This is, technically, a sequel. That might be obvious from the title but the film doesn't seem like a sequel so finding it after enjoying it so many years ago was not easy. In fact, it was the third film with the phrase '36th chamber' in it that I bought. The first film ( The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin [DVD] [1983
] )starred Gordon Liu (or Chia Hui Liu)of KILL BILL 1 & 2 fame as San Te, who founds the 36th Chamber and takes revenge on some Manchus (The Chinese love their scapegoats, luckily its not the English this time) in this sequel, San Te makes an appearence, but played by someone else and Gordon Liu plays Chu Jen-chieh; a conman who imitates San Te. Confused?
Its not that convoluted, especially if you forget about the earlier film and watch this as a self-contained movie, which is essentially what it is. There are some great ideas in it, notably the idea of learning martial arts without being aware that that's what you're doing - a notion made much more famous in the 80's with the release of Karate Kid [DVD] [1984
] though this does it well and maybe with more humour. In fact there is quite a lot of comedy in the film, from Chu's doomed attempt to portray a shaolin monk to his realisation that he does indeed know some kung fu. As martial arts comedies go the only thing better might be the amazing Kung Fu Hustle [DVD] [2005
] - but back to this one, this is a great movie, good action, good comedy and everything you want from a cheesy late 70's (it was actually 1980 but you know what I mean) Shaw Brothers movie.