Kung Fu

Fists of Fire Short Documentary

Why Watch? A few years ago I had the extreme pleasure of seeing a vintage Shaw Brothers movie that I wasn’t allowed to talk about because a theater — let’s call it the Schmalamo Schmafthouse — was working out a deal to secure a lot more reels. There was so much magic in it. Not only the gorgeous fight choreography, but also the sheen of creative aggression and semi-fantastical adventure. It was a big movie that didn’t feel expensive. A contradiction that must have taken an immense amount of skill. With a half century of cinema under their black belts, the Shaw Brothers were luminaries in the popularization of kung fu movies, and now The Seventh Art (via IndieWire) has stumbled upon this excellent BBC documentary from 1975 which chronicles star David Chiang’s rise to prominence and the studio’s unusual techniques. Taste for Adventure; Fists of Fire is an incredible little gem that feeds the body, mind and spirit. Also, people get punched a lot, and Peter Cushing is in it because we get a glimpse of the set for The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. If you didn’t want Count Dracula in your documentary about martial arts, blame Hammer Films. More than the lesson in the genre masters of the time, it’s also a fascinating time capsule on how we once reported on filmic traditions and pop cultural movements. It’s tough to imagine this same kind of documentary being made today discussing the growing allure of superhero movies, but it’s easy to […]

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Man with the Iron Fists

RZA punches someone’s eyeball out of its socket. That should be all you need to know to skip all this drivel and watch the red band trailer for the rapper’s directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists. Presented by Quentin Tarantino and co-writer Eli Roth, this kung fu flick looks bloody, ridiculous, and wonderful. It stars Lucy Liu, Russell Crowe, Jamie Chung, Rick Yune, Daniel Wu and a host of others in a plot that seems more like an excuse for constant on-screen melees and an empty weapons rack. Seven warring clans…a shipment of gold…yeah, yeah, yeah. Just keep kicking metric tons of ass and turning your body into bronze. Check it out for yourself (and click to change the setting to HD while you’re at it):

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Yuen Woo Ping is a master of martial arts filmmaking, and his latest is True Legend which hits select theaters in May. We got a chance to see it back at Fantastic Fest, where Rob loved most of the movie (except the final 40 minutes). Fortunately, we got our hands on one of the beautifully choreographed scenes of wire work from the film. Unfortunately, grabbing a screencap was insanely difficult because it moves too damned quick. Watch and take notes for the next time you have dozens of sharp objects thrown at your head.

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If you’re at all a fan of older kung fu films, then the Shaw Brothers should pretty much be legends to you. The Shaw Brothers got started way back in 1924, setting up their own cinema. Led by Run Run and Runme Shaw, they amassed a large number of cinemas before venturing into producing their own films in the 1960s. They went on to make hundreds of films, specializing in martial arts films and quickly becoming the leaders in that genre. While Five Element Ninjas is certainly a less well known Shaw Brother’s title, their style and kung fu action are on full display.

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Kung Fu

Why do street gangs, ex-Army Rangers, and Russian mobsters all have green belts in Tae Kwon Do and why do they insist on using it?

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davidcarradine

Celebrate the career of David Carradine by sharing your favorite performance.

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Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan

The Associated Press reports that a great travesty might finally be redressed. The travesty in question? Minnesota’s largest ball of twine has its own museum, but Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan do not.

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Eli Roth and Rza

I personally am praying that Roth makes his hilarious trailer of Thanksgiving into a feature film. Until then it looks like Roth will be teaming up with Wu-Tang Clan’s chief producer RZA on a martial arts flick.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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