lördag 13 november 2021

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings

I remember back in the spring of 1992, i was visiting my grandfathers appartment. We used to go down to the VHS rental store, because he knew i loved to look around there for different films. We did rent a couple of titles, and most of the time it would be films that both him and my grandmother could watch. But he had a TV channel called ZTV, that i did not have at home at that time ( i think i first had it in 1994, if i remember correctly ). It was night time, and on ZTV they were showing a ninja B movie. I don´t remember the title, but i do remember i stayed up that night to watch the film. It was a really fun martial arts ninja action movie, with lots of fighting, bad dialogue and great characters. During the 90´s i watched a lot of martial art films, in many different categories. Usually i would find some titles at the VHS store, but i also knew a school friend who actually bought ninja films from a film club, so i was able to see some really bad, but fun ninja action films. Whenever i discuss martial art films with other film fans, everyone seems to have their own personal favourite. And since my early days in VHS stores, i have a lot of martial art film memories, of titles that inspied me to watch a lot of classics. One of the films i can watch over, and over again, is the Hong Kong action film Rumble In The Bronx with legendary action star Jackie Chan. Released in 1995 / 1996 ( depending what country showed the film in cinema ) from director Stanley Tong ( who also directed Supercop with Jackie Chan ), this film tells the story of Keung ( Jackie Chan ) who is visiting his Uncle Bill in New York. Keung soon finds out that criminals vandalise and steal from Uncle Bill´s store, as he decides to act and hit back. This causes problem for Uncle Bill, since the criminal gang will now make the situation worse. But Keung is not afraid to stand up against this gang, and do what´s right. Rumble In The Bronx is one of those films i can still watch and enjoy a lot, for the really violent fights, Jackie Chan´s amazing stunt tricks, and for the 90´s nostalgic action scenes. Rumble In The Bronx is definetely worth picking up on DVD if you enjoy martial arts and action combined. Earlier this year i was reading a lot of articles on the new Marvel Studios film Shang-Li And The Legend The Ten Rings, and my plan was to see this film in cinema. Plans changed, so i eventually ended up seeing this film on Disney + instead. Being a big fan of martial art films and Hong Kong cinema, i was curious to see what this film had to offer, being a part of the Marvel universe. Is this one of the better comic book inspired films this year, or is Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings a big disappointment?

Thousands of years ago, Xu Wenwu ( Tony Leung Chiu-wai ) discover the mystical ten rings wich grant immortality and godly powers. He establishes the Ten Rings organization, conquering kingdoms and toppeling governments throughout history. In 1996, Wenwu searches for Ta Lo, a village said to harbor mythical beasts. He travels through a magical forest to the village entrance but is stopped by guardian Ying Li ( Fala Chen ). The two fall in love, and when the villagers reject Wenwu, Li chooses to leave him. Wenwu locks away the Ten Rings and the power, including immortality that it grants. They have two children, Shang-Chi and Xialing. When Shang-Chi is 7 years old, Ying Li is murdered by Wenwu´s enemies, the Iron Gang. Wenwu returns and dons the Ten Rings once again, and massacre the Iron Gang. Wenwu makes Shang-Chi brutal training, while his daughter Xialing is not allowed to train ( wich she does anyway in secret ). At the age of 14, Shang-Chi is ordered to kill the Iron Gang leader, wich he refuses to do and escape to America instead, to San Fransisco. Present day, Shang-Chi ( Simu Liu ) have an ordinary job, and spend a lot of time with his best friend Katy ( Awkwafina ). But his past is haunting him, and Shang-Chi must face reality, no matter what might happen.

I´m going to be honest and say, i knew nothing about the background story of this film, or the comic book. I could have looked at the source material just to get a bigger picture of Shang-Chi, but i decided to go into this film with an open mind. This film definetely feels very different to the Marvel films we have seen in the past. This is a film more focused on martial arts, and that is actually a positive direction. I personally feel that Marvel Studios needed to take a chance, and do something different, instead of going on the same path of superheroes. So is this an entertaining film? I would say yes, but especially if you are a fan of old school martial arts. Some of the fighting scenes feels inspired by classic films from the Hong Kong cinema, and i really appreciate seeing that they show respect to the films i grew up enjoying from the VHS era. Of course they use a lot more CGI effects these days, and for the most part i can accept that, since this is a comic book inspired film. There is especially one scene that actually felt inspired by the Jackie Chan fights in Rumble In The Bronx, and that is a bus scene, where our main character Shaun fight against a gang of bad guys, in a way that reminded me of the fast hitting Jackie Chan in Rumble In The Bronx. I also enjoy that this scene takes place on the famous hills of San Fransisco, where a lot of famous films have used action scenes in the past, such as Bullet with Steve McQueen. There are some other fight scenes that also feels inspired by Jackie Chan classics, and i really appreciate the effort that these fighters did, to give us a nostalgic feeling. You really feel that they have tried to capture the spirit of Shang-Chi, and lead actor Simu Liu ( well known from the Canadian TV series Kim´s Convenience ) gives a solid performance. Actress and rapper Awkwafina plays the funny character Katy, and she is definetely the comedy highlight of this film. I really appreciate seeing actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai ( who i especially remember from the classic Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, a must see on DVD ) in this film as Xu Wenwu, he add something special with his smooth acting performance. The action scenes are well made, and the story is told in a simple but effective way. Even if this is not one of the better Marvel Studios films i have seen, i still had a good time with Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings. This is a fast, hard hitting action film, that´s definetely both for comic book fans and martial art fans. Director Destin Daniel Cretton deliver a Marvel film that´s both different, and inspiring from the world of comic books. You can tell he took this project seriously, and it shows. I am actually looking forward to see the future films of Destin, hoping he will continue doing more martial art projects. If you love Marvel films, and action films in general, something tells me that you are going to enjoy this film, just like i did. Anyone feel like going for fist fight with me? I promise, i won´t knock your teeth out ( remember, i have actually seen Julia Robert´s film My Best Friend´s Wedding in cinema, that makes me more tough than most people ).

Rating: DDD

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