Kung-Fu and Comedy
Contrary to popular belief, martial arts movies and humor have gone hand in hand since Shaw Brothers came onto the scene. They introduced the groundbreaking genre of kung-fu to the world with many of their films receiving astounding global praise.
Looking for your next binge watching adventure? I recommend some of my favorite kung-fu cult classics. Start with something like The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Some might know the film as The Master Killer, Shaolin Killer, or Shao Lin San Shi Liu Fang. Spoiler alert, if you’ve never been introduced, here it is. You’re welcome.
Gordon Liu is ‘San Te’
Who would have thought the audience would find a vein of comical relief in the act of people trading violent blows that could injure? Well, the answer is in the banter, in the art, in the character of Liu Yude. An energetic young man who is determined to avenge his fallen friends.
He enters the stage as a peculiar goofball. Yet, his good-hearted nature reveals the warrior inside. A man who wants to defend his community from the tyranny of an oppressive ruler, he takes a beating and gets back up.
San Te finds the start of his path at the Shaolin Temple. If you haven’t guessed it, he is initially rejected. However, as every satisfying story must go, the protagonist overcomes all odds with surprising results.
Kung-Fu Is Always On His Mind
Could you imagine, 35 chambers of purely physical training? The routine. The hours. The work. You’re sore, fatigued, and hungry. Discipline is high though. Your body needs that conditioning.
When an individual is dedicated to their art, it’s not unheard of for them to dream about it. I have. In fact, sometimes my body can attempt the technique in my sleep. Shuto, cross, back-fist, and my pillow ends up on the floor.
Maybe the student loses sleep over it. This happens to all martial artists, the struggle with the sandman. You try and find the time to rest, but when you don’t train, you can’t sleep.
It’s all he thinks about, especially when expert understanding is just around the corner. That corner being 35 grueling chambers. He learns to adapt to the pain and understand that pain is fleeting. Now humbled, he has become a force that will not be ignored.
Years later, San Te has pushed his training through every chamber. His body has healed time and time again from bruised knuckles, hurt pride, and bloody wounds.
Wondering where the comedy breaks in? As mentioned above, Liu Yude/San Te is quite a character. Following this chapter of his life and listening to or watching his silly antics throughout the training is well worth the watch.
After all, who doesn’t want to root for a relatable character fighting for a righteous cause?
Defending what you care about, what a reason to fight for, right? At this point, you will have to check out the film to catch all the details that haven’t been covered.
More Kung-Fu Cult Classics
Have you ever wondered why some people are entertained by watching others fight? There’s nothing wrong with pondering that. For further study, explore more of the films produced by Shaw Brothers.
Their movies have developed a wide audience throughout the decades. Generations of artists across different disciplines have been influenced by their cinematic works.
Think this movie will make you laugh? The second installment, Return to the 36th Chamber will definitely entertain. Disciples of the 36th Chamber should be the obvious follow-up.
Not all Shaw Brothers movies contain comedy. That relief was added in the late 1970’s to reduce the seriousness of these Novel told stories.
To read more about The Shaw Brothers, Go To: www.sinfullyvin.com The Shaw Brothers
or visit Hong Kong Cinema
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