So I’ve gone back to my roots and watched a couple of Hong Kong action movies – more specifically, Kung Fu movies. My favourite movie of the bunch I saw was Kung Fu Jungle starring Donnie Yen. He and Sammo Hung are keeping the Hong Kong martial arts movies alive right now.
It’s a shame really, there used to be so many talents competing to be the best. But I think Donnie Yen has successfully taken what was so good about the old Kung Fu movies and modernised it. You can see the specific styles on display and see how much it’s artistically applied. I think he’s got a winning formula right now. It’s entertaining, he casts people who have had training before and the way it’s filmed is very stylish.
It got me thinking, will there be a new action movie star to replace the likes of Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung? I have very little expectations that the new star will come from Hong Kong judging by the actions of the next generation. America doesn’t seem to have the right style to make it big – there’s always that western view on what Chinese people are like and do in their movies that detract the experience for me. Like Man with the Iron Fists had some pretty awesome concepts but the whole thing felt more like an anime than a martial arts movie. Credit to RZA for attempting to bring back the old school Kung Fu feel and for bringing some respected cameos into it. Tony Jaa gets a mention because I thought he was going to be the next superstar. He is a great martial artist but I think the way he shows the actions just aren’t as good. If we look at Tom Yum Goong 2, both RZA and Tony Jaa were terrible in it. I think the problem was that it took forever for anyone to die… and when you think it’s over they come back for another super long bout.
For now, I’ll stick to Donnie and Sammo as their style is more inline with what I like.