Watch Shaolin Mantis
- 1 hr 36 min
Shaolin Mantis is a martial arts film from 1978 directed by Liu Chia Liang, also known as Lau Kar-leung. The film stars David Chiang as the protagonist, Wei Fung, who is a former student of the Shaolin temple. Wei Fung is disowned by the temple after he is falsely accused of being involved in a political conspiracy, and he becomes a rebel seeking revenge against the corrupt official who framed him. The film combines elements of revenge, action, and nature, presenting a story of one man's journey toward redemption and freedom. The film is notable for its depiction of the Mantis Style of kung fu, a style that focuses heavily on the use of fingers and hands, designed to imitate the movements of the praying mantis. The film is set in ancient China, during the Ming dynasty, and centers on Wei Fung attempting to clear his name and restore his honor. After leaving the Shaolin temple, Wei Fung finds solace in a small village where he meets a beautiful woman named Wan Erh (Cecilia Wong). She becomes his love interest and a key player in the story, later assisting him in his quest for vengeance. As Wei Fung comes to understand the mantis style, he defeats many villains along the way, including three great kings of martial arts who are the highest-ranking disciples of the evil warlord General Yin (Ku Feng). These kings each have their own unique martial arts techniques, and Wei must battle each one to reach General Yin. The fight scenes in Shaolin Mantis are choreographed with precision, and show off the unique and practical movements of the Mantis Style. Each fight is different and inventive based on the strengths and weaknesses of each opponent. Lily Li also stars in the movie as the wife of General Yin, and her character serves as a counterpoint to Wei Fung's journey. The wife of General Yin becomes an unwilling pawn in her husband's schemes, and as he becomes more and more ruthless, she begins to see Wei Fung as a potential savior. Shaolin Mantis also has a strong environmental message. Wei Fung is presented as a defender of nature and protector of animals. When he sees that General Yin's men are destroying a beautiful waterfall, he takes action to stop them. The movie also features a beautiful scene where Wei Fung fights a snake in a river, with the visceral and fluid movements of the Mantis Style reflecting the movements of the snake. The mix of action and drama in Shaolin Mantis is seamless, with each complimenting the other rather than detracting from it. The characters, both good and bad, are portrayed with depth and nuance, and the narrative is cohesive and easy to follow even for people who are not familiar with kung fu films. Overall, Shaolin Mantis is a must-see for martial arts enthusiasts and fans of great storytelling. The film delivers both in spades and presents a unique perspective on revenge, honor and personal redemption.