I'm a big fan of modern martial arts films. As tacky and contrived as they are, I still squeeze everything out of them and relax while taking in the amazing cinematography with the stunning choreography. In fact, nothing pleases me more than a Tony Jaa film. The man can fight, jump, fly, and kill. He is a mortal Thai Terminator. In my childhood, I dabbled a bit in the classics of old Chinese martial arts but never was enthralled by what I was witnessing.
Years later, I picked up Shaolin & Wu Tang for two reasons. 1. Wu Tang Clan. This dynamic rap group has not only changed the face of time itself, but also the business of music and myself. It has opened me to broader horizons in the face of challenging musical interests and granted me immunity within the Negroes. 2. Xenon Pictures. This is the same company that has released the Dolemite collection, so ultimately I can dig it.
I honestly didn't know what to expect besides aged fighting moves and horrible dubs presented on a presentation which feels like a once recorded over VHS. The film instantly starts out with a breathtaking introduction of a lone fighter training in a room full of monks amidst a vast sparring arena covered with beautiful hanzi scattering the room- both painted on the wall and suspended from the ceiling.
The choreography of the past is unmatched even by our contemporary martial arts. Most of these "Actors" actually believed in the laws and rules of their chosen styles. Religion played a huge role in training and real fighters didn't have trailers and multi-million dollar budgets. The merits and honor of being a true fighter has all but evaporated. Shaolin & Wu Tang has risen the bar for martial arts films worldwide.
To go along with the film, is Wu Tang Clan's debut album Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers). The RZA has taken his single passion - Kung Fu films - and formed an entire dynasty of music and memorabilia around a Chinese theme. After kicking the music industry's ass, he resided in making music for Tony Jaa's The Protector and Afro Samurai. I even hear rumors of an Eli Roth produced grisly splatter fest incorporating the RZA and Wu Tang.
It is a vast epic, depicting two rivaling clans warring over which fighting style is better - Shaolin or Wu Tang. In the end, friendships will be challenged, traitors will be unearthed, people will die, and I will feel a whole lot better about witnessing the greatest Martial Arts spectacle to ever grace my home theater system.