get into the octagon: kung fu hustle (2004) v shang-chi (2021)

I have an idea in my brains about how I want this to work but, we’ll see if that plays out. In a traditional type of tournament bracket you have a bunch of shit on the left and a bunch of shit on the right and they converge in the middle to denote a champion – but we can’t do that in a written style post like this so I’ll have to go top down and then bottom up and see how this turns out.

[I’d like to point out at the beginning of this event that I don’t particularly like martial arts movies. I tried watching them a little as a kid, you know, those Bruce Lee and Chick Norris thingamajigs but I think i just found them too noisy and not that interesting. I guess. Maybe.]

KUNG FU HUSTLE (2004)

A man named Sing and his buddy named Bone want to be bad motherfuckers and join up with this group of larger bad motherfuckers called The Axe Gang. The Axe Gang run the town(s), you see, and they’ll murder you without a second thought, even if you’re family and, for good measure, do a little dancing. I quit committing crimes against humanity years ago so I don’t dance but if I did, I’d probably do what they do. If you’re not familiar (which you should be, for pete’s sake), here you go:

Sing and Bone go to this shitty little “village” called Pig Sty Alley and try to disrupt things but the hard-ass Landlady runs them off with a bunch of swift kicks to the ass. Later, The Axe Gang come to rid Pig Sty of its shit but they don’t know there are a couple of Kung Fu Masters hiding out in there, just trying to lay low. Fucking awesomely choreographed fighting ensues and soon enough, war is on the way to Pig Sty Alley.

What you may or may not know is that, when he was a kid, Sing bought a pamphlet off of a beggar in the streets that would teach him how to unlock the Way of the Buddhist Palm inside of him. He tried to use his new teachings to save a little girl getting bullied but instead he got his ass kicked and even peed on for his troubles so he turned to a life of crime – too bad he sucks at that too.

With The Axe Gang’s master in the wings, The Beast descending on Pig Sty Alley to kill everybody, will Sing be able to unleash the power within him and save the day? And the love interest girl with the lollipops? And even the kid who can’t keep his ass covered up and finds himself in perilous situations all the time?

We’ll see how this battle turns out and announce a winner at the bottom of this post!

(to fully appreciate this beautiful piece of written art, in a choose your own adventure model, please skip to just below the Shang-Chi poster and read up)

We’ll see how this battle turns out and announce a winner at the bottom of this post!

With the Black Dragon descending on the enchanted village to suck everyone’s souls out, will Shang be able to unleash the power within him and save the day? And the love interest girl with the bow and arrow? And even the actor who just can’t help but be in perilous situations all the time?

Without throwing those spoilers out here, pretty soon the race is on to get back to the enchanted forest / village and either set the ghost of the mom free or prevent the destruction of all mankind at the hands of a big, black dragon. I have to say this now because I just have to: Disney has been knocking it out lately with the kid-placement products / characters like Baby Yoda, Miss Minutes and Pizza Dog (I’m actually wearing a Miss Minutes shirt right now) but they really oooopsed on the headless ham / chicken here. Morris was his name, I think. The plush looks a lot better than he did in the move though.

How did this go? 1000 years ago some dude found some rings and they made him immortal and super powerful. One day he meets up with some woman in an enchanted forest and threatens her with his bracelets (the rings). In my favorite part of the whole movie, she looks at him, says something like “You have nice jewelry” and then beats his sorry, all powerful ass in a fight. As it has gone since time began, sure fucking enough, he knocks her up and before long she has two kids. The dad trains the boy to be a wicked ass kicking assassin and leaves the girl in her stone walled room to watch. I could toss in some spoilers but I bet you know how this is going to go.

While I don’t tend to talk about these types of (marvel) movies, I do watch ’em and pretty much like them in general. If we confine ourselves here to (current) Marvel, I think I’ve only NOT liked a couple – Iron Man 3 and Black Widow. And maybe Thor – I think I liked the second one but no one else did. I had no real desire to see Shang Chi because I don’t like martial arts movies but we’d been watching Hawkeye (!! It’s great !!) and it has (had) a lot of ties to Black Widow so we figured we’d better watch this one so we’re all caught up. I still haven’t seen Eternals and I sure won’t pay 40 fucking bucks for it so I’ll catch it when it’s out for free. I mean, as ‘free’ as ‘free’ gets since we already pay for Disney so – blurg. But – Shang Chi – hey this was a LOT better than I expected. Granted my expectations were “I don’t want to watch this” but still – I thought this was pretty good.

SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (2021)

[I’d like to point out at the beginning of this event that – hey – who doesn’t like comedy – I do but I probably don’t get a lot of the comedy that many people do. My type of comedy comes with lines like this: “There’s a spherical object resting in the highway. And it ain’t a piece of the car.” (That was actually going to be the name of this blog you’re looking at but I thought, what if I want to tell someone about this some day? “I have this blog” “what’s the site?” “theresasphericalobjectrestinginthehighwayanditaintapieceofthecar.com” “O I C” replies someone smiling and pretending to type that address and then leaving my presence forever) I also like lines like: “He’s got the sandwich in one hand and the fucking head in the other!” (which was going to be the second choice for this blog but, see above)] So – comedy yes but Martial Arts Comedy? No one will ever be able to replicate Big Trouble in Little China but we’ll see here]

~The big decision below~

**CLANG CLANG CLANG HERE COMES THE TROLLEY! LET’S SEE WHO COMES OUT VICTORIOUS!**

I would say that if we’re looking into the technical specs of these things, Marvel has Disney’s money so they have a billion dollars per film to try and produce billion dollar films – so we would have to give advantage to Disney and Marvel’s billion dollar, diamond lined billfolds. BUT – like my old friend used to say ‘you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a fucking pig’ so, while neither one of these things are fucking pigs, if you look back to 2004 there ARE some very shitty looking CGI turns (I’m looking at you cartoon style, roadrunner chase scene and snakebite lips) but they also pull off some good shit. The fight sequences are crazy good and that twin harp death scene was pretty incredible. Also – when she pulls out that bell – ooo lah lah I love it. FILM MIASMA ADVANTAGE: KUNG FU HUSTLE

Both of the stories are basically the same, just told differently, except Shang Chi deals with lots of daddy problems. Sing seems to basically a dirt cheap piece of shit kid who wants to be a hero. Shang Chi is brought up to be an assassin. Both have to fight the big bad and turn up getting the girl. They win! I think what I like most of the two is that Pig Sty is a place with much (and many) more entertaining characters than just whatshername Aqua Awkwafina being a smartass. I mean – Tailor, Coolie and Donut – WIN! and the Landlord and Landlady – I love them! I also thought KFH was a lot more funny and – I watch it every now and then and I don’t really need (or want) to see Shang Chi again. FILM MIASMA ADVANTAGE: KUNG FU HUSTLE

Well – this post has gone on far too long so let’s wrap this fucker up. Hustle has everything (almost) that works for me while Shang Chi is an entertaining movie that you can make when you have LOTS and LOTS of money and are trying to (I think) appeal to a much younger demographic than I am. It’s full of super pretty colors and dragons and aqua awkwafina. And for some reason one of the guys from Doctor Strange is in it cage fighting one of the bad guys from an old Hulk movie. But they’re friends. So what the fuck? But it’s super pretty and there’s a pig-chicken in it. And moving trees! And it’s pretty!

IN CONCLUSION: Kung Fu Hustle reaches Buddhist Palm level and smashes Shang Chi into defeat.

FILED UNDER: THE OCTAGON

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