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Drunken Monk

Less is more?

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After a brief exchange with @DragonClaws, he brought up a very good point. And so, I decided to ask this question: do you feel as though you become numb to action when there's too much of it? When a film is wall to wall martial arts, do you get fed up? Or are you someone that yearns for fight scenes throughout a film?

Me? I'm the latter. Call me childish but I don't think I've come across a film with too much action. I love films that thrive on adrenaline. I mean, as long as the action is done well.

Those of you that get bored by too much action, can you name films that drove you to feel this way while watching them?

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This is something I've been thinking about for a while too actually. To me, I'm okay with non-stop action as long as the action progressively gets better as the film goes on. Bangkok Knockout and Hard Boiled are great examples. I'm not saying that they're equally good (because one is definitely much better than the other), but the non-stop action in those movies both work because they kept upping-the-ante to a ridiculous level with every scene. Each action sequence makes use of different locations, stunts, obstacles, situations, and weapons. However, as much as I love The Raid, I honestly get numbed to the fighting by the last half hour or so because it has a similar style of fight scenes throughout the entire film, all in similar locations. And I felt that the best fight scenes were at the midpoint rather than at the end.

At the same time, I feel that some movies really need to have a good story and great characters for the action to be exciting. George Lucas once said "A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing" and I feel the same is usually true with action (though there are definitely exceptions). Build-up is also very important to me.

Overall, I usually don't prefer wall-to-wall action movies. I like it when a movie takes time to develop its characters. But for a wall-to-wall action movie to work, I feel it needs to constantly raise the stakes in order for the audience to be invested throughout the entire runtime.

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I often find myself wanting more and more action from 70’s kung fu films because the plots just don’t deliver interesting enough stories. Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow isn’t exactly Shakespeare. I feel like kung fu films of that era exist to deliver fight scenes and so those that focus too much on daft comedy or underwhelming plot lines sometimes leave me wanting more.

As for modern films, I like both sides of the coin. Mission: Impossible - Fallout was basically setpiece after setpiece and I loved it. It’s the same with the Fast and Furious films. They’re big, energetic fun.

I can see how films like The Raid and The Night Comes For Us may get tired for some. Not me. Maybe I’m the only one but I don’t find the fight scenes in those films monotonous at all. I felt there was originality in each fight scene. But that’s just me.

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I began to get a bit bored with Dragons forever three parts of the way through.As good as the fight scenes are it became heavy going,but saying that I can just watch the fight scenes no problem but when watching the film like I said heavy going.👍👍

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One difficulty I'm having in answering the question is establishing the division between pacing and too much action (or rushing into action). Ultimately though so much is down to my mood on the day whether I'm into a movie or not.

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21 hours ago, Drunken Monk said:

do you get fed up? Or are you someone that yearns for fight scenes throughout a film?

 

I think BL films, are good example of less is more, in that, he didnt have fights go on for prolonged amonts of time. For many action fans this is a negative, compare his films with others of the era, and there's a big decrease in actual fight scenes. Sometimes the finale's of certian Shaw titles, would run for longer, than all BL fights in one film combined. His fights trimmed off the fat you might say?.  I say this, as a big fan of all 1970's Hong Kong action, and the many forms it comes in.

In some modern films, people are cut and sliced in the same wound/spot multiple times in one fight. To me this is just overkill, and The Raid borrow's as much from video game style violence, than the Martial Arts choreogrpahy of old.

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1 hour ago, DragonClaws said:

I think BL films, are good example of less is more, in that, he didnt have fights go on for prolonged amonts of time. For many action fans this is a negative, compare his films with others of the era, and there's a big decrease in actual fight scenes. Sometimes the finale's of certian Shaw titles, would run for longer, than all BL fights in one film combined. His fights trimmed off the fat you might say?.  I say this, as a big fan of all 1970's Hong Kong action, and the many forms it comes in.

Interesting. I was always on the fence with Bruce's fights. On one hand I wanted longer fights but, on the other, the length of his fights really suited his style. He wasn't a shapes master; he just destroyed people.

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4 minutes ago, Drunken Monk said:

Interesting. I was always on the fence with Bruce's fights. On one hand I wanted longer fights but, on the other, the length of his fights really suited his style. He wasn't a shapes master; he just destroyed people.

 

We can also, only look at what little he left behind, sadly we never got a full body of work from him, like with Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Jet Li etc. With those guys, and many others, we got to see them making movies, when they were young, middle aged, and older.

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Interesting thread.

I don't think that I have ever been bored by the action in a martial arts movie and sometimes I even wanted more of it.

What sometimes bored me was the extreme violence in some modern movies (I'm unable to name one at this moment, sorry) years ago at the first watching, but maybe if I watched them again I wouldn't feel the same.

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I think it's interesting to see how many members of the boards are sometimes put off by extreme violence. i'm not judging or anything. I'm just a little surprised. But then I suppose brutal stabbings and the like aren't everybody's cup of tea. Especially if it seems pointless or monotonous.

I was raised on horror films and long before I stumbled across kung fu cinema I was knee deep in Italian gore films. Maybe I was desensitized when I was just a teen. I could have watched another hour of The Night Comes For Us, violence and all.

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6 minutes ago, Drunken Monk said:

I think it's interesting to see how many members of the boards are sometimes put off by extreme violence. i'm not judging or anything. I'm just a little surprised. But then I suppose brutal stabbings and the like aren't everybody's cup of tea. Especially if it seems pointless or monotonous.

 

I too was once big on the Horror genre, went through the whole phase, or finding th most extreme/notorious flicks. I was brought up on Troma films. I'm not put off by extreme violence, that said, it can get monotonous, even with older films, such as, dare I saw it, Eight Diagram Pole Fighter.

I've not been put off The Night Comes For Us, but I was hoping people would have more to say about it, than just the excessive violence. Imagine if people had come online, raving about the character developement and the acting, on top of the spectacualr choreography.

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1 hour ago, DragonClaws said:

I've not been put off The Night Comes For Us, but I was hoping people would have more to say about it, than just the excessive violence. Imagine if people had come online, raving about the character developement and the acting, on top of the spectacualr choreography.

You’re absolutely right. I think sometimes a very blatant premise in a film (ultra violence) overshadows the rest of the film. I feel like it happens a lot. While I don’t feel like The Night Comes... was epic storytelling, I do feel as though it was strong in areas other than action. I just found myself so giddy from the blood and guts that it was all I could initially talk about.

Violence (much like sex) sells, I think. Not to everyone. But to a very specific audience. I just happen to be a part of that audience.

I recently watched a terribly low budget horror called The Terrifier and it was basically 90 minutes of hideous murder and excessive amounts of severed body parts. I loved it. But then I’m getting a little off topic, I suppose. My original question was geared towards action specifically and not just blood ‘n’ guts. For example, are Marvel films now tiresome for some people because they’re one large setpiece after another? Does anyone feel like they’ve seen it all and so big Hollywood blockbusters just feel boring now?

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Hmmm. That's a poser. 

Pacing is key, and with that also comes a consistency and/or escalation of the action. I think Merantau and both of the Raid movies are prime examples of that, as is Ninja: Shadow of a Tear.

I like a lot of heavy action, but if the choreography is meh throughout, what's the point? 

There have been times where I've watched a fight heavy flick and started zoning out because I was just visually and mentally glutted. Then something would happen that snapped me out of my reverie so that I had to rewind to really see what I missed.

"Less" certainly bores the daylights out of me. I don't watch these films for a mind-boggling plot (though a good one is a plus). I really get irked when a film has a fairly good opening fight sequence, but then there are nothing of tiny skirmishes consisting of a couple of moves through the movie until the finale. Then it's like they try to cram everything in to a finale 10 - 15 minute foray. Movies like these I tend to ff to the end.

The thing I loved about Bruce Lee's films is that they lack the mundane choreography of a 30 second exchange with every henchman, and when he hit them, they tended to stay down. He certainly trimmed the fat in his fight scenes, and I think that's what made them so unique and classic in many cases.

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18 hours ago, Drunken Monk said:

I recently watched a terribly low budget horror called The Terrifier and it was basically 90 minutes of hideous murder and excessive amounts of severed body parts. I loved it. But then I’m getting a little off topic, I suppose. My original question was geared towards action specifically and not just blood ‘n’ guts. For example, are Marvel films now tiresome for some people because they’re one large setpiece after another? Does anyone feel like they’ve seen it all and so big Hollywood blockbusters just feel boring now?

 

I still watch horror films now and agian, but I quit following the new releases, around the time of Saw 2. Felt the first was a groundbreaking and highly original film, but I didnt need to sit through all the sequels, however many there are.

Audience brought up on th Marvel films, how you gonna impress those people when they reach our age?. The new cineam audiences, have not being exposed to blockbusters films, like us fans. It's much fresher to them, their fatigue will set in at a different point. There's always a fresh crop of people, ready to soak up what-ever Hollywood is selling. By which time, they've already made money, from all those fans moaning about how rubbsh the re-makes/Marvel flicks are etc.

 

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I've found some ring fighting scenes tedious. I don't know if it's because I know what ring fighting looks like and it feels extra staged, or if it's often not as dynamic as the rest of a movies fights.  

22 hours ago, Drunken Monk said:

Does anyone feel like they’ve seen it all and so big Hollywood blockbusters just feel boring now?

Not exactly, though I have become a little more jaded as I've got older. For the most part, movies did feel a lot more dramatic as a kid. Is it because I've seen a lot of similar things before? Or Am I just more aware of filmmakers trying to force viewers to feel a certain way? I think Chang Cheh made me not care as much if characters live or died. Main characters dying is no where near as dramatic for me anymore. Overall these days, I think I take movies less seriously, I see movies more as "movies" and less some sort of "pseudo-reality". I've had debates with people about appreciating movies for being "movies". Some think I'm looking at them too technically and ruining the "magic". I still feel I get engrossed in them though. 

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On ‎11‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 10:19 PM, Drunken Monk said:

For example, are Marvel films now tiresome for some people because they’re one large setpiece after another?

Thank God martial art movies aren't 'one large setpiece after another'...🙊

 

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I am a drama first - action second person so for me it is a good story than wall-to-wall action.

I grew up (from early 70's) watching martial arts movies and I was fortunate to see a lot of these movies on the big screen. Some may say that I may be bored with them but I still watch them.

"Peking Opera Blues", "14 Amazons" and "The Blade" have great replay value to me and I would pick them anytime over "The Raid 1 & 2" and "The Night Comes For Us".  

Good drama movies like Peking Opera Blues, 14 Amazons, Bride With White Hair are movies that I would purchase over & over with every English friendly release as well as watch them over & over again. 

Over the weekend I wanted to do a binge watching so watched in order The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake, A Chinese Ghost Story, Heroic Trio, Dragon Inn & Bullet In The Head.  I have tons of movies (100 or so) still sealed that I haven't watched but I know that by re-watching these I would be entertained again.  

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20 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

 

Very good point @OpiumKungFuCracker, but at what point, does it stop being a movie, only to become a show-reel?.

That's how I feel. It's not so much that less has to be more. As a matter of fact, for me, to be an excellent film, there has to be a sense of balance and the action has to flow into the story. Action itself can be storytelling, but it can also be a hindrance. If there is a good story with good action flow, then that will definitely be my cup of tea.

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