What's new in Kung-Fu?
May 7, 2008 8:23 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me become familiar with what and who is up-and-coming in martial arts movies? Am interested in recent movies that are less reliant on wires and CG, and in younger actors who didn't just learn martial arts to make a movie, but are truly gifted in the area. I don't mind subtitles!

As I was watching The Forbidden Kingdom (a stinker, I thought, but I just really loved getting to watch Li and Chan fight), I was noticing that Jackie Chan and Jet Li have gotten on a bit in age. I realized that I'm not aware of who the next generation is in Kung Fu movies. I still love these two guys, but what's next? Whose movies should I be renting?

While I enjoy Kung Fu movies, I'm certainly no hardcore or super-knowledgeable fan. I have been a big Jet Li fan because I felt that he was so very gifted, and that to watch him was a treat. Knowing that he was a phenom as a youth is part of what really impresses me. But I am not familiar with any younger guys (and by that I mean under 40) who are matching up to him right now.

It's the raw abilities of the fighters that I love watching. I don't care for all the wire stuff that seems to be more popular now. I really love some of the older Kung Fu movies that don't rely so much on that. Fist of Legend is one of my all-time favorites - though, again, I haven't probably watched 1/100th of the classics because I'm pretty uneducated regarding the genre.

Would love to see some new stuff. What plain-ole good fighting movies without lots of wires and effects have come out recently? Which young actors are really gifted martial artists? Or, more importantly to me, which young, gifted martial artists are making movies right now?

Thank you so much in advance!
posted by FortyT-wo to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Look no further than Tony Jaa, and start with Ong Bak.
posted by steveminutillo at 8:34 PM on May 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

Seconding Tony Jaa... I just recently saw Ong Bak and loved it.
posted by god particle at 8:36 PM on May 7, 2008

Check out District 13, written and produced by Luc Besson: one of the two main protagonists is David Belle, the founder/creator of parkour.
posted by suedehead at 8:56 PM on May 7, 2008

Nthing Tony Jaa, also slighly tangential but I understand Red Belt is going to be amazing, as Mamet's movie tend to be.
posted by zia at 9:14 PM on May 7, 2008

Seconding Ong Bak. Jaa is incredible. Definitely in the tradition of Li and Chan.
posted by wfrgms at 9:59 PM on May 7, 2008

Jumping on the Jaa train. Can't go wrong with him. Ong Bak is the first and best of the movies I've seen that he's done.
posted by zennoshinjou at 6:42 AM on May 8, 2008

I just paid $5 dollars to jump on the Tony Jaa wagon. I love Tony Jaa for all the same reasons I love Jet Li. Although his style is not kung-fu per se (Muay Thai, my love of which Mr. Jaa is single handedly responsible for).

I've seen him in a few things, Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong (as well as some bit parts in other things) and he is always a treat. As an added bonus a lot of his stunts display the same kind of innovation / creativity as Jackie Chan (using his environment, things around him, etc).

There is (no lie) one scene in TYG that is a single-shot at least 11-15 minutes, of Tony Jaa running up a mall(?) staircase, kicking dozens of peoples asses. A single-shot, tremendous physical ability.
posted by syntheticfaith at 7:01 AM on May 8, 2008

I should have said, a single continuous shot, unbroken, no cuts, edits, etc. In my excitement I posted a little too quickly. Can you tell how much I like this guy?
posted by syntheticfaith at 7:04 AM on May 8, 2008

Response by poster: Awesome - I went out and picked up Ong Bak, really enjoyed it... Will look into more movies with Jaa. Thanks guys!
posted by FortyT-wo at 7:17 PM on May 8, 2008

has anyone seen this new film from Prachya Pinkaew (who directed Ong Bak) starring Nicharee Vismistananda - she's no Jaa (who fuckin' rules) or even Yeoh (who I am in utter swoon with) but still, she looks pretty damn amazing

also, seconding District B13 - there are some great scenes in that movie
posted by jammy at 12:29 PM on May 13, 2008

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