Jet Li’s Shaolin Temple Movies Ranked Worst To Best

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Jet Li began his career in martial arts films with the Shaolin Temple series, but which of his first film trilogy ranks worst and best?

How is Jet Li celebrated Shaolin Temple Are the movie series ranked from worst to best? Already a bona fide action star in Hong Kong before breaking into English-language Hollywood films, Jet Li began his martial arts training at the age of eight as a student of modern Wushu. Beijing-born Li went on to represent China in Wushu competitions around the world, even performing a demonstration for US President Richard Nixon on the White House lawn.

Li’s vast skills in Wushu caught the attention of the film industry, with 1982 Shaolin Temple marking Li’s first feature film. Not only was Shaolin Temple a huge success in China, but it also had a very tangible impact in the real world. The film’s success sparked renewed interest in China’s legendary Shaolin Monastery, known as the epicenter of Bruce Lee’s kung fu. The Shaolin Temple itself would become the basis of countless martial arts films and become one of China’s greatest landmarks – all thanks to Shaolin Templethe influence of.

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Behind Shaolin Templesuccess, Li returned for two sequels, Shaolin Temple 2: Children of Shaolin in 1984 and Shaolin martial arts in 1986. While he became a martial arts film legend with later hits like fist of legend and the Once upon a time in China series, Li’s work on the Shaolin Temple the films launched his career and remain important entries in his filmography. Here is Jet Li’s ranking Shaolin Temple movies from worst to best.

3. Shaolin Temple 2: Children of Shaolin (1984)


Shaolin Temple 2 Children of Shaolin picture

The second movie of the Shaolin Temple The trilogy is certainly the dullest, in part for its much more tangential relationship to the present-day Shaolin Monastery. Martial arts master Jet Li plays Sanlong, the adopted son of former Shaolin monk Tianlong (Yu Hai). Tialong and his brother Yilong (Hu Jianqiang) raise Sanlong and seven other orphans, train them in kung fu, and team up with the Wudang kung fu practicing Bao family to take on a band of vengeful bandits. Children of Shaolin was a big hit in China in 1984, but it’s often considered the least of the series, and with good reason. Children of Shaolin is by far the campiest film of the three, with plenty of comedic and even musical numbers woven into its story – but, sadly, those elements largely fall flat.


Although very graceful and coordinated, Children of ShaolinMartial arts sequences fall into the trap of being overly flowery and danceable. With uneven tone and more ballet-esque martial arts sets look like Marvel’s Shang-Chi, Jet Li’s second role as Sanlong was unfortunately a step up from Shaolin Templeand the film is more generally considered one of the lesser acting roles of Li’s career. Children of Shaolin is by no means a horrible movie, it really only exists in Jet Li’s filmography for those who want to see the whole thing Shaolin Temple trilogy.

2. The Shaolin Temple (1982)


Jet Li in the Shaolin Temple photo

At just 19 years old, Jet Li made her film debut in Shaolin Temple like the avenger Jue Yuan. After a local warlord kills his father, Jue is taken in by the monks of Shaolin Monastery, becomes skilled in kung fu, and determined to stop the warlord’s conquest. Although full of great martial arts fighting styles and training scenes, Shaolin Temple is best known for his famous Four Seasons montage. With Li training in various unarmed forms and with weapons over the course of a year, the montage showed Jet Li from the get-go as an incredible Wushu athlete and strong screen presence.


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Shot over a three-year period and the first film to use the actual Shaolin Monastery as a location, Shaolin Temple launched Jet Li’s career and made the tradition of the Shaolin Temple and Shaolin martial arts the new craze for kung fu movies. Li’s own career would be sent into the stratosphere with Shaolin Temple‘s success – a fact very easy to forget today with the large number of timeless, fan-favorite kung fu movie classics he was involved in. Nevertheless, Shaolin Temple stands beautifully as a historic relic of 80s kung fu and a true cultural touchstone to Shaolin Temple’s long history.


1. Shaolin Martial Arts (1986)


Jet Li in Shaolin Martial Arts Photo

Shaolin Temple 3: Shaolin Martial Artsalso simply called Shaolin Martial Arts, is both Jet Li’s only Shaw Brothers film as well as his only collaboration with legendary kung fu filmmaker Liu Chia-liang (or Lau Kar-leung, as he is officially credited). Either way, it’s a great martial arts movie. Li plays monk Ling Zhi-ming, a promising student of the Northern Shaolin Temple who embarks on a mission of revenge against magistrate He Suo (Yu Chenghui). Along the way, Zhi-ming teams up with a Southern Shaolin Temple monk, Chao Wei (Hu Jianqiang), and the temple abbot’s niece, Si-ma Yan (Huang Qiuyan), to whom Zhi-ming has a hidden secret. link.


Easily containing the best action scenes from the entire trilogy, Shaolin martial arts lives up to its title by bringing a wide collection of northern and southern fist forms and weapons into its virtually uninterrupted martial arts fight scenes. The film also shows great creativity with its training sequences, including a calligraphy contest between monks with kung fu fights thrown into the mix. Shaolin martial arts is also the most radical entry into the Shaolin Temple film series, capturing the scenic beauty of China in places like the Forbidden City. Best of all, the film’s final battle is a raucous spectacle, with an army of monks from the North and South joining forces against He Suo’s forces with weapons and bare-knuckle combat. As a result, Shaolin martial arts claims the distinction of the best of Jet Li Shaolin Temple trilogy in an impressive way, with Jet Li’s third film appearance reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s early success in the big boss.


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