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Shaolin Temple with Jet Li in Chinese

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Shaolin Temple (1982) with Jet Li
Plot: The film is set during the transition period between the Sui Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty. It opens with various shots of the Shaolin Temple, including the wall paintings, the many beautiful trees, gardens, shrines, gates, and statues of Buddha and the Gods. The temple bells toll as the monks kneel in the pillared inner sanctum and bow before the great altar of the Golden Buddha, before which sits the Abbot of Shaolin. A shaven-headed, blue-robed novice (Jet Li) stands with his palms pressed together and his head bowed. He is about to be accepted into the Shaolin Temple. The Abbot speaks to him of ceremony, purification, and learning to respect one's self and others. Then the Abbot asks for his name. "Jue Yuan", he answers. The Abbot tells him that to be accepted into the Shaolin Temple, he must vow to not commit murder. He asks if he can obey this, but Jue Yuan is silent, staring downward. The Abbot repeats the question, and Jue Yuan slowly raises his eyes, gazing intensely at him. The Abbot asks the question a third time...

The film flashes back to the warlord and deadly fighter Wang Shichong killing an old man with a throat lock and throwing him off a high brick wall into a muddy river, then abusively ordering the rest of his slaves back to work. They're at a labor camp by the great river, toiling in the mud among corpses that hang from gallows as the soldiers whip them. It is during the rebellions at the end of the Sui Dynasty, when China became divided between various factions. Wang Shichong, who ruled from Luoyang, has treacherously installed himself as Emperor of the East Capitol, and is overseeing the bolstering of his riverfront defenses against the rival warlords on the opposite bank. They are near the Shaolin Temple. He forces even the old, crippled, and sick to work, but still the work isn't progressing fast enough for him. He orders an officer to bring all his prisoners, who are opposing rebels, to join the slaves.