The Shaolin Temple
Produced by Sir Run Run Shaw
Directed by Chang Cheh
Starring David Chiang
Wang Lung Wei
Music by Chen Yung Yu
Distributed by Shaw Brothers Studio
Running time 116 min.
The Shaolin Temple(少林寺Shàolínsì) aka Death Chamber is a Shaw Brothers film(邵氏电影Shàoshì diànyĭng) directed by the Chang Cheh. It is one of the Shoalin Temple themed martial arts films and their rebellion against the Qing's, with an all-star cast featuring the second generation of Shaw stars David Chiang, Ti Lung, and Fu Sheng and the introduction of the Venoms. The film is a prequel to 5 Masters Of Death.
The film opens with the chief Shaolin Monks realizing that time is not on their side and they must train more fighters to fight the Qing’s, the monk Hai Hsien (Shan Mao) opposes this as he is secretly working for the court. Outside many men are sitting in front of the temple waiting to be accepted in, Fang Shih Yu (Fu Sheng), Ma Chao-hsing (Tony Liu) and others, as the temple tests the will of potential students by making them wait outside for hours (perhaps days), eventually the two are accepted in a begin “training”. Fang Shih Yu becomes frustrated immediately as Shaolins method of teaching martial arts is rather obscure, except for Ma Chao-hsing who begins learning the 5 animal styles from day 1.
Elsewhere, escaped Ming soldiers Tsai Te-cheng (Ti Lung), Hu Te-ti (David Chiang), Yen Yung-chun (Szu Shih), and Ma Fu Yi (Wang Lung Wei) arrive close to Shaolin looking for a place to hide from the Qing. Hu Te-ti suggests they go to Shaolin and they are instantly accepted, which frustrates 3 more students trying to get acceptance into the temple, Lin Kwong Yao (Kuo Chui), Huang Sung Han (Lee I Min), and Hu Hui Chien (Kuan-Chun Chi). The 3 are eventually accepted and begin their obscure training. Tsai Te-cheng learns the wing chun style from a strange female monk and Hu Te-ti learns the iron whip. This forces Hai Hsein to secretly go to the court and report to Prince Hoo (Lu Feng) that Shaolin has been training new fighters, the Qing want to destroy Shaolin. Hai Hsein returns to Shaolin looking to recruit more traitors to set up the temple for a raid. All the accepted students start to become close friends and proficient in their kung fu, except for Fang Shih Yu (who is unknowingly learning tiger boxing but is impatient) keeps getting into fights with Ma Fu Yi, who is disgruntled with being at Shaolin. A mysterious figure at night (perhaps his friend Ma Chao-sing) begins teaching Fang Shih Yu the tiger-crane style and he defeats Ma Fu Yi in a friendly spar. This sparks the curiosity of Hai Hsein as he takes Ma Fu Yi under his wing and recruits him as a traitor.