Posts Tagged ‘Martial Arts’

Media Update 4/19/18

April 19, 2018


Attack the Gas Station

This was a movie that I found in the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die list and I was intrigued. I had no idea what to expect as the premise is very simple. A bunch of thugs rob, terrorize and vandalize a gas station. Then a few days later they get bored and try to rob it again. This time, they decide to stick around to get all of the money from all of the cars filling up. This is a very goofy movie but it was entertaining. It is a movie about a bunch of slackers who all have reasons for being slackers. They spend the night at a gas station and get into all sorts of hijinks with innocent and not so innocent characters. There are plenty of fight scenes but it is all pretty much rough brawling with an Asian martial arts flair. The four leads are funny guys and I was reminded of the Three Stooges, Benny Chan movies and a lot of other comedy greats. The comedy is offbeat and often unexpected but definitely welcome. I recommend this one as something off the beaten path.


Lady Bloodfight

This one was a movie I watched on a whim on Netflix. It is about a white American girl who travels to Hong Kong to fight in a deadly martial arts tournament. While it is disappointing to see yet another story about an American coming in and being the hero in an Asian land, they at least did a good job of it. In fact, I was surprised at how good this was. It kind of felt like Street Fighter mixed with Mortal Kombat. It is really fun to see a lot of different martial arts styles represented in the fights. The fights themselves are very visceral and bloody and they did a good job of presenting the characters in a way that I cared about each fight. The center of the movie is a rivalry between a privileged white girl and a Chinese street girl. While the optics on that are not great, they do a good enough job of making both sympathetic instead of painting in only black and white.  The lead (Amy Johnston) was sufficiently badass and she had a neat character arc that made me want her to win.  I recommend this one as well but I will warn you that it can be brutally bloody.


The Man with the Iron Fists

There was a lot of buzz when this first came out but I missed it on first release. It was supported by Quentin Tarantino, I remember clearly. The movie is made by the RZA of Wu Tang Clan fame and he wrote the movie and he stars in it. It feels like a martial arts take on old Westerns sort of. I will tell you that although this one was interesting, I really was not feeling it. I blame Eli Roth, of course. The movie has some interesting characters but it felt too muddled. There was too much going on and no clear, exciting story. That being said, RZA does a fine job kind of acting as the Clint Eastwood-like character. It is also always nice to see Batista working. Also, as expected, the soundtrack is a lot of fun as there is plenty of rap music underlying some of the fight scenes. However, I did not even finish the movie because I accidentally turned it off and then realized that I did not want to turn it back on. I do not recommend it.

Music of the Week:
G-Dragon – One of a Kind

Bruno Mars – Runaway Baby

Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE

Kodaline – Ready

Sunflower Bean – I Was a Fool

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Modern Martial Arts”
– I watched more A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 2
– I started watching Legends of Tomorrow Season 3
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 2
– I watched more FairyTail Season 1
– I watched more Joel McHale Show
– I watched more Late Night With Stephen Colbert
– I watched more The Pinkertons
– I watched more Gurren Lagann

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Interview Questions 11

January 22, 2018

If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time?

My first inclination is that I would write a book but honestly I could do that bit by bit every day currently and not lose too much time. I might be finished with the book in months or years but I would finish it. However, I would really like to learn to fight. Don’t get me wrong, I have no targets in mind and I do not actually want to fight anybody. I would like to learn a few fighting disciplines to gain more control of my body and more mental and physical prowess. I would go back to practicing my archery on a regular basis. I would take up sword fighting, probably with a Claymore or a dagger/rapier combo because it would just feel so cool. I am not sure what unarmed martial art I would want to try and learn. I am a big fan of the aesthetic of boxing but something a little more versatile would probably be better. Krav Maga is a grab bag of martial arts that sounds right up my alley. Of course, a movie nerd like me would love to study something like Wing Chun just like Jackie Chan and Brue Lee (to name just two). Going to the gym is currently time-consuming enough without having to expend mental energy and even more time learning techniques. Also, the way things are going, if society breaks down I might need those fighting skills.

If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?

Yes, the name of this blog is Wolf of Words and that is also my gamer tag in various games. The noble wolf is an image that inspires me and that ideal is something I strive for. As I have discussed previously, it also a reference to my family’s old tradition of literally howling at the moon for a healthy bit of chaotic behavior. No, I would not pick the wolf to answer this question. I would actually pick a dog instead. Dogs are domesticated animals who are very loyal. Loyalty is one of the positive qualities that I know I have. I love my family and friends and I stick by them through thick and thin. I also tend to go for a walk any time that I start to feel anxious or depressed. A good workout (usually walking or biking lately) makes me happier. I am a curious person and I like to sniff out the reasons why things are happening around me and the truth of the matter. Just like every dog I have met, I do not really like strange dogs. When I see a dog out on the street, I tend to shy away from it just in case. Just last week I actually got chased by an aggressive dog on my street. Oh and while I am not a big talker, like most dogs, once you get me started I find it hard to shut up even if what I am saying is of little consequence.

Image result for facebook venting

Would you post about work on Facebook?

This earns a big “Hell No” because this is bush league behavior to me. When I see people complaining about an aspect of their job on Facebook, I want to say “look for a new job”. I know that they are just venting but Facebook and Twitter are not the places for that. I have read so many stories about how posting on social media got somebody fired or disciplined in general at their job. First, you have to use the adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all” at least when it comes to work. You do not want to offend or embarrass your boss. Also, complaining about co-workers is a risky endeavor because what happens when they stumble upon that post accidentally? Nothing good will happen. I also just think that sort of complaining or venting just reflects badly on the person doing it. You may be asking “What about posting positive work things?” I am of the firm belief that work time and personal time should remain separate. I do not want to broadcast the inner workings of my office to people who have no business reading it. Also, I work in the legal field and that sort of thing could possibly get me fired and/or a lawyer disciplined. No thank you. As one of my law professors said: “If you need to vent, get a dog.”

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

April 5, 2016

When I was sitting down to plan all of my entries for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I tried to think about what happened last year that worked. Last year, I reviewed a movie named City Under Siege for the third day of the challenge and he letter C. I picked the title at random because it was available on Netflix and fit a letter that I had no other plans for. I went into the movie blind and ended up loving it and highly recommending it. I scrolled through my Netflix list and tried to think of movies that would be fun to review this month. I never want my blog to be a chore and I never want to post anything that was not genuine. I ended up picking today’s movie because I was intrigued by the title and, like City Under Siege, it is an Asian film. I am always looking to expand my horizons so how about we see how that worked out?

I usually go for dubbed versions of these movies if I can help it but this was not an option this time. I am totally alright with that though because I have watched a lot of subtitled movies in various languages as well. This is Chinese which has rules that automatically make it a short of musical language with a particular staccato rhythm. I like it, I just do not speak it. It is sort of a period piece which I am not as experienced in beside movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It looks like we’re looking at maybe the early 1800’s but I really don’t know Chinese history very well. Add on to that the fact that this is a stylized movie much in the way of the Sherlock Holmes movies or the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Time period means less than the general look of the movie.

The movie stars Andy Lau who you may know from movies I still want to see like House of Flying Daggers and Infernal Affairs and an upcoming Matt Damon movie. He plays a disgraced dissident who must solve why important people are suddenly spontaneously combusting. He has a comic but serious air to him that is pretty charismatic. I am surprised that he has not been scooped up by Hollywood before recent events. His Co-star is Bingbing Li who actually has been in some minor Hollywood films. She plays the Empress’ right-hand woman, Jing’er, who is responsible for Detective Dee and also the Empress’ safety. Her face and voice depict even more than her lines do and she’s a great match for Lau. They are joined by a lot of good side characters like the Empress, Donglai, Wang and many more.

As expected, there’s a lot of martial arts in the movie. It is a Hong Kong film so it is not surprising that there is brilliant fight scenes with weapons, wire stunts and a lot of choreographed chaos. My favorite thing about Hong Kong movies is the fluidity of motion and the elaborate movements that people use sometimes to accomplish simple tasks. It makes every moment seem important. I also expected there to be mystery elements in the movie since the word is in the title and the main character is a detective. I did not expect the mystery to be so intricate and well written. It reminds me of Sherlock Holmes, Poirot or other similar logic-based mystery stories. There is even rudimentary forensics without getting too outlandish. What I was not prepared for was the politics. There are some interesting political motivations going on that underly everything. Some of them even have parallels to early 2016 US politics but it’s all really well done.

The movie is silly in places and some things do not make sense but I chalk that up to cultural differences. There are probably references that I am not catching which is fine. I really liked this movie quite a bit. There were a lot of surprises that I just cannot get into here for fear of spoiling the movie. The movie also had a lot of interesting innovations for old devices that I really enjoyed a lot. The characters were complicated and difficult to predict. I really, really liked that. This movie has been on Netflix for forever so I hope it’s there when you go looking for it.


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