While watching the Season Only (Deo volente) finale of Iron Fist the other night, I was pleasantly surprised to see the titular character unleash his titular fist to very cool effect. I turned to my wife and dead-panned, “Neat. They could have made an entire show about a guy doing stuff like this.”
Iron Fist has been routinely savaged in reviews for a great number of reasons, some of which I think are silly. But this surely has to be the worst: anyone who wants to watch a show about Iron Fist doing Iron Fist things should skip to episode 9 or 10 out of 13. This thing is a story-telling mess.
I’m completely in the bag for kung-fu movies, mystical warrior movies, and supernatural movies. I read comic books as a kid (though not Iron Fist). I have enjoyed Marvel video games. I have loved Marvel’s other Netflix adventures; heck, I even can tolerate their big budget SFX extravaganzas. I should love Iron Fist. That’s how bad it is. Continue reading Marvel’s Iron Fist (Review)
Back in the ’90s TBS had the best programming in television history. Their late night lineup was a steady stream of lesser-known kung fu classics and more recent Hong Kong imports–everything from Circle of Iron to Fist of Legend. Jackie Chan had finally broken into American theaters and a backlog of great fighting movies came flooding in with him. Let’s just say it was an awesome time to be in college.
This is when I first saw the greatest fight in screen history: Jackie Chan vs. Benny the Jet in the execrable Wheels on Meals (that’s not a typo). There’s a food truck and a Spanish contessa and a kidnapping or something…honestly I don’t remember anything else about the movie. I think I fell asleep a half hour in, but that’s at least partially due to it being 1 am or something.
That really adds to the greatness of the fight, in a way. I groggled my way to half-awake just in time to see this:
Jackie Chan vs. Benny the Jet, greatest fight ever. I think you can find the whole thing on YouTube, but don’t bother.
This is Jackie Chan in his earlier days. The comedic fighter that Americans would not get to see first hand for another ten years is clearly in evidence, but there are not so many gimmicks and stunts–just pure fighting with a sassy, funny attitude. He’s so youthful here, and proves that he’s not just a glorified stunt-man or a Chinese Buster Keaton. You can see why studios flirted with making him a replacement for Bruce Lee in the ’70s.
Part of the legend of this scene is that, although the fight had been choreographed, Jackie and Benny started sparring and really went after each other. They are going all out trying to tag each other and the cameras just rolled to catch it.
If this legend is not true, it’s still quite remarkable: the physical acting is incredible. The kineticism (can I say that? sure, it’s my blog) is just awesome. If that fight is just pro choreography it is masterfully executed. Either way, we are talking about two young fighters doing some pretty amazing stuff. When Benny’s spin kick puts out the candles, that’s done in one take, real time, no tricks.
Their match-up was so good they had to team up for an encore four years later, in Dragons Forever. It’s got more gimmicks but you can still see the pure fighting in there, and depending on my mood it might be even better than the Wheels fight (Wheels is marred by the impossible kick-punch combo that gives Jackie the winning edge).