Much of the second half of the film is devoted to the Southern Shaolin students’ extended, light-humored training sequences. Although Chu’s fun powerhouse Mantis workouts are impressive and memorable, they are given too much screen time while gentle, frightened Mai Fong and the exuberant, devil-may-care Ho Ying Wu must divide the remaining time between their Wing Chun and Southern Shaolin Pole technique training sessions. Upon mastery of their new skills, the hard working Southern Shaolin fighters are ready to meet their Northern counterparts for a final deadly showdown.
Robert Tai’s choreography is very good. Sometimes dramatic and rarely violent, the action is carefully choreographed and edited for maximum visceral and emotional entertainment but the lengthy training sequences unfortunately break the tension that escalates nicely in the first half of the film. The climactic final battle between the six Shaolin masters is, however, violent and exciting. The physically gifted Venoms and Johnny Wang Lung Wei offer the usual less-than-stellar acting performances and during the final fight scene the girlfriends look about as distressed as if they just missed the annual shoe sale. But it is perennial bit-part baddie Chan Shen who comes out of left field to deliver a solid dramatic punch to Invincible Shaolin. Despite his shoddy makeup and cookie-cutter lines, Chan’s deeply emotional performance as the grieving master bolsters the otherwise tepid acting and keeps the whole showcase story afloat.
Invincible Shaolin is a fairly well-paced, action-packed, kung fu training pian with many fun fight scenes and a pretty rewarding climax. Although the film is essentially an innocuous showcase for the energetic and dexterous Venoms, the boys are, as always, audience pleasers and their extensive action in this film is a Venoms must-see. All around, Invincible Shaolin is memorable, light, fun kung fu entertainment.