Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kung Fu Double Feature

Last Friday, hosted a kung fu night, a chance to view two DVD's I recently bought: Snake in the Monkey's Shadow and 8 Diagram Pole Fighter.

I saw Snake in Monkey's Shadow in Blockbuster a while back, and thought the title sounded familiar. Looked it up, and found that Quentin Tarantino had shown it at one of his film festivals in Austin, and it had been written up on AICN (and written up again when he brought it back for an encore a few years later). If you read AICN, you know they're prone to hyperbole, and this is probably no exception, but it is a pretty great movie. Anyway, when Blockbuster started selling off tons of old DVD's, I thought "oh, I bet they'll get rid of Snake in Monkey's Shadow." Looked for it, and sure enough, there it was, so I snatched that fucker up.

Snake in Monkey's Shadow is old school 70's kung fu, and a good example of the "animal style" genre. Everyone in it fights in a different animal style. The hero is a fishmonger who wants to learn kung fu, and he trains with two different masters. One teaches him drunken style ("The most important thing about kung fu is to always appear to be drunk"), the other teaches him monkey style. The villains are two guys who fight in cobra style, and the way they move together looks really awesome. After they kill both his masters, our hero trains himself to combine drunken style and monkey style to defeat the cobra style. The fights are great in this, and there's some really astounding acrobatics that appear to be done without wires.

8 Diagram Pole Fighter is a more recent film, probably from the 90's. It stars Gordon Liu, best known to American audiences for playing Pei Mei in Kill Bill 2 and the general of the Crazy 88 in Kill Bil 1. I saw this at Amoeba Music for $10, and I had heard it was good, so I picked it up. This movie is insane. The final battle is totally balls-out, with Liu armed with a pole and beating the shit out of a huge gang of enemies, and just when you think it's as crazy as it could possibly get, he unleashes his Dentist Style: shoves the pole sideways into his opponents mouth, digs it in, and yanks it out, bringing the teeth with it! I'm very happy that some charitable soul put this fight on YouTube:


Blogger Unknown said...

WU LANG BA GUA GUN aka 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER was released in 1983. Could be my favorite of the Shaws, maybe.

10/11/2006 9:14 PM  

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