Posts Tagged ‘wuxia’
Monday, February 27th, 2023
Tsui Hark’s groundbreaking 1983 wuxia epic ZU: WARRIORS FROM THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN recently got a fancy new blu-ray release, inspiring me to finally get around to seeing it. In fact I watched it right before I watched IRON MONKEY for the first time, so that was a hell of a night of filling in (some of) my Hong Kong cinema blind spots.
I can’t say I liked ZU as much as IRON MONKEY, because I can’t say I followed it as well. Like much of Tsui’s work it has a haphazard, is-he-making-this-up-as-he-goes-along? feel to the storytelling, which here I think is a combination of his sensibilities and the difficulty of someone from another culture (me) processing a DUNE-like cinematic condensation of a famous 1932 Chinese fantasy novel steeped in mythology I don’t necessarily have a context for. But I can say that it’s an enjoyable fun house ride, an absolute visual delight, and a key missing link in my understanding of Tsui’s filmography. Everything else he’s made makes more sense after seeing this. I guess it’s kinda like if I’d seen all the modern Spielberg movies and then saw E.T. and JAWS for the first time. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Adam Cheng, Arnie Wong, Brigitte Lin, Chris Casady, Corey Yuen, Damin Lau, John Scheele, Mang Hoi, Moon Lee, Norman Chu, Peter Kuran, Robert Blalack, Sammo Hung, Tama Takahashi, Tsui Hark, wuxia, Yuen Biao
Posted in Reviews, Action, Fantasy/Swords, Martial Arts | 11 Comments »
Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
THE THOUSAND FACES OF DUNJIA is a 2017 FX-laden wuxia movie from the super team of director Yuen Woo-ping (TAI CHI MASTER, WING CHUN) and writer/producer Tsui Hark (A BETTER TOMORROW II, VAMPIRE HUNTERS), their first collaboration since 2002’s BLACK MASK 2: CITY OF MASKS (which was directed by Tsui with Yuen as martial arts director).
This is a type of modern Chinese blockbuster that seems to be very off-putting to some people because it’s absolutely slathered in digital bells and whistles: fiery bombastic credits, virtual camera pulling back from a spider’s leg to an asteroid in outer space, humans morphing into animated monsters, magic shit twirling around all over the place, clearly designed for 3D. Also it has lots of broad humor, cartoon physics, exaggerated facial expressions – the kind of stuff Stephen Chow perfected and nobody else, even these legends, can easily match.
It’s not my very favorite type of movie, but it’s something I can have fun with. The unbridled joy for putting cool and/or preposterous things on screen – fantastical shit for the sake of fantastical shit – always makes me smile, even if I can’t follow all of it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Aarif Lee Chi-Ting, Da Peng, Ni Ni, Tsui Hark, wuxia, Yuen Woo-Ping, Zhou Dongyu
Posted in Reviews, Action, Fantasy/Swords, Martial Arts | 4 Comments »
Monday, April 11th, 2022
I’m an idiot so it took me more than a decade to get around to watching REIGN OF ASSASSINS (2010), even though it’s directed by John Woo. Well, sort of – it’s actually directed by Su Chao-pin (SILK ), but Woo was with him the whole time to mentor him, so he got a co-director credit. He says he gave advice, but never imposed his style. And I definitely wouldn’t confuse it for his movies.
It is a pretty enjoyable wuxia movie though, and it stars Michelle Yeoh, so I’m glad I finally got my shit together.
The story concerns various killers fighting over the mummified corpse of “the powerful monk Bodhi” because, according to the narrator of the prologue, “They say that whoever possesses the Bodhi remains will rule the martial arts world.” Through some not-great illustrations and freeze frame/bullet time character introductions we learn that members of “The Dark Stone, a secret guild of the world’s deadliest assassins” killed Minister Zhang Haiduan and stole the remains, but “amidst the chaos an assassin, Shi Yu (apparently called “Drizzle” in some translations), discovers Grandmaster Bodhi’s remains and disappears into the night…” All the other assassins try to kill her to get a reward. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Barbie Hsu, Chin Shih-chieh, John Woo, Jung Woo-sung, Kelly Lin, Leon Dai, Li Zonghan, Michelle Yeoh, Stephen Tung Wai, Su Chao-pin, tofu, Wang Xueqi, wuxia
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews | 4 Comments »
Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
BUTTERFLY AND SWORD is from 1993, so it’s after Michelle Yeoh had already done YES, MADAM! and even SUPERCOP, but it’s her first straight up wuxia movie. Let me put it this way: in the opening scene in “West Chamber, Eunuch Li’s Mansion,” I do believe we see a guy’s face get ripped off and thrown into a pile of snakes. So this is not a drill. This is the unadulterated, berserk kind of kung fu fantasy film where there pretty much aren’t characters who don’t jump 25 feet in the air and shoot some kind of weapon.
Our male lead Brother Sing (Tony Leung, HARD BOILED, RED CLIFF, THE GRANDMASTER) is introduced bouncing off a string to fly through the air like an arrow, causing at least half a dozen dudes to explode as he hits them. He also has a cool method of holding a bow behind his back and firing his sword. Yeoh’s character Lady Ko gets a quicker but even more fanciful introduction flying in with a fanfare of confetti and a web of unfurling purple silk scarves. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Chang Kuo-Chu, Ching Siu-Tung, Donnie Yen, Joey Wang, Michelle Yeoh, Tony Leung, wuxia
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews | 9 Comments »
Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Wait a minute, you’re telling me that a Tsui Hark/Jet Li movie is showing in 3D Imax in my town? Shit, that’s something I gotta experience, something I gotta support. I managed to squeak it in on the next-to-last day of the 2 week limited engagement, so I’m sorry that I failed to give some of you a heads up.
Apparently this is a remake of DRAGON GATE INN (1966) which was already remade as NEW DRAGON GATE INN/DRAGON INN (1992), neither of which I’ve seen. It is not a remake of DRAGON TIGER GATE, which I have seen. Donnie Yen was offered the lead in this, but he turned it down because he was already in the ’92 version and thought that would be weird to do another one. Or maybe he was confusing it with DRAGON TIGER GATE and didn’t want to revisit the goofy hair style he had in that.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: 3D, Gordon Liu, Imax, Jet Li, Tsui Hark, wuxia
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews | 19 Comments »