Monday, March 30, 2020
Brandon Lee Blogathon: Kung Fu: The Movie (1986)
Kung Fu: The Movie isn't really much of a movie, as its title suggests, but more like an extended TV episode. With shows from the 70s and 80s, you'd often come across stories that were too long for one episode, but not long enough for two. That'swhat this film feels like. Taking no =, and made on the budget of a TV program, it feels like a = saturday night adventure stretched to an ill-advised length
The other big problem with this is the plot. The focuses should be on the mysterious man tailing Caine, and the revelation therein, with the Manchu being the villain. Instead the majority of the plot concerns a local opium smuggling gang, and what time isn't spent with that is = carting boxes of lettuce around! Words can't express how frustrating it is to be given glimpses of an interesting and impactful A-story, only to spend most of the time watching the mediocre B-plot.
As an introduction to the series it's ok I suppose, but its more staid and dull = might make people believe the TV series is more of the same, when it may well be more fun and energetic
The tone of the film isn't exactly peppy. Chinese people (including children) are forced to work in shitty conditions and everyone just = to live with it, there's the spectre of constant racism, people die, and even the noble sheriff gets killed, and is rarely mentioned again. The climax is oddly dour! Caine goes to the trouble of blocking a bullet with his body, for nothing, and =!
Where the movie excels is in the classic aphorisms and wisdom, and to its credit the film still has an Oriental feel despite being set in the Old West
The fight scenes, few of them as there may be, are pretty decent, with the best being the one at the end. Though the fact that it focuses more on weapons than = means we don't get to see a great deal of Brandon Lee's skills. The final battle with the Manchu also disappoints, because he's ready to = two on one with twin scimitars!...When he's shaken to death by the camera without a single blow.
The acting here is ok, though no-one really excels. David Carradine is good in the lead role, though.=. Brandon Lee delivers good performance, but doesn't appear enough to really sink his teeth into the role. Mako is entertaining as the main antagonist, and is able to shine despite his lack of screentime. William Lucking can always be trusted to play a good minor villain, and Luke Askew is good as the noble Sheriff. Kerrie Keane is nice enough as the =. Martin Landau is here as the main = villain, but you'd hardly know it. He barely appears, and does practically/pretty much nothing. And finally the great Keye Luke has a small but effective role here, and he's eminently likeable no matter what!
Kung Fu: The Movie is an alright picture, but not on par with the original series it follows, or that enjoyable. It also doesn't offer much of Brandon Lee, unfortunately.