Although, taken for granted today, King Hu’s Come Drink with Me (1966) set the wuxia genre on a completely new footing. By turning away from trained martial artists and instead hiring performers from the Beijing Opera school, such as the film’s magnificent female lead Chang Pei Pei, he began the process of transforming the type of action that defined these films away from the world of rigid, practical martial arts towards the more artful, flowing, and graceful form of combative dance that feature so strongly today. Tune in for our full review of this Shaw Brothers classic that directly inspired Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon!
In order to bring his vision of the fourth novel in the Crane Iron series to life, Oscar winning director Ang Lee employed the talents of mega-stars Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Zhang Ziyi, legendary fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping, and musical composer Tan Dun. The results speak for themselves. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, an all time classic of the wuxia genre, is still, to this day, the most successful international film, both critically and commercially, to ever hit the states — and rightly so. Tune in for the full review!
Raw, brutal, and dare less, Police Story (1985) showcases Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan’s formidable talents as action star, leading man, writer, and director. The script written with longtime collaborator Edward Tang, brought to the screen the successful formula of action, martial arts, comedy, and stunt work that would define the rest of Jackie’s career throughout the 80s and 90s. Although, three or more sequels (depending upon whether New Police Story counts) followed, which top the original in various ways, none quite match it for sheer go for broke enthusiasm.
Sorry about the poor audio quality. We had to record part of this episode over Skype.
What We’ve Been Watching (00:00) :
On today’s episode, Grant has us watch the 1978, Shaw Brothers, kung fu classic, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin by director and fight choreographer Lau Kar-Leung. The film stars a young Gordon Liu as the iconic San Te, a schoolboy turned Shaolin master in a role that would make Liu famous. This classic of the genre, which went on to inspire — along with a host of other Shaw Brothers films from the era — everyone from Quentin Tarantino to the Wu-Tang Clan, features a tale of revenge, possibly the longest training sequence ever filmed, mystical Buddhist powers, swordplay, pole fighting, three pronged staff fighting, Chinese fisticuffs of every kind, and — oh yes — perhaps the most memorable headbutt ever captured on celluloid!