Upcoming Martial Arts Movies I Want to See

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Champions. Don’t know much about this movie, but the trailer looks awesome and that’s all I really need to know.

 

Legend of Bruce Lee From what I understand, this is a new series in China starring the Bruce Lee lookalike from Shaolin Soccer. Looks pretty cool to me although how I am going to get my grubby hands on this, I have no clue.

 

Ip Man More Bruce Lee goodness. Ip Man (aka Yip Man) was Bruce Lee’s teacher. This telling of the story is played by none other than the great Donnie Yen. Stick with the trailer, it gets really good at the end.

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5 Amazing Fight Scenes You’ve Never Seen

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These fight scenes aren’t from any major movies so I doubt most people have seen them.


  1. A Star Wars fan film with great fight scenes. Stick with it, it’s pretty cool.
  2. This is a 2 on 1 empty hand wushu set.
  3. Amazing spear vs empty hand wushu set.
  4. Well, technically this isn’t one fight scene but a sneak preview of several for the upcoming Tony Jaa movie Ong Bak 2.
  5. The end fight scene of the short film, ‘The Duel’ – a must see for any martial arts buff.

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“Rambo” – Not Just a Mindless Action Flick

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Just saw the latest Rambo movie with my wife. We were expecting an entertaining action film that did justice to the earlier ones. I was also hoping it wasn’t so violent and mindless that it would put off my wife. The story picks up where we might expect John Rambo to be – still keeping a low profile in a small village in Thailand making a meager living all the while still making donations to the local monks (see Rambo II). Nearby, neighboring Burma, a very real military regime is committing unspeakable atrocities on the local people, and a missionary and relief group from some church in Colorado seek Rambo’s help in getting them into Burma. Rambo reluctantly accepts and drops the group in Burma. After not turning up for a while, Rambo and a group of mercenaries are sent in to extract them out. Of course, this is what the audience comes to see – Rambo kicking some major ass.

I’ve heard about how violent this movie is, but I was not prepared to see how graphic it all was. I was also not expecting any Rambo movie to be some sort of documentary of a real plight or to try to raise awareness of a people facing genocide. Not only did we sit through the whole movie, but we also watched the behind the scenes featurettes. Stallone mentions that he did not want the movie censored for the violence because it was real. Not only that but that what was really happening was even too brutal to show.

This is full scale genocide. I want an ‘R’ and I want the violence in there because it is reality. It would be a whitewashing not to show what’s over there.

I would urge people to watch the movie for the piece of entertainment that it is, but also to watch the behind the scenes features where Burmese people give their accounts of what is happening there. It absolutely breaks your heart. There was a shot of a man who just lost his leg to a land mine. He didn’t even look like he was in much pain, but when you saw what was left of his leg which was basically just bone, you cannot help but feel that the situation in Burma is unacceptable.

What’s sad is that for much of the American audience who left the theater watching this movie, most probably won’t give Burma a second thought – writing it off as a good plot device for Rambo to lay some major smack down on some bad guys. One reviewer on Amazon even comments that the audience among him didn’t even know if Burma was real. At various points the violence portrayed in the movie was so horrifying that it bordered on the absurd. It would be easy to write off that violence as Rambo trying to top the violence of previous films. I think most critics and reviewers wrote it off as such and totally missed the point. It’s a sad commentary on today’s society that the message just went way over their head.

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“The Forbidden Kingdom” Movie Review

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The Forbidden Kingdom is the new Disney movie that pairs Jackie Chan and Jet Li in the same movie for the first time ever. The story is loosely based on one of the most famous Chinese literary classics, Journey to the West. There’s been many adaptations over the years of the classic including one that will be familiar to all anime fans – Dragonball. Having spent a large part of my childhood in Asia, I was familiar with the tale. I’m also a huge fan of both Jet Li and Jackie Chan. As an added bonus, Colin Chou (Seraph from the Matrix series), is also in this movie. I think he’s a great martial arts star who just hasn’t yet made it in the US market.

The movie centers around a teenage boy from Boston. He’s a big kung fu fan who hangs around Chinatown. He gets into trouble and comes into possession of an ancient wooden staff. This magical staff transports him to an ancient fairy tale China where he learns that this particular staff is magical and belongs to the Monkey King. The Monkey King however has been caste into stone by the evil Jade Warlord, and it is prophesied that a traveler from afar would restore the Monkey King and defeat the Jade Warlord.

Along his journey, the boy meets a drunk vagabond (Jackie), a monk (Jet), and an orphan girl. All of them join him on his quest to fulfill his prophecy so he can get home. The Wizard of Oz anyone? Jackie and Jet take turns training the boy complete with maxims and words of ancient Chinese wisdom. Many of them will resonate with martial artists in particular. Here’s an example: Eating bitter (before tasting the sweet) is a well known saying referring to putting in the hard work before reaping the rewards. The humor is pretty good. One scene in particular, when Jackie tells Jet that the boy is the chosen one, and Jet says he’s not even Chinese, was particularly hilarious. Why is it that America thinks they need a white male lead to star in movie about the greatest Chinese literary classic that already has the two most famous Asian actors?

Although Jet and Jackie share about equal screen time, and they both play 2 characters, Jackie gets the lion’s share of the dialog. This is not surprising since Jet’s always been more the quiet one. However, we all know the reason we want to see these two together for the fight scenes. Let me tell you they don’t disappoint in this department. I recall 4 major fight scenes, one of them involving Jet and Jackie fighting each other. The movie builds up to a great fight between the forces of good and the evil Jade Warlord and his army. The movie ties it’s loose ends together well.

I thought overall, the movie was entertaining. The movie pays homage to old kung fu movies like Drunken Master and Bride with White Hair. The setting and sets were absolutely gorgeous. Costumes were very ornate, and the special effects were well done. Nothing felt too cheesy and the wire-fu wasn’t overbearing. It’s a typical feel good Disney movie. I highly recommend it for the whole family. In fact, I ran into a student who brought his whole family to watch.

Parents who are concerned about whether they can take their kids to watch it should know that there’s a lot of fighting in the movie – duh. There’s also a few scenes that show blood and killing, but it’s done in a nonviolent sort of way that doesn’t draw attention to itself. If you take your children to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, then this isn’t any worse in terms of violence.

I give this 4.5/5.

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Top 10 Must See Martial Arts Movies

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There are tons of other really cool martial arts films, but if I had to pick the Top 10 for me, these would be it.

10. Once Upon A Time In China 2

Asian audiences have known Jet Li well before his Lethal Weapon 4 western debut. In fact Jet Li is arguably was famous throughout Asia for his role as the legendary folk hero Wong Fei Hong. In OUATC 2 he squares off with another famous martial artist Donnie Yen. It will be years later before the 2 would ever meet again on film in the movie Hero.


Warehouse fight scene between Jet Li and Donnie Yen


9. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Although purists would argue that CTHD wasn’t THAT good of a martial arts movie, we cannot discount it’s importance. It successfully introduced the genre of wuxia to Western audiences weaving high quality production, good script, great special effects, and some amazing wire-fu.


The Green Destiny goes through a lot of weapons.


8. Ong Bak

When people think martial arts flicks, Thailand doesn’t come to mind as a hub of action movies, but it’s slowly becoming one. Martial arts idols of the 90′s and 2000s like Jet Li and Jackie Chan were getting old and the audience was ready for a hero. As people were becoming tired of wire-fu, Ong Bak came out of nowhere show casing no-nonsense down and dirty Muay Boran (a predecessor of Muay Thai). Fighting wasn’t something beautiful and balletic, but as effective simple and deadly. Not only were the fights brutal, but the movie also advertised no wires, all stunts done for real by Tony Jaa. Overnight, he became a celebrity and people were hungry for more.


Muay Boran p’wns other styles.


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