Martial arts movies have featured some great fighters, but who’s your favorite?
The American Taekwondo Association World Expo is in Little Rock this week. For everyone who isn’t capable of breaking bricks with their fists, we put together a list of the best martial arts movies for vicarious living. Martial arts movies have appealed to audienes for quite some time, and the sport’s rich, storied history is still bobbing up into mainstream consciousness. Directors like Sergio Leone display Akira Kurosawa as a great inspiration, while Star Wars and spaghetti westerns drew heavily on Kurosawa’s influence, with less name dropping. It’s only fitting that a good number of influential movies are tied to this ancient Eastern tradition.
The Legend of Drunken Master
The 1994 sequel to Drunken Master is 16 years removed from its original, but it delivers a tighter story with a better sense of Jackie Chan’s comedic skill. The movie’s production was a subject of contention for Jackie Chan and Chia-Liang Liu. Eventually, Liu would leave the production during filming, leaving Chan to pick up the direction for the final scene, which reportedly took months to film. The drunken boxing style depicted in the film is an actual martial art, although it is not normally used whilst drunk. All in all, Chan delivers the goods in the comedy department and drops jaws with amazing fight scenes.
Kurosawa might go down in history as the greatest filmmaker to ever live, and his magnum opus Seven Samurai is a perfect example of why. The film inspired The Magnificent Seven directly, shot to be identical side by side in certain scenes by director John Sturges, and inspired every filmmaker since with its mold-breaking attitude toward film. Samurai is often called the first modern action-adventure film. Read the rest
Bringing in nearly $98 million box office, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, released in 2011, was certainly popular. It’s the highest grossing July 4 weekend release, according to boxofficemojo.com. But, is this really the caliber of film we want to enjoy on the nation’s birthday? If so, then enjoy it. For those who seek more from their movie-watching experiences, I have found five Independence Day releases that offer more substance than the usual fare. And no, Independence Day is not one of them.
The movie that sits at 11 on the highest-grossing July 4 weekend releases is Men In Black. Barry Sonnenfeld directed this film following the success of Get Shorty (which isn’t too shabby either). While he might have strayed a bit in his career, Sonnenfeld was one of the best cinematographers in the early ’90s. His skill translated well to directing, especially in his early pictures.
Men In Black redefined the way we see sci-fi comedies and aliens in general. The camera’s movement in relation to the scenes is a thing of beauty, as it adds its own element of comedy to the production. If nothing else, revisit this for a look at a young Will Smith, fresh off Fresh Prince, arguing with Tommy Lee Jones.
Next up, The Perfect Storm, which comes in at 15 on the July 4 list with just over $41 million. This movie is a raw drama with some big-budget special effects. The drama might be a little too raw, but the movie still makes good use of the actors to deliver a visual and tense story. Read the rest