wuxia

True Legend Trailer

True Legend a Wuxia film to raise the bar on martial arts movies.  Watch the trailer above.  The trailer looks good.  Plus with Yuen Wo Ping directing and Michelle Yeoh acting it’s going to be great.

The martial arts sequences uses a blend of modern and traditional implementations.  To give added realism Yuen Wo Ping used slow motion shots.  If they pull this off it would make for amazing fight sequences.

To achieve realism, Zhao Wen Zhuo suffered from bruises whenever Yuen Wo Ping called for slow mo shots, requiring the blows to land squarely on, say, his face and the skin depressed to show the impact, as opposed to regular shots where the opponent could pull back without actually hitting the other party. It's worse when he had to take kicks and knee strikes. Thankfully, he didn't sustain any serious injuries on the set. (via Wu-Jing)

For now the movie is only has release dates in: Singapore 11 February 2010 and China 14 February 2010.  I hope a U.S. date opens up for next year.

Plot: So Chan was a wealthy man obsessed with kung-fu who fell from grace after he and his family became the victims of conspiracies. Eventually, he rises from his compromised state as a beggar and transforms himself into a martial arts master, patriot and folk hero, honored as the "King of Beggars."

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DVD Releases: July 21, 2009

Out this week we have five DVDs to feature:  Watchmen (Director's Cut), An Empress and the Warriors, Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods, Coraline, G.I. Joe A Real American Hero: Season 1.1.watchmen-dvd

  • Watchmen (Director's Cut): This is an amazing movie and a great gritty look at our society's social political position and a great adaptation of comic to movie.  I'm even more excited to see the director's cut where I have hopes they will fix some minor issues I had with the film over the comic.  watch the trailer below.
  • An Empress and the Warriors:  A wuxia film with a great cast and fascinating premise with a woman leading an army of men in feudal China... that I'm going to have to rent.  Watch the trailer below.
  • Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods:  This is a re-release of the pilot for the great show Stargate SG1.  This version has some extended scenes.  They removed the nudity that was in the original version since Showtime wanted it in there and it leaves the pilot not as family friendly as they wanted it to be.  Christopher Judge also dubbed over some of his parts to help give more consistency to Teal'c.
  • Coraline:  I have heard good things about this movie and did not get a chance to watch it in the theaters so now it's on my rent list.  For more on Coraline read here. watch the trailer below.
  • G.I. Joe A Real American Hero: Season 1.1:  I grew up watching this show so I'm stoked that it is now getting released on dvd.  This is not the complete first season which would be a big negative against this dvd set but this one has a bunch of stuff in it for it's price of 20 bucks.
    • DISC 1: THE M.A.S.S. DEVICE
      • EPISODE 1 - The Cobra Strikes - Cobra has developed the ultimate weapon known as the M.A.S.S. Device. and attempt to steal a military satellite. Duke is captured.
      • EPISODE 2 - Slaves of the Cobra Master - G.I. Joe tries to counter Cobra's M.A.S.S. Device with their own.
      • EPISODE 3 - The Worms of Death - GI Joe takes the battle against Cobra undersea. Meanwhile, Snake Eyes goes to the arctic to find a radioactive crystal element.
      • EPISODE 4 - Duel In The Devil's Cauldron - Cobra and G.I. Joe try to get the final element to activate their own M.A.S.S. Device.
      • EPISODE 5 - A Stake In the Serpent's Heart - Destro takes Scarlett as a prisoner and the action-packed finale of the first G.I. Joe mini-series.
    • DISC 2: THE REVENGE OF COBRA
      • EPISODE 6 - In the Cobra's Pit - Cobra attacks a G.I. Joe convoy and steals a high-powered experimental laser.
      • EPISODE 7 - The Vines of Evil - Flint, Mutt, Junkyard and Roadblock are caught by vines in the Cobra's Pit of Chaos.
      • EPISODE 8 - The Palace of Doom - G.I. Joe sends various teams to different regions around the globe to find the three fragments of the Weather Dominator before Destro and Cobra get to it.
      • EPISODE 9 - Battle On the Roof of the World - Cutter, Wild Bill and Spirit battle the Baroness and Cobra on the Island of No Return.
      • EPISODE 10 - Amusement Park of Terror - Storm Shadow infiltrates Joe headquarters. Meanwhile the battle in the Arctic continues.
    • DISC 3: THE PYRAMID OF DARKNESS
      • EPISODE 11 - The Further Adventures of G.I. Joe - Tomax and Xamot seize control of G.I. Joe's Moon Star space shuttle.
      • EPISODE 12 - Rendezvous in the City of the Dead - Shipwreck and Snake Eyes try to evade capture from Cobra.
      • EPISODE 13 - Three Cubes to Darkness - G.I. Joe captures Tomax and Xamot plans to rescue him.
      • EPISODE 14 - Chaos in the Sea of Lost Souls - Alpine and bazooka are joined by Quick Kick. Meanwhile, Cobra Commander activates the Pyramid of Darkness.
      • Episode 15 - Knotting Cobra's Coils - G.I. launches a full-scale assault on the Cobra Temple.
    • DISC 4:
      • EPISODE 16 - Countdown for Zartan - Zartan infiltrates the Worldwide Defense Center and tries to destroy it.
      • EPISODE 17 - Red Rocket's Glare - Cobra uses Tomax and Xamot's company Extensive Enterprises to purchase the Red Rocket food chain and use its location for secret missile launching bases.
      • EPISODE 18 - Satellite Down - Cobra knocks a secret military satellite out of orbit and G.I. Joe races to its location before Cobra gets to it.
      • EPISODE 19 - Cobra Stops the World - Cobra plans to take control of the world's fuel supplies.
      • EPISODE 20 - Jungle Trap - Cobra kidnaps Dr. Shakur and plans to attack cities using the flow of lava.
      • EPISODE 21 - Cobra's Creatures - Cobra plans to use the animals of the world against humanity.
      • EPISODE 22 - The Funhouse - Flint, Bazooka and others hve to fight their way through the deadly Cobra Temple.

      Buy your copy from amazon here.

Trailer: Watchmen

Blood: The Last Vampire Trailer and Early Look

Blood: The Last Vampire is about a mysterious girl known as Saya , who is part of covert government agency that hunts and destroys a species of vampire-demons.  She is half-demon and wielding a samurai sword.  This live action movie is based on the 2001 anime Blood - The Last Vampire.

blood-the-last-vampire-anime Get your copy of Blood - The Last Vampire here

The trailer for this movie looks awesome!  There is a kind of Blade feel to it.  Vampires and martial arts in one movie… this looks like a must see for fans of vampires and wuxia films.

I can’t wait until this movie hits the U.S.  Right now it has an international release schedule Japan 29 May 2009, Hong Kong 4 June 2009, Singapore 11 June 2009, South Korea, 11 June 2009, Ireland, 12 June 2009, France 17 June 2009, UK 19 June 2009.  Sony has picked up the U.S. rights and is planning a possible summer distribution through Samuel Goldwyn Films.

DVD Releases: March 17th, 2009

Out this week we have six DVD’s to feature: Sword Masters: The Duel of the Century, Ghost Hunters: Season 4, Pt. 2, Twilight, Punisher: War Zone, The Spectacular Spider-Man.

  • Sword Masters: The Duel of the Century: a Shaw Brothers film.  Liu Yung and Sun Chien team to investigate the martial-art murders of a supposedly mortally wounded swordsman, only to find deception, death, double-dealings, imposters and one deadly duel after another.  I’m very curious about this film it makes me think of The Duel which rocked, plus it’s a Shaw Brothers film which any wuxia fan can appreciate.
  • Ghost Hunters: Season 4, Pt. 2:  they travel from a sanitarium which has placed 911 calls to the police -- but there is no phone in the building! -- to the most haunted ship in the U.S. Navy. Then go to a tavern in a TAPS member's own hometown where customers are heard enjoying a game of pool but the hall is closed and empty, and a home where a small child hears voices and has unexplainable scratches on his body. TAPS even goes to the plantation seen in "Interview with a Vampire" where 35 tourists all witnessed the same paranormal activity at the same instant!
  • Twilight:  I will probably rent this one I love vampire movies but i’m concerned about this one.  Read the full review here Twilight - The Movie.
  • Punisher: War Zone:  I doubt that I will see this movie.  I like Punisher and would love to see a good Punisher movie but I have little hope that this will be one.  Read the full review here Punisher: War Zone Review.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man, Vol. 2:  these are not the show from the 90’s its a 90 minute single disc featuring the rise of the super-villains.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man, Vol. 3:  these are not the show from the 90’s its a 90 minute single disc in which the goblin strikes

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12 Day of Tales

Fiction-1I have an idea, more of a notion or a hope, but I think it would be pretty cool if I can pull it off.What if this year to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas, I gave you all 12 free stories in 12 different genres. To make it even more interesting, I will see if I can get some other writers to join in.

You all have been so great to me, the least I could do is get you some free stories.

I am not sure how feasible this is. It is a lot to write in a short time, but I think it would be really fun to try. Now the question remains, what should the 12 genres be?

  1. Steampunk
  2. Elfpunk
  3. Mythpunk
  4. Space Opera
  5. Galactic Empire
  6. Wuxia
  7. High Fantasy
  8. Dark Fantasy
  9. Supernatural Horror
  10. Space Western
  11. Contemporary Fantasy
  12. Sword and Sorcery

I think that is a good list, but I would be interested in what you all think. Do you want the stories to be tied together with a particular theme? We have to act quickly. Time is ticking away.

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12 Day of Tales

Fiction-1I have an idea, more of a notion or a hope, but I think it would be pretty cool if I can pull it off.What if this year to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas, I gave you all 12 free stories in 12 different genres. To make it even more interesting, I will see if I can get some other writers to join in.

You all have been so great to me, the least I could do is get you some free stories.

I am not sure how feasible this is. It is a lot to write in a short time, but I think it would be really fun to try. Now the question remains, what should the 12 genres be?

  1. Steampunk
  2. Elfpunk
  3. Mythpunk
  4. Space Opera
  5. Galactic Empire
  6. Wuxia
  7. High Fantasy
  8. Dark Fantasy
  9. Supernatural Horror
  10. Space Western
  11. Contemporary Fantasy
  12. Sword and Sorcery

I think that is a good list, but I would be interested in what you all think. Do you want the stories to be tied together with a particular theme? We have to act quickly. Time is ticking away.

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Review of The Wandering Swordsman (1970)

The_Wandering_Swordsman Review of:  The Wandering Swordsman (1970) Overall Rating: 8

This wuxia film started with a fun lighthearted tale of a prankster character who wandered from place to place causing trouble for bad people and helped those in need.  I was left with an initial sense of stuff happens but all of the seemingly random events suddenly knit together as the main plot is revealed.  Then the movie takes on more of a stock 70’s wuxia film pattern even ending on the sad note.

The Wandering Swordsman (1970) has a delightful sense of play.  I really enjoyed the main character with his swashbuckling sense.  The visuals, actions and fight scenes are ok but I should also note that this was shot in 1970.  The characters are also for the most part flat with the exception of the lead and his nemesis.  The tale told and overall experience is fun and overall swashbuckling goodness, definitely worth watching at least once.

The story: In this fun, swashbuckling, martial arts tale, a charismatic prankster with formidable sword skills bounces decides to steel from thieves and then gives his new wealth to some wondering poor.  This plan doesn't sit well with the criminals, who band together to stop him. Fortunately our hero has a powerful blade on his side.  A high-spirited blend of action, romance, and comedy, this dynamic Shaw Brothers classic from fearless director Chang Cheh.

Get you copy from:  Amazon The Wandering Swordsman (1970)

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Reviewing The Forbidden Kingdom

Review of:  The Forbidden Kingdom Overall Rating: 8.0

The Forbidden Kingdom is a delightful, fun, light hearted wuxia fantasy tale.  Although I absolutely loved the more serious wuxia films of late it was refreshing to sit down to a light hearted one.  The use and references to Chinese and Wuxia characters was really neat.  I found it fun to test my geek knowledge by trying to guess who was who before they were introduced and proud to say that I got them right.  The fight sequences were beautiful and well choreographed but at times lacked the ferocity and intensity of the martial style.  The visuals were beautiful especially the cherry blossom field.

Forbidden Kingdom is about a kung fu obsessed American teen who discovers a staff.  The discovery sends him on an adventure to China, where he joins up with a band of martial arts warriors in order to free the imprisoned Monkey King.

Likes

  1. Fun, light hearted Fantasy Tale
  2. Use of Chinese Mythological and Wuxia film character references
  3. The fight between Jackie Chan and Jet Li
  4. good use of humor.
  5. good visuals

Dislikes / Concerns

  1. There is a lot of wirework and graceful movements to the point that the feel of raw grit and intensity of martial fighting is lost in some of the fight sequences.  Aka, some fights were all silk and no steel.
  2. Wire work not well done and drew attention to fact it was wirework.

Get you copy from:  Amazon


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The Forbidden Kingdom DVD

theforbiddenkingdom The Forbidden Kingdom is out on DVD.  The movie is about a kung fu obsessed American teen who discovers a staff.  The discovery sends him on an adventure to China, where he joins up with a band of martial arts warriors in order to free the imprisoned Monkey King. Jackie Chan & Jet Li all that needs to be said about this.  I missed it in the theater and now I get a chance to finally see it when it is released on DVD Tuesday September 9th.


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Reviewing The Magic Blade: Shaw Brothers

Review of: The Magic Blade: Shaw Brothers

Overall Rating: 8.5 B

get your copy of The Magic Blade: Shaw Brothers from Amazon here

This is a classic Wuxia film set in the mythical jiang hu, underworld. The effects and sounds are a little jarring at first but should be overlooked and considered with the other films that came out in it's day, 1976. Watching this movie showed me how far this genera has improved. If your familiarity with the genera is from movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon then be patient with the effects because the story is fun and well worth it.

The story is about two rival swordsmen in imperial China Fu Hung-Hsueh and Yen nan-Fei vie with a power-hungry villain for the deadly Peacock Dart and fend off waves of the best assassins and deadly traps during their journey. The story takes a classic fantasy quest structure and fills it with many plot twists and fights concluding with the climactic showdown on the villain's island lair.

If you like Wuxia, fantasy quest tales or action films this is definitely a movie for you. The Magic Blade: Shaw Brothers is a refreshing fun ride and worth watching.

Likes

  • Story
  • Action sequences
  • The wire work was very fluid and I would go so far as to say it would compare with current day films wire work.

Dislikes / Concerns

  • sound effects, but in all fairness they would have been considered good for it's time.
  • visuals, although not the best that limitation came from the equipment not due to the director who did a good job framing the scene and getting dynamic shots

Get you copy from: Amazon

Watch the trailer here

Reviewing The Legend of The Black Scorpion

Link to buy a copy of The legend of the black scorpion Review of: The Legend of the Black Scorpion Overall Rating: 9.0

I was very excited to watch the wuxia film "The Legend of the Black Scorpion". Wuxia (Wuxiá with the accent marks) is a distinct quasi-fantasy sub-genre of the martial arts genre. The thing one must remember when sitting down to a wuxia film is that you will always get action, the catch is what that action is paired with that will flavor the feel of film. In the case of The Legend of the Black Scorpion they paired it with drama and made an excellent moving film.

The movie is about Ziyi Zhang staring as Empress Wan, a conniving woman whose beauty is equaled by her taste for power. She lustfully longs for her stepson Wu Lan (Daniel Wu). But when the Emperor dies, it is Wu Lan's younger brother who ascends to the throne, setting off a chain of events that are tragic.

The visuals were breath taking with vivid colors and perfect backdrops. The film plot was a retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet. That being said it was not another boring Hamlet retelling. They really did both the story of Hamlet justice while making the story fit within the wuxia setting, Chinese culture, ethics and Courtly life. For instance: ********** spoiler Alert ********** they changed the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern part into a group of assassins that were sent to kill the prince by his uncle. The assassins succeed on killing everyone including the royal guard group that was sent to escort the prince back but the prince hid from the fight and escaped. When the assassins got close to returning to the emperor's palace they were met with an envoy of the emperor and were instructed of their failure. Upon which they did the only honorable thing left to do, dispatch with their on lives. ************* End Spoiler Alert ************ It was fascinating to see that the spirit of the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern part of Hamlet stayed the same, they were sent to dispatch Hamlet, failed and were instead dispatched by the king yet told in a fresh and different manor. More information can be found on the Dragon Dynasty web site.

Likes

  • Fight's were really well balanced and suspenseful. Both sides have exceptional skill that matched with their position and both sides suffered causalities.
  • The use of creating immense honor by pairing it with immense consequence for action.
  • Subtle use of terms in relation to political maneuvering.
  • I loved how the royal guards who would have had immense unit combat training would operate as one super fighter consisting of many separate parts.
  • they resisted long boring travel scenes, like to and from the palace, no helicopter shot :)
  • They avoided the uncomfortable incestuous relations between hamlet and his mother by making the mother the princes age and them childhood lovers that the emperor took as his wife.

Dislikes / Concerns

  • Typical story elements for wuxia tales: corrupt uncle who takes control and tries to have emperor son killed although in the films defense that is the main story element of Hamlet too. The concern is mainly that I have seen those basic elements in a lot of entertainment lately and have grown tired of it.

Get you copy from: Amazon

Could We See American Wuxia?

51FEF7T4R6L._SL210_ ABC Family started production on a six hour mini series called Samurai Girl. They will start shooting in the spring in Vancouver. Jamie Chung will star as Heaven who is the samurai girl. The mini series is set to air in August over three nights.

I like the idea and trend of studios moving toward more miniseries as a means of putting out content. My fondest memory of miniseries being Dune put out by Sci-Fi channel.

Samurai Girl is based on a series of stories penned by Carrie Asai and published by Simon Pulse. The first story is titled Samurai Girl: The Book of the Sword and the story description on Amazon is:

When I was six months old, I dropped from the sky -- the lone survivor of a deadly Japanese plane crash. The newspapers called me Heaven. I was adopted by a wealthy family in Tokyo, pampered, and protected. For nineteen years, I thought I was lucky. I'm learning how wrong I was. They say your life begins on your wedding day. Here's what happened on mine: I lost the person I love most. I learned that everything I knew about my family was a lie. Now I'm being hunted. I must fight back, or die. My life ended that day. The old Heaven is gone. I AM SAMURAI GIRL.

The story sounds cool ... I wonder if this will be a wuxia style show but done by an American studio but then I remember that ABC Family is doing this project and my excitement wanes. Maybe this could be a first for them - time will only tell.

via Variety