When randomly picking up kung fu movies at a video store, you can’t expect to get a movie with believable acting and a compelling story, but the level of mediocrity in terms of acting and plot line in this movie is borderline indecent.
Let this be so bad, it will be the last movie featuring a monk that knows Kung Fu!
The acting is frigid, the script is poorly written, the transitions between scenes are simply horrible, and the music sound like it has been stolen from cheap porno movies. The only redeeming quality of the acting is the gorgeousness of the supporting actresses.
The gorgeousness of Kristin Douger...Wow, they even made mistakes in her name!
|Kristen... or Kristin Dougherty
But martial arts wise, is it good enough to make us forgive the major shortcomings of the movie?
|Year of release:
||Peng Zhang Li
The story is about Li Long, a Kung-Fu Monk comes to America to take care of his deceased brother's son. Why is he the “last” kung fu monk? It is never explained! Perhaps, they thought this movie was so bad it would put an end to all movies featuring monks. Forever!
Characters with martial arts training
Li Long: Shaolin monk whose origin story can be seen in a series of awkward flashbacks. Suffice to say he is a Shaolin monk.
Other people: Generic thugs, skilled underground fighters and other misc. under-developped characters.
History and philosophy
With such poorly scripted what history value can anyone watching get out of this? Well, let’s dig in a bit into what a Chinese monk is. We can very safely assume that Li’s character is in fact Chinese, by his name (Li Long), his Chinese monk costume when giving classes and the fact that he speaks Mandarin Chinese in flashback scenes of when he was a kid. In any case, he does specify that he is a Shaolin monk during the movie.
Scene of a flashback that is completely irrelevant to the rest of the movie.
In one scene, we see Li playing with at the table with his nephew, Michael. In that scene, they exchange food that appears to be meat.
In another scene, After Michael refuses to eat a meal prepared by Li, he sits down and eats it himself. The plate contained a steak.
When Li is a guest at the policeman’s house, he is offered wine and liquor, which he drinks without too much hesitation. He does however mention that he "cannot eat the meat". No explanation was given.
Finally, it is hinted that Li and Sarah are an item together, or in other words, are dating each other...
A Shaolin monk with a girlfriend... Isn’t Li, a Chinese monk breaking a gazillion Buddhist rules?
Horrible acting is somewhat more acceptable if the movie was an excuse to show ass kicking action, but the amount of fight scenes is way too small to fall into that category.
The first half of the movie doesn’t feature too many fights and when our starring monk does fight, it is usually against “bag of potatoes”, or bad guys that can’t fight and easily get dispatched.
Your chair is no match for the power of the last kung fu monk!
Wirework is most evident in these scenes as his opponents fly accross like “bags of potatoes” whenever Li hits them, completely disregarding laws of physics to a point where it’s embarrassing to watch, even for these type of movies.
The opponents and the fights do get more interesting when Li (somehow) joins an underground fight club. Unfortunately, even in the underground fight section, there aren’t that many fights to feast our eyes on. (Or at least, not enough to excuse the torture of making us watch through the movie).
Is this a cool jump kick? No! Its the opponent (on the right) flying accross the room after being hit by Li (on the left)
For what it’s worth, the final fight scenes are pretty quick and sharp, featuring good fight choreography. None of the fight are especially climatic though, as the viewer never feels Li is in any sort of real danger.
The choice of opponent is questionable as the protagonist has two women as opponents. I’m not sure why the director who choose to include two women as adversary. If, he thought including women in high heels as adversary would be empowering to women, then why do they need to fight 2 against one? Whatever reasons pushed the director to go that way, one can only hope that he didn’t think it would look cool, because it doesn’t.
Somewhat sexy? Sure, if you insist... Beating the crap out of them being cool... not so sure...
The movie shows a few short scenes of Li’s students practicing a set of punches and blocks. The same movements seem to repeat in those different scenes. There is another scene where Li shows Sarah, the social worker, some basic movements. That scene was probably included as comedy relief, though I personally did not see the humor.
Reading that may interest you:
9 qualities of exceptional martial arts students
17 Differences between the Average and the Great
The authenticity of Chinese martial arts in China
Peter Choo-Foo: Ty Fung Kung Fu martial scholar