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What happens when a Shaolin monk commits a crime in the nineteenth century and has to hide out in the American Wild West? This series. And it is a lot better than you would think.
The fascination in this series comes from the clash of cultures and genres - what we have here is a Western series with Kung Fu moves and a Buddhist philosophy. You wouldn't think it would work, yet somehow, it does.
The reasoning behind Caine (played fantastically by David Carradine) moving to America is that he is, in fact, half-American, but joined the Shaolin temple when he was orphaned. There is a chance he may still have family in America. The convenience of this (apart from the fact that it makes more sense for him to be in the USA) is that David Carradine was not Chinese, so there had to be a reason why his features were largely that of an American/European man.
Some of the fight scenes sometimes don't quite hit the mark - but I suppose that's what you get with 1970s Hollywood extras - largely though, the fight scenes are good enough to keep the story moving. This being a shaolin monk fighting cowboys however, it's never quite going to look like Swan Lake.
The flashbacks, starring the fantastic Keye Luke (who also starred in Gremlins) will make you want to start calling people grasshopper whenever you teach them anything. Flashbacks are a big part of this series, so if you generally don't like them, perhaps this isn't the right series for you.
Overall, a great series, with a fascinating take on both cultures.