What To Do With a Cold

…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.

2 thoughts on “What To Do With a Cold

  1. “Snake in Eagle’s Shadow” was the first Hong Kong Kung Fu movie I saw and was what endeared me to the genre. The snake-fist style that Jackie Chan uses in this film is an ’embellished’ style though still an amazingly effective one in terms of blocking and parrying. It has some really beautifully choreographed fight scenes combined with Jackie Chan’s signature slap-stick acrobatics.

    Some other movies I would recommend would be:

    * Iron Monkey (starring Jet Li)
    * 36th Chamber of Shaolin.
    * She Shoots Straight.
    * Tai Chi Master (aka Twin Warriors)
    * Tai Chi Chuan (with excellent Chen style TCC)
    * The Master (Jet Li)
    * Shaolin Temple 1-3 (Jet Li)

    A good place to order MA movies is Tai Seng Video (http://www.taiseng.com/). They have a great collection. Also for video rentals Video Vault (http://www.videovault.com/) in Alexandria VA has a pretty good collection of Chinese and Japanese cinema including lots of MA movies.


  2. I own Iron Monkey already–it’s probably my favorite so far (the flying cuffs of death are great).

    I also saw “Snake and Crane: Arts of Shaolin” and am watching “New Fist of Fury,” both Jackie Chan showcases.

    I’ll add the others to my list. I haven’t been by Video Vault in a while, and that’s a shame.


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