Trailer Analysis -- Wu-Tang Vs the Golden Phoenix
When talking to people about kung fu movies, even professed fans of the genre, I've noticed that a lot of people get hung up on bad dubs, damaged prints, and rarity, as though those things were part of the genre itself and not a matter circumstance. I recall watching Martial Arts of Shaolin, Jet Li's collaboration with Lau Kar-Leung, on the remastered Hong Kong DVD when an acquaintance asserted that it would be more fun to watch on VHS. Another viewer avered that the digital remaster looked too clean, and that a cheesy dub would add to its "personality." I have no problem with people who like the old dubs, especially those who first experienced Hong Kong movies in drive-in theaters or on late night/Saturday afternoon TV. But I quite like seeing movies as they were intended. Print degradation doesn't make a movie better, and these kids were eighteen; they didn't grow up seeing movies like Martial Arts of Shaolin at the drive-in or the grindhouse. Claiming to enjoy poor-quality or damaged film prints because it reminds you of an experience you actually never had makes you the genre movie equivalent of that painfully bourgeois kid who claimed to really like The Sex Pistols out of spite for the kids who listened to Green Day.
Nevertheless, I can't deny the charm of The RZA's homage to the genre he's been sampling for decades. Yes, it has lots of fake scratch marks and the special effects are... not good, but unlike those other guys (with whom I no longer watch movies) RZA really did watch kung fu and Shaw Brothers flicks at the 42nd Street theater back in the seventies and early eighties. He's been working with the legendary Robert Tai, director of Ninja: The Final Duel, for a while now, although I was under the impression that it was on a movie called The Man with the Iron Fist. Apparently, that's a separate project.
It's good to see Robert Tai and Chi Kuan Chun working with new talent as well as stuntmen who have been around since the heyday of the seventies. Wu-Tang Vs the Golden Phoenix might turn out to be total trash, but at the very least, it looks like it'll be fun, which can cover up a multitude of sins. Self-conscious cheese/camp notwithstanding, this looks like something to watch out for.