violent and ruthless tactics that rarely discriminate between soldiers and civilians. When Hou is betrayed by fellow general Cao Man (Nicholas Tse), he is forced into hiding, and takes refuge with the monks (including Jackie Chan) at their hidden mountain temple. As the days pass, he finds himself more and more at ease as he learns the ways… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An ambitious, almost epic drama that devotes as much time to introspection as it does to combat."
‑ Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News
"More action, less talk should be the order of the day, but it isn't."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"One of those films that impresses you, even though it fails to set itself apart from other films in the genre."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Frequently gripping and featuring a surprisingly spry supporting turn by Jackie Chan, it's a sturdy if unremarkable effort."
‑ Nick Schager, Boxoffice Magazine
"This rousing Shaolin is notable for the compassionate Buddhist philosophy that underpins what otherwise might have been just another Hong Kong period piece."
‑ Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
""Shaolin" fits in the more somber kung-fu tradition. But it also finds room for the genre's comic strain."
‑ Rachel Saltz, New York Times
"Shaolin features a half-dozen impressive action set pieces, including an elaborate carriage chase and a battle inside the cages where Cao imprisons his workers."
‑ Mark Jenkins, NPR
"Ambitiously staged set pieces fall victim to portentous technique, creating an ultimately irreconcilable chasm between how much one wants to like this movie and how much they actually do."
‑ Brent Simon,
"Shaolin is simultaneously regal and stilted, stirring and sluggish."
‑ Paul Clinton (Boxoffice), Boxoffice Magazine
"This is not a subtle film, and certainly not a great one, but it's made with bubbling brio and it's spectacular to look at. It's action filmmaking of the highest order."
‑ Burl Burlingame, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
"The epic feel to this Hong Kong action-drama helps balance a lack of hand-to-hand combat scenes."
‑ Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
"The kung fu itself is great fun to watch, from the discipline of balancing on one foot on a wooden pillar, the other in the air, for hours at a time to the confrontations that send fist and feet flying."
‑ Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
"Jackie Chan brings some warm energy to his supporting role -- a rarity for this big star -- and turns in a delightfully self-effacing performance."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
"Large-scale melodrama is short on action and long on histrionics."
‑ Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
"Benny Chan's kung-fu film Shaolin both benefits from and is ultimately defeated by its own epic ambitions."
‑ Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine
More reviews for Shaolin on Rotten Tomatoes