A tale of bloody revenge staring Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung. A group of cops get tired of a mob boss (Hung) walking despite their best legal efforts to take him down. So they step outside the law. Great fight scenes by Donnie Yen, including the final battle with Sammo Hung. Hung is still quite spry despite his age and size. The fight between him and Yen was like watching a bear battle a leopard. A really bad ass bear in this case, with really fast paws.
The Five Tibetans: Five Dynamic Exercises for Health, Energy and Personal Power by Christopher S. Kilham
I learned these yoga exercises at a martial arts seminar a couple of decades ago. Found the book years later. I find them very useful in jumpstarting your metabolism. Best done in the morning. I find that if I do them in the evening, I’m up past 2AM.
Going with another 1970s era Shaw Brothers Kung Fu classic. My Young Auntie is the story of a young martial arts student who marries her dying Master, at his request, in order to keep his fortune out of the hands of his evil younger brother. She delivers the will and deeds to her new nephew, who happens to have a son about her age. He is going to college in Hong Kong and returns in time to join in the fun. Interesting mix of East meets West, with the college students’ love of all things western (fancy dress, dancing, music, European saber fencing,…) being introduced to the new Auntie, who is a bit old fashioned. This gives the film conflict on two levels. The first being between the Third (and only surviving) Uncle and the rest of the family over the deceased Master’s fortune, and the second being the culture clash between old fashioned, yet young, second aunt, and her great nephew (who is about the same age as her) and his college friends. It’s the Shaw Brothers, so the fight sequences are great. This film also has singing, dancing and more than its share of humor.
It’s Chinese Gung Fu squaring off with Japanese martial arts in this 1970s Shaw Brothers martial arts classic! This film stars Gordon Liu and group of actual Japanese martial arts masters recruited for this film. The fights are a real treat to watch. Three Section Staff vs. Nunchuka & Tonfa. Katana vs. Gim Sword. Sai vs. Butterfly Swords. Spear vs. Spear. Karate vs. Chinese Drunken God style Gung fu. Judo vs. Chin Na. How does this come about? Well, a young Chinese martial arts student has an arranged marriage with a young Japanese girl who is also skilled in her countries martial arts, including Ninjitsu! The fun continues from there.
Steven Soderbergh directed this film built around Muy Thai and MMA fighter Gina Carano. So ya, the fight scenes kick ass. Otherwise this a pretty boiler plate spy thriller will some suprising A List actors. Michael Fassbender, Ewan MacGregor, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas. Ya, that is a lot of star power, but it’s Carano kicking ass and not bothering to take names that really make this film.
Cowboys and Ninjas. Hell ya! Good cast, lots of action, including much, much sword fu, knife fu and gun fu. Plus a seriously bad bad guy. Worth the popcorn.
Another martial arts classic staring Jim Kelly. Coming at you straight from 1974, this “kung fu” flick also falls squarely in the blaxploitation sub-genre as well. This is mid-70s low budget drive-in theater fodder in all its glory. Jim Kelly delivers the martial arts goods, and manages to carry this flick with some decent acting chops as well.
Filed under: History, Martial Arts, Monday Book Pick
Shotokan’s Secret: Expanded Edition by Bruce Clayton
A very interesting book for both the martial artist and the historian. Mr. Clayton has done extensive research into finding the environment that drove the creation of hard style linear Karate. This system of martial arts came about in a specific time and place. A time and place that previously predominately practiced only empty handed systems based on Southern Kung Fu systems. Those systems had to be empty handed systems, because possession of a sword or any other restricted weapon by an Okinawan was punishable by death!
The first half of the book is pure history. The second half breaks apart the Shotokan katas and points out the hidden techniques. Techniques that had to be hidden at time the system was created. Very interesting stuff for the martial arts historian.
Donny Yen, son of Boston Kung Fu Master Bow Sim Mark, and start of the Yip Man films, stars in this excellent martial arts flick. He plays Chen Zhen, Bruce Lee’s character from The Chinese Connection. After seeing the horrors of war in WWI France, Chen returns to Shenghai to continue his battle against the Japanese. The action is excellent, and the acting quite good. As Joe-Bob would say, check it out!
Yup, it’s been 20 years since this martial arts action flick first hit the big screen. As martial arts films go, it’s fairly typical. So-so script, typical revenge plot with a prodigal son twist thrown in for flavor, and a cast of regulars in the genre. This was supposed to be the big break film for American Kenpo master Jeff Speakman. Didn’t quite turn out that way, but the karate scenes are good and the rest of the cast (which includes Mako and Professor Tanaka), make worth the rental, if you can find it.