May 02

American Shaolin

americanshaolinGenre: Action
Year: 1992
Country: USA

aka: American Shaolin: King of the Kickboxers 2, Karate Tiger 5, King of the Kickboxers 2

Director: Lucas Lowe
Starring: Reese Madigan, Trent Bushey, Daniel Dae Kim


To become a true master you must seek perfection. Only then can you become… American Shaolin


Drew Carson is a snotty, arrogant american kid who gets humiliated by a superior martial art artist Trevor Gottitall (yes, Got It All) who fights dirty and even pulled down Drew’s pants after beating him up in a tournament. Oh, and he’s got a pony tail aswell, how evil! After this devastating defeat Drew’s teacher tells him that he really isn’t a shaolin fighter and when he hears this, Drew decides that he shall become a true shaolin fighter. And he’s off to China to find a shaolin temple that will accept him and teach him their hidden secret of Kung Fu.

His initial meeting with the shaolin temple of his choice is a disappointing one. For some reason they do not accept strangers who just walks into the temple and act like they belong there. After sitting outside like a stubborn little kid for several days he is finally accepted into the place and his learnings of becoming a shaolin monk can start. Even though he’s accepted into the temple he still is a little brat and doesn’t take well to discipline. He behaves badly, gets the other monks into trouble but still he manage to stay in the temple thanks to the patience of the Asians. In the end he must face a test that will show his dedication to becoming a shaolin fighter and only then will he be ready to face Trevor once again.

The whole journey and goal of the movie is to take a New York kid and let him grow through the teachings of the temple. Reese Madigan was a good choice for the role of Drew, he looks the part and does a good job in the movie. I do think that they should have made this a more humbling experience for the character as I didn’t really see any real change in him even though he does make some new choices at the ending, but when a movie lasts 110 minutes you can show some character development before the last 5 minutes. Reese Madigan concentrated on stage work after this movie and do have a black belt in Shotokan Karate according to IMDB.

The training at the temple could have been more brutal and rough on the shaolin trainee’s to make it more interesting. The fight scenes are great (no wonder when you have Corey Yuen as a martial arts choreographer), but there could have been more fight scenes in it. There’s a lot of goofy and silly humour and the tone is very light-hearted, which makes this movie perfect for young 15 years old who would enjoy this move a lot. For me who are a lot older, this movie isn’t anything remarkable and I prefer to watch more adult martial arts movies with less silliness.

The only thing this movie shares with the first King of the Kickboxers is the director Lucas Lowe. There is no other connection and this one stands on its own feet. If you have an obsession with early 90’s martial arts action films then this isn’t the worst thing you could watch, but it’s not something worth seeking out either.




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