Nerd Lunch Podcast 33: Modern Kung Fu Movies

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Nerd Lunch Podcast 33: Modern Kung Fu Movies


While CT is away on a vision quest, Pax and Jeeg bring in Jeremy from Geek Chunks to discuss kung fu movies (and one samurai movie) from the last 20 years or so. After touching on our introductions to the martial arts genre and the grandaddy of them all, Enter the Dragon, we talk about the 90s kung fu resurgence led by Jackie Chan, the crossover appeal of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and some of our recent favorites from Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, and Michelle Yeoh. Finally, we channel our qi power into some Nerd To-Dos covering Avengers opening weekend, Sliders, and Wrath of the Titans.

By | 2017-03-18T02:53:54+00:00 April 17th, 2012|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , , , , , , |4 Comments

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  1. Jack February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Hey, Jeeg. Actually, I forgot to mention Jackie Chan. I'm a fan of his stuff, largely because he knows what the hell he's doing, there is no wire-fu, and he was up front about it being comic kung-fu, so I went with that mindset, and enjoyed what he had to offer. For the record, I liked Beverly Hills Ninja, too, so I'm not quite the martial arts snob I may have presented myself as to start with. I also like Jean-Claude when he isn't trying to act…

    Ever notice how, when the hero is trapped by 50 thugs, they all stand in a circle practicing their kata while one guy at a time goes in to attack? Is that a cultural thing, or are they just stupid? I mean, they are thugs, after all…

    CT, sounds like you'd welcome a coup; of course, now that you've made that known, it'll never happen. District B13 and Undisputed II, eh? Tell me which one you think is the best, and I'll give it a shot, and review it (maybe…).

  2. CT February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Hey Jack, I am not really worried about any coup. My understanding is that neither Jeeg nor Pax are interested in editing this bad boy every week so they'll likely keep me around as long as I'm willing to do that.

    They did a great job without me even though my martial arts movies illiteracy meant I didn't understand about 80% of what they were saying.

    I have seen District B13 though and was wondering if there would be some mention of that on the show.

  3. Jeeg February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Bolo Yeung is a great name to bring up, Jack. Hong Kong directors must have had him on speed dial for whenever they needed a badass bad guy during the 70s or 80s. We have to talk about him when we do our look at 1980s martial arts movies.

    The Jackie Chan movies from the 90s that we mentioned don't have any wire-fu in them, but may have too much of a comedic sensibility for you, Jack. A couple of my recent favorites that I didn't mention but are also worth checking out are District B13 (a little over the top AND French, but awesome action) and Undisputed II (one of PLee's favorites too).

  4. Jack February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Nice job, boys. I had thought you might get undisciplined without The Big Boss on hand; silly me…

    I can't bring much to this, as I was in and out very quickly, but I can relate what it was like to be on hand when Enter the Dragon opened the door for this art form. I saw ETD as half of a double feature with a piece of crap whose title my brain, in sort of a mercy-suicide, has killed.

    Enter the Dragon gave us Bruce Lee, who us children of the 60s remembered as Kato, and the rumor was that he was pretty good. So we watched this tense, serious movie that had a few moments, but most of it was engaging and believable, and I thought, "Oh boy, I'm gonna live on this stuff from now on!"

    Second feature begins. An obviously young athlete, made up to look like he's 90, comes out into the temple courtyard to practice. He walks up and karate chops a huge oak tree, which starts to vibrate like it's in an Indonesian tsunami-quake. Most of the leaves are dislodged, and begin to flutter toward the ground. Dude whips out a sword, leaps 75 feet into the air, and begins whipping the sword around faster than the eye can follow. He comes down a hundred yards from the tree with all the leaves stuck on his sword like a shishkabob. He strips them off the sword between his first two fingers, flips them backhanded toward the tree, and they all stick in the trunk in a vertical row like shurikens. I left shortly thereafter.

    I tried to get into it for a while, and learned to recognize some names that were associated with realism. Bolo Yueng comes to mind, and the female Bruce, Angela Mao, but once I learned through hard experience that I had to wade through fifty of those crap-fu movies to find an ETD, I gave up the search as not offering enough return for the effort. Despite my love of the ass-kicking female (see my Hideout post on Sheena), I have never seen Hidden Tiger (or pretty much any of the movies you talked about), and never plan to, largely because the trailer leaned heavily on the wire-fu, and as trailers tend to highlight what the studio thinks are the best features of the movie, it never got on my list.

    Well, that's all I got. Don't worry, CT, your show's in good hands. Of course, now you need to start worrying about the upcoming coup, but what's life without a little spice, eh?

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