Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

There's an old Man from U.N.C.L.E film called The Karate Killers which must be dirt cheap because it's always being repeated on Bravo or UK Gold, often split into two to fit into the episode schedule. It's quite fun -- it's got Terry Thomas playing a lechy policeman, a swinging London nightclub where Illya gets punched into a duckpond, Telly Savalas playing an impoverished Italian count, Jill Ireland ... but what it doesn't have (and this becomes apparent as the film goes on) is any karate killers. The action moves to Japan. Are there any karate killers? No, just a crowd chase and a rather odd scene in a geisha house. They go visit a old priest in his shrine on the mountain. Surely, we get the karate killers now? No, just half-a-dozen thugs wearing black. They discover T.H.R.U.S.H.'s headquarters, and surely it must be protected by karate killers, but no, it's just hordes of badly-dressed (honey, nobody looks good in grey nylon) T.H.R.U.S.H. goons who clutch their chests and fall over as soon as you wave a U.N.C.L.E special in their direction. No karate killers.

But I know where they went now. Quentin Tarantino travelled through space, time and the fact/fiction barrier, and made them a better offer.

QT: It's a multiple-genre, highly-stylised martial arts melée that cuts between B/W and color, combining ultraviolent action with spiritual motifs while being referential (geddit?) to every great fight scene from Rashomon to Frank Miller's Daredevil.
KKs: Hm, er, sounds a bit intellectual.
QT: It's also solid kick-ass action.
KKs: Do we win?
QT: You get to wear hand-tooled leather masks, and smart suits, just like Napolean Solo's!
KKs: Do we have to die?
QT: Of course you have to die, you're bad guys, aren't you? But I guarantee you, yours will be a glorious death. No-one's going to forget it. Really. They won't. (He does his best shark-smile.)
KKs: Can we have motorbikes?
QT: Boys, you can have motorbikes with scabbards for samurai swords !
(He smiles expansively and shakes every one of them vigourously by the hand.)
QT: (aside) Yeah, this'll work.


( 12 worms — Feed the birds )
24th Oct, 2003 09:25 (UTC)
karate killers
I nearly saw that last night, and likely will not have a near miss the next time we are contemplating a visit to the cinema.

various and unrelated: thanks for the package of various. it is being enjoyed as we speak, AND we really like the comic. neat. :)
26th Oct, 2003 15:46 (UTC)
glad it turned up
... glad you liked it :)
24th Oct, 2003 09:30 (UTC)
Rashomon for a fight scene?
I think he's talking out his arse there...

I mean, Rashomon has several dramatic fight scenes - but it's the drama of the story, more than the drama of the action that is key.

Compared with, say Bruce Lee in Game of Death and Enter the Dragon, or even Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain for capturing physicality on film ... Rashomon is just not a physical film in that sense. Rashomon is not a film you remember for its fight scenes, it's a film you remember for its what the f*ck?! ending.

OK, off with my film critic hat now. ;-)
26th Oct, 2003 15:44 (UTC)
If it makes it easier for you, you may substitute Yojimbo. That has the chopping people up with swords (and the black humour).

But what I'm really talking about are slaughter scenes. I agree that they are not exactly fight scenes in the sense of being celebrations of physicality, but for sheer moment-splitting brutal death Kurosawa takes some beating --- moments that rememind you that this is not dancing, it is dying.

Actually, I don't remember the ending of Rashomon. Isn't the point that the film gives several versions in variable levels of extreme bloody detail of a single act of horrible violence, and never resolves its contradictions, forcing the watcher to judge and create their own version of events?

Or am I thinking about the wrong film entirely? If so, sorry.
26th Oct, 2003 16:30 (UTC)
Re: Pfah
Nah, you got it right, but I thought the film was less about that single violent act, but the contradictions of testimony.

The one scene of that film that is a fight scene that I really like is the one of the two fighters locked in desperate cowardice. Such an antithesis of the samurai standard.
26th Oct, 2003 15:45 (UTC)
Tarantino's pop culture references a bit off base shock
doesn't matter anyway.

The Karate Killers won't have seen Rashomon and Frank Miller's Daredevil hasn't happened yet.

He's just counting on them assuming that these things are cool.
26th Oct, 2003 16:36 (UTC)
Re: Tarantino's pop culture references a bit off base shock
He's just counting on them assuming that these things are cool

Yeah, banking on audience ignorance, I feel. Sorry, a pet peeve of mine. Provoke curiosity, interest, build-up ... not rely on incorrect interpretations that are commonly held, alone.


Then again, I may just be in a mood - I just got back from SFMOMA, and in the gift shop, a guy was going through a book of architecture and was commenting on how he didn't know that "Britain's M16 was so pretty." I glanced over, expecting to see the SA-80 or something, but then realised he was referring to pictures of the MI6 building in London. Tempted as I was to correct the error then and there - on general principle, I bit my tongue. So this minor peevishness you get now may be resulting from this unrealised corrective desire. :-)
27th Oct, 2003 02:46 (UTC)
I instantly thought of motorways, not small arms. Though of course the poor little M16 had hardly existed before it was attached into the M25 and even when it did it was a bit of a pathetic motorway.

So glad to have relieved your unrealised corrective desire. Vicar.
27th Oct, 2003 06:32 (UTC)
Aye ;-)
Now where's me drink?! ;-)
30th Oct, 2003 15:24 (UTC)
Re: interesting
Small arms? where do small arms come into it? I can see the mistaking of MI6 for M16 (simple typographical issue) but is there a similarly-named gun of some sort?
27th Oct, 2003 04:20 (UTC)
and yet
you made no mention of Ulma.
27th Oct, 2003 05:10 (UTC)
Re: and yet
Yeah, well, I have this Uma Thurman thing. As in anti-thing. Though she did do quite a good impresonation of the sort of snarling alsation you'd back away from, smiling desperately at the owner.

And all that lank yellow hair went well with the blood. She could have done with more blood, though. Soaked from head to toe with just those eyes showing blue, I'm thinking. I mean, really I've got bloodier than that just ... well, I should probably rewatch before making rash statements.

Hmmm, what else didn't I say?
- the film is very David Lynch, especially in its portrayal of small-town America
- Yay Daryl Hannah! Stole every scene she was in, supervillian psycho goddess queen!
- obviously alternate world sci-fi, so no, didn't make sense at all. Know what? So what.

( 12 worms — Feed the birds )