Comic Con is internationally famous as the place to announce upcoming comic book, science fiction, horror and fantasy related news. From video games to anime, Comic Con covers it all. As it has grown in popularity over the last decade or so, more and more companies are offering their products at the convention. Even though this year’s panels went beyond comic books, seeing everything from the sitcom Community to Glee, it is easy for hard core martial arts fans to kind of skip over the whole thing. If you wade through the coverage, though, there are usually a few little gems and this year was no exception.
If you are the right age the sound you most associate with martial arts will not be the exaggerated whistles and snaps of ’70s kung fu movies, hai-yahs of karate flicks or the “Wwhhhhaaa!” of Bruce Lee. It will be the catchphrase “Cowabunga, dude!” made famous by the kid-friendly cartoon and movie version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A new TMNT cartoon will be debuting September 29 on Nickelodeon starring the voices of Jason Biggs and Sean Astin. This CGI reboot will be TV-Y7, and therefore kid friendly, but sees Donatello sporting a naginata (spear) and Michelangelo using a kusari-gama (scythe and chain). Not only does it seem odd to mess with the Turtles’ traditional gear, it also seems downright strange to have each character sport a blade when keeping to a TV-Y7. Another change is that April is not a reporter but a 16 year old. More information can be found on the official site: http://www.nick.com/shows/
The second piece of exciting news for kung fu fans is the announcement of a new English language live action martial arts show from video game company Capcom. Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist will tell the story of Ken and Ryu as they learn their mysterious martial art. There has not been any indication if the project will be syndicated, attached to a network or, perhaps, simply distributed via the Internet. The creative team behind the fan film Street Fighter: Legacy, which includes actor and stunt man Joey Ansah, have been tapped to helm the new project. Given the poor live action offerings that have been spawned by the video game series in the past (Street Fighter with JCVD and The Legend of Chun Li) this new series can pretty much only be an improvement! More information on the new series and Street Fighter: Legacy, the film that kicked it all off, can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/
The biggest news in US martial arts movies is probably the upcoming release of The Man With the Iron Fists, co-written, directed and starring Wu-Tang Clan alumni RZA. Little new information was released although RZA did several interviews and announced the film will hit theaters November 2. On the plus side, the movie boasts a slew of stars including the scissor kick king Cung Le, Daniel Wu and living legend “Gordon” Liu Chia Hui. On the down side it includes Russell Crowe and a whole bunch of CGI. I’ll admit to not being really excited about this movie and the fact that RZA said the movie was edited down from four hours to 96 minutes didn’t really encourage me to change my mind! Looking a bit more promising is The Expendables 2, although it seems to lean more towards to gun fu. It showcases big screen action stars Stallone, Arnold and Bruce Willis but martial arts fans will be excited fellow cast members JCVD, Jason Statham, Randy Coutre, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and Chuck Norris. This big budget sequel will hit US theaters August 17.
Unfortunately there will probably never be a wuxia or wudapian convention even 1/20th as successful or important as Comic Con so fans of the fist and swords will have to be content with the little bit of crossover news that comes out of the world’s most important fan convention. Of course if you are a fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror there was a ton of other exciting news, including a release date and trailer for season three of The Walking Dead, Stan Lee’s new YouTube channel and premier of the new Judge Dredd movie. Only fifty weeks until Comic Con 2013!
- Shaolin Film Heroes (From Korea)
- Master of the Flying Guillotine – Retrospect
- Swords Versus The Undead
- Shaw Brothers Superman
- East Meets West
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