Tuesday, May 09, 2006

King Fu Sunday

It's become a semi-regular thing, Kung Fu Sunday. It involves some friends, food, daftness and at least three (more likely four) kung fu films in a row.

I've learned the hard way not to work on anything that requires more than minimal attention during Kung Fu Sunday. Between the fight scenes, the subtitles, the heckling and the popcorn, most patterns suffer. This time I actually sat through the first film without fidgeting but it nearly overloaded my brain so the second film resulted in a 12 inch granny square.

Iron Monkey
We kicked off about 3pm with Iron Monkey. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It has interesting characters with back story, kick-ass fight scenes, sleezy Shaolin monks and a pitiful corrupt official who struggles to support his nine mistresses, especially as the Iron Monkey keeps stealing his stuff. I've read some reviews which describe it as a Robin Hood type adventure but I think it is more like Zorro - masks, humour, hapless but sympathetic guards, secret identities. The only Robin Hood element is that Iron Monkey steals money from the rich and then distributes it to the poor.

Swordsman 2
I enjoyed this film, despite its confusing elements. The main confusion was that Brigitte Lin was in fact playing a male character who was undergoing a sexual metamorphisis as a result using the Sacred Volume to acquire supernatural kung fu powers. Some of the audience didn't catch on until pretty late in the film that Brigitte's character was a bloke with female characteristics. There may have been more clues for those more conversant with Chinese culture, in the costume styles perhaps. There was also the fact that while this is apparently a sequel, most of the continuing characters were played by different actors. As the continuity was character based rather than plot there was a certain amount of "Who? What?" by the audience. There was also the rather common hiccup that one finds in Kung Fu films - that of names being rendered differently in the translations found in different films or even in different releases of the same film.

Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Now, this was an utterly fantastic film. I not only laughed my socks off, but jet propelled them halfway across the city. The Tiger & Dragon of the title are two cops with unique methods of dealing with criminals. The buddy banter between them is great and the use of nicknames was also very funny. Sammo Hung (one of my HK favourites) plays Fatty, who fights like Bruce Lee. Dave assures me that most of the fight scenes were recreations of the Bruce Lee fights, except with a fat bloke. Most of this was lost on me, apart from the nose/face wiping thing. Karl Maka as Baldy Tiger was brill, especially when he was getting his arse kicked. Easily one of the best kung fu films I've watched. Like Jackie Chan? This is better. It was so good that I didn't think even once about picking up my crochet and films don't get much more compelling than that.

4 comments:

nanatoo said...

Just the title of that last one attracts you to it, doesn't it? I know nothing of this stuff but DH likes it I think. Maybe related a bit (but probably not, I am hignorant) is the fact that he is treating himself to a posh Japanese sword for his birthday and I've bought him 'Seven Samurai' on DVD. Not Kung Fu but martial arts anyway. I think?? HAHA! I don't know. The word for the sword that comes to mind is Haiku but I know for sure that's wrong :P

I'll take note of your reviews anyway for the old man :) I love the thought of your laughter-propelled socks travelling across the city, bwahaha!

Lindsey said...

Kung fu is generally Chinese/Hong Kong, while martial arts covers that & Japanese samurai films too. That sword will be a katana probably. If he's just got a katana and not a wakazashi as well, you can accuse him of not being the "full daisho" - boom boom!!

nanatoo said...

So now I'll have to look up wakazashi, and maybe even buy him one?? Yep, katana is it. I had to look at the tempering on the steel. Impressed? No, but I pretended, lol. Alright, Basil Brush, thanks for that excellent Japanese references joke. Stick to the knitting and crochet.

Anonymous said...

Sanmo!!!

As always your taste is impeccable dearie.

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