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Lionclaw

Why are Hollywood martial arts movies so bad?

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Well, in the late 80's - early 90's, the A-list Hollywood martial arts movies, i.e. Van Damme and Seagal, were not too bad, but I got more editing wise with the B-movies of the likes of Gary Daniels, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, and Cynthia Rothrock. It seems to me the producers of the lesser budgeted films knew what they were doing as opposed to the choppy editing of today's Hollywood martial arts films.

One example is PM Entertainment's martial arts films like Ring of Fire and To Be The Best (with Mike Worth). They took a page from Jackie Chan's "double take" and did the "triple take", where the first two times are cut from different angles followed by a more slow motioned shot to show the impact. Case in point, Gary Daniels vs. Ron Yuan in Ring of Fire. Yuan is against the ropes and Daniels strikes him with a Muay Thai flying knee strike. Two quick shots from different angles then a slow motion of the same move with an upclose impact shot of Yuan's face hitting Daniels' knee. It was this kind of editing and cinematography that made me enjoy the B-movie martial arts films of the US.

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On 3/17/2009 at 11:46 AM, Killer Meteor said:

I think the problem is because Hollywood never really took the martial arts films seriously. Look at how many of them in the 80s were directed and written by Robert Clouse!

 

Too often the martial arts films were delegated to low rent hack writers and directors, with awful lead actors. Also, the martial arts elements was often wartered down at the expense of fantasy, hip-hop etc. Even the Rush Hour films have Jackie Chan secondary to Chris Tucker

 

If Hollywood had commissioned a martial arts film and trusted it to, say, Martin Campbell to direct, and cast a good actor, and had a decent revenge script, it'd work fine I'd think. But too often they just want to make cheap expoloitation pictures. Which is fine, except they, and now the Hong Kong filmmakers, have forgotten how to make them fun

Hey, I was right!

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An easier answer. Hollywood hires old point tournament guys. Meanwhile, HK and Japan have a long history of choreography. Most of those guys could fight better than the HK guys, but the HK guys were trained from 8 years old to choreograph fights, set up camera angles (eventually) and so on. China's big contribution to martial arts are long, pre-arranged sets of movements. Most other cultures fight very realistically- quick and it's over with. Most fencing duels are over very quickly. Most fights were two guys know what they are doing are not back and forth block and punch, etc. It's in and out, and if you get caught, bang, it's over. Chinese know how to make it dramatic, it is part of the opera tradition. I can tell you, those real life guys from the Q'ing did arts that were very direct and not flowery, like Hsing Yi and Pa Kua.

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Hollywood probably spent less time filming the fight scenes?, with more emphasis on the non action scenes during production?. While in Hong Kong it was probably the other way round?. I also think they had ore of a free reign on what they could do in fight scenes in H.K. Not just becuase they had more talented people there, but also there wasnt any legal red tape. You cant see WB investing money in a big star, then having them risk their neck, with dangerous fight choreography and stunts.

 

Edited by DragonClaws

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Noticed the date of this thread. Created almost 10 years ago...

ALOT has changed since then. Hollywood has caught on real good taking notes from Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and now Indonesia. As a whole, they still have alot to go through since past problems is still evident in many movies today but you can tell that they are STILL learning which is a good thing. Who knows, maybe 10 years from now Hollywood may very well perfect the art of fight choreography like we all want to. Let's see what happens.

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8 hours ago, DiP said:

Noticed the date of this thread. Created almost 10 years ago...

ALOT has changed since then. Hollywood has caught on real good taking notes from Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and now Indonesia. As a whole, they still have alot to go through since past problems is still evident in many movies today but you can tell that they are STILL learning which is a good thing. Who knows, maybe 10 years from now Hollywood may very well perfect the art of fight choreography like we all want to. Let's see what happens.

Really? Which recent Hollywood movies would you recommend, if you don't mind me asking. Genuine question since I've been behind on films in the last 10 years.

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John Wick movies, pretty much any Marvel superhero movie, last two Undisputed sequels are just examples of Hollywood utilizing what they've caught up with so far...

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2 hours ago, DiP said:

John Wick movies, pretty much any Marvel superhero movie, last two Undisputed sequels are just examples of Hollywood utilizing what they've caught up with so far...

Heh, I've actually watched every one of those, except Undisputed 3 and Ant-Man And The Wasp.

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I recently listened to a podcast that featured a Vlad Rimburg interview and he had an interesting opinion. He basically said that, every now and again, Hollywood do something special with martial arts cinema. He cited the John Wick movies. But then, after a while, the fad dies down and they return to what they know best. Which isn't always a good thing.

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