Author Topic: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films  (Read 366 times)

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Offline George-2.0

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Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« on: November 30, 2019, 09:17:31 AM »
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Rules and Regulations:
For feature-length films, 40 minutes or longer. television, direct to disc/streaming or theatrical releases. No television series, but a movie-length pilot or miniseries would count. Live-action or animation

What's eligible?

* Fisticuffs?
What I'm looking for here are your basic martial arts - hand to hand combat like Judo, Kung Fu, Karate, Jujitsu, Muay Thai etc. They can have serious stories and be spiritual in nature, but amazing fight choreography should be on display.

What I am NOT looking for... US/UK style boxing - absolutely NO Rocky or Raging Bulls etc. Some hybrids will be allowed, but be careful here. Just because Rocky maybe accidentally tripped a guy once, doesn't make him Kung Fu.

* Swordplay?
What I'm looking for is Chinese Wuxia (pronounced wo͝oˈSHyä) style stuff... you know, people chasing one another over tree-tops, or dashing across the water, the fantastical, the impossible.

What I'm not looking for? While some M.A. lists on the web say yes to Seven Samurai, others flat out say no. I won't say you can't include it (or others like it) but if you're doing Japanese Samurai movies, something like Shinoda's Samurai Spy is more in line with what I envision for this LoC, as with it you have samurai and ninja with crazy weapons, leaping and fighting and jumping in exaggerated/impossible ways. It's wild, more than grounded.

* It has to be about Martial Arts or feature these extensively.
It can't be a spy movie or whatnot that happens to have a kung fu guy pop in and fight the hero once. It can be a spy movie or a western, or crime story, IF it's primarily about the kung fu guy or gals, or a teaming of the two (east meets west type of thing).

Kobayashi's Harakiri is iffy, as it's not really focused on martial arts. Though there are sword fights in it, it's about hypocrisy. Decide for yourself, but that tilts more towards a no for me. Kurosawa's Red Beard does not count, though it has a judo fight, it's not about judo but doctors. Kurosawa's Sanshiro Sugata counts because it's all about judo, and the man and his master who trains him.

* What part of the world?
Anywhere, China, Japan, Thailand, France (Savate) and yes, the United States (so you Cynthia Rothrock fans can breathe a sigh of relief) anywhere in the martial arts world is good to go.

List Facts and Due Date

* Send a PM to me with a list of no more than 25 martial arts movies, with #1 on your list being your favorite, #2 being your second favorite, and so on. The  #1 movie on your list will get 25 points, the #25 on your list will get 1 point. Partial lists will be accepted, but be aware that points will be less than a full (a Top 10 for example - your #10 would be the equivalent of a #25 on a full list)

* List due - Tuesday, Dec 10th - that'll get you 11 days, and I'm a stickler for sticking to my deadlines - I'm not big on extensions, especially when they go on and on and on... I like to get to it. So let's try not to get sick or break any bones, etc. nkay?

* Links: This was actually kind of a toughie, Letterboxd doesn't even have a martial arts category and Wiki's MA list was pretty thin...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_martial_arts_films

They offer a better one for Wuxia... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Wuxia_films

And here one, with a warning...

Paste Magazines 100 Best Martial Arts Movies
Be careful with this page, Paste has become a garbage dump with too many intrusive ads. It'll freeze my laptop right up. So in Microsft Edge, I clicked on the little book icon (Reading View) and converted the page to a PDF file. Now I can read it like that, free of all the crap. (googlesearch to see how it's done if you're using a different browser - or use an ad-blocker - or maybe your computer handles the page just fine)
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 03:10:19 PM by George-2.0 »


Offline George-2.0

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2019, 10:20:03 AM »
Oh, and if it's a remake, or a movie with the same title, make sure you let me know which version you're going with

And FYI
Game of Death is for the unfinished Bruce Lee film that used new footage, with a stand-in (and a cardboard cutout) to fill out the picture
Bruce Lee: A Warriors Journey takes all the Game of Death footage Lee shot, then adds the missing segments with art, as it walks us through Lee's script and his intentions for Game of Death

I just wanted to make that clear to anyone who was considering Game of Death but wasn't sure which version was which.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2019, 11:02:50 AM »
and a third thing (I just can't get away)  ;D

We should decide this now - Kill Bill, you wanna break that in 2, or list it as one entry? I'm inclined to do it as a single entry, and make a note of each film in the write-up. But if the majority wants it as individual entries, that's fine too.

BTW - Unlike westerns, I'm no expert on this, so this will be more of a challenge. I'm going through Pastes Top 20, and will try and watch the ones I've not seen (remarkably, Netflix and Amazon Prime have a lot of these)


Offline PsychoGoatee

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2019, 03:06:32 PM »
Right on! Fun topic. I dig that it includes everything from streetbrawling films set in modern day to fantasy epics. Lot to choose from.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2019, 04:06:21 PM »
According to Bruce Lee, American Boxing was a martial art. And had he lived, he wanted Mohamed Ali to play the ultimate boss in Game of Death ( according to Bey Logan ). However, I can understand why Rocky or Raging Bull isn't the same kind of film as Bloody Fist vs 9 Blind Monks, so understand why they should not be taking space on this list. Does put into question some other competition films, including another from the director of Rocky where the hero spent more screen time waxing a car than fighting. And all those 80s Kickboxing films, most of which were actually South African.

Also, Break Dancing is considered a martial art.  But I'll take it that Electric Boogaloo is also disqualified.

I had Seven Samurai on my list, and now it is off. Only reason it was there was because I was listing in order of overall favorites instead of by choreography.  I am sure that 47 Ronin would also be disqualified. It has a massive martial arts battle that happens completely off screen.  But I am wondering if the Zatoichi films still count. They are mostly dramadies with the fighting almost always taking place in the final reel.  Also, do Jackie Chan modern day films count as long as there are a couple of memorable fight scenes, or are they in a completely different action film genre?

I don't have it on my list, but would
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
qualify? 

Since the topic of Game of Death was brought up, perhaps a little mention on that and other Bruce Lee films. Aside from the documentary Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey which had the Game of Death tower footage edited the way Bruce Lee intended it should ( restoring his students who accompanied him into the tower ), there are at least three different versions of Game of Death. The Hong Kong version, the American Version which edited out stuff including the greenhouse fight ( using stock footage of Bruce Lee for closeups and a stunt double, and a lot of plants in front of the fighters to obscure that fact ), and more recently GOD which as far as I know was only released in Japan, and supposedly completed Bruce Lee's original script wit doubles, but editing in the tower footage. There are also two different versions of the sequel. Tower of Death used the deleted scenes from Enter the Dragon so that Bruce Lee would be a character in the first 20 minutes of the film. The American version of that film, called Game of Death II, needed to edit in more footage of Bruce Lee so they could legally bill him as the star. So it also adds the deleted greenhouse fight from Game of Death, and a lot of black & white footage of Bruce Lee as a child from the films he made as a child actor ( presented as flashbacks ). It should also be pointed out that two different versions of Enter the Dragon exist. The original 70s theatrical edit, and ever since the 90s, the extended version with all the deleted footage ( previously used to create Tower of Death ) restored.  It should also be pointed out that several remakes of Game of Death exist, including Enter the Game of Death ( with Bruce Le ), New Game of Death ( starring Bruce Li ), and True Game of Death, all which were sometimes released on video as the original Game of Death and crediting Bruce Lee as the star. A version of True Game of Death which was edited for television has stock footage of Bruce Lee edited in and credits him as the star, but does not actually have the original tower footage. I could go on about how many different edits of that film I came across, including a German edit tat cuts in footage from other Bruce Li films.

Some more Bruce Lee confusion. His only adult martial arts films were The Big Boss where he uncovers a drug ring operating out of an ice factory, Fist of Fury where he is a student avenging his master's death against those evil Japanese found in most early 70s HK films, andWay of the Dragon where he fights the Mafia ( and Chuck Norris ) in Italy. When the American dubs were made, the distributor discovered the title The Big Boss was already copyrighted as an American Gangster film, so changed it to The Chinese Connection to capitalize on the popularity of The French Connection as both were about drug smugglers. The also decided to add an "s" to Fist of Fury, changing it to Fists of Fury. And then after all of that, accidentally mixed the titles so that The Big Boss became Fists of Fury and Fist of Fury became The Chinese Connection, and never fixed that mistake because they didn't have the money to do so. In addition, Way of the Dragon was changed to Return of the Dragon and passed off as a sequel to Enter the Dragon

And if you really want confusion, the series of In The Line of Duty films were all released in different running orders in different countries. To this day there is confusion which  films are actually in the series, and which ones are numbered 1 through 7. This is the same case in a lot of Chinese films, where titles are mixed up for the English language releases. I suggest everyone include the alternate titles and release dates to cut down on confusion and the host doesn't accidentally have the same film listed twice. ( and that does happen. Back in the days when you could only get the Shaw Brothers films as bootlegs, some stores carried both Deadly Mantis and Shaolin Mantis, not realizing they were both the same film. Even the bootlegger distributing the films didn't realize he was manufacturing the same film twice. )





Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2019, 05:45:44 PM »
Nice. I will try to find the time to make a list. Not sure how strong it will be as it's a genre I've only recently gotten into.
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Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2019, 06:24:24 PM »
Ah, can't help but think of the first time I heard a computer play a digitized song, Kung Fu Fighting on the Commodore 64...

Not sure I'll do a list, while I've seen a lot of martial arts movies I can only think of a few I really like, so it would be 20 ties that would be a pain to put in any kind of order.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2019, 09:38:41 PM »
stethacantus

Zatoichi counts, your spoiler counts, competition films with kids who 'wax-on' count.

Films with a story are great, it doesn't have to be balls to the walls action, it can stop for a breather and have some drama or romance - all I ask for is that the martial arts are its beating heart and not something it lightly brushes against.

Jackie Chan is fine as long as he does his Jackie Chan thing.

God no, no break dancing, some martial arts are dance-like and are fine, but I don't want any dance-off films.  :P ;D
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 12:20:45 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline George-2.0

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2019, 04:45:57 AM »
Boy, I need to get out, take a walk and breathe some fresh air tomorrow!

I had myself an all-nite M.A. marathon - just sat here watching one after the other... with a few breaks to stretch my legs. Don't know if any of these I saw tonight will make the 50, however, one thing is true, Chang Cheh is my new hero. That was some crazy shit, Chang.

It was a blast but I'm pooped, I think it's....

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« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 04:51:46 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline stethacantus

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2019, 10:09:03 AM »
I am pretty sure the spoiler film will be on a lot of lists, and quite possibly will rank #1. However, it is very notorious among martial arts movie fans for having no choreographed fighting on screen. Characters face off to fight, and the film immediately cuts to another character in another room. The director who made it wanted to an American version of a HK fantasy film, but didn't want to budget any choreography. He had cast Carter Wong in the film, but then wasted his screen fighting abilities, I think I could make the argument that Buster Keaton's The Cameraman has just as much martial arts fighting ( the Tong War scene ) as spoiler film.  The big problem with American martial arts films made prior to the 90s was they all had the bare minimum of actual fighting. Some got away with the hero only hitting two or three people. This to accommodate actors with no fighting abilities, such as Joe Don Baker ( Yep, he starred in a 70s American martial arts film. ) My favorite Chuck Norris film has only one two minute fight scene, and the climatic battle between Chuck and the bad guys is entirely a shootout with various guns.   I can think of at least four American films from the 80s that are culturally popular enough to make a lot of lists. Combined, they have about ten minutes of actual choreographed fighting, with most of those ten minutes going to the wax-on film.

Chang Ch eh directed about six of the films on my list. He was very good about using the genre to make dramas, so even if the fighting choreography was nothing memorable, the story was, and you really wanted to see the hero get his vengeance and the villain his comeuppance. If there was a Lock of top 50 Chang Ch eh films, I not only could easily fill a 25 list, but have a lot of films I would regret cutting from that list. As it is, I have a lot of Chang Ch eh films I regret needed to be cut from my top 25 martial arts films.

Anyway, now that I know which film on my list didn't qualify and has been replaced, list sent!


Offline George-2.0

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2019, 10:34:18 AM »
List received and it's awesome. Thanks

While I usually get mine done early, this one might take me a while - I have seen enough to do a respectable 25, but there are several pillars of the genre that I want to watch first.


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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2019, 12:59:09 PM »
Can we include martial arts comedies/parodies? There's a few that I would include high on this list -- martial arts movies are really not my thing so I won't be going very deep outside the mainstream on these.
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Offline George-2.0

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2019, 01:54:26 PM »
Can we include martial arts comedies/parodies? There's a few that I would include high on this list -- martial arts movies are really not my thing so I won't be going very deep outside the mainstream on these.


Yup, those are fine
Spoiler (click to show/hide)





Offline George-2.0

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2019, 05:11:58 PM »
another list in

Also, while I put it up for discussion, nobody discussed it - but so far Kill Bill is going in as two entries. Um, if I get others where it's combined, I'll employ some wuxia Buddhist magic and figure out a grading plan once I have all the lists in.

Mine is pretty much done, I have 2 I want to watch, and there's a couple from the same director I want to re-watch because I can't remember which one I liked more (or maybe I liked them equally and will include them both)

As I was trying to figure that out, I went to Letterboxd to read the synopsis's on each film, and saw Edward's grades (and they were high grades) which made me chuckle, because yeah - if you really wanted to and you followed someone there, from here - you could spy on their list.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 06:17:07 PM by George-2.0 »


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: Submit for List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2019, 05:17:40 PM »
I have a list of 25, although so many of them feel like grey area at best, I'm not in love with it.
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