Archive for Editorial

What happened to Generation Next?!

Posted in Amy Johnston, Gina Carano, Jeeja Yanin, Ziyi Zhang with tags , on May 5, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

Michelle Yeoh has been the standard-bearer for successful female martial arts heroes for decades, followed closely by the likes of Cynthia Rothrock and names like the original hero Angela Mao, Yukari Oshima, Moon Lee, and Cynthia Khan. Year passed, and each one faded into cinema memories as time went on. With the exception of the Wuxia films, there was a noticeable dearth of female action films.

But then things began to change. We were introduced to a new crop of potential action stars: Stateside MMA fighter Gina Carano came out with her first film, Haywire, which was a modestly successful film, and she seemed to be the one to pick up the American mantle left by Ms. Rothrock. Overseas, renewed hope continued in the form of Jeeja Yanin in Chocolate, and Veronica NGO in The Rebel and Clash. Not to miss out we also had Zhang Ziyi making her mark in films like the House of Flying Daggers and The GrandMaster. Toss in Ronda Rousey making her debut in both a Fast and Furious film as well as The Expendables 3 and one would think that female martial arts action cinema would be in good hands.

Until it wasn’t.

Carano, as of this writing, did well with Deadpool but her acting is hampering her. Jeeja Yanin is suffering from two important things: her film choices and the absence of the great Panna Rittikrai as her fight choreographer. Zhang Ziyi was the best thing about The Grandmaster, but it was also Tony Leung’s star vehicle rather than hers. I’m not sure what became of Veronica Ngo, and Ronda Rousey, well, it’s hard to say.

So where do we go from here? Cinema seems to be taking care of it…to a point. Scarlett Johansson had Ghost In The Shell (not a very good film) and we have Wonder Woman coming out soon, as well as Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron, so women are progressing in action cinema to being more than a damsel in distress. But where are the martial arts stars at? Could Ni Ni pull off being an action badass in Enter The Warrior’s Gate? How about stunt woman Amy Johnston in her film debut Lady Bloodfight? Is she ready to take the next step? Charisma and charm are good, but martial arts skills need to be on point as well. Who else is out there in the world of female ass kickers ready to step up to the plate? We have plenty of male martial arts stars. But we need something more. We need kickass women. Action cinema needs kickass women.

We’re still waiting.

And that’s the problem.

Enter the Warriors Gate is now in theaters, VOD and Digital HD.

Advertisements

The Trailer for Birth of The Dragon…and my thoughts.

Posted in Bruce Lee, Philip Ng with tags on September 21, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

First, watch the trailer (if you haven’t already seen it):

Philip Ng looks great as Bruce, and I’d love to see him play the role…in a Bruce Lee film. By that I mean a film that is 100% actually about Bruce Lee. The problem here is Hollywood, as it usually is. Instead of a film that gives us a real life story that is amazing in itself, we get a whitewashed version of it, with Billy Magnussen as Steve McKee (based on Steve McQueen) who has a side plot that has a Romeo and Juliet flair to it. Which is really baffling because the story at hand is already much more interesting. Why can’t we just let the film star Philip Ng and Wong Jack Man? Why is it necessary to have a white guy star in any Hollywood film when the main story is about someone of another race? I keep going back to this video below, from Last Week Tonight:

*Sigh* So here we are again. Now have I seen this film yet? No. Will I? For the purposes of this website, yes. Bruce Lee is/was one of the greatest martial arts alive, and if you wanted to get a white person in there with a side story, how about his actual wife Linda Lee? As for Mr. Magnussen, he may be a fine actor but most people don’t know him any more than they do Philip Ng, so him being in the film won’t give it any more box office, so the “money” explanation won’t work.

The thing that will sell this film is Bruce Lee. His name, to this day, even among mainstream audiences, gets their attention, and a well told BRUCE LEE story will get them to the theater. His world is ours. It doesn’t need a white guy to “navigate” audiences through that world, and Bruce Lee has explained kung fu in such simple terms that anyone can understand, because that was the point. Bruce Lee introduced Kung-Fu to the western world, and was its greatest ambassador. So far, going by this trailer and comments the director and writers have made, they failed to understand this simple concept, and that gives me pause that this film will be very good.

IF, and I say IF there is a “stand in for us” character needed, why not make him African-American (since “Black” movie theaters were the places where kung fu films were shown and flourished the most in the USA)? Or, in a bolder move, make him Chinese-American? Say someone who doesn’t know much about Kung Fu and that side of their own culture? ( I still think a Bruce Lee film needs to be only about Bruce Lee. Say what you want, but Dragon, The Bruce Lee Story got that part right).

The bottom line is this: Hollywood still believes, even with proof to the contrary, that actors of color can’t open a film to good/big box office. This idea will change and this has already begun, but we still have a long ways to go.

Bruce_Lee_Pic_1

“To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.”

–Bruce Lee