RISING SHAOLIN: THE PROTECTOR (2021) review

Out of seemingly nowhere, mere weeks before Chinese New Year 2021, was announced Stanley Tong’s Rising Shaolin: The Protector (henceforward Rising Shaolin), to be released straight to VOD despite its high-profile director and a cast full of stars – two of whom, Wang Baoqiang and Liu Haoran, are now filling theaters to unprecedented levels in Chen Sicheng’s Detective Chinatown 3. This is obviously a passion project for Wang: when he was 8, he was shown Chang Hsin Yen’s 1982 classic Shaolin Temple, both a debut and a breakout success for Jet Li, and still one of the highest-grossing Chinese films ever when adjusted for inflation. Determined to become a martial arts star, he joined an actual Shaolin monastery the same to be trained in martial arts. Later, his acting career took off with his acclaimed performance in Li Yang’s Blind Shaft, and has gone stratospheric since, in no small part due to the aforementioned Detective Chinatown franchise.

(more…)