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 Winter 2016

American author Thomas Wolfe once wrote a book called You Can’t Go Home Again – a phrase that, over the years, has come to signify that attempting to recapture the joys of one’s youth is folly. In fact, on the Wikipedia page it flatly states “attempts to relive youthful memories will always fail.” Well, if
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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 5/14

The cinemas in China continue to multiply, and the audience continues to grow, but the films that are being fed to them are like meat to lions. If they’re hungry, they’ll devour anything thrown at them and roar for more – no matter how tough the gristle. Producers and studios don’t mind. “Look how successful
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2013’s 5 Best (& 10 Worst) Film Fights

Yes, yes, I could’ve done my somewhat annual list of the top and bottom TV shows and films of the year, but everybody does that. So I figured, why not do a list where my so-called “area of expertise” would have some sway? So here, then, in alphabetical order, is my p.o.v. on what made,
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Martial Arts in Media 7/13

As you may remember last time, my review of Saving General Yang was tragically interrupted by the death of cinema’s greatest kung fu filmmaker, Liu Chia-liang/Lau Kar-leung. While the genre may not recover, martial arts in media trudges on. Saving General Yang is the latest in a long line of films (not to mention plays
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Martial Arts in Media 3/13

It’s post Chinese New Year celebration time, and the movie release schedule was amped up accordingly. And between Wong Kar-wai’s “official” Yip Man bio-action-pic The Grandmasters, and Stephen Chow’s Journey to the West, things are actually looking up for the first time in a long time. Serving as yin to this yang is the continuing
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Martial Arts in Media 10/12

Studio execs like to pretend that quality has nothing to do with it. As long as films have existed, there’s always been a cinematic cadre of insecure people who like to make their estimations of success without considering the quality of the films presented. Kung fu films are no different … and yet they are.
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Martial Arts in Media 2/12

You can take China out of propaganda films, but you can’t seem to take propaganda out of Chinese films. This month I’ve got four movies, three of which supply ample evidence for the above statement. That doesn’t exactly make them unwatchable, but it’s kind of like being on a China tour. No matter how nice
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Martial Arts in Media Oct. 2011

Kung fu cinema is walking a tightrope this month. Between America’s standard operating ignorance and China’s all-too-pragmatic surveillance, the industry is trying to supply the ever-growing number of screens with what they think they want without unsettling the watchdogs on either side of the world. The result brings out the best and worst of the
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