Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HAI YA!!! Martial Arts Flicks for the Non-Martial Arts Fan

Oh, my, my, my, how I dreaded the horrible kung-fu movies---the awful dubbing, the ridiculous dialogue, the goofy characters. Now, a lot of these movies are old, low-budget jobs, and maybe it's just something you accept and enjoy...like how I love crappy television sometimes (okay, LOTS of times). I feel a little bad saying that I didn't really like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, even though I know it was a very well-crafted film which was highly regarded by the film-making community. Despite my general non-love for martial arts flicks, there later came to be a few martial arts films that I really did appreciate. One of them remains the single most visually stunning film I have ever seen.

You'll notice that Time Magazine called it "a masterpiece". That's a pretty good review, huh?

Like my previous martial arts movie experiences, I did not go to this one exactly willingly. Then along came a fight scene in the rain that was just stunning---the color palette, the sound of the rain drops, the camerawork. You coulda stuffed a big ole apple in my mouth when my jaw dropped open (although, I'd prefer a taco). Later, the movie went on to include exquisite color-themed scenes that were truly like watching live-action art. And to top it all off, Hero left a lump in my throat at the end. It is a tale about war and the hard question we'd often like to put off : Is it sometimes just and necessary to fight for the greater good?  

IMPORTANT VIEWING NOTE: To fully appreciate these films, they need to be viewed on a large, high-quality screen. Hit up your friends with the nice big tv or home theater set-up. Do NOT use the dubbing feature. Just put on your specs and read the subtitles. Dubbing should be banned.

Okay, so, House of Flying Daggers: No surprise that it is also a really beautiful movie since it is from the same director. It's an exciting tale, quite romantic, along with being action packed. The main character is portrayed by the gorgeous Ziyi Zhang, who is amazing to watch. And probably the part I enjoyed the most? The unexpected plot twists. Mucho fun.

The Kill Bill movies are not ( with a big N) for everyone. They are very stylized in that hokey 70's kind of way. More importantly, they are terribly violent. Did I enjoy the films? Yes, I did. Were there people that hated them? I am quite sure there were. How will you know if you can handle it? If you are okay with those grindhouse flicks, you'll be fine with these. These are like a cakewalk compared to those.

Hopefully, I've convinced you to give martial arts flicks another chance. Like me, you might really be pleasantly surprised! Don't try any of those moves at home, though (wink-wink).

PS. That Five Finger Exploding Heart move does not work, anyway. I tried it three or four times.

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