What is it with kung fu movies...

Bruno@MT

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that they always feel the need to have people levitate and fly around the place. I have to admit that it ruined 'crouching tiger hidden dragon' for me. And it seems to be prevalent in many other CMA movies.
Does it serve some kind of purpose? If so, it is wasted on me.
 

Aikikitty

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Yeah, I don't like martial art movies where they float/fly around in either. I think they do that to make it "artsy" or "stylized" or something. Sometimes it looks "pretty", but more often it annoys me.

And is it just me, but it also seems that most of the CMA "flying/artsy" movies (ones I've seen) end in tragedy. I heard once somewhere that a lot of Chinese legends end sad and many like that. Is that true??? I much prefer Jackie Chan's older movies---fun martial art action, lots of comedy, and no sad endings!
 
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exile

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I think that whole genre of movie is based on surrealistic conventions. It's part of the background. There's a separate tradition of Chinese ghost stories in which the same kinds of unearthly things happen in the midst of ordinary-seeming life. It's not unusual in classical Chinese literature, from what I've seen of that---Story of the Stone, the Di Goong An mysteries, and so on. There's probably a connection....
 

Bill Mattocks

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I think that martial arts have developed a 'mystical' reputation over the years, an image that some martial arts have not gone out of their way to correct. Indeed, some still continue to insist that there is a supernatural aspect to their flavor of MA.

The public bought it. So they want to see those amazing supernatural things when they see movies about it. And like Die Hard movies - if one explosion was good, the next movie better have bigger explosions and more of them.

Everybody want Kung Fu Fighting...
 

Steve

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It's about fantasy. There are a number of stories from every culture that are iconic. Often, these stories are embellished and a real, historical person has been embued with supernatural abilities. Every culture does this, and whether the character is real or fiction, there's a universal interest in these kinds of fantasies. Our superhero movies in the USA are the exact same thing... just with a bigger budget and a different aesthetic.
 

cdunn

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It's a fairly time honored story telling technique. Even the ancient greeks dropped actors onto the stage from rope machines to do supernatural things. Remember, the average filmgoer wants to see a struggle writ large, in understandable strokes. Wirefu is just another way of emphasizing that these are not ordinary people. The realism of their fight is secondary to telling the overall story... and it should be.

Plus, watching two people wrestle around on the ground for 10 minutes defending each other's fingerlocks gets boring pretty fast.
 

cdunn

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Not for me!

Only because you know, understand, and are already interested in it from other sources. If the answer from an average person to 'what are they doing?' is 'I dunno, humping each other's legs?', you're not doing a good job of telling your story.
 

dnovice

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that they always feel the need to have people levitate and fly around the place. I have to admit that it ruined 'crouching tiger hidden dragon' for me. And it seems to be prevalent in many other CMA movies.
Does it serve some kind of purpose? If so, it is wasted on me.


good point. I think they are catering towards a people that love but do not practice martial arts. To them it looks awesome. I hate movies where the fighting doesn't look realistic (flying is fine as long as the chereographed contact is good) like kill bill 1 and 2. However, my friends swear by those movies.

hahaha. I sit there unimpressed while they oo and aaa.

dnovice.
 

searcher

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It all comes down to the bottom line. Most of the general public feel some need to thnk that MAists have some mystical abilities. THEY have no sense of what is/is not real andthey seem to like it that way.
 

Omar B

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I mentioned it in the Tony Ja V Jet Lee thread yesterday, but I'll say it again, "movie kung fu is too fluttery." It does not look brutal or visceral as of late. It's pretty moves that looks like balet dancers throwing fists combined with the Broadway production of Peter Pan.

Gimmie some old school, Bruce, Sammo, Jackie (before he got that bug too).
 

LordOfWu

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Interesting, I do know what is real and not, and I absolutely love the Hong Kong genre of Kung Fu movies! I am not watching a movie to learn techniques, I am being entertained. I am being shown something very clearly not in the realm of reality, because movies are an escape from reality. If I want to watch real fighting, I will watch real fighting. If I am watching a movie I want to be taken somewhere different.

Everyone has their own reasons for watching movies, and it's no better to look at people enjoying Kill Bill (which I loved!) and looking down on them because they don't know what's real or not, than it is to look down at a snobby MAist who can't get over their own knowledge enough to enjoy themselves. Both are wrong.

Just my two cents.
 

Jenna

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that they always feel the need to have people levitate and fly around the place. I have to admit that it ruined 'crouching tiger hidden dragon' for me. And it seems to be prevalent in many other CMA movies.
Does it serve some kind of purpose? If so, it is wasted on me.
Hey there Bruno@MT :) I guess the folk who bankroll these movies feel the current trend towards extravagant wirework will put more bums on seats. Would real, brutal MA attract more movie-goers? Maybe, though it would take some new thinking to move away from this current wuxia-style norm. And but then mainstream movie making is hardly the place for revolutionary thought, right? Having said that, I think among the flight-fight scenes there are some truly great action scenes, would you not agree? Kung-Fu Hustle is one of my favourites :) And as has been already said, it is only meant as entertainment. There is no allusion to realism in the martial arts action :)
Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
Jenna
 

Omar B

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I hear you man. Actually I stopped watching "fight" movies for years because it was just so painful for me watching them pull punches and kicks, then fly all over the place. The I got the Bruce Lee collection on DVD and now I'm back. Certain things just pull you out of it you know, like I'm a musician and anytime I see on TV or in a movie someone miming playing an instrument that you can clearly see that they are not playing just smacks me in the face.
 

dnovice

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Everyone has their own reasons for watching movies, and it's no better to look at people enjoying Kill Bill (which I loved!) and looking down on them because they don't know what's real or not, than it is to look down at a snobby MAist who can't get over their own knowledge enough to enjoy themselves. Both are wrong.

lol. and its wrong to assume that someone looks down on people just because that person himself doesn't like the movie they like. My friends like their movies and i like my movies based on experience. Negative judging involved.
 
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Bruno@MT

Bruno@MT

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It's not like I look down on people for enjoying e.g. crouching tiger hidden dragon, it's just that I think those movies would be so much better if they left the flying around stuff out of it.

Jet Li and JAckie chan manage to make enjoyable movies without having to resort to that kind of thing. There are probably movies in which they do, but there are also movies in which they don't.

It's like when Steven Saegal played in Under Siege 1 and 2. I liked those movies. But nowadays he thinks he is some kung fu sifu with lots of hand waving and pointed fingers. And ever since he started his CMA trip, his movies sucked. IMHO of course.
 

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It's not like I look down on people for enjoying e.g. crouching tiger hidden dragon, it's just that I think those movies would be so much better if they left the flying around stuff out of it.

Don't think of them as "martial arts movies" think of them as "superhero movies." Superman is supposed to fly, how would you feel about going to watch the next superman movie and they "reimagined" it so that he can't fly anymore, plus he doesn't have superspeed and so now he has to drive his Volkswagon off to deal with the rampaging baddies. Thats what you are dealing with here, these characters are supposed to have unnatural abilities, if you take that away, you are taking away a major part of the the developed genre.
 

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Only because you know, understand, and are already interested in it from other sources. If the answer from an average person to 'what are they doing?' is 'I dunno, humping each other's legs?', you're not doing a good job of telling your story.
That was meant to be tongue in cheek. I understand that for many, watching grappling is like watching golf. :D
 
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Bruno@MT

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Don't think of them as "martial arts movies" think of them as "superhero movies." Superman is supposed to fly, how would you feel about going to watch the next superman movie and they "reimagined" it so that he can't fly anymore, plus he doesn't have superspeed and so now he has to drive his Volkswagon off to deal with the rampaging baddies. Thats what you are dealing with here, these characters are supposed to have unnatural abilities, if you take that away, you are taking away a major part of the the developed genre.

I understand you argument, but I don't want them to be superhero movies. If I watch a superhero movie (actually, I don't), I would be ok with it.

But when I watch a MA movie, I want it to be about a very, very good martial artist whose skills are so great that he can in the end beat the supervillain.

Steven saegal breaking wrists and elbows is what I want to see.
Steven saegal doing magic handwaving to fight a sorcerer aided drug lord... not so much.

Or take 'romeo must die' which was a great movie: funny great fight scenes, and no superpowers :)
 
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