My Favorite Part of Kung-Fu Flicks

Kung-Fu Flicks
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

While watching “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” today, a wonderful Kung-Fu film from Run Run Shaw in 1978 and my favorite of all the Kung-Fu Flicks, it dawned on me that I am more enamored of a Martial Art Film’s training sequences more that the loss and revenge of that loss that necessitated the training in the first place.

Challenge of the Masters

Perhaps this may be because I have trained for years, and have trained others, or those were the scenes that drove me to learn in the first place. Some of the sequences are super-imaginative, while others are down-right weird. No matter which camp they fall into, I think that they are all fun!

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Executioner from Shaolin

American Ninja

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   So in the 1980’s, Ninja were like a force of nature. They caused more mayhem and damage than any natural disaster. From over complicated plans by evil masterminds, to simple plot devices, Ninja were always there to save the entertainment industry’s day.

 

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   This evening I pulled up American Ninja on the Plex server, and after 10 minutes Mrs. Multiverse looked at me like I had lost my mind. It’s not a good movie. Why do I have it? The answer is simple, I was 15 when this came out and just as swept up in the 80’s Ninja craze as “everybody” else. Well, not everybody, since Mrs. Multiverse was only 8 at the time.

 

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   Having much more experience under my belt,  I can say that Michael Dudikoff is a really good Martial Artist. At this point his acting was a bit stiff, but his action was great. When the movie opens it was clear that the director was telling him to channel James Dean, and they should have gone that route for the entire film. A flick about a silent stoic hero is fine with me.

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    Should you go out of your way to see this movie? No. It’s one of those things that you need to have grown up with. When I watch it, I remember my time at the drive-in with my best mate. If it’s something that you did watch back then, give it another go, there are some fun moments. Fair warning, as someone who has trained and enlisted, there are some cringe-worthy moments as well 😉

From Animation to Film: The Last Airbender

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   So last night we went down the rabbit-hole and fired up the Multiverse Cinema Box to watch M. Night Shyamalan’s “Last Airbender”. Apart from the casting issues, particularly with the Water Tribe, the beginning of the film started off pretty strong and faithful to the original series. Things began to veer off course quickly, but gave us a few course corrections that made bad choices a little better. If you were to ask Mrs. Multiverse, she didn’t like it at all. Apart from a few scenes here and there, it was a pass for her. The mispronunciation of many of the character names were sticking points that jolted  her out of the story.

 

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   That’s pretty much for me as well. I’ve been involved in martial arts since 1985, and a fan long before that. I have been exposed to many styles from many cultures, thus (wow… sounding pretty pretentious there, Doc) I can see through somebody faking their way through martial movements. There is nothing worse than watching somebody go through(ish) the movements while lacking any intention or emotional content. This is why I couldn’t watch Iron Fist, no matter how excited I was for that to be released. There were many cringe-worthy moments for me in this regard.

   Having said that… the young man who plays Aang is an outstanding practitioner who has a very high level of actual skill. He isn’t using Bagua like the main character does in the series, but he is extremely good in Wushu. I found his staff work to be delightful, and the appearance of the glider mode of his staff was one of those fun moments of the film.

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   The only characters who I enjoyed were General Iroh and Princess Yue of the Northern Water Tribe.

   Imdeiatly after the film concluded we played the first  five episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender, and cleansed our mental pallets. The movie lacked the joy of Aang, simply being Aang, and much of the warmth of the character interactions. It was too much story crammed into too little time, with too little fun.

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   The upshot of this trip down the rabbit-hole… we are re-watching Avatar again. It feels like coming home. After that finishes Korra will not be far behind.