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The Asian ApertureReturn to the 36th Chamber
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, March 7, 2015    Share

I am a fan of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978), from Shaw Brothers, so I was eager to see the sequel, Return to the 36th Chamber that came out back in 1980. What I got was not a direct sequel. I was expecting that Return would pick up where the first one left off and continue the adventures of San Te, the kung fu monk that can only be properly portrayed by the legendary Gordon Liu.

Return deals with workers in a fabric dyeing mill. One day the boss says that wages will be cut by twenty percent. Naturally the workers get mad and the boss orders Manchu mercenaries to beat them into compliance. The workers enlist the help of Chu Jen-chieh, played by Gordon Liu.

Jen-chieh is a local con man with no kung fu ability. He dresses up as San Te, and aided by the workers, trick the boss and his goons. You see Jen-chieh magnificently jump down from a tree to impress, in another scene, you see giggling workers hiding behind a tree and holding onto wires.

The scheme works for a time but then Jen-chieh, is proven to be a fraud. He is beaten and humiliated. However, he doesnít give up. He vows to go to the Shaolin Temple and really learn kung fu.
As he attempts to sneak into the temple, he runs into the real San Te, in Return played by Lee King-chue and who was played by Gordon Liu in the original 36th Chamber.

From there Return follows the same basic plot as the first movie. Jen-chieh learns Kung fu and returns to help his friends.

Return is one big mess of a sequel. It lamely attempts to add comedy as did Jackie Chanís Drunken Master (1978) and it just doesnít work well here. Several dialogue heavy scenes drag on with such slowness that I found myself dozing off more than once. I kept my eyes open just to make it to the final fight.

The big battle between the now kung fu trained Jen-chieh is amazing. Gordon shows off his expert skills and action choreography. I wonít fault you for fast forwarding to the ending. It is the best part of Return.

With that in mind, while Return does have some entertaining fight scenes, it is still a dull movie to endure. Still, I plan on watching the third entry, Disciples of the 36th Chamber (1985) soon.

Recommended only for hardcore Gordon Liu fans that must see every Gordon Liu movie only.

2 stars out of 5

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2015 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2015 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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