Watched Master of the Flying Guillotine tonight. I guess I could have added Kung Fu movies on my list of things I love but I think I would have been misusing the word love. Still I like them quite a bit.
Remember that line from that Wu song
"And the survey said -- ya dead,
Fatal Flying Guillotine chops off your *** head,
rZA who was that? Aiyyo, the Wu is back, Makin **** go BO BO!, like I'm Super Cat"
Anyway not much to talk about today which is why I'm talking about Kung Fu movies. Now like I said I like a good kung fu movie. Mind you I use that word 'good' rather loosely since every kung fu movie before the recent attempt to give plausible plots and dialogue were basically the same movie.
Let me give you the recipe for every Kung Fu movie. Some dude either has his family or teacher killed and gets the crap beat out of him because he is too weak to fight his strong assailants and then the rest of the movie is spent with him first hiding then recovering trying to get better with his craft, learning some new style and then facing down the bad guys and kicking ass. And they were all set with some historical storyline about the rebels fighting the manchu dynasty or the red lotus society leading a rebellion against whoever. Oh and there was always a teacher and student or a kung fu school involved. Ok maybe they had a little more than that as a plot but if I added one or two of those elements I have the basis of every Kung Fu movie ever made back in the day.
So yea you really don't watch them for the fine plot or dialogue, its all about the action.
To digress a bit, the new stuff like Crouching Tiger and Hero and House of Flying Daggers are ok but they seem to take themselves so much more seriously with the storytelling than the old stuff plus the use of wirework seems to get a little too excessive. Chill out, its should just be all about the action.
Anyway something just sort of nostalgic for me with badly dubbed Kung Fu movies. They were sort of like westerns where good always seemed to win out over evil. The hero was always battered and bruised and some of the good guys might die but the evil was always banished. Of course in the context of Westerns the 'evil' was sometimes rather contrived since the basis was these white dudes trying to chase the natives off their own land and Hollywood using b.s movies to justify it but that's another blog.
And Kung Fu flicks are just so much cooler than dudes blasting each other with guns. It was like rhythmic violence where you almost forget that dudes are trying to kill each other. Its like the violence is secondary to the rhythm of the spectacle. Mind you I could never understand why 10 guys wouldn't just beat the crap out of the hero by rushing him all at the same time and stomping him like his name was Rodney king lee. Was there some unwritten code that even though we outnumber you it just wouldn't be fair to use our superior numbers to crush you to a pulp. Who knows or is that Wu knows?
Anyway Flying Guillotine is one of the classics apparently along with stuff like 5 Deadly Venoms and 5 Fingers of Death. Personally I think I like the Jet Li Stuff that he did in the 80s early 90s before he came to Hollywood like The Once upon a time in China series which besides amazing action has some interesting colonial overtones and The Legend and Legend II and Ti-Chi aka Twin Warriors. Still after a while I find I'd prefer to watch some unknown than watch Jet Li over and over again.
Watching Kung Fu when I was growing up was way cool. It was a sure fire way to make money at the cinema. The Empire and The Globe cinemas in Bridgetown would have double billings like 'Fist of Buddha' backed with 'Shaloin Temple 25' and stuff like that which would easily grab sell out crowds. Then with the advent of vcrs and easy access to video stores I remember just renting every kung fu movie I could find. It actually was easier for me to watch Kung Fu movies at home than some other non-violent fare. Why? Cause my mom was very particular about the colorful language in the movies shown in her home and I couldn't just watch Hollywood stuff where every other word was f this or m.f that when she was around so to be on her good side and be respectful cause it wasn't my house I'd rent kung fu with subtitles and then I had nothing to worry about.
And Kung Fu and Hip Hop go so much together. Even forgetting some one like the Wu Tang Clan who got their crew name and names like Shaolin (aka Staten Island) Ol Dirty Bastard and Ghostface Killer, Killer Priest etc from some classic Kung Fu movies all you have to do is take a look at some classic break dancing to see how some of those kung fu moves were incorporated into the dancing.
Anyway for someone who dint have much to say I actually ranted on quite a bit about Kung Fu. And I didn't even mention the Silver Fox or Wong Fey Hung or the preying mantis or the Buddhist fist or any of that stuff. Oh well.