Watched Heroes of the East last night with Mike. Very funny movie, just begs to be remade with a post millennial sensibility. Chinese Kung Fu expert is tied in an arranged marriage to a Japanese martial arts expert (female, of course) and they get into a cross cultural argument about which form of martial arts is best. Well, one thing leads to another and she goes crying back to Japan after hubby whips her butt in a couple of fights using different techniques. He kind of remonstrates with her about ninja techniques and that’s when she blows town. (Subtext: Why are you trying to f*cking sneak up on me and kill me? Wa, you don’t love me any more!)
Hubby writes her a letter saying, c’mon home, I’ll whip your butt again, and it falls into the hands of her sensei’s best pupil (who thinks she’s kinda cute), who takes it as a challenge to the honour of Japanese martial arts. Many many many many many fight scenes ensue.
The dubbing and the sound effects are so bad that words cannot begin to describe the watery monstrous depths of their incompetence, but as is the case with so many badly dubbed Chinese chop socky films, the bad dubbing ends up being part of the fun. There’s even a crypto homo thing in it which just had me rubbing my eyes. The guy with the sai (now there’s a nice phrase) is represented as being a flamer. Watch the movie and tell me I’m wrong.
Anyway, it’s kind of a seven samurai thing. Given that the Nipponese f*cking hurt China really badly, I think there’s much less racism in it than one would expect given the date (1972) and the Chinese are represented as gracious victors (of course the Kung Fu types win, which is not really what happens in real life when you do freestyle stuff these days because it’s the kickboxers who are cleaning up).
This movie could really stand to be remade and if I warnt so busy I’d be sitting down with Mike and hammering out a script; talk about a piece of cake. I would DEFINITELY leave in the part where she destroys the garden during a practice. “Master Master! She’s kicking down the walls!” “What the ffff? You stop that rightnow, or we’ll have no house!” “But you didn’t give me a place to practice!” “Practice in the gym, you crazy woman! And wear something less cheesy than that stupid gi, your bazooms are hanging out.” “Hmph! Okay, but only if I get to throw out all your Chinese junk martial arts weapons.” “Over my dead body, you maniac!” “Hya! I kick your worthless ass!” FIGHT SCENE.
And I’d leave in the scene with the food fight. With CGI you could have a real picnic, all those little grains of rice falling to say “Kung Fu is better!” and “Karate rules”.
And I’d leave in the scene where they slap all the hand weapons they are concealing in their robs on the table between them. That was really weird and funny. The way things are between men and women in this culture right now, that could be made very political and quite cutting. The drunken Buddha fight scene is a classic. So all I’d be doing is writing about 30 lines of script and putting “Insert really nicely choreographed fight scene here” and then I could go back to sleep. Life is grand.
The best thing about a remake, of course, would be the ability to actually give people hairstyles that suit them. Big hair for men? Holy crap! Big hair that never moves during a fight scene? Bleechhh!