Shaolin (film)

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Hong Kong film poster
Traditional 新少林寺
Simplified 新少林寺
Mandarin Xīn Shàolín Sì
Cantonese San1 Siu3Lam4 Zi2
Directed by Benny Chan
Produced by Benny Chan
Albert Lee
Written by Alan Yuen
Starring Andy Lau
Nicholas Tse
Jackie Chan
Fan Bingbing
Wu Jing
Music by Nicolas Errèra
Anthony Chue
Cinematography Anthony Pun
Edited by Yau Chi-wai
Emperor Motion Pictures
China Film Group
Huayi Brothers Media Corporation
Beijing Silver Moon Productions Ltd.
China Songshan Shaolin Temple Culture Communication Center
Distributed by Emperor Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • 19 January 2011 (2011-01-19) (China)
  • 27 January 2011 (2011-01-27) (Hong Kong)[1]
Running time
131 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin[2]
Box office US$33,470,508 (China)[3]
US$2,632,485 (Hong Kong)[4]

Shaolin (also known as The New Shaolin Temple) is a 2011 Hong Kong-Chinese[5] martial arts film produced and directed by Benny Chan, and starring Andy Lau and Nicholas Tse with a special appearance by Jackie Chan.


In Dengfeng, Henan during the warlord era of early Republican China, a warlord named Hou Jie defeats a rival, Huo Long, and seizes control of Dengfeng. Huo Long flees to Shaolin Temple to hide, but Hou Jie appears and shoots him after tricking him out of his treasure map. Hou Jie ridicules the Shaolin monks before leaving.

Feeling that his sworn brother, Song Hu, is taking advantage of him, Hou sets a trap for Song in a restaurant under the guise of agreeing to his daughter's engagement to Song's son. Meanwhile, Hou's deputy, Cao Man, ambitious and feeling used by Hou, has decided to betray him. During the dinner, Song states his intention to retire and cede everything to Hou but is then secretly warned Hou means to kill him. In rage and embarrassment, Hou fatally wounds Song. Both families are then attacked by Cao's assassins. Despite being shot by Hou, Song saves him with a warning, allowing him to escape, and then dies. While fleeing, Hou's wife and daughter are separated. Hou's wife is rescued by some passing-by Shaolin monks who were stealing rice from the military granary to help refugees living at the temple. Hou escapes with his daughter, but she is severely injured by the assassins' carriage. After a chase by the assassin carriages, Hou and his daughter fall off a cliff. In desperation, he brings her to Shaolin, begging the monks to save her life. It is too late, and she dies of her injuries. Hou's wife blames him for the death of their daughter and leaves him. Hou attacks the monks in anger but is quickly subdued.

He wanders in shock near Shaolin until he meets the monk cook Wudao, who provides him food and shelter, after many days being stranded under a pit. Hou feels guilty for his past misdeeds and decides to become a monk and atone for his sins. Initially,in his stay,some monks is still angry at him,but he decides to stay. During his stay in Shaolin, he gradually learns Shaolin's principles through study and martial arts, reforms, and finds peace and enlightenment. From the refugees, Hou discovers Cao had recruited male refugees to build a railway -- a concession he opposed when he was still a warlord -- and the workers have disappeared. Hou discovers that Cao has been unearthing antique relics on pretext of building a railway and having the refugees massacred afterwards to silence them. He intimidates the guards burying recent victims,then loads the corpses in a cart and drag it to the temple gate,where villagers and refugees identify their missing loved ones.

After Cao is informed Hou is still alive, he leads his soldiers to the temple to capture him. Hou volunteers to go with Cao so he can distract him while the monks break into Cao's house to save the imprisoned labourers. Hou is reunited with his wife and escapes with her when rescue plan succeeds. Hou's senior, Jingneng, is brutally killed by Cao while covering for his juniors to escape. Upon returning to Shaolin Temple, the monks decide that they need to evacuate in order to avoid further trouble. Wudao leads the refugees away while Hou and the other monks remain behind to defend the temple and buy time. Cao arrives with his troops and attacks Shaolin. At the same time, the foreigners find they have been cheated and decide to silence Cao and the entire Shaolin community. They bombard Shaolin with artillery, killing many of the monks and Cao's forces. Hou defeats Cao in a fight but eventually sacrifices himself to save Cao from being crushed by a falling beam. He falls into the Buddha statue's palm and dies peacefully, leaving Cao feeling guilty. The surviving monks overcome the foreigners and stop the bombardment. Meanwhile, the refugees, fleeing on a mountainside, cry as they look down at the temple in ruins. Wudao tells them the Shaolin spirit will continue to live in them even though the temple has been destroyed.

Before the evacuation of the temple, Hou had met his wife for the last time. Repenting for his past, he gave the urn containing his daughter's cremated ashes to his wife. She forgave him for his past and accepted the fact she could no longer be with him, even though she prefers his present self to the old one. Hou refused to leave Shaolin and stayed behind to defend it and cover the refugees' escape. Admitting that Cao's present evil doings stems from his own past misdeeds, Hou stated it was solely his responsibility to guide Cao to the correct path.


  • Andy Lau as Hou Jie, a warlord
  • Nicholas Tse as Cao Man, Hou Jie's second-in-command
  • Jackie Chan as Wudao, the Shaolin cook monk
  • Fan Bingbing as Yan Xi, Hou Jie's wife
  • Wu Jing as Jingneng, Hou Jie's oldest senior
  • Xing Yu as Jingkong, Hou Jie's second senior
  • Michelle Bai as Tian'er, a singer
  • Yu Hai as the Shaolin abbot
  • Yu Shaoqun as Jinghai, Hou Jie's third senior and a friend of Jingkong
  • Xiaoliuna as Hou Shengnan, Hou Jie's daughter
  • Shi Xiaohong as Song Hu, Hou Jie's sworn brother
  • Hung Yan-yan as Suoxiangtu, a martial arts expert working for Cao Man
  • Chen Zhihui as Huo Long, a rival warlord
  • Liang Jingke as Song Hu's wife

Theme song[edit]

The theme song, "Wu" (悟; roughly translates to "awaken" or "enlighten"), was composed by the Chinese composer Zhao Qin, with Andy Lau performing the song and providing the lyrics.[6]


Filming started in October 2009 with a ceremony held in Shaolin Monastery.[7] News first spread of the project when the film's co-star Jackie Chan announced on his official website that he was involved with the project but was not able to talk about it due to contract restrictions.[8]

Chan and his crew built their own "Shaolin Temple" in Zhejiang that cost 10 million yuan (US$1.47 million) to avoid damaging the actual temple.[9] The cast members shaved their heads bald for filming, whereas Chan, who wore a hat, shaved around his head where his hair was sticking out.[10]

Andy Lau's left hand was injured while he was filming a fight scene.[11]


Shaolin was originally slated for a late 2010 release.[12] The film was released in China on 19 January 2011 and in Hong Kong on 27 January 2011.[13] Shaolin premiered as number one in the Hong Kong box office, grossing US$592,046 during its first week.[14] The film also premiered at number one in the Thai and Singaporean box offices during opening week.[15][16] The film also went on to break the box office record in Malaysia.[citation needed]


Shaolin holds a 74% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews.[17]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations
Ceremony Category Recipient Outcome
33rd Hong Kong Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Nicholas Tse Nominated
Best Action Choreography[18] Corey Yuen, Yuen Tak, Nicky Li Nominated
Best Original Film Song Song: Wu (悟)

Composer: Zhao Qin
Lyricist/Singer: Andy Lau

Best Art Direction Yee Chung-Man, Ben Lau Nominated

See also[edit]


External links[edit]