Over the last year or so I have been having conversations, intermittently, with my friend Romaine about the depiction of the human body in certain films. We keep finding ourselves in a discussion about films that depict or use the body in a way that is not quite, um, normal. This covers a wide range of instances – some films exploit performers who have physical deformities while others may be centred around acts of virtuosity (such as martial arts films). The range of physical states / issues covered can include sex, physical disability, ...Read more
Ponder for a moment Yuen Wu Ping’s central creative problem in making a film called Tai Chi Master, which shows the discovery of this internal martial art. The protagonist of the story, Jun Bao (played by Jet Li), has to undergo a spiritual transformation that will allow him to arrive at the realization of the principles behind Tai Chi. Yuen basically has to tell a story that is about the transformation of his protagonist’s qi and his accompanying philosophical understanding of that. Yuen has to show his audience an intan...Read more
To state the bleeding obvious: Tai Chi Masteris a martial arts film. A cursory glance at the title and plot synopsis may suggest that it is a film ostensibly about pugilism and violence. Why is it, then, that my repeat viewings of this film always leave me with the impression that it is imbued with gentleness? The villains are sadistic bastards, to be sure, and there are scenes showing truly nasty violence. However, director and choreographer Yuen Wu Ping never dwells on these but always moves the film briskly on. What he ...Read more
“… the best role of his career, not only sharing but sometimes stealing the spotlight from his super stellar colleague.” Paul Fonoroff on Chin Siu Ho, At the Hong Kong Movies,p. 353
In an interview on the Dragon Dynasty DVD release of Fist Of Legend (in which Chin Siu Ho co-starred with Jet Li) director Gordon Chan says that “Chin Siu Ho is one of the unluckiest guys in the film business”. He means that Chin should have been a bigger star than he was. I concur – what’s not to like about this man...Read more
According to my notes, the Chinese title for this film is Tai Ji Zhang San Feng. How does this literally translate? I am assuming that Tai Ji refers to the martial art that I know as Tai Chi. I know that Zhang San Feng is the name of the character who, according to myth, invented Tai Chi. I am pretty sure that Zhang San Feng means something like 3 times crazy. The title by which this film is most popularly known in the west is Tai Chi Master. But apparently this film was also released under the name of Twin Warriorsi...Read more
Tai Chi Master (1993) starring Jet Li, Chin Siu Ho and Michelle Yeoh, and directed by Yuen Wu Ping, is one of my very, very favourite movies. From the moment a primly dignified Jet Li, dressed in what appears to be a tasteful black negligee,* floats out to take his place at the head of a mass demonstration of blokes doing Tai Chi you know that you are in for a very special movie.
I am working on a few blogs about Tai Chi Master which I hope to publish soon. These blogs are primarily about the actors, characters and c...Read more
Starring Jimmy Wang Yu and directed by Chang Cheh.
Perhaps not one of my very favourite Shaw brothers films.
Wang Yu went through the film with an expression on his face that seemed to indicate that he had a bad tummy ache, and I found the martial arts choreography to be uninventive and stilted. I also found the eye make up to be disconcerting – Wang Yu was sporting some dark blue eye shadow but he wasn’t the worst offender. The heroine had the longest and bushiest false eye lashes I have ever seen ...Read more
Starring David Chiang and Ti Lung, directed by Chang Cheh with martial arts direction by Tang Chia and Lau Kar Leung.
David Chiang wears some of the lariest, most eye popping, tear inducing 70s fashion ever witnessed on film – a special mention goes to the fire-engine-red and white cowboy inspired ensemble he wears in the final scene (complete with red cowboy hat). This film is set mostly in Thailand and features Thai boxing. I actually found the fight choreography a bit uninspired and, well, brutal looking. But I thought ...Read more
Sword of Doom starring Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai and directed by Kihachi Okamoto. This was a terrific film! A psycho samurai bastard puts all kind of noses out of joint when he kills just a few too many people. The film was beautifully acted – hats off to Tatsuya Nakadai who plays the psycho (winner of ‘the scariest eyes in film’ award). It was also suspensefully directed and artistically filmed. The fight scenes are full of tension and elegantly choreographed. Minor quibble is the film’s end – it just stops. Dea...Read more
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
A helper monkey ...Read more
I am quite addicted to martial arts movies, which is odd when you consider that I hate violence. But when I declaim my love for these films my offline friends s