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Author Topic: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films  (Read 2988 times)

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Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #60 on: December 16, 2019, 05:40:28 PM »
#27 – The Savage Five
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/tZ8U5k9-P1c" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/tZ8U5k9-P1c</a>
39 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (Stethacantus)

Year: 1974
Director: Chang Cheh

Unranked by the two sources I've been quoting, so let's just jump to my thoughts...

Kung Fu meets spaghetti-western! The movie concerns a village under siege by a gang of violent bandits, and the five men of differing backgrounds and personalities who stand up to them. This is an under-rated one in Chang's filmography, and the main knock I see about it is that it's a slow starter. That might be true for chopsocky fans who only want immediate, blood and guts action... but as a western aficionado, I didn't find it slow in the least - it establishes character and situation, it emphasizes the danger, it makes the villains so dastardly that your dying to see them get their just deserts. The fighting takes a back seat to the story at the start, but I actually found that refreshing and a nice change of pace from others I've seen from Shaw Brothers Studios. I liked the build-up and pay-off. I like the actors, the score and the themes. Cheh taps into his inner Leone (with a nod to Kurosawa) and the results are grim but top rate.

You can see it here with subs rather than the terrible dubs offered elsewhere... https://ok.ru/video/1130842557129


Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #61 on: December 16, 2019, 05:42:06 PM »
#26 – Wing Chun
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/iI0v72_wFqc" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/iI0v72_wFqc</a>
40 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (F-Zero)

Year: 1994
Director: Yuen Woo-ping

Ranked 9th in WatchMojo's list of "Top 10 Underrated Martial Arts Movies"  and 38th in Pastes Top 100. They wrote... Michelle Yeoh would become well-known six years later with the release of cross-cultural smash hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but she was a star in martial arts cinema from the 1980s onward, and Wing Chun is one of the best overall star vehicles for her great physical (and comedic) talents. Tonally, it’s sort of an unusual film, as much romantic comedy as it is martial arts movie, but without sacrificing the gravitas of the action sequences. It manages to be both charming, as the story of a country woman protecting her village, and a thrilling collection of set-pieces largely practical in their special effects. It’s hard not to fall in love a little bit with Yeoh by the end— she’s as beautiful as she is talented. —Jim Vorel

My thoughts: One of the things I wanted to do on this LoC, was to note the style of martial arts in each movie, but I quickly discovered a week of study wasn't going to allow me enough time to do this. It was too big. There are forms, and styles, and family of styles... it's a fascinating history - and that history has been covered in pictures, like this one.

From wiki... Wing Chun Kuen (traditional Chinese: 詠春拳), usually called Wing Chun (詠春), is a concept-based traditional Southern Chinese Kung fu (wushu) style and a form of self-defence, also known as "beautiful springtime", that requires quick arm movements and strong legs to defeat opponents. Softness (via relaxation) and performance of techniques in a relaxed manner is fundamental to Wing Chun. According to legend, it was created by Ng Mui, an abbess who taught it to her student Yim Wing-chun as a means to defend herself against unwanted advances. The martial art is named after her. According to Ip Man, "Chi Sau in Wing Chun is to maintain one's flexibility and softness, all the while keeping in the strength to fight back, much like the flexible nature of bamboo". Notable practitioners of Wing Chun include Ip Man, Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, and Robert Downey Jr.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #62 on: December 16, 2019, 06:11:12 PM »
And that's the first half - pretty solid group, with many of the best actors, choreographers and directors represented. While it was heavy with HK cinema, there were visits to Japan, the USA, and Thailand.

Tomorrow we begin the final 25 with an odd-ball - a movie I'd never expected to see even on a top 100, let alone making it at #25.

How's that for a cliff-hanger. See you Tuesday.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #63 on: December 16, 2019, 06:22:43 PM »
Tomorrow we begin the final 25 with an odd-ball - a movie I'd never expected to see even on a top 100, let alone making it at #25.

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Offline Russoguru

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #64 on: December 16, 2019, 10:16:14 PM »
God I can't remember the last time Leslie Nielsen was in a halfway decent movie-- oh wait, yes I can... Spy Hard, 1997.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #65 on: December 16, 2019, 10:19:13 PM »
God I can't remember the last time Leslie Nielsen was in a halfway decent movie-- oh wait, yes I can... Spy Hard, 1997.

You are being extremely generous to Spy Hard
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Offline Russoguru

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2019, 10:28:39 PM »
I think I'm becoming nice in my old age.


Offline PsychoGoatee

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #67 on: December 17, 2019, 02:32:17 AM »
Surf Ninjas could even fit in on this list possibly, well maybe.  ;D It holds up I think, at least as a fun B-movie.

Lot of great cool fun movies here, and cool fun looking ones I haven't seen. Quality stuff folks.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #68 on: December 17, 2019, 05:17:53 AM »
As much as I'd like to see a 'Kung Fu Magoo' movie on the list, it's not in the cards. We'll have to settle for these instead...

#25 – Five Fighters from Shaolin
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/5bUJ-t7oiYI" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/5bUJ-t7oiYI</a>
41 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (Fluncheon)

Year: 1984
Director: Shih Hao Ko

None of my sources ranked it and I couldn't find much info on it, but Kung Fu Movies Guide gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars and wrote… A chopsocky tale of two halves. The first hour sees a laughing monk (Mark Long) recruit a traveling band of wastrels (a brother and sister duo; two annoying cooks; a fat guy with a cart) to join him in creating a self-sufficient Buddhist commune in the shadow of the Shaolin temple. The film picks up once the ensemble develop their kung fu skills. Chen Shan becomes star pupil, gymnast Yau Ming-yin works out on a pommel horse, and Lin Yu-zhen, being the only girl, is left to do all the house work. Then a white-haired Jack Long drops in about 30 minutes from the end playing a disgruntled black magic fighter in a red cape demanding to know the whereabouts of a coveted Shaolin manuscript, and the film goes bananas. The swords come out and heads explode in a bonkers finale. It’s worth sticking around for. – Ben Johnson

My Thoughts: Every now and then in these LoCs, you'll get a surprise entry in the top 25, and '5 Fighters' would be that for this one. It only has 21 views at Letterboxd, with grades ranging from a half-star to the full 5 (with a reviewer praising it by calling it a "Trashterpiece", lol). F-Zero had it on his list, and I didn't think twice about it... then the next list came in from Fluncheon, and there it was again... and so here it is. A bonkers movie - flying from out of the blue, and into our kung fu hearts.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #69 on: December 17, 2019, 05:20:50 AM »
#24 – The Crippled Avengers
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/RxtnXrgrg7Y" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/RxtnXrgrg7Y</a>
43 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (Fluncheon)

Year: 1978
Director: Chang Cheh

Paste ranked it #5 and wrote… In a time when exploitation cinema seemed the standard for cheap movie houses the world over, no martial arts flick got much better than this Shaw Brothers staple, which eventually adopted the much more PC title, Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms. The blind one, the deaf mute, the one without legs, and the brain-damaged “idiot”: together, they make an unstoppable force of vengeance against the local martial arts master who crippled them, and his son, who ironically lost his arms at a young age, and so sports dart-shooting cast-iron facsimiles. In other words, Crippled Avengers plays it cool, allowing our disfigured heroes few but important victories for most of the film, building up to its final 25-minute series of fight scenes, in which a blind man, a deaf mute, a man with iron prosthetic legs, and an acrobatic “idiot” combine their individual strengths to defeat a kung fu master with, basically, robot arms. Movies like this are the reasons we get up in the morning. —Dom Sinacola

My Thoughts: Both the training and battle sequence with the rings - true poetry in motion

Oh, and it boasts one of the all-time great movie posters.



Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #70 on: December 17, 2019, 05:24:15 AM »
#23 – A Touch of Zen
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/18yH_9ZT27Q" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/18yH_9ZT27Q</a>
43 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #5 (Edward J Grug III)

Year: 1971
Director: King Hu

Ranked #10 on the Hong Kong Film Awards 100 Best Chinese Motion Pictures - Ranked 19th by Paste - If King Hu’s Dragon Gate Inn established a lot of the hallmarks of classic wuxia, then A Touch of Zen elevated things to the next level. A film of style, grace and gravitas, A Touch of Zen is unusual in that it features a veritable non-combatant as its lead protagonist, although he is surrounded by many others who know how to fight. Beyond its choreography and effects (which won it the first-ever award at Cannes for a Chinese-language film), this three-hour epic (it’s very long) is also noted for its strong themes of spirituality and the tenants of Buddhism, which have rarely been explored in detail even in the years since. Truly influential in many ways, it is perhaps best encapsulated in the famous bamboo forest swordfight, which gave birth to so many similar fights over the years, to the point where “bamboo forest fight” is one of the most common of all wuxia tropes. Films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers owe much to this one. —Jim Vorel

Trivia: Filmed in Taiwan, where King Hu was unable to find the staff to do what he needed... so he did it himself. Styled hair, designed costumes, even helped build the sets.



My Thoughts: I remember when Crouching Tiger was released, how critics and such praised Ang Lees art-house approach to Wuxia, as if it had never been done like that before.... but it was King Hu who paved that path decades before.

That rooftop battle, as the combatants fly off in the distance as Mr. Gu stares helplessly, is like a ballet - beautifully shot and composed. Plus you get these gorgeous panoramic vistas that utilize the Taiwanese landscapes to great effect. It's all a work of art.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 05:50:02 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #71 on: December 17, 2019, 05:27:03 AM »
As much as I'd like to see a 'Kung Fu Magoo' movie on the list...

OK.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/KgE_crPtVDA" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/KgE_crPtVDA</a>

Finally, for everyone asking "can I have a feature length movie at Flash Animation quality?"


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #72 on: December 17, 2019, 04:11:22 PM »
A Touch of Zen is incredible. It's what recently got my Wife and I watching both Wuxia and Martial Arts films. Unfortunately we're still very new to it, so I haven't seen many of the other films on the list.
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Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #73 on: December 17, 2019, 05:31:10 PM »
#22 – Heroes of the East
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/R_Exl1eek3k" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/R_Exl1eek3k</a>
44 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #7 (Stethacantus and George-2.0)

Year: 1978
Director: Lau Kar-Leung

aka Shaolin Challenges Ninja... GamesRadar ranked it 10th in their list of top 25 kung fu movies - Paste ranked this 22 out of 100 and said… Gordon Liu is our hero in the classic Heroes of the East, but it’s not quite the Gordon Liu we’re used to. Quite honestly, the Gordon in this movie is a dick—he marries a Japanese woman and tries to convert her to more “ladylike” martial arts before offending all the prominent martial artists in her country and ending up in a series of duels with them. The film is unconventional in portraying the Japanese not as outright villains but simply aggrieved, honorable fighters. What we get from that set-up is a fascinating contrast in styles, and fights that pit balanced elements of combat against one another—for example, Chinese drunken boxing vs. Sino-Okinawan karate. Or Japanese weapons such as the sai against Chinese butterfly swords. It’s simply fun, classic stuff, and a story that doesn’t feel like it’s been told a million times before. Personal favorite: Gordon takes on a ninja looking dude wielding “the Japanese crab technique.” It involves a lot of scuttling side-to-side and tiny little shuffle-steps, and it will probably make you chuckle. —Jim Vorel

My Thoughts: This domestic comedy-drama answers the age-old question, “What If Tracy and Hepburn were martial artists?” Chinese man marries Japanese woman – and she’s a M.A. spitfire, kicking down walls and statues, which lead to the couple quarreling, both verbally and physically, on which country has the best weapons, fighting styles and traditions. The scene where they sit down to dinner is a hoot – things get more serious when we get into the challenges – which feature some of the best fight choreography in a Shaw Brother’s film.

I also liked how we come to a place of mutual respect and reconciliation between Chinese and Japanese characters at the end. Which was uncommon for films from this period.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 05:38:22 PM by George-2.0 »


Offline George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #74 on: December 17, 2019, 05:34:02 PM »
#21 – The Way of the Dragon
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/4lNDLaSWmhY" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/4lNDLaSWmhY</a>
44 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (linszoid)

Year: 1972
Director: Bruce Lee

GamesRadar ranked it 20th - Paste ranked it #47 - Way of the Dragon stands as the only film that Bruce Lee ever finished directorial duties on, passing away before he could complete The Game of Death or the co-credit he might have shared on Enter the Dragon. It stands, therefore, as perhaps the most accurate and complete piece of work that Lee personally envisioned, a story about a Hong Kong fighter who travels to Rome in order to protect a family restaurant being threatened by the mob. As one would expect, it has some great fights, but nobody has quite the same presence on camera as Lee. If there’s one thing most viewers would take away from this one today, it’s the fact that this film contains one of the holy grails of martial arts battles: Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris, the final opponent, which takes place among the ruins of the Roman Colosseum. That classic fight is no doubt worth the price of admission alone—just feel the tension as both of them warm up and crack their knuckles before the battle begins. —Jim Vorel


The Jeet Kune Do Emblem: The Taijitu represents the concepts of yin and yang. The Chinese characters indicate: "Using no way as way" and "Having no limitation as limitation". The arrows represent the endless interaction between yang and yin

Lee's fighting style: Jeet Kune Do (Chinese: 截拳道; Cantonese Yale: jiht kyùhn douh; [tsìːt̚.kʰy̏ːn.tòu]), or "The way of the intercepting fist" in Cantonese, abbreviated JKD, is a hybrid philosophy of martial arts heavily influenced by the personal philosophy and experiences of martial artist Bruce Lee. Lee founded the system on July 9, 1967, referring to it as "non-classical", suggesting that it is a formless form of Chinese Kung Fu. Unlike more traditional martial arts, Jeet Kune Do is not fixed or patterned and is a philosophy with guiding ideas. Named for the Wing Chun concept of interception or attacking when one's opponent is about to attack, Jeet Kune Do's practitioners believe in minimal effort with maximum effect and extreme speed.  for more... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeet_Kune_Do