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The Kung-Fu and Martial Arts Thread
#1
I'm sure we had one of these before, but I couldn't darkmite one. So might as well bite the bullet.

I think most people on Chud are probably familiar with at least one or two Kung Fu films and as a genre they've probably got a lot of crossover appeal. Whilst the market isn't as saturated as it was, there are still enough titles being released to generate discussion as well as the insane amount of stuff released from the 60s onwards. So really this is a thread to discuss films in which people hurt each other in increasingly skillfull ways.

Tomorrow I'm doing my annual Barbecue with a Side Order of pain, which is essentially a big old bbq with a selection of Kung Fu films being projected for peoples amusement and entertainment.

I'm currently working out the films I'm going to show, so far Tiger on the Beat and Police Story are definites (the first because of that insane Chainsaw duel, the second because I know a ton of people who haven't seen the films) with 5 Deadly Venoms and Master of Flying Guillotines both under consideration for the third film.

So to kick some discussion off, what are your favourite Kung Fu films and who's your favourite action director?
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#2
Spike Marshall, My favorite Martial Arts films are...Bruce Lee's Enter The Dragon, The Shaw Bros' The Shaolin Handlock, Jet Li's Once Upon A Time In China 1-3, Sue Shihomi/Sonny Chiba's Sister Street Fighter 1-3, Sonny Chiba's Street Fighter, Chuck Norris An Eye For An Eye, Forced Vengeance, Azumi, Kill Bill, Supercop, Drunken Master 1and 2. My favorite action director (I am assuming for Martial Arts films) is Ryuhei Kitamura, for Azumi. My All time favorite action director is...John Woo. James Cameron is a close second.
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#3
Action directors: Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-Leung, Ching Siu-Tung, Yuen Woo-Ping, Cory Yuen

Kung fu films: THE PRODIGAL SON, THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, HEROES OF THE EAST, DRUNKEN MASTER II, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA II.
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#4
Once Upon A Time In China II is a legitimately amazing film. Love the hokey nature of the cult and the vague Temple of Doomish vibe of that opening scene. The Donnie/Li fight is cool as fuck too, great use of weapons and some nice subdued wire work. I also love the whole altar idea in the fight with the cult leader. Drunken Master II is a fantastic film although I keep wondering which scenes Chan choreographed and which scenes Lau Kaur-Leung did.
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#5
I've been working some Shaw Brothers into my netflix queue. I saw The Magic Blade recently, which I didn't like much. But before that I saw Heroes of the East which was pretty fantastic. It's the story of a man and his wife comparing their various styles of Kung Fu to determine the best style. Lots of fight variety; fairly standard plot. Fun movie.
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#6
I want an unfucked with Drunken Master II on R1 DVD so much it hurts.
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#7
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nexus-7
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I want an unfucked with Drunken Master II on R1 DVD so much it hurts.

Write or call Miramax/Buena Vista Home Entertainment and bitch about the fucked-with Blu-rays of DRUNKEN MASTER II and IRON MONKEY they're getting ready to come out with in a few months. It's appalling this still goes on.

Miramax Films
161 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
Phone:917-606-5500
Fax:917-606-5535

Buena Vista Home Entertainment e-mail.
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#8
One thing I love about Hong Kong cinema is how the martial arts are so omnipresent that they so often show up almost incidentally. There's some great action in Mr.Vampire but honestly kung-fu isn't even the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of that flick.

Other random faves:

Enter The Dragon
Close Encounters Of The Spooky Kind
Iron Monkey
Once Upon A Time In China triology (I actually have a particualr fondness for the third one - opening sequence is such a wonderfiul OH SHIT IT'S ON moment and probably my favourite rendition of the theme song)
Ong-Bak
Fearless

My taste in martial arts flicks was pretty heavily influenced by the asian movies threads on CHUD so I doubt I'm bringing anything new to the table here.
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#9
I dig elements of the third Once Upon A Time In China film, but I found the dragon dancing to become a bit tedious after a while.

Encounters of the Spooky Kind is one of my all time favourite films, just so much fun (especially the altar scene at the end with the extendo alter) and Hung is amazing in it, although his best film is probably The Magnificent Butcher.
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#10
Sammo Hung's The Victim is one of the best kung-fu movies ever made, it has one of the most badass boss fights ever filmed. I'd also rank Warriors Two on the same level, there's an insane level of choregraphy going on in that film, Casanova Wong delivers one of the most unbelievable kicks ever committed to film, you also have Fung Hark On doing the creepiest goddamn mantis style but absolutely lethal.
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#11
Awesome, I was perusing Netflix earlier and wondering why the hell there wasn't one of these threads on CHUD yet (the B-Action Movie thread notwithstanding, of course).
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#12
Jake I'd seriously recommend a Thai film called Born to Fight. It's not strictly a kung fu film, but it's probably one of the funnest action films you're likely to see. Bunch of terrorists take over a thai village, and the villagers find themselves having to fight back. The last half is literally 30 minutes of carnage as the villagers use their skills to beat the shit out of the terrorists. Some of the stuff in the film is insane (the opening has some stunts involving a truck which are ridiculous) and the fights are brilliant (people use soccer and rugby skills to kick ass) whilst also being hilarious.
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#13
BTF is beyond awesome, they spend 90 minutes trying to kill themselves for our benefit, even HK stuntmen look at that shit and go 'you guys are fucking insane'.
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#14
If 'Five Deadly Venoms' is under consideration, consider getting 'Kid with the Golden Arm' too. All of the Venom actors are in it (in different roles, of course), and there's actually more fighting as well. The production values aren't as high, but it's alot of fun with some fantastic fight scenes in it. Many clips from it are on youtube if you want to check it out. I love almost all of the Shaw Bros. films, but I find that most of them are pretty interchangeable.

The only real MUST see is '36th Chamber of ShaoLin', but I'll let Reggie explain the reasons why.

'Drunken Master II' is fantastic. That bad guy can pretty much kick the Moon in that final fight.
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#15
Quote:

Originally Posted by DanielRoffle
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Once Upon A Time In China triology (I actually have a particualr fondness for the third one - opening sequence is such a wonderfiul OH SHIT IT'S ON moment and probably my favourite rendition of the theme song)

I own the first two, but is the third on par? Or just moments?
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#16
Consensus opinion says it isn't, and it's as Dragon Ma said, there's a lot of dragon dancing. But personally I enjoy the hell out of it - it has some of the best stunts in the series, plus Hung learning about this newfangled "cinema" thing and, well, if you're already fond of the characters I don't think there's anything they do wrong with them. I'd reccomend copping it, for closure if nothing else (the other OUATIC movies being less obviously sequels- diferent director, diferent actor, etc.)
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#17
Hey, I'm the one who mentioned the Dragon Dancing...

Gonna have to check out Hung's The Victim. If it's being mentioned alongside Warriors Two it must be good.

Anyone seen Yuen Woo-ping's Dreadnaught? I think it's a vague sequel to Magnificent Butcher, but I've never seen it myself.
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#18
Oops, sorry Spike. I'd like to stress at this point that people who post about asian cinema do not all look alike to me.
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#19
Don't worry dude, I was just joking.

OUaTiC 3 is an odd one, it's kind of old skool (feels very Shaw Brothers to me) and because of that it's got a bit of a love/hate thing going on. It isn't helped by following OUaTiC 2 which is ridiculously action packed compared to the more reflective parts bookmarking it.
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#20
Great recommendations so far. I'd add Project A to the list. It's not only the best show of Chan's comedic chops, as far as I'm concerned, but it also has some AMAZING boss fights. Chan, Hung and Yuen Biao are probably my favorite team in the history of the world.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#21
Sammo Hung's dropkick against the Pirate is amazing in Project A. Is it Project A that broke Chan's back? I know that there were three films which nearly killed him, including Armour of God, and that drop from the clocktower botch always looked life shortening to me.
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#22
DanielRoffle, Actually, Tsiu Hark came back to direct OUATIC 5, while Jet Li returned in #6 with Sammo Hung directing, the worst film in the series. It was eeriely similar to the episode of Star Trek, where Kirk thought he was...Kiroc a Native American. Just like Captain Kirk, Wong Fu Hong gets a head injury where he thinks he is a Native American. It is a horrible way to end such a good series.
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#23
Yeah, but to me if it doesn't have both Li and Hark, it ain't OUATIC. So that's why I draw a line after the third one.
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#24
RETURN OF THE DRAGON and GAME OF DEATH deserve a mention. In my opinion, both better than ENTER THE DRAGON.

Duke's right about Sonny Chiba's STREETFIGHTER.

THE YOUNG MASTER is underated Jackie.

Any love for the first DRUNKEN MASTER?

PROJECT A & ARMOUR OF GOD are supercool.

Recall MIRACLES being funny, but wasn't the stuntwork top notch as well?

Is DRUNKEN MASTER II the definitive Jackie Chan?

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#25
Quote:

Originally Posted by Spike Marshall
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Sammo Hung's dropkick against the Pirate is amazing in Project A. Is it Project A that broke Chan's back? I know that there were three films which nearly killed him, including Armour of God, and that drop from the clocktower botch always looked life shortening to me.

The clocktower fall fucked him up, but I think it was his fall from the tree in Armour of God that broke his back.

EDIT: also, if you don't mind your martial arts flicks with less martial arts in them, you can't go wrong with The Story of Riki Oh.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#26
I think Drunken Master II is probably the best place to start when trying to introduce someone to HK action cinema. Its a rare combination of old school meeting new school.

Of course the much publicized "firing" of Lar Kau Leung by Jackie does put a veil of uncertainty over the entire film in that we aren't really sure who choreographed what. My gut tells me the entire ending was all Jackie as was the scene when he fights Ho Sung Pak's crew after they stole the necklace.

But it covers the core of HK action films. For so long they all were about ancient china and its heroes. this is a wong fei hung movie, of which there are countless. But you get Jackie's modern sensibilities added to it. The Ax-Gang fight scene is still a scene that drops my jaw everytime I see it.

As far as choreography, I gotta say with all respect to Woo Ping, Sammo Hung will forever be the top guy. His filmography is ridiculous, everything he is involved in is gold. I think the fact that he still can do it today e.g. Ip Man makes him a living legend and the best choreographer in the business.
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#27
Quote:

Originally Posted by Humanoid
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The clocktower fall fucked him up, but I think it was his fall from the tree in Armour of God which broke his back.

Clocktower fall scared the shit outta him, and was a nasty spill, but besides being sore for days he was fine.

in armor of god, when filming the opening where he steals the sword from that african tribe, he jumped to grab a tree branch and it broke causing him to fall about 10 feet and hit his head against a rock on the ground. He needed emergent neurosurgery to fix a depressed skull fracture, which would have killed him had he not been lucky enough to be miles away from one of the foremost experts on neurosurgery trauma in the world.
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#28
Glad to see a thread for one of my favorite film genres.

Gotta agree with the Sammo Hung love on here. His action is so inventive and fun, Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind being a big favorite of mine.

My favorite kung fu film is easily Dirty Ho. I've never grown tired of watching this movie. The final confrontation between Lo Lieh and Wang Yu w/ an assist by Gordon Liu is one of my favorite scenes.

36th Chamber of the Shaolin should go without saying. It's just a classic.

The Flying Guillotine (not Master of) is, in my opinion, nearly perfect. Great pacing, violent and inventive. Has most of the things I love in the genre.

The One Armed Swordsman series is another favorite, especially the unofficial remake, The Blade. I wish Jimmy Wang Yu would have made more films with the Shaw brothers.

Also, just to second or third the recommendation for Born to Fight. I can't think of anyone who hasn't loved that movie after having shown it to them.
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#29
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Originally Posted by James May
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My favorite kung fu film is easily Dirty Ho. I've never grown tired of watching this movie. The final confrontation between Lo Lieh and Wang Yu w/ an assist by Gordon Liu is one of my favorite scenes

Plus, you know, that title.
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#30
While skimming the boards haven't noticed any love for donnie yen, his last three films were pretty good(SPL, Flashpoint, IP Man)
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#31
You haven't been skimming hard enough then (lol) because I'm always trying to sway discussions towards how awesome Yen and Wilson Yip have been in their last few films. SPL, Flashpoint and Ip Man are three seriously great 'grounded' kung fu films and Dragon Tiger Gate is the best fantasy Kung Fu film released in a long while.
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#32
Quote:

Originally Posted by Spike Marshall
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You haven't been skimming hard enough then (lol) because I'm always trying to sway discussions towards how awesome Yen and Wilson Yip have been in their last few films. SPL, Flashpoint and Ip Man are three seriously great 'grounded' kung fu films and Dragon Tiger Gate is the best fantasy Kung Fu film released in a long while.

Dragon Tiger Gate was alright, but at that point I was starting to hate the fantasy kung fu genre , SPL was a nice breath of fresh air, and that fight in that small alleyway is 3 minutes of awesome, extremely well done
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#33
The alley fight in SPL is insane, especially because it's essentially Yen and Wu Jing sparring. A lot of it is 'unchoreographed'. I know a lot of people hate it, but I kind of love the Yen/Hung fight at the end. Just love seeing Yen using Hung's weight against him.
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#34
Spike Marshall, Did you see Wu Jing's Legendary Assassin? It is quite the old school martial arts film, despite the fact it was made in 2008.
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#35
I don't think that's one out on DVD yet is it? To be honest I've only seen three Wu Jing films, but he's been the best thing in all three of them. I actually quite liked him in Lau Kar-Leung's Drunken Monkey, but a lot of people don't seem to like that.
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