Sure, the flying judo crap is a lot to swallow at first, but it goes down easy with some sugar-like cinematography so sweet it reminds you the fighting is only metaphoric.
And so it has always been with many old-school martial arts films – the fighting is something sacred that extends a part of the soul that cannot be expressed with words or art. It is representative of the synergy between the voice, the body and the heart, and it’s not surprising that it takes the writers to such extremes.
In some scenes you see people walking on water, jumping from tree limbs, flying through frozen water droplets, and changing autumn’s orange to blood red… bullshit right? Wrong. It’s all believable. Why? Because you forget about your world and you become a part of theirs.
Too often in American movie making you see directors and producers trying to mimic the real world, selling characters that remind us of the people in our lives, going through terribly mundane struggles like lover’s quarrels, retirement or the loss of a loved one.
Sooner or later the audience focuses on the plot and the tragedy and loses track of the characters. At this point, the story dies and fades into a category of film. The ending is only 1 of 3 possibilities, the main character lives, and he gets the hot chick while fighting bad guys who can’t shoot, right?
And what of meaning? What about virtues, morality, justice, the greater good, loyalty, honor, purity and heart? They fall between the cracks of a billion dollar budget and an industry whose outward energy ironically erases the very emotions it tries to induce with quality ‘acting’.
So when a film like this comes along – something original – something with real characters that aren’t so real that they are predictable or mundane – I have to appreciate it. I look, listen, imagine, and for a moment, I forget my world and become a part of theirs.
And maybe, just maybe, I learn from their lie what I cannot from my own.
You can learn from fiction what you cannot learn from truth.