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Arts and Entertainment

The Decline And Fall Of Martial Arts Movies And The Rise Of The Blockbuster Action Movie


Comparison of martial arts movies from the 1970s to the action blockbusters of 2009/10

Red cliff, ip man Y True legend They are already iconic of early 21st century “martial arts movies”, although many may argue that they are more action shows than true “kung fu” movies. The 1970s, on the other hand, was not based on flashy effects and was defined more by the true worth of its martial arts actors: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, the Five Poisons, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Jimmy Wong, and other real actors. fighters trained in genuine kung fu, karate and other arts.

Martial arts become popular but evolve into spectacle

Cult classics like Enter the Dragon helped change Hollywood. Its growing popularity forced filmmakers to embrace martial arts in the “action movie” formula. Throughout the eighties and nineties, show thrillers were expected to deliver “the fighting moves,” even if they were just a few basic moves supported by some stuntmen and cables. Action movies became shows that required equal mixes of story, drama, rhythm, “kung fu,” special effects, and unlikely plot twists.

In the 21st century, this became less “the same” with movies that relied first on special effects, then, improbably, plot twists (surprise is important, right?), Followed by pacing, skills in arts martial arts, drama and, last and possibly least, current history. . This trend even extended to the hot movies of recent years, including Kung Fu Panda, Forbidden Kingdom, GI Joe and even the Transformers

Asian film industry threatens to overtake Hollywood

With the full support and weight of China’s cultural industries, Asian cinema has become in-demand shows, led by CGI awards like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, and other instant classics. Arguably, Asian cinema long ago surpassed Hollywood in imagination, and Western producers bought the rights to several blockbuster Asian films. With the world’s largest demographic population, Chinese movies are sure to dominate the film industry for years to come.

red cliff Y Ip man They are perhaps the best known of these new classics, but rumor mills and fan sites are full of the latest “coming soon” gossip. The big movie of 2010 is True Legend (Su Qi Er), starring Zhao Wen-Zho as the historical Begger Su, the creator of drunken kung fu. Donnie Yen returns in the second part of the Ip man saga and in the long-awaited 14 sheets. Chow Yun-Fat breaks the mold and amazes everyone in his role as Confucius.

Hollywood and Asia both rely on CGI and special effects

The growing spectacle and importance of the “action movie” is both pleasing to the escapist and annoying to the true martial artist. While the actors in many of the films, particularly the Asian films, are authentic martial artists (e.g. Donnie Yen, Jet Li, and Chow Yun-Fat), the over-reliance on CGI and elaborate choreography makes the adventure a comic. With notable exceptions, such as Ip Man and Tony Jaa in Ong Bak (and to a lesser degree Ong Bak 2 Y 3), most action movies rely on the “wow” factor of dazzling camera angles and computer-aided “enhancements.”

Ninja Assassin and the crossover

There are undoubtedly crossover movies like Ninja assassin, where actor Rain trained 14 hours a day for months to perfect real martial arts moves (albeit only a handful of repeated moves), combined with quite Matrix-like special effects. For some, the beauty of the realistic CGI takes away the pleasure of seeing well-choreographed real martial arts.

Ong Bakon the other hand, led by genuine martial arts expert Tony Jaa, he managed with solid martial arts and good choreography. There are no specialists, thank you. Tony Jaa was hailed as the “next Bruce Lee” for this reason, with great enthusiasm and enthusiasm in the martial arts community and on martial arts movie fan sites.

There is no escape from escapism

Action movies are, by design, escapist entertainment. They have become something of a comic book (sorry, graphic novel), but that’s what most of the public wants. We want to forget reality.

Kill bill Y Kill Bill 2 It probably came closer to the ideal mix for both the escapist fan and the martial arts fan. While it was not “real” by any means, and contained a bright and spicy mix of satire, comic book, parody, and choreography, it nonetheless harked back nostalgically to the wonderful days of Enter the Dragon and the classic Japanese Samarai movies from the 70s.

Does Japanese cinema stay true to the traditions of martial arts?

Perhaps the film industry most aligned with the oldest traditions of martial arts film making is Japan. Zatoichi, the blind swordsmanIt was a low-budget movie, which became an instant cult classic. Zatoichi brought movie audiences back to the classic royal sword skills of old Samarai movies from decades before, and spawned video games and an entire industry.

Less is more? Where is the true martial arts skill?

Authentic martial arts actors still abound, led by superstars like Donnie Yen and Jet Li, and most Chinese martial arts actors are proficient. In Hollywood, filmmakers opt for a four-move choreography (two kicks, a block, and a punch), multiple camera angles (particularly close-ups when the martial artist’s skills aren’t genuine), loud music, special effects, and stunts. . With the old Hollywood big screen wannabes – Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme and the other up-and-coming real martial artists – there is now a world of difference between Asian movie stars, working in freezing cold, fourteen hours a day. in often conditions, crafting genuinely complex martial arts moves for relatively paltry pay checks, and Hollywood movies that now rely on computers and understudies.

Batman now kung fu

bat Man now kung fu, and also G.I. Joe, and even Hellboy. They’re fun, but the martial artist fan misses the great martial arts movie luminaries who built their careers on the “real”: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, David Chiang, Sonny Chiba, Chen Kuan-tai, Tomisaburo Wkayama , Jimmy Wong Yu, Ti Lung and the Liu brothers.


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