Martial Arts

King Hu – Da zui xia AKA Come Drink with Me (1966)

Synopsis:
A ruthless band of thugs kidnaps a young official to exchange for their leader who has been captured. Golden Swallow is sent to take on the thugs and free the prisoner (who is also her brother). Though she is able to handle the overwhelming odds, she is hit by a poison dart and gets help from a beggar who is really a kung-fu master in disguise. With his help, she forms a plan to get her brother back. Read More »

Ekachai Uekrongtham – Beautiful Boxer (2003)

Synopsis:
Based on the real life story of Parinya Charoenphol, a Muaythai boxer who underwent a sex change operation to become a woman. The movie chronicles her life from a young boy who likes to wear lipstick and wear flowers to her sensational career as kickboxer whose specialty is ancient Muaythai boxing moves which she can execute expertly with grace and finally her confrontation with her own sexuality which led to her sex change op. Read More »

Shan Hua – Feng shen jie AKA Usurpers of Emperor’s Power (1983)

Usurpers Of Emperor’s Power has all the elements of a good martial arts film: a power struggle amongst royalty, imperial spies, jianghu wars – and plenty of action. Liu Yung (who would go on to star in all of Bruce Lee’s movies) plays Li Lang, a court official out to avenge his former emperor. The target is easy to hate: the power-hungry Kuang-yi (Chao Kuo) is a plundering rapist and a cold-blooded murderer. But can one man take on the imperial army? Read More »

Yuen Chor – Jue dai shuang jiao AKA The Proud Twins (1979)

When his father is killed in the Valley of the Villains, the young boy is taken away by his father’s best friend Yen Nan Tien. Yen seeks to find out why his friend was killed. The boy also has a twin brother, who has a variety of foster parents after the death of this father – some of them are villains, some of them are benign. The last set of foster parents were strange, cynical and cunning villains. The boy, by now an accomplished martial artist, kills them and sets out in search of the answer to the riddle of his father’s death. In the course of his searches, he encounters his twin. At first they seem likely to fight one another, but they eventually join forces.
~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide. Read More »

Satsuo Yamamoto – Zatôichi rôyaburi AKA Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967)

Synopsis:
When a local gambling house kidnaps some peasants because they failed to pay their debts, a rival gambling house pays their debts and sets them free. But it’s really all just a plot to enlist Ichi’s aid in eliminating the competition. Once that’s been attended to, the master of the surviving house of chance grabs more and more power – and more cash from the hapless farmers. Even a blind man can see that justice must be done. Read More »

Kazuo Kuroki – Rônin-gai aka Street of Masterless Samurai (1990)

Kazuo Kuroki’s international award-winning period drama was produced in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the death of Shozo Makino, “the father of Japanese films.” Set in the 1830s near the end of the age of the samurai, Ronin Gai is populated by an ensemble of colorful characters, social outcasts who patronize a restaurant and brothel on the outskirts of Edo. Among them are prostitutes and masterless samurai reduced to drunkenness and debauchery. The disgraced and disillusioned former warriors get a chance at redemption when renegade samurai invade the area to murder the prostitutes. Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Ying xiong AKA Hero [Director’s Cut] (2002)

Quote:
In ancient China, before the reign of the first emperor, warring factions throughout the Six Kingdoms plot to assassinate the most powerful ruler, Qin. When a minor official defeats Qin’s three principal enemies, he is summoned to the palace to tell Qin the story of his surprising victory. Read More »