Before this class I knew nothing about King Hu. I didn’t even know his name. It was a complete mystery to me. The name King Hu had never been brought to my attention. I was totally open to any movies from this director, because I heard he was sort of the godfather, or the pioneer of modern wuxia or martial arts cinema. I’ve learned that he has made movies like, Sons of Good Earth, Come Drink with me, Dragon Inn, A Touch of Zen, which become a two part movie because it was long and because it allowed King Hu to fill a contract out with Union films, The Fate of Lee Kahn, Valiant Ones, Raining in the Mountain, Legend of the Mountain, and Painted Skin. Painted Skin being his last film.
My three favorite King Hu films would be, A Touch of Zen pt 2, The Valiant Ones, and the Fate of Lee Kahn. I really liked A Touch of Zen because it was considered his master piece. But other than that it was amazing how people would fly through the trees. The cinematography and stunt work for its time was probably groundbreaking.The Valiant Ones was a great movie because it involved the Japanese and I really like Japanese. There was also that scene at the villains base that showed the two heroes just destroying everyone. That was also amazing because it’s done so many times in martial arts movies. The Fate of Lee Khan was awesome because it was pretty much an all female cast. Also the characters were sometimes very funny. It was just a fun film where a bunch of restaurant workers are undercover and they are trying to take out a big bad boss.
My least favorite King Hu films include, Dragon Inn, Legend of the Mountain, and Sons of Good Earth. Dragon Inn made this list because it felt too long. The movie seemed to go on and on without really going anywhere. Legend of the Mountain was a movie where I didn’t like the main character very much. There were parts that I enjoyed, but for the most part, it was a boring movie. Sons of Good Earth was the type of movie that I don’t particularly like already because I’m not much of a fan of war films.
King Hu’s role in the history of martial arts cinema goes on forever I’m guessing. Like the six degree’s of Kevin Bacon it can be connected to everything. His films reinvigorated a genre that needed new life. Directors like Ang Lee made homages to Come Drink With Me. Quentin Tarantino uses an Inn type scene in Kill Bill vol 1. With the same shot of the Bride in his movie doing what the female hero does in Dragon Inn, hiding above the door by holding two ceiling beams. Tarantino uses other similar shots in The Heightful Eight around the table when everyone is about to get poisoned, much like in Dragon Inn, when the heroes are about to be poisoned. It seems Stephen Cho paid homage in Kung Fu Hustle’s final show down when the hero brings The Beast to his feet. The Beast asks two train under the Hero and for him to be the Beasts master, the hero accepts, but The Beast is hiding a concealed spike weapon and when the hero accepts, The Beast unleashes his attack and tries to kill the Hero. This happens in a Touch of Zen with the eunuch, only in that movie the villain is successful. Ang Lee made Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which took the mystical parts of a Touch of Zen to whole new levels, and it Lee also took the main character from Come Drink with Me, and put her in his movie.