34 posts categorized "Martial Arts"

March 07, 2022

THROW DOWN — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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ColeSmithey.comNo matter how hard he fronts; Johnnie To is no Kurosawa. 

Pitched as an homage to Akira Kurosawa's first film "Sanshiro Sugata," this film starts off promisingly enough before derailing into clichés. 

Indeed, it's cool to see Judo getting the spotlight but To's storyline splinters and melts.

ColeSmithey.com

"Throw Down" is a beautifully lit film with some lovely compositions but it collapses under its own contrivances.

ColeSmithey.com

Disappointment takes over well before the last fight finally arrives.

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Boo hoo. 

Not Rated. 95 mins. 

1 Star

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

January 29, 2022

IRON FISTS AND KUNG-FU KICKS

ColeSmithey.comGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

Welcome!

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon



Encyclopedic telling of Hong Kong's martial arts film industry, and ColeSmithey.com its influence on popular culture (see Hip-Hop, Parkour, etc.).

This crucial anatomical documentary study of martial arts films comes with agendas in plain view. 

You won't find any mention of Sonny Chiba, or any other Japanese martial artists. No Karate; it's right there in the film's title.

Oh the racism.

Still, the movie isn't above doing advertising for a popular video platform you've probably heard of once or twice.

It is action-packed though.

Screen Shot 2022-01-29 at 5.51.16 PM

Although "Iron Fists And Kung-Fu Kicks could stand to lose 12 or 15 minutes, it is a really fun and informative movie to watch.

Screen Shot 2022-01-29 at 5.52.39 PM

Cheers to past co-host on LA GRANDE BOUFFE (THE BIG FEAST), Grady Hendrix, co-writer with Serge Ou, on "Iron Fists And Kung-Fu Kicks"!

Not Rated. 107 mins. 


4 StarsModern Cole

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

June 10, 2014

THE LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER — CLASSIC FILM PICK

    Screen Shot 2023-05-09 at 5.33.10 PMGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

Welcome!

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

 

 

 

ColeSmithey.comAt the age of 40, Jackie Chan reached his pinnacle of virtuosity as an adept slapstick comedian, martial arts expert, fight choreographer, and stuntman actor with “The Legend of Drunken Master” (1994). This is the big bad mother of all martial arts movies. It is chockablock with Jackie Chan performing outrageous fight sequences, many involving large numbers of participants using various found objects as weapons.

ColeSmithey.com

Jackie Chan draws on the comic sensibilities of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin in order to imbue his character with intellectual wit and grace of movement. The film’s 20-minute climax is one of the most athletic and dangerous martial arts sequences ever filmed. When Jackie Chan crawls across hot coals, that’s Jackie Chan doing the deadly stunt for real.

ColeSmithey.com

Large, heavy objects fall close to Jackie Chan’s frequently imbibing character. As we discover during the film’s closing outtakes, not all missed hitting him.

The film — not to be confused with Jackie Chan’s 1978 kung fu movie “Drunken Master” — is a broad comedy populated with archetypal characters of Chinese comic tradition. A theme-carrying subplot, involving the theft of Chinese cultural artifacts by a local mafia, identifies the film’s core of nationalist sovereignty beneath the wild physical action and screwball humor that explodes from the screen. The brutality of China’s social conditions is nonetheless implied by the film’s environment of violent crime.

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Jackie plays Wong Fei-hung, loyal son of a strict father and a wily stepmother, Ling (Anita Mui), whose martial arts skills are equal to that of Fei-hung. Anita Mui’s hilarious performance is all the more silly because she plays Fei-hung’s stepmother when she is in fact nine years Jackie Chan’s junior. Ling runs a martial arts school where she teaches a style of kung fu known as “drunken boxing.” As the name implies, the technique involves the practitioner getting drunk, really very drunk.

ColeSmithey.com

Jackie Chan’s gravity defying execution of drunken boxing finds his character endowed with super powers in relation to how much booze he drinks. Fei-hung uses alcohol in direct ways as well, as when he lights a rival on fire by spitting alcohol at a flame.

ColeSmithey.com

The originality of the film’s many dynamic fight scenes sustains the action with escalating surprises. Fei-hung goes against a small army of men with a large piece of bamboo that he transforms from a truncheon into a slicing weapon. In another confrontation Fei-hung kicks dirt in an opponent’s face as an opening gambit using available resources. You’ve never seen a fighter attack another with a chin to the eye-socket before. Such is the wealth of martial arts knowledge woven into the film’s beautifully accomplished action set pieces.

ColeSmithey.com

The joy in Jackie Chan’s face is infectious. It’s clear in the outtakes that he was sitting on top of the world when performing stunts for one of the funniest and action-packed martial arts movies ever made. Jackie Chan’s physical ingenuity brings with it an enormous history as a naturally gifted storyteller whose development dates back to his life as a childhood actor.

Rated R. 102 mins. 

5 Stars ColeSmithey.com

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