Executioners from Shaolin is a Shaw Brothers kung fu classic from 1977 recently released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video as part of their ShawScope Volume 1 Collection. Executioners from Shaolin was directed by Lau Kar-leung and stars Chen Kuan-tai, Lo Lieh, Gordon Liu, Lily Li and Wong Yue.
Starring Chen Kuan-tai as the valiant Hung Hsi-Kuan and Lo Lieh as the White Browed Priest Pai Mei, this film opens with a captivating cameo by Gordon Liu in a high-octane fight sequence that sets the tone for the ensuing narrative.
The heart of the movie takes place of a spectrum of years, immersing viewers in the evolving relationship between Chen Kuan-tai’s character and his wife played by Lily Li. Executioners from Shaolin showcases an interplay of emotions, from a heartfelt bonding between father and his son played by Wong Yue to confrontations against the formidable Pai Mei, whose portrayal by Lo Lieh is memorable.
Notably, the film embraces elements of humor through the recurring motif of playful sparring between father and son, adding a touch of lightness amidst the overarching martial arts saga. Amidst these jovial exchanges, occasional assaults on Pai Mei punctuate the narrative, highlighting his status as an iconic adversary.
Of particular note is Pai Mei’s distinctive maneuver, which becomes emblematic of his prowess – an ingenious technique involving the entrapping of an opponent’s foot within his groin before delivering the decisive blow. This signature move is executed with astonishing precision and witnessed multiple times throughout the film, solidifying Pai Mei’s identity as one of the most ruthless villains in the world of martial arts cinema.