Friday, October 21, 2016

The Valiant Ones most valiant ending.

The more and more I watch King Hu movies, the more I realize just how wide his influence is. His inventive, kinetically frenzied ending fight scenes are things that need to be seen to be believed. In this latest film we watched, The Valiant Ones, showcases a fight so crazy and long that many people in the class I watched it with couldn't believe their eyes. Either because of how absurd it was or just how entertaining it turned out to be.

The funny thing is, is that, regardless of how weirdly edited or prolonged it is, entertainment has been featuring this kind of fighting for quite some time. Just because technology has gotten better, does not mean that these fights are just as ridiculous. Take this scene, from the Matrix series:

Just as epic, just as ridiculous.

Or take this example from Dragon Ball Z:

Even in cartoon form, this fight is exciting, yet ridiculous.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, don't judge a movie because of one sequence. This movie has a lot of fighting in it, so by the end, the epic fight that happens makes that much more sense.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Fate of Lee Khan - seeing King Hu's influences.

This week, we watched "The Fate of Lee Khan." Although it was surprising to see the decline of quality in production from his last film, "A Touch of Zen," this movie nonetheless was very entertaining. Just like his earlier films, this film takes place in an inn but there is one very cool difference.

The inn's owner and the majority of its workers are all females. I have noticed that King Hu likes to have the main character in many of his movies be very strong female leads, ones that rarely need the help of a man, which is ironically refreshing, even in 2016. And he was doing this back in the sixties and seventies. If that contributed to some of his unsuccessful films, then that is truly a sad statement on society at the time.

Regardless, it's nice to see that, especially since a lot of filmmakers like Hayao Miyazaki, Joss Whedon, and Quentin Tarantino do the same thing. We should also be looking for awesome female filmmakers as well.

One last thing, unrelated except for the fact that we are talking about King Hu influencing different genres. I realized that I was so attuned and entertained by King Hu's fight scenes mainly because I've been watching them since childhood. Check out this clip:


Friday, October 7, 2016

A Touch of Zen - the unusual end of zen.

In class, we watched the conclusion of "A Touch of Zen." After multiple exciting fight sequences, tragic deaths, and unmitigated suspense, it only makes sense that the ending to this movie would be as crazy and amazing as the rest of the film.

The ending shows a mythical abbott reaching nirvana, becoming just like Buddha. The most interesting part about this is not that he attains this status but how King Hu shot the ending sequence. It's confusing at first but then becomes very clear, yet still opens it up to interpretation.

After a prolonged final fight with the film's most dangerous villain, Hsu Yang, Abbott Yuan is fatally stabbed and proceeds to walk away. During this sequence Yuan experiences extreme hallucinations including hearing abnormal sounds, seeing spectacular colors, mistaking his own men for something else, and eventually throwing himself to his own death against his will.

Personally, I love endings like these because they create conversations and discussions about its subject matter. There are many movies that seem like they are going to have a predictable ending, but catches you off guard with an ending from left field.

Here are some examples.

Magnolia - 

2001: A Space Odyssey