SummerFall (& Final!) Martial Arts in Media 2016

This may, or may not, be a momentous bang and/or whimper occasion. I can’t remember exactly when I started writing this column for the gone-and-might-be-forgotten (albeit, in some quarters, fondly remembered) Inside Kung-Fu magazine, but I seem to recall it was around 1991. That makes it a nice round anniversary, since the final issue of
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Martial Arts in Media Autumn 2015

Well, that’s that. A combination of rampant bootlegging and a paucity of product has done in the last store in New York City’s Chinatown that still sold actual, authentic, legal DVDs and VCDs. Rest in peace P Music Video Corp. Thanks for your honesty, patience, and dedication. Rest assured, however, if the store had been
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Martial Arts in Media Winter 2015

After conflicting reports warning of a softer 2014 box-office, the China Film Bureau declared that profits were up thirty-six percent from last year, that more than six hundred Chinese films had been produced, and the total number of cinemas now number 23,600. By any criteria, that’s a lot of eyes, screens, butts, seats, and moolah.
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Martial Arts in Media Autumn 2014

It is seasons like these that the apocryphal “Chinese” curse “May You Live in Interesting Times” comes to mind (although generally considered a translation from the writings of someone like Lao-Tzu or Confucius, an actual Asian source has never be found … for all we know, it could’ve come from a Charlie Chan or Judge
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Martial Arts in Media Summer 2014

Notice anything different about the headline? Yes, the day has finally arrived. Although I have maintained this monthly column for Inside Kung-Fu magazine and on this site for decades, the martial art movie is in such dire straits — from Chinese Government interference to American studio sabotage, as well as the general creeping generic action
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Zatoichi 26 Liner Notes

Believe it or not, since posting my 11/13 Martial Arts in Media column, I’ve had some requests to see the liner notes I wrote for the now hard-to-find U.S. DVD release of Shintaro Katsu’s final Zatoichi film, then titled simply Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman. Here then are those liner notes as originally written: More than
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Martial Arts in Media 11/13

Oh brother. First, I’m sorry this column is so late in the month, and second, sorry it’s going to be so short. Anyone who knows me probably understands at least one of the reasons why this is such a busy time of the year for me (hint: ho ho ho, second hint: santaconfidential.com). But also,
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Martial Arts in Media 5/12

Things are happening. Not now. But they’re happening. As the Chinese movie audience swells, and mainland cinemas are being erected almost as fast as the populace can buy cars to drive to them, more locally-grow films are being demanded to fill the nationalist need. And, of course, the one thing the Chinese do better than
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Martial Arts in Media 4/12

Things are looking up. Donnie Yen has signed for another Ip Man movie (in 3D yet). The advertisements for Stephen Fung’s (House of Fury) new film, Tai Chi 0 (the first in a planned trilogy), have gone up in Beijing (and the movie has been sold to Well Go USA for U.S. release as well).
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Martial Arts in Media 1/12

Ok, this is beginning to depress me. First, there was the realization that there was not a single great kung fu movie last year. Now this. It’s not so much that the films below were disappointing, but that they were so slapdash – especially from a storytelling standpoint. Once upon a time, Hong Kong-slash-Chinese cinema
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