Someplace I can try to express my love and enjoyment of all things Wuxia and Martial Arts Cinema. Both on the big and little screen. I’m not the best writer, my spelling is atrocious, and my grammar is almost nonexistent and I’m not sure what format or style I want to approach Wuxia Cinema yet.
My first exposure to Martial Arts films was The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. I was just 13 years old and I turned on the television to an independent station half way through the movie. I was hooked immediately and would return every Sunday for the stations Kung Fu Cinema in which they would play an old, badly dubbed kung fu movie. The biggest problem is they never really gave any information on any of these films and most of the time these old films would have a dozen titles associated with it. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin has also been released as “The Master Killer” and “Shaolin Master Killer”. It probably has another dozen names which I am unaware of.
During the mid 1990’s I was able to get a hold of some Tsui Hark movies and he instantly became one of my favourite action directors with movies such as the Once Upon a Time in China series, Dragon Inn, amongst others. It was at this time that I started to hear the word Wuxia and the original works of novelists Jin Yong, Gu Long, and Liang Yusheng. However despite it’s increased popularity in the Western World to this day you can only get fan translations on the internet of these great stories.
It wasn’t until the early 00’s when Tia Seng Entertainment started editing Martial Arts, Wuxia, and Swordsman television series down to three and four hours worth of viewing that I knew about all of the television series that I have missed out on! My first was an adaptation of Gu Long’s “Lu Xiaofeng” which was titled “Master Swordsman Lu Xiaofeng”. It was originally 20 episodes at 45 minutes each (900 minutes) which Tai Seng edited down to 290 minutes! Needless to say I’ve still got a lot of unanswered questions regarding this series, of which I’m still on the lookout for an unedited English Subtitled version.
Although no longer releasing DVD’s, I am very glad for what Tai Seng did. It opened a larger world of the movies and shows I love and made them more accessible to the general public. If they can reach a small midwestern town’s only DVD store then I say they deserve some credit for introducing a larger world to this amazing genre. Now I also must give credit where credit is due. Miramax distribution also helped make movies such as the amazing ZATOICHI series and over 700 other title. Read this article by Mark Pollard who would also add commentaries to some of Tai Seng’s DVD’s.
The Tai Seng theme was as recognisable to me as Golden Harvest’s or Shaw Brother’s it played so often in my house.
Speaking of Mark Pollard, with internet becoming more accessible as well, plenty of websites started to spring up. One of the best was Kung Fu Cinema, the site would tell you about all the different types of Martial Arts films and at one time I believe the TV shows as well. after almost 20 years it is still a great site for news and reviews.
As the years went by such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero were released in main stream U.S.A. Movie Theatres and to me that really marks the time when Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michelle Yo and others really became known in the Western World.
With this a new web sauve fan base were taking their passion to the internet with blogs, fan websites and uploads of movies. The best part of this is to this day is the strong fanbase translations of books, films, and TV series that would otherwise never get translated to other languages. I’ve been lucky to have found a few such as 2006 Seven Swordsman directed by Clarence Fok and produced by Tsui Hark, as well as 2006 Return of the Condor Heroes starring Liu Yifei and Huang Xiaoming. However finding English Subs of unedited series is hard and can be really expensive as well. I much prefer getting DVD’s and BluRays when I can so I can watch them on my wide screen television in the comfort of my living room other than at my computer desk. I’m going to just have to find the time to take some Mandarin classes if I’m going to be able to watch all the series that I want to.
So this is my little introduction to the world of Wuxia Cinema! My intent is to just talk about the movies that I love and not really do any reviews, (although I’m sure I will link to reviews of the shows and movies) and hopefully get some people hooked on this amazing genre!