Martial Arts

Ekachai Uekrongtham – Beautiful Boxer (2003)

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Quote:
Based on the true story of Thailand’s famed transvestite kickboxer, Beautiful Boxer is a poignant action drama that punches straight into the heart and mind of a boy who fights like a man can become a woman.

Believing he’s a girl trapped in a boy’s body since childhood, Parinya Charoenphol (affectionately known as Nong Toom in Thailand) sets out to master the most masculine and lethal sport of Muay Thai (Thai boxing) to earn a living and to achieve his ultimate goal of total femininity. Touching, funny and packed with breathtaking Thai kickboxing sequences, Beautiful Boxer traces Nong Toom’s childhood, teenage life as a traveling monk and grueling days in boxing camps. Shot in 9 provinces across Thailand and in Tokyo, the film also features a series of explosive matches where Nong Toom knocks out most of his opponents in Thailand and Japan. Read More »

Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Nie yin niang AKA The Assassin (2015)

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An assassin accepts a dangerous mission to kill a political leader in seventh-century China.

J. Hoberman wrote:
“The Assassin” is extraordinarily beautiful. The film’s editing and narrative construction are, however, no less remarkable. For all its exquisitely furnished interiors and fantastic landscapes, “The Assassin” is far too eccentric to ever seem picturesque. Nor does it unfold like a typical wuxia. Mayhem is abrupt, brief and fragmentary — predicated on suave jump-cuts and largely devoid of special effects. Read More »

Tsui Hark – Dao aka The Blade (1995)

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From IMDB:
The Blade is a whirlwind of blood, color and stunning imagery. Rarely does one find an action movie so uncompromising and technically evolved as this offering from Hong Kong’s prolific director/producer giant Tsui Hark. Based on the “classic” kung-fu film The One-Armed Swordsman, The Blade tells the story of a young man adopted by the owner of a renowned sword smithy, who discovers that his true father was killed by an almost superstitiously powerful bandit, Lung “who it is said can fly!”. When he goes out seeking revenge with his father’s broken blade, he runs afoul of a group of vicious desert scum, and loses his right arm in the encounter. After being nursed back to health by an orphaned farmboy, he eventually learns to compensate for his loss, and with half a weapon, half a swordfighting manual, and one arm short of a pair, returns to confront the man who murdered his father. Read More »

Yu Wang – Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi AKA Master of the Flying Guillotine (1975)

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Storyline:
The one-armed boxer is stalked by a vengeful flying guillotine expert, after his disciples were killed in the first ‘One-Armed Boxer’ film. But as the flying guillotine master is blind, he starts his quest by becoming a serial killer of one-armed men. Meanwhile, the one-armed boxer is running a martial arts school, where he teaches his pupils to control their breath so they can run up walls and along ceilings. And there’s an Indian fakir whose arms can extend until they’re ten feet long. As you may have gathered, a rational plot summary is pretty pointless – but rest assured there are epic martial arts battles and ludicrously inspired moments galore.

If you liked the “street fighter” or “mortal kombat” games, this movie is for you. Featuring various odd fighting style competetion, along with a “one-armed” hero, this is a classic that all kung-fu fans should see. Read More »

Chia-Liang Liu – Wu guan aka Martial Club (1981)

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Quote:
Martial Club can be loosely seen as a sequel to Challenge of the Masters as Gordon Liu revives the legendary character Wong Fei Hung. Once again we are given the ‘rival kung fu school’ storyline and the evil school bringing in an outside fighter to aid their treachery. He is also aided by his lady-friend, the consistently excellent, Kara Hui Ying-hung. The film is a blend of the schools feuding and trying to save face with Gordon Liu doing the slapstick routine with playing chum Robert Mak before the final showdown. Read More »

Ernst Hofbauer & Chih-Hung Kuei – Yang Chi AKA Enter the Seven Virgins (1974)

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Five Western girls are kidnapped by Chinese pirates and sold to a brothel. While they are being trained to become prostitutes, a couple of local citizens take mercy on them and plots their escape by teaching them kung-fu. The five scantily-clad girls, using their newfound martial arts skills then fight their way to freedom. Read More »

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

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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. Summary written by Yocke on imdb.
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