Full Moon Cut: Swordplay in Asian Film [PANEL 18+]

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sleepy eyes 6 cover

For those unable to attend our panel, here’s an online version of our presentation which was held in Panel Room 2 at 1am – 2am at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC on August 13, 2017.

Cover Page swordsIntro

Dragon Inn – Our first film is a 1993 Hong Kong film called Dragon Inn. This scene features Tony Leung, Bridgette Lin, and Maggie Cheung as a swordplay trio who are in a love triangle go up against our big bad played by Donnie Yen who people may remember from Star Wars Rogue One. There’s a lot of things I could say about this movie but I think I’ll let it speak for itself. Watch the Clip

13 Assassins – A 2010 Japanese film directed by Takashi Miike is a remake of the 1963 black and white film of the same name. It’s set in the Edo period 1840s. Basic plot of the film is the Tokugawa shogunate has fallen on Hard Times & one of the Lord’s who is the half-brother of the Shogun is raping and murdering his citizens with no repercussions. He must be stopped before he can claim more power and inflicting more heinous crimes on the people. One of the highest-ranking officials under the Shogun secretly seeks out help in assassinating the Lord. The film has a very large cast of characters they won’t be able to mention them all. But one I would particularly like to point out is actor Hiroaki Matsukata who passed away earlier this year at the age of 74 he was a well-known actor through the 60s and 70s in Japan. You will see him in the clip we’re about to show, he’ll be the older Samurai with the insane stare as he slashes through his enemies. Watch the Clip

Yamada Samurai of Ayuttaya – This 2010 film by Nopporn Watin is based on the true story of a Samurai who became a governor in Thailand during the early 17th century. Like The Last Samurai or Pixar’s Cars, he adopts the culture and makes friendships with the locals. This scene is him joining the local warriors as they repel invaders attempting to ambush them in the jungle. This movie is honestly not that good cinematically but it has great action sequences thanks to the use of real fighters. You can tell who the good guys are based on who has the better hair and mustaches. Watch the Clip

Bichunmoo – A South Korean film made in 2000 by directed  Kim yong-jun, it was one of the most expensive films made in Korea at the time and is loosely based on a popular Korean comic and Count of Monte Cristo. The film is basically a martial arts love story; you have our lead character Jin-ha played by Shin Hyun-joon and love interest Sullie by Kim hee Sun. Sullie’s father who is a Mongolian General gives his daughter in marriage to a Mongolian Noble so Jen & Sullie are separated from each other. When they meet again Sally has a child but she still has feelings for Jen. We also discovered that Jen has a secret; a martial art skill called Bichun. In the clip we’re going to watch you’ll see a demonstration of his skill as it seems everyone once to get the secret of the martial art from him by force. Watch the Clip

Tiger on Beat – This scene is from the 1988 HK fight Tiger on Beat and stars our hero Conan Lee, from films like Ninja in the Dragon’s Den against Gordon Liu, from the Kill Bill films and The 36 Chambers of Shaolin. Different from most of the other films in out panel, this is a modern set police film so they don’t really use swords per say but it’s close enough especially with the choreography. Watch the Clip

IZO – Here again we have a Takashi Miike film, Izo from 2004The film is not easy to explain as it’s rather surreal. Izo Okada (who was a real Samurai in the 1800’s) is the lead character. Well I say character but really it’s his vengeful Spirit. He seems to be traveling through time and other dimensions to murdering anyone he comes across,  Even MMA/kickboxer Bob Sapp (who for some reason is a monk in this film) and Beat Takeshi. This is such a weird and strange film you will either love it or hate it. The clip you’re going to see is quite chaotic, believe me the whole film is that way, so I say just sit back and take it in. Watch the Clip

Khun Phan – A 2016 film from Thailand and directed by Kongkiat Khomsiti the story is set in World War II era. We have a policeman name Khan Phan  (who seems to have extraordinary powers )who must go undercover to take down a dirty Governor official that is running an island. In this scene we see him on a train with a bunch of bad men who would really like to see him dead! We’ll see how well he fares. Watch the Clip

Zatoichi 2003 – Our next film is a Japanese picture from 2003, Beat Takeshi’s Zatoichi. A new entry in what is probably the greatest series of films ever, this film stars Beat as the titular hero, a blind swordsman who takes the fight to a group of yakuza who dearly deserve a blade to the face. While this film isn’t really anywhere near as good as the original series of films and television series, nothing really comes close, this is still an impressive scene and violent enough to make our list. Watch the Clip

The Blade – The Blade from 1995 is directed and produced by Tsui Hark. It’s one of my favorite films by him, I think it’s one of the more creative takes on the one-armed Swordsman theme I’ve seen. The film has highly stylized fighting, interesting use of wire work, and great visuals. Tsui Hark has a way of taking your basic revenge film and making it much more interesting. The plot of the film is Ding-on, an orphan, who works as a blacksmith for his master who is a friend of his deceased father. His master has a daughter named Ling. One day Ding-on overhears a conversation between Ling and her grandmother about how his father died by the hand of a tattooed assassin trying to save Ling’s father’s life. Ding-On wishes to seek revenge for the death of his father so he takes his father’s Broken Blade and precedes to try to find this tattooed assassin. In this scene  we have our hero Ding-on (Vincent Zhao) facing off against dragon head (Hung Yan). Dragon Tales Ding that he has killed his father some years ago,so of course he must take revenge for that. Watch the Clip

Versus – I don’t imagine there are many here who haven’t seen our next film Versus directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, but for those who haven’t this movie revolves around prisoners running loose in a forest where undead yakuza come to life and try to kill everyone. There’s a larger plot in there somewhere but we’re going to skip all that mess and get to the final fight. This doesn’t actually feature the ending but a good series of exchanges that has both good physical choreography as well as style. Watch the Clip

Seven Swords – Seven Swords, from 2005, is another film directed and produced by Tsui Hark. The cast includes Donnie Yen, Korean actress Kim So-yeon and the legendary Liu Chia-Liang. Seven Swords is his last film appearance as an actor.. He passed away in June of 2013 at the age of 78. The plot of the  story is the Ming Empire has fallen to the Manchus and the new government impose a restriction that the common people cannot learn martial arts, because of fear of revolt against them. A greedy warlord named Fire Wind enforces the law for the government by killing those martial artist that resist and also civilians. His next target is a town called Marshall Village where a lot of martial artists live. A martial arts group that was formed called The Seven Swords come to the rescue of the people in the township. In this clip we will see some of that battle as the Seven Swords drive off Fire Winds  band of rebels. Watch the Clip

Duel to the Death – Our final film is 1983’s Duel to the Death from Hong Kong and stars Norman Chu and Damian Lau. It’s about the 2 greatest swordsmen from China and Japan engaging in a duel to decide the greatest. The film features a plot to rig the fight and the two men fight to destroy the conspiracy before engaging in this the final fight. This movie was directed by Ching Siu-tung who was an Otakon guest years back. Watch the Clip

 

Further viewing:

Zatoichi’s Desperation

Zipang

Cyber Ninja

Makai Tensho

Musa

Bang Rajan

One Armed Swordsman

14 Amazons

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Long time film lover and occasional writer. I watch anything and everything though I have massive love for the works of Shunji Iwai, Jackie Chan, Johnnie To, and Kinji Fukasaku. POP! POP!

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