Tag Archives: martial arts

Blacks and Asians

Have you ever noticed how much blacks and Asians have in common? They respect each other’s culture and even attempt to assimilate some cultural aspects. If you pay attention to pop culture, you’ll notice that blacks and Asians borrow from each other all the time. Case in point, the Wu-Tang Clan. They were heavily influenced by martial arts films and their debut album’s theme is about Shaolin style versus Wu-Tang style. RZA even did the music for Kill Bill. Blacks and Asians also share an affinity for Jackie Chan, but everybody loves Jackie Chan so I’m not sure that counts. They both love rap music and basketball and can dance way better than any white guy. A huge percentage of rappers and R&B singers use Chinese dragons and Kung Fu films as a motif in their music. There are an absurd amount of movies and TV shows about black ninjas/samurais/karate masters. Blade, Ghost Dog, Afro Samurai, etc. And we even have a bunch of martial arts films where a black person teams up with an Asian, like in the Rush Hour trilogy, Romeo Must Die… there are other examples but I’m too lazy to Google them. Asians are also the only race that blacks will allow to dress up like gangstas. It’s a compromise. If two cultures are constantly oppressed by Whitey, it’s only natural to form an alliance.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Rush Hour 2

Rush Hour 2 is the second movie of the Rush Hour trilogy. Brett Ratner returns to direct, and Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker reprise their roles as Inspector Lee and Detective Carter. The movie starts with Lee showing Carter around Hong Kong in a reversal of the first movie. Now Chris Tucker is the fish out of water. How ironic. Before long there is a bombing at the US Embassy and it’s up to Lee and Carter to find out who is behind it and why.

They investigate the bombing and it leads them to a guy named Ricky Tan (John Lone), a former cop suspected of killing Lee’s father and currently a leader of the Triads. He’s wrapped up in an international counterfeit money laundering scheme involving a rich white guy from LA, a casino, and that chick from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Can Lee and Carter get to the bottom of things and solve the case before they get reunited for Rush Hour 3? I certainly hope so.

This is a by-the-numbers sequel. They looked at everything that was good and memorable about the first one, and they tried to tweak it and rework it for this one. Now Lee asks Carter if he understands the words coming out of his mouth. Oh look, they are singing along to the Beach Boys and Chris Tucker is doing a Michael Jackson impression again. I know they are trying to be self-referential but you can’t make the same movie twice. Rush Hour 2 is like The Hangover Part II, everything that happens in the first movie happens again in the second movie, only slightly tweaked and less funny. They used the same story to make an inferior movie, but it worked and made more money than the original. Rush Hour 2 is the highest grossing live-action martial arts film of all time, and that’s almost criminal. Why couldn’t Bruce Lee and Richard Pryor make a movie?

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Rush Hour (film, not traffic)

Rush Hour is a 1998 comedy/martial arts/buddy cop movie directed by Brett Ratner and starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. One is a hot shot detective from Hong Kong, the other is a loudmouth cop from LA. I’ll let you guess which is which. They are forced to work together when a Chinese diplomat’s daughter gets kidnapped. Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) is asked by the Chinese to solve the case, and Detective Carter (Chris Tucker) is asked by the FBI to distract Lee and keep him from interfering with the investigation. Carter and Lee don’t trust each other, they don’t like each other, but they have to learn to work together in order to solve the case and save little Soo Yung Han.

Jackie Chan is one of the most entertaining martial artists to ever grace the big screen. He can fight like a motherfucker and does all his own stunts like a badass. And he does some truly spectacular stunts. His fighting style is also unique. Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Chuck Norris… they all just punch and kick the bad guys. Jackie Chan punches and kicks them too, but he’s always trying to escape and avoid fighting. He uses the objects around him for defense and uses them to hurt the bad guys. It’s like parkour as a martial art. He’s not afraid to stand and fight, but he’ll run away if he can. It makes the fights more entertaining, more personal, and more realistic in a lot of ways.

Chris Tucker is talks loud and fast. He is obnoxious and annoying… and somehow endearing. His character is brash, arrogant, and totally full of himself. But he does the right thing when he needs to. Chris Tucker is obviously a Michael Jackson fan and he sneaks a lot of M.J. references into the movie.

The movie is entertaining. There are a lot of plot holes but the producers don’t care and neither should you. Brett Ratner will never win an Oscar but he knows how to make an action flick. The movie is pretty decent, way better than the sequels. The credits are one of the highlights (like most Jackie Chan films) where they show all the bloopers. You see Jackie messing up on stunts and see Chris Tucker messing up his lines. The chemistry they have off-screen carries over into the movie. You should have seen this movie already. A long time ago.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Most Important Asian Character of All Time

The Walking Dead’s Glenn is the most important Asian character of all time. He’s not a cliché. He’s an important Asian character because he’s an important character who happens to be Asian. Neither the show nor the comic ever resorts to stereotypes. He doesn’t do martial arts. He doesn’t show off his math skills. He’s not a bad driver. He doesn’t wear thick glasses and speak with a thicker accent. He’s a survivor like Rick but he’s stronger than Rick. He doesn’t become corrupted. In fact, he becomes a better person in the zombie apocalypse: he was a loser and a failure before the walkers came. Then he discovered that he was a survivor and capable of almost anything. He saved Rick’s life and brought him to the group. He gets supplies and constantly risks his life to protect the group. He even gets a white girlfriend that he gets to have sex with (Jet Li didn’t even get to kiss Aaliyah in Romeo Must Die). They rely on him. He isn’t the leader, but he’s still a leader. And he’s probably the most popular character on one of the most popular TV shows of all time. Glenn is more responsible for the upsurge in Asian pride than Jeremy Lin. Props to actor Steven Yeun for bringing Glenn to life and thanks to Robert Kirkman for creating the character.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Gymkata (terrible, terrible film)

Gymkata is one of those movies that is so bad that you can’t stop watching it. You know right away that it sucks. And it just gets worse and worse until it reaches its sucky ending. At first you’re glad that it’s over. Then you get mad at yourself for wasting 90 minutes of your life. So you decide to recommend it to a friend so you can ruin their life too. I guess that’s what I’m doing with this article right now.

Olympic gymnast Jonathan Cabot (played by real life Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas) gets recruited by the Special Intelligence Agency for a special mission. The SIA wants Cabot to go to the fictional country of Parmistan to compete in the Game. The Game is a race through an obstacle course in which the contestants must compete against each other and the Parmistanian warriors. Whoever wins gets a wish granted by the Parmistan government. The SIA wants Cabot to win and ask to build a satellite monitoring station for the US. They also tell him that his missing father is really an SIA agent who disappeared trying to accomplish the same mission.

Cabot decides use his gymnast skills and join Team America. Then they have the obligatory training sequences and he also meets the beautiful Princess Rubali of Parmistan. He starts learning how to fight and combines the deadly art of Karate with the graceful homoeroticsm of men’s gymnastics to create his own style: Gymkata. He uses his Gymkata skills to get some smooches from the Princess.

Cabot goes to Parmistan to play the Game, and there’s a lot of fight scenes along the way. Bad fight scenes that show off his Gymkata skills. He flips around and makes sure that his toes are pointed when he kicks people.

In the midst of all the random fights, there’s some stupid subplot about a guy named Zamir who wants to take over Parmistan and marry the Princess. She doesn’t want to do that because her dad is the King, and she loves Cabot for some reason. Zamir runs the Game and that’s not good for Cabot.

The Game begins and eventually Cabot is the only player left. Just as he’s about to get killed by the creepy villagers he gets saved by a Parmistani warrior who turns about to be Cabot’s dad. The reunion is short-lived because Papa Cabot gets shot by an arrow.

Cabot and Zamir have their final showdown. Zamir is defeated. Cabot is the winner and gets himself a Princess girlfriend. And the SIA gets their wish and the film assures us that “In 1985 The First Early Warning Earth Station Was Built In Parmistan For The U.S. Star Wars Defense Program.” Seriously, that’s how the movie ends. It was propaganda the whole time, just a commercial for Reagan’s crazy dream to stop missiles with lasers fired from space stations.

This movie is terrible. The plot is terrible. The acting is terrible. Kurt Thomas looks like a young Jack Bauer with a mullet. But Kiefer Sutherland knows how to act and no one in Gymkata does. Kurt Thomas relies on gymnastics and exaggerated sound effects to knock down bad guys. At one point he fights dozens of angry villagers on a pommel horse. I’m still trying to figure out why the Parmistanis would have a pommel horse in their town square.

This movie sucks. Don’t take my word for it. Watch it for yourself. It’s terrible, but you might like it. It’s so bad it’s good. It’s like Showgirls but with no nudity and worse acting. This might not be the worst movie of all time, but it’s a candidate.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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