One Arm Swordsman Review

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            One-Arm Swordsman was an entertaining film.  Even though the film has a lot of flaws, the film was a good film to watch.  The one thing that was very good was the character Fang Kang, played by Jimmy Wang.  Jimmy did a good job of portraying Fang Kang who was the one arm swordsman.  The character Fang Kang was the underdog who needs to learn martial arts with having one arm.  Throughout the film, Fang Kang wanted to give up on martial without his other arm at first.  You really felt bad for Fang Kang.  At the beginning of the film, Fang Knag lost his father from another clan.  The students rejected Fang Kang for having a poor background and to make matters worse Fang Kang got his arm cut off by Pei Er, played by Angela Pan.  But thanks to Xiao Man there was a manuscript that would help Knag Fang learned to fight with one arm.  When the time came, Fang Kang had to saved his clan, the Golden Sword, from the evil bandits.   Related imageImage result for one armed swordsman

As for negative, the fights scenes were not that excited to watch.  The film was made in 1960s so the fight scenes were not going to be great compared to today’s standard.  But when watching films like King Hu, he does a great job of using cuts when the characters fighting.  But in One Arm Swordsman, they were no cuts to fighting.  We as the audience were watching to long takes of characters’ fight awkwardly.  Even the sounds were very dry.  There were not any sound effects in the film.  There sound but it was done while filming on set.  King Hu would focus on sound.  But despite One-Arm Swordsman’s flaws, it was a very good film.

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An Overview of King Hu

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When taking ACM 382, I knew nothing about King Hu. As our instructor gave us more information, I thought that this class would be a good introduction to King Hu’s films and his style of filmmaking.  I did not realize that King Hu had a big influence on other films as well, like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero, or House of Flying Daggers.  I also learned to appreciate how King Hu’s films impacted the martial arts scene.

My three favorite films from King Hu were Dragon Inn, Touch of Zen and The Fate of Lee Khan.  The reason why I liked Dragon Inn was because of the martial arts.  For Touch of Zen it was very entertaining to watch.   Finally, for The Fate of Lee Khan, it was suspenseful.

There were three King Hu films that I was not a fan of.  These films were The Valiant One, Painted Skin, and Sons of the Good EarthThe Valiant One was very boring and the action scenes were sloppy.  Painted Skin had an interesting concept, but it was not executed right.  For Sons of the Good Earth, it was just an average film, nothing neither good nor bad.

After watching all of King Hu’s films, I could see how his style of fighting influenced the martial arts films.  The most common style of fighting in King Hu’s films was the ballet dancing.  Instead of using hands and kicking to demonstrate the fighting, King Hu used ballet dancing which made the fight scene very smooth and beautiful.  King Hu also had a lot of bamboo fighting scenes in his movies, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers displayed.  The bamboo fighting scenes were classic in King Hu’s films and the filmmakers of those two films paid tribute to his style in their films.

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It was also interesting of how the Chinese filmmakers respected and recognized King Hu and his work.  His career went downhill later on his life which was sad because he was very successful filmmaker.  King Hu died from taking a surgery.  It was unfortunate to lose a great filmmaker/producer in a way that could have been prevented if King Hu did not take the surgery.  But I am glad to know his work and what he did to the martial art films.

Painted Skin Review

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Painted Skin was the final film by King Hu.  My overall thought on the film was that it was okay.  The film was not great or bad.  It’s more in the middle of the road.  The big highlight for me about the film that was interesting was the concept.  Having the film deal with the spiritual world was different than other King Hu films.  The big problem of the film was that it had the same formula from other King Hu films.  Characters have to fight off the main villain.  I also felt like the quality of the film was poorly made.  It did not seem King Hu had time to make the set design look clean and neat.  Another problem with the film was the quality of the picture which maybe could have been the only copy that could be found with no remastered version.  In conclusion, I thought that Painted Skin was an okay film, but disappointed that this was King Hu last film.

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Review

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a fantastic film directed by Ang Lee.  The film was very entertaining from beginning to the end.  After viewing many of King Hu films, it made me appreciated Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a lot more.  I realized where Ang Lee got his inspiration from when making Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  This film was greatly influenced by King Hu, from jumping off buildings to buildings, fighting in a bamboo forest, and having characters fight in an inn which were the styles from his films.  If King Hu had wiring for his characters in the scenes of the high jumps, his film would have been more realistic.  King Hu films were ahead of its time in creating a motion picture capturing the kung fu technique of fighting.  Overall Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a great film to watch.  Watching this film would give the audience a good idea of how this film evolved from a King Hu film.

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Legend of the Mountain Review

legend-of-the-mountains-poster      Legend of the Mountain was a good movie.  Unlike other King Hu films, this one took a different approach.  The film had ghosts roaming around a temple.  The film was entertaining that included some mystery to it that made it interesting.  I really liked the build up in the film where we as the viewers, did not know who was the ghost.  I was hooked on what was going to happen in the film.  I was glad King Hu did not rely on using his marital arts.  The sceneries were stunning.  The mountains, the forest, the riverbanks were all so serene.  It was a place where I could see myself going to relax and relieve all my stresses.  One thing that I thought was funny was when Ho and Melody had sex.  It was an unlikely event in a King Hu film.  As for the negatives, I thought the ending was a bit anticlimactic.  I did not expect all the ghost characters to all go back to the spiritual world.  In addition Ho having just walking to a cliff was a weird way to end the film.  But other than that I really enjoy this film overall.

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Raining in the Mountain Review

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Raining in the Mountain was a very good film.  Unlike the last film I watched, this one was very enjoyable.  The one surprising thing that I liked was that this film was almost void of action-packed scenes. The last film, The Valiant One, was heavy on actions.  It really wore me out when I watched it for the first time.  Raining in the Mountain was a breath of fresh air because there were little or no actions until the end of the film.  The film relied on suspense which was very good and well handled.  The plot was also a positive in the film as well.  Two groups wanted to steal a scroll from the Buddhist Temple. This was something different from the other King Hu’s film.  Another positive were the sceneries.  The mountain, the forest, the river, and the Buddhist Temple were all beautiful to see.  As for the negatives, I did not find anything bad with the film.  If I had to point one out, I would say the film was a little too long.  Other then that I really like this one.

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The Valiant Ones Review

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The film The Valiant Ones was an average film in my opinion.  When watching the film for the first time I thought that the plot seemed pretty standard for a King Hu movie.  Our heroes banded together to fight off the Japanese pirates.  For the positive of the film the fight scenes were good.  The film was heavy on actions than the plot.  It was nice to see how much the pirates got fooled by our heroes during the action scenes.  Now for the negatives, I felt like the plot was cliché.  It felt like King Hu took the plot of both Sons of the Good Earth and A Touch of Zen and combine them to into The Valiant Ones.  In addition, the ending was very anti-climatic when our three heroes died along side with the villain.  But at the same time, it was pretty funny how King Hu rushed the ending of the film and killed our main heroes along side with the villain.  Out of all the King Hu films I saw I thought this one was his weakest.    

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The Fate of Lee Khan Review

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The Fate of Lee Khan was a great film to watch from start to finish.  This film would probably be my favorite King Hu film.  What made this film very enjoyable was the suspense. The suspense between our main heroes and the villains were thrilling to watch.  I was at the edge of my seat when Lee Khan was suspected our main heroes of being traitors.  Another positive about The Fate of Lee Khan was the fight scenes.  I said many times that King Hu’s fight scene were good, but here the martial showed a lot of progression.  I could clearly see the sword fight and the hand combat more clearly than King Hu’s other films.  Surprisingly there was not any negatives towards the film.  Overall I really liked this film and I would highly recommend this to everyone to watch.

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A Touch of Zen Part 2 Review

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A Touch of Zen was originally broken into two parts.  The second part of A Touch of Zen was pretty good.  Comparing the two parts was like comparing apples to oranges.  Part two was really good in the beginning.  The ending of part two was when things got a little strange.  First let’s talk about the good.  The fight scene was as good as part one.  The one thing that stood out the most when watching part two was the setting.  The forest and mountains were scenic and watching it brought a feeling of serenity.  I could not get enough of the beautiful settings.  King Hu really did have an eye for his surroundings.  Now for the bad parts of the film.  The ending of the film was very strange.  The film ended with a monk characters turning into a Buddha statue with all the characters staring at it.  This was one part of the film that did not belong in the film.  But other than that the A Touch of Zen was still an enjoyable film to watch.

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A Touch of Zen Part 1 Review

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I saw A Touch of Zen and I really enjoyed the film.  The film was about a painter named Gu Sheng-tsai, played by Shih Chun, who would help a fugitive lady named Miss Yang, played by Hsu Feng.  Together they were out to defeat the corrupted government officials.  One thing that I really liked about the film was the build up to the fight scene.  The film took its times setting up the characters leading to the fight.  The buildup did not drag on too long when leading into the fight.  The fight scene was very good.  Unlike Dragon Inn, the fight scenes were easier to watch and follow, because you knew who was fighting who.  In my opinion, I have no complaints about the film.  A Touch of Zen was a very entertaining film and I highly recommend it to everyone.

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