…feed it, starve it, or blog?
At the moment, it’s blogging. The other thing has been watching martial arts flix. I’ve been in that annoying phase of the cold where I have a general feeling of crapitude, but not sufficiently so to drive me to bed to sleep it off. However, I’m not up to anything physically or mentally challenging. Still, I’m heartily bored and sick of my enforced lassitude.
The result? Martial arts film fest. Brainless, engaging, and fun. Plus They Live was rented.
First on the block, as I was feeling very brainless after my trip to Lackluster, was the DMX/Jet Li classic, Cradle 2 the Grave. I’d seen Romeo Must Die, a previous DMX/Jet Li/Andrzej Bartkowiak collaboration (a Pole making Kung Fu/Rap movies?), and it was fairly entertaining and, while not requiring a great deal of thought, not completely insulting to my intelligence.
Cradle 2 the Grave is more formulaic–but if your mental processes have slowed down to a crawl, it is fairly stylish and contains the requisite shiny things and loud noises, which, as a mammal, attract me. It’s basically golden-hearted theif gets in over his head, has daughter kidnapped, joins up with good-hearted cop outside the system, outwits and outfights the bad guys. They even managed to do a repeat of the fire-circle climactic fight of Romeo Must Die.
I then lowered production values but upped my martial arts cred with Snake in (the) Eagle’s Shadow, Jackie Chan’s first breakout role in Hong Kong (not for US audiences, which was arguably either Rumble in the Bronx or Rush Hour, depending on your definition of “breakout”). It’s been well restored, but you have to be in a certain frame of mind to take in all the really bad Foley effects (every single movement of a hand is done with 120dB wind noise) and badly redubbed dialogue (and I was watching in Cantonese with English subtitles). Still, elements of the classic Jackie from later films are there–improvisational fighting, Charlie Chaplain-style broad physical comedy, and extremely athletic moves. No wires here. However, you have to put up with a lot of stuff about the thousands of Kung Fu schools that everybody in China apparently studied at instead of learning municipal plumbing or advanced farming techniques until Mao. They are also feuding with each other for reasons that aren’t deeply delved into, and it’s best to just accept it–they need a device for lots of 20-on-1 fight scenes. The film is basically a string of fight sequences with a traditional, but tissue-thin plot. Again, this is Hong Kong Kung Fu, and if you don’t like it, then you are the scum of society.