Shaolin Mantis (bizarrely also titled Deadly Mantis in this 1983 print)is widely recognized as one of David Chiang Da Wei's best efforts at the Shaw studio, and deservedly so; it is one of the few not directed by perennial favourite Chang Cheh and therefore has far more character development, intricate sets and cinematography, and even numerous female characters; all features famously lacking from Cheh's beloved comic-book style. This is also one of the first and best movies to use the device of copying animals to create a fighting style and the painful training sequences that ensue. The synopsis can be found elsewhere, and I believe nearly any aficionado of these films would give it all five stars.
The one issue is the print quality: this "Platinum Collector's Edition" literally opens with video jitter, showing plainly that it was transferred from video (probably someone's home copy), not from film, and it is entirely "pan and scan," which makes it difficult to follow the action, and not only in the action scenes. That said, it should not prevent you buying it... it is regrettable, though, that in the age of DVDs, collectors and lovers of these films are still forced to content themselves with mediocre, "Black Belt Theatre"-type copies. Don't miss this one, by all means! But don't expect any extra features, and don't expect the print to be better than the one you taped at midnight a couple of years ago. NOTE: A HONG KONG COMPANY CALLED CELESTIAL IS REMASTERING AND RERELEASING THE ENTIRE SHAW FILM LIBRARY ON DVD! BEAUTIFUL LUSH PRINTS IN ORIGINAL LANGUAGES WITH DECENT SUBTITLES! IF YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON THEM, GET THIS ONE! (note: you will need a region-free or all-region DVD player if you do not live in Asia!)