Super production China with action scenes, many action scenes mean. With nice comic moments, good production design, good acting, good direction in the action sequences, but ultimately full of cliches of the genre that make it all comes down.
Not a bad film but not a remarkable one either, especially considering the talent involved. An over-reliance on wires and computer effects doesn't help matters much. Andy Lau and Nicholas Tse aren't martial artists and yet they get the most screentime and fight scenes...in a movie about the Shaolin Temple. Huh? Benny Chan has much better movies in his filmography.
This is a fair wire-fu flick. Filled with serious faces, turn-of-the-century milieus and ultra-dramatic family action abound, it's a big power-play with explosions and martial arts. The zen aspects in this are fairly forgettable. On the whole: trivial and the two intros from 0-45 minutes in are the best thing.
Overall this movie has something for everyone that loves action cinema from the sweeping shots of Kung Fu training exercises to the frantic finale that sees the monks take on the invading troops as they fight for the lives and traditions and the people of the Shaolin Temple.