1. Ordinary World
At the beginning of the film, Hou Jie is a warlord who is quickly established as arrogant and capricious. When his rival, Huo Long, is defeated, Hou Jie runs him down to Shaolin Temple and shoots him to death, laughing at the monks as he leaves. This establishes him as a flawed character who needs fixing; he is the center of his own world, and sees monks as being below him.
2. Call To Adventure
In the case of this film, Hou Jie does not receive his initial call to adventure yet; instead, he must be taken down a notch in order to understand that his way of life is not the right way. Here, the call to adventure is his plot to kill his blood brother Song Hu; he feels as though he is being overshadowed, and so he tries to set a trap to kill him under the guise of friendship.
3. Refusal Of The Call
The call is then refused when his lieutenant, Cao Man, betrays him for the same selfish reasons Hou wanted to kill Song (he felt overshadowed and betrayed); the decision to turn away from a virtuous life even further costs Hou in losing his family - his wife is secreted away and his daughter is killed in the ensuing escape. It is here that Hou realizes the error of his ways and brings his daughter to the Shaolin Temple to get them to fix her; however, they cannot.
4. Meeting The Mentor
Despondent and at his lowest moment in the narrative, Hou Jie meets Wudao (Chan), who is a cook and a monk. His appearance being deceiving, it turns out he is a skilled monk and warrior who agrees to teach the repentant Hou the ways of the Shaolin.
5. Crossing The Threshold
Once Hou Jie recognizes that he cannot live the same way anymore, and feels guilty about his actions, he starts to train in the art of Shaolin. Here, he finds a new way of living and working, understanding the tenets of Shaolin and becomes much more enlightened.
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
In this section of the film, Wudao constantly challenges Hou with physical, emotional and mental challenges, preparing him for his new life as a Shaolin monk. Hou also learns of Cao's killing of the male refugees who were digging for Chinese relics instead of building a bridge, thus establishing Cao as his enemy.
7. Approach To The Inmost Cave
Hou's first test - his Inmost Cave - is when Cao confronts him at the Temple and forces him to go back. Here, he must actually own up to his mistakes and take responsibility for others, for the first time in his life putting others' lives ahead of his own. Here, he avoids opportunism and is given his first real test to claim his monkhood and manhood.
Hou's ordeal comes with his own surrender to Cao, which allows him to rescue his wife and give the monks time to rescue the remaining laborers Cao was about to kill. This allows him to take his first step toward actively redeeming his actions as a cruel warlord.
9. Reward (Seizing The Sword)
After this, Hou Jie is a new man; his wife is back, she loves him, they have rescued the laborers and struck a victory for the Shaolin temple at the expense of the evil Cao.
10. The Road Back
At this point, the monks realize the temple has to be evacuated in order to allow everyone to survive Cao's attack. At this point, Hou decides to stay with the remaining monks to fight Cao's men and buy the others time.
During this final battle, Hou is a virtuous and skilled warrior, fighting back Cao's hordes and also defending them from the foreigner's artillery attacks. This is the culmination of his character arc, as he is now selfless even towards his enemies, saving Cao from falling debris despite being his enemy.
12. Return With The Elixir
Because Hou is dead, his reward is the safety of the refugees and the saving of his soul; the fact that he dies in the arms of the Buddha statue indicates his religious freeing and salvation through selfless action. Even Wudao, seeing the temple burn, notes that the Shaolin spirit will live on because of his actions.