September 16th, 2008

chinese cherry

Everybody was Kungfu fighting

I never really realized it before now, but the Chinese have a real inferiority complex going. I remember reading an article a few weeks ago about the Olympics which made a big deal out of the fact that it would be the way that they could finally one up the world. I didn't give the theory much credence at the time, since it seems like a pretty ridiculous idea. After all, China's got a huge ass army, nukes, a hugely growing economy, and more combined political/economic/military clout than any country short of the US. You'd think that they'd already be a bit smug about the whole thing. I figured the Olympics would be more of a time to show off than to make good.

Needless to say, my perspective has changed a bit and it's due to Kung Fu movies. My movie-watching jamboree has continued unabated. Even though I quickly ran out of recent blockbusters I was interested in seeing, I decided to look up some lists of martial arts flicks and I've been snagging those. It's amazing how many of them have the same plot. It's always evil foreigners, either the white devils or the Japanese, oppressing the Chinese people by taking over land or stealing antiquities or otherwise lording their might over China. You'd think this might be a common theme in old movies, but even recent ones made in the past couple of decades often feature the same idea. The people are being oppressed and nothing can be done until one man can't take it any more and gives those foreign dogs whatfor.

I can only assume that the whole rape of Nanking and the gunboat diplomacy of the Opium Wars really left their mark on the people. Of course, it's funny coming from my point of view. I always found the loathing of the Japanese sort of humorously antiquated, but then again, I didn't exactly live through the time when they were running around like crazed assholes slaughtering everything in sight. The Japanese I know make wonky cartoons and disturbing fetish films. I imagine it's kinda like how Germans must still make some Jews nervous.
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Things I have learned from Kung Fu films

  • Flipping through the air always gets you further and faster than running

  • The guy with the most pathetic weapon always kicks the most ass. Guns < Swords < Poles < Everyday furniture < fans < chopsticks < long sleeves.

  • Sound effects make all the difference.

  • Always read any raggedy-ass pamphlets with stick figures doing kung-fu on them. Especially if said pamphlet is found at the bottom of wells or in deep dark caves.

  • Never kick the funny-looking drunk guy. Trust me, you'll regret it.

  • The more ridiculous the name for a certain move, the more likely it is to cave in someone's skull. (ie, Drunk monkey bakes lucky bread = tear someone's head off the spit down his neck)

  • White people are never to be trusted

  • If you ever gain the power to shoot beams of death from your eyes/hands/fingers, for some reason it will never actually hit the big boss and you'll have to beat him to death with your fists anyway.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment and I'll add them to the list.

When I was a kid, my mom used to record kung-fu soap operas onto long-play VHS cassettes. I'm not exactly sure what the heck she recorded them from, but I can only assume we must've picked up at least one chinese channel on tv at the time. I still remember watching one of those soap operas and I've decided to try to track it down. I know my mom likely still has the original tapes somewhere, but I'm sort of curious if any of it has made the formate jump to dvd.

It was a great show from what I recall. You just have to fast forward past all of the sappy love story bits and then there were people running around shooting death beams from their hands and crap. I still remember spending a not insignificant chunk of time trying to get a single death beam to come out of my fingers. No luck yet, but I'm confident I'll work out the means one day.

I think I've found the most deadly kung-fu attack.