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Iron_Leopard

Are the 2000s the worst decade ever for MA films?

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I'm looking through every year of this decade and there's only a handful of movies that actually stand out. 

You would think after CTHD a new Golden Age of Kung Fu films would have happened but it just wasn't the case. 

The 2010s weren't all that amazing either but they were still better than the previous decade.

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Seems like a great topic. VHS was still alive in early 2000s so I suppose people still had a great back catalogue to discover?  

Or maybe the 2000s were all about breaking boundries in Action movies, which CTHD certainly did. Not too much would have been new in terms of simple hand on hand combat.

but Im only speculating, Ill be curious to see what others say, or if they disagree

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3 hours ago, Koravec said:

Seems like a great topic. VHS was still alive in early 2000s so I suppose people still had a great back catalogue to discover?  

Or maybe the 2000s were all about breaking boundries in Action movies, which CTHD certainly did. Not too much would have been new in terms of simple hand on hand combat.

but Im only speculating, Ill be curious to see what others say, or if they disagree

This was also the decade where CGI began to take center stage. It began to appear in films that didn't really need it either. Films like "House of Flying Daggers", "Warriors of Heaven and Earth", "True Legend".

Then films like "The Promise" and "Zu Warriors" made me realize CGI was the worst thing to ever happen to Asian Cinema.

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Interesting topic, besides SPL, I’m struggling to find a decent movie from the 2000s, without horrible cgis, which are a modern tragedy for any MA enthusiast. There are the Tony Jaa movies like ong bak and the protector, but the problem is that those movies’s scripts are kinda moronic if you put aside the fight scenes. Like a soulless Tony Jaa show with mtv 2000s music.

 

In my opinion, the 2000s is the era of the film decline, when all the movie industry went digital and that’s where the catastrophe is, digital is ugly and it’s not cinema anymore. That explains a lot.

Edited by Rodolphe Dux

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For the first half of the 2000s, Hong Kong action cinema was certainly at its nadir. I mean, how could action-less films like INFERNAL AFFAIRS, PRINCESS D, and ONE NITE IN MONGKOK get nominated for Best Action Design?

Things perked up after SPL, although it mainly deposited the burden squarely on Donnie's shoulders, and, to a lesser extent, Wu Jing's.

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4 hours ago, Iron_Leopard said:

This was also the decade where CGI began to take center stage.

Yep! Exactly what I was trying to get across by "breaking boundries" and new methods. For better or for worse.

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15 minutes ago, Koravec said:

Yep! Exactly what I was trying to get across by "breaking boundries" and new methods. For better or for worse.

For sure. An let's not forget that in the early 2000s and basically a few years after HK handover (1997), many HK directors fled to the US to make garbage movies (John Woo, Kirk Wong, Tsui Hark) leading to a period of scarcity until the new wave like Wilson Yip came into play.

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It all comes down to the viewer.

Some folks are more into the CGI so that would take center stage for them so they would think other wise, fyi, I am not one of those. 😀

For me that era was a mix bag. By the 90's, I had already shifted from (heavy) MA (burn out?) and had shifting more into drama (which I always loved), action drama & gun fu. Thus some of the stuff that was coming out didn't bother me much and I did welcome the change as I saw that was the direction things were heading into. 

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2 hours ago, Rodolphe Dux said:

many HK directors fled to the US to make garbage movies 

Yeah, thats a good point. Thats a strange phenomenon, whats up with that? Even someone like Yuen Woo Ping's name began to be attached to a lot of crap in America, almost synonymous with it after a while.

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In terms of numbers yes, but in terms of quality, SPL, Ong-Bak, Ong-Bak 2, The Protector, Ip Man, Chocolate, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Fatal Contact, Hero, Unleashed, Undisputed 2, Fearless...

all great MA movies if you ask me.

DOA has decent fights, Blood and Bone too, and Flash Point has a bonkers final fight but the rest of the movie sucks.

The problem is that this is pretty much it. 

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2 hours ago, Koravec said:

Yeah, thats a good point. Thats a strange phenomenon, whats up with that? Even someone like Yuen Woo Ping's name began to be attached to a lot of crap in America, almost synonymous with it after a while.

Actually, from what I read at that time (mostly interview in French and US magazine) there were many factors. Many directors fled just before the handover, some were scared of censorship, some of the lack of funding, because they were funded by British money in the old days, they were scared that those acquaintances with British company could have been problematic with the new politics. That was especially true for Tsui Hark who was very subversive in the 90s.

As for Woo, that's another story. "The Killer" hit the medias and western audiences pretty hard in the 90s, with some famous advocates (you know like the guy who makes money with grindhouse references). So for the above reason and the easy money, Woo took the bait, because like he said "directing in the US is damn confortable, for the director and the crew, 'cause hollywood is fat & lazy". I get what he meant, hard to find the same kind of stunts that HK provided in the 80s and 90s (for a few bucks) in the US.

After a few years, and some garbage movies like Knock Off and Double Team, they (at least Tsui Hark) realized that there were no serious grudges, just a new business, built without them. But it was too late, the new wave arrived, represented by a few mega-stars (Donnie Yen, Wu Jing) and a new CGI business, built around new companies. In a way they paid their escape hard, we're still waiting for the new Kirk Wong "six", Ringo Lam did nothing for many years, and Woo came back in late 2000s. As for Tsui Hark, fortunately his "Film Workshop" saved him and his work.

 

 

 

 

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The early 2000s was definitely Tony Jaa's era. Nobody could touch him. Then came along Flashpoint and Donnie Yen said, wait a sec, hold my beer. Then we got the Raid guys and some Scott Adkins in the mix. I still have yet to be impressed by anything Micheal Jai White except for maybe the dark knight scene with Heath Ledger,hahaha. 

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11 hours ago, OpiumKungFuCracker said:

I still have yet to be impressed by anything Micheal Jai White except for maybe the dark knight scene with Heath Ledger,hahaha. 

What? For reals? You don't like Blood & Bone or Falcon Rising?

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I think during the 2000s they just ran out of ideas especially in the fight choreography departments everything seemed to move towards wires and cgi.Hong Kong seemed to move away from the danger aspect that we all loved,gone were the manic falls and hits and when you watched a fight sequence there was less “now that’s gotta hurt” and more of “nothing new,seen it before”.You would get the odd exception like Ip Man but for me they are few and far between.2010 onwards isn’t that great either.

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On 4/16/2019 at 1:57 AM, Iron_Leopard said:

I'm looking through every year of this decade and there's only a handful of movies that actually stand out. 

You would think after CTHD a new Golden Age of Kung Fu films would have happened but it just wasn't the case. 

The 2010s weren't all that amazing either but they were still better than the previous decade. 

 

The last nine year's, have been much stronger than the early noughties. With a lot of really strong DTV action films and star's emerging.

 

31 minutes ago, sym8 said:

I think during the 2000s they just ran out of ideas especially in the fight choreography departments everything seemed to move towards wires and cgi.Hong Kong seemed to move away from the danger aspect that we all loved,gone were the manic falls and hits and when you watched a fight sequence there was less “now that’s gotta hurt” and more of “nothing new,seen it before”.You would get the odd exception like Ip Man but for me they are few and far between.2010 onwards isn’t that great either.

 

Guess there's only so many ways you can stage a fight, Hong Kong produced so much choreogrpahy over the year's. There's no surprise they got burned out. When audiences tastes began to change, we never got a new generation of Sammo Hung's, Jackie Chan's or Yuen Biao''s. Tony Jaa could have been a much bigger star, sounds like he was just to nice a guy. For the cuthroat world of filmaking, where his manager wasnt exatly been straight with him.

At one time it looked like Thailand and Korea would become the next Hong Kong, in temrs of leading the way for Asian action. This never quite happened, and the rest is history.

 

 

 

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I would say the 2000s were quite a great time for MA movies. CTHD and the Zhang Yimou wuxia films pushed MA flicks to a more intelligent and profound level, the Thai action wave introduced new bone-shattering harshness into the genre, Donnie Yen emerged from the puddle of shoddy action cheapos and reinvented himself as the saviour of HK action cinema, with Undisputed 2 Isaac Florentine became a filmmaking force to be reckoned with and quite a lot of Hollywood movies adapted the HK way of staging fights.

Edited by kami

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