In the wake of some mysterious, brutal murders, stoic hero Lei Xun (Derek Yee Tung-sing), jovial gambler Qiao Yiduo (Jason Pai Piao, splendid in the sort of role regularly undertaken by Alexander Fu Sheng), and martial maiden Ye Qinghua (Taiwanese actress Liu Yu-po) find themselves wrongly accused. The death blow administered corresponds to a time-honored Shaolin kung fu technique, so the trio journey to Shaolin Temple in the hope of identifying the killers (whose faces were seen by a hidden Qinghua). However, before their inquiries will be addressed, The Abbott (Chan Shen) insists that the men participate in two elaborate tests of their fighting skills.
Veteran choreographer Tong Gai/Tang Chia was at the helm of this Shaw Brothers production, which enjoys an excellent reputation with fans. Initially, one is hard pressed to understand why, as the opening reel offers little out of the ordinary. However, once the combat begins in earnest, SHAOLIN INTRUDERS boasts enough gravity defying martial excitement, credible intrigue, and larger-than-life heroics to sway even the most jaded old school completist. The show-stopping battle finds Derek Yee and Jason Pai battling Chan Shen (in a rare turn as an honorable character) on a rickety stack of benches, but the monks’ amazing 12 Jingangs pole-fighting formation (with a young Elvis Tsui Kam-kong leading the attack) is also a marvel of choreography and editing. Phillip Ko Fei, Lee Hoi-sang (playing to the back row as the hot-tempered master of Shaolin Temple’s Hall of Discipline), Ku Feng, Ngai Fei, and Kwan Fung co-star; the soundtrack includes a cue lifted from Brian May’s score for MAD MAX.