Tag Archives: martial arts

Movie Review – Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

It’s official, 3.5 readers.

The first Asian avenger is here.

BQB with a review of the latest Marvel flick.

Post Endgame, it felt like Marvel might have hit a bit of a slump, story wise. SPOILER ALERT, certain big characters were written out of the narrative (Iron Man died, Captain America traveled back in time, lived his life in his time period, then got super old, Black Widow died.)

And while it’s not impossible in a comic book-verse to bring back the deceased (Black Widow came back in her titular movie via a prequel, Loki came back in a Disney Plus show via an uber complicated, I still don’t understand plot involving time travel and the multi-verse) it looks like Marvel’s lesser knowns, like Captain Marvel, Dr. Strange and company will be carrying the franchise’s water for a while.

(Yes, I know this is where comic book nerds throw a shoe at my head and tell me Captain Marvel and Dr. Strange aren’t lesser knowns but I mean, to the general, non-comic reading public at large?)

Long story short, Marvel flew this one under the radar. Not a ton of promotion unlike their others. Not a lot of hype. I thought by the trailer I see a couple months ago it was going to be good and low and behold, I was not disappointed.

The plot? Awkafina! I kid, but seriously, she serves as a tres adorbs plot device. Shaun (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) have been friends since junior high school and now as young adults, they act a lot like a couple though they have yet to admit it.

One day, their seemingly normal lives are upended when Shaun is attacked by a band of kick-ass baddies with mad kung-fu skills. When he breaks out some skills of his own and defeats them with ease, Katy becomes that character many movies have, the one the audience follows down the rabbit hole as all the rules of this new world are explained.

Turns out Shaun is really Shang-Chi and has hidden a secret life from his BFF/Possible GF for years. His father is the legendary Wenwu, an immortal figure who, with the aid of his super awesome ten rings, has secretly run the world for over a thousand years. Together, Shang and Katy must travel to China, confront Shang’s old man, save the world and yadda, yadda, yadda. I won’t spoil the rest.

There are some pretty great martial arts fight scenes, special effects, and tie-ins to the Avenger-verse that surprisingly hit the mark and aren’t clunky (i.e. they are good and not like the TV shows where someone will pretend that Thor just walked by and sorry you missed him.)

Overall, I do think Iron Man and Captain America were the two big draws of the Avengers films (though Spiderman is doing yeoman’s work as of late) but with Shang-Chi, Marvel is succeeding in breathing new, exciting life to the lesser knowns. Keep in mind as of 2008, the general non-comic reading public was only semi-familiar with the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor (everyone knew the Hulk) but they were built into powerhouses with rich back stories. For Shang-Chi, this was a great first shot across the bow and I have a hunch the next one could totally be a summer blockbuster that will put a lot of butts in seats (assuming the pandemic is over by then and we aren’t on the sigma variant or the epsilon variant or the woobie doobie variant or whatever.)

Bonus points for Awkwafina. I think she’s great in everything she does and is a prime example of how social media has given rise to a lot of stars who may never have had their chance to shine without this new technology. (Google her “My Vag” song for uproarious laughter even if you are a decade late to the party on that one.) To the film’s credit, they did’t make her outrageously wacky here, but still capitalized on the humor that would ensue if one day you discovered your BFF was secretly hiding a double life as a kung-fu master.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

Tagged , , , , ,

Zom Fu – Chapter 58

tabletdemo
General Tsang’s knees were old and weak. The pain was getting to him as he ran through the streets of the Forbidden City, slip sliding through rain soaked cobble stone paths.

“We’ll reach the escape passage soon, Your Majesty,” the general said to his wee charge. The Emperor’s little arms were wrapped so tightly around the general’s neck that the old man struggled for air.

The general came to a crossroads. None of the options looked promising. Zombified warriors approached from the side streets to the left and the right, as well as from the road straight ahead.

“We’ll have to double back,” the general said as he turned around only to find Rage Dog standing in front of him, his hair slick and wet. A flash of lightning illuminated the night sky. A thunderclap followed.

“Come back for more, have you?” General Tsang asked.

Rage Dog laughed. He drew closer, as did the zombified warriors. Evil closed in from all sides as the general produced his dagger.

“Don’t worry,” General Tsang said. “You’ll get it.”

Tagged , , , ,

Zom Fu – Chapter 55

tabletdemo

The lightning flowed into the Staff of Ages and surged with in it. Dragonhand laughed maniacally. “Muah ha ha! When everyone is dead, China shall be mine!”

The clicking of a tongue broke the fiend’s concentration. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. My worst student. Do you not realize that if everyone is dead, there will be nothing left in China that is worth ruling? How very sad the irony is lost on you.”

Dragonhand looked the ghost before him. “Yaozu, you pathetic has-been. You look so much better this way.”

“I admit the look has grown on me,” the Infallible Master replied.

Junjie stepped up next to his master. The fiend laughed and laughed and laughed.

“What?” Dragonhand asked. “You’ve brought your weakling for me to finish him off?”

Junjie laughed. The Infallible Master laughed. Dragonhand laughed. The lightning continued to pour in from the ceiling and down into the Staff of Ages as the trio shared a guffaw.

Fwoosh! Junjie’s fist caught on fire. He formed a fire ball in his hands. He caressed it, packed it as if it were a snowball. It grew larger and larger until finally, he hurled it at his adversary. Dragonhand knocked the ball out of air with a fire ball of his own.

“What the?” was the best response Dragonhand was able to muster.

A powerful stream of fire poured of of Junjie’s right hand. Dragonhand deflected the attack with another fire stream. The opponents pushed their flames toward one another, desperately trying to gain ground until….KABOOM! The flames exploded in the center of the throne room.

“My, my, my,” Dragonhand said. “Whose brain have you been nibbling on, boy?”

“The Staff of Ages did not select you, for obvious reasons,” the Infallible Master said. “I’ll have you return it to its rightful owner, if you please.”

“Oh, who cares what you want, old man,” Dragonhand said. “Why are you still here, anyway? Too much of a coward to face Diyu?”

“Perhaps,” the Infallible Master replied. “Then again, perhaps I’m too honorable to leave this world without rectifying the mistake I left behind.”

Junjie raised his flaming fists.

“Ahh,” Dragonhand said. “You violated your sacred duty as the jailer of Shaoshang, didn’t you, Yaozu? And now, in seeking to destroy me, you have unleashed an even more dangerous monster.”

“There isn’t a monster on this earth more dangerous than you,” the Infallible Master replied.

“With all of the horrors that lurk within Shaoshang’s brain, it would be impossible for any man to consume it without becoming a sadistic creature,” Dragonhand said.

“Junjie is the greatest student I have ever had…”

Dragonhand snarled as he shot a fireball that passed right through the old man’s ghost form. “I was the best student you ever had!”

“Clearly you weren’t or you would not be dishonoring me as you do now,” the Infallible Master said.

“Clearly I was and you were just too much of a senile old fool to recognize it!” Dragonhand said.

“Junjie is the best student I ever had,” the Infallible Master repeated. “And he is the best man I have ever known. Shaoshang’s madness does not importune his senses one iota.”

Dragonhand returned his gaze to the Staff of Ages. The purple ruby grew brighter and brighter. “Fools. I’ll waste no more time on a dead man…or a boy soon to be dead.”

Lightning struck the Staff of Ages over and over again.

“Yes,” the Infallible Master said. “Take the easy way out, as you always do, as you always have done.”

Dragonhand’s interested was piqued. “The easy way?”

“My worst student could never possibly defeat my best student in a fair fight,” the Infallible Master said.

The fiend looked at Junjie, then at the Staff. “Damn you, Yaozu!”

The lightning stopped pouring in from the roof. The fiend pointed the staff at his old master. “I will show you once and for all who your best student was!”

“I’m counting on it,” the Infallible Master said.

Tagged , , , ,

Zom Fu = #677 in Wattpad Horror

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

Check it out.  Zom Fu is #677 in Wattpad Horror:

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 11.33.57 AM

If you’re a Wattpadder, maybe consider giving it a vote, or a comment, or some feedback on how I can make it better.  I mean, it’s a tale that involves kung fu AND zombies, so it is already pretty awesome, but if you have suggestions I am all ears.

Thank you 3.5.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Zom Fu – Chapter 51

tabletdemo

Bingwen, the Palace Guards, Lickspittle, and a contingent of brain bite clan members stood in the Emperor’s bedroom, staring at Rage Dog, who was still pinned to the wall.

“Free me, dullards,” Rage Dog said.

Lickspittle walked up to the captive. “The master will surely punish you when he sees how you have failed him. Dragonhand is not one to…”

Dragonhand’s voice bellowed through the room. “What is the meaning of this?”

“Rage Dog has failed you, master!” the toady said. “He is incompetent and unworthy and…”

“Bahhh!” Dragonhand punched his fist into the wall, leaving a deep hole. He then drew General Tsang’s sword out of Rage Dog’s gut and lopped off Lickspittle’s head with it.

“No, master!” Lickspittle’s head cried as it bounced across the floor. “Don’t forsake me! Rage Dog was the one who…”

Crunch! Lickspittle’s cranium collapsed under the wait of Dragonhand’s foot.

“I can’t stand whiners,” Dragonhand said.

Rage Dog looked up, only to find himself staring at General Tsang’s sword.

“Will you fail me again?” Dragonhand asked.

Rage Dog trembled. “No…no, master.”

Dragonhand handed General Tsang’s sword to Rage Dog. “See that you don’t. If you do, kill yourself and save me the trouble.”

The fiend looked to Bingwen. “Go with him.”

“Yes, sir,” Bingwen said.

Rage Dog and his new minions dispersed. Dragonhand made his way back to the throne room. There, he found the Staff of Ages, which he had left propped up against the Dragon Throne.

The fiend took the seat he’d so longed for, then raised the staff high in the air. The ruby glowed bright purple.

“If no one will bring the Emperor to me, then I will kill every last man, woman and child in China and sort through the bodies myself until his brain is mine.”

Tagged , ,

Zom Fu Book Cover

Behold, 3.5 readers, the book cover for Zom Fu in all of its brain yanking glory.

Now I just need to finish writing the book.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

coverfinal

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Zom Fu – Chapter 28

karate-312472_1280

General Tsang entered the Emperor’s throne room, a wondrous place where the walls were lined with gold and red columns stretched to the ceiling. He climbed a set of steps and took in the sight of the illustrious Dragon Throne, a magnificent seat adorned with carvings of the legendary fire breathing lizards.

The general waited patiently and did his best to choke down his bile as he observed Advisor Zhen’s rotund posterior parked in a place normally reserved for the country’s leader. To the left and right of the throne stood two stoic members of the Imperial Guard, each clad in traditional blue and white uniforms with red plumes coming out of the tops of their helmets.

Off to the far left stood Captain Yuen, Commander of the Imperial Guard. Tsang and Yuen traded respectful nods.

A boney old farmer in dirty rags groveled before the advisor. He looked as though he hadn’t eaten in weeks. Meanwhile, the advisor wore green robes sewn from the finest fabric. His neck and fingers were decorated in enough jewelry to feed the old man, his family, his village, and a hundred other villages into perpetuity.

“Please, noble advisor,” the old man said. “The taxes you have imposed…they are too great.”

Two beauties stood near the advisor. One waved a fan towards the fat man’s face while the other periodically plucked grapes and popped them into the chubby bureaucrat’s gob.

“You don’t wish to help your country?” the advisor asked.

“Oh no, sir,” the old man said. “It’s just that…the children. They are wasting away.”

A beauty popped a grape into the advisor’s mouth. It was quickly gobbled. “I see. Then you do not wish to help your Emperor?”

“No,” the farmer said. “It’s not that at all. Please, Advisor Zhen, you must understand the people of my village, they toil in the fields day and night, working themselves to the bone and yet they have nothing to show for it. Your tax collectors take it all and yet they continue to harass us, telling us we owe more.”

“Well then,” Advisor Zhen said between grape chomps. “I suggest that you do as they say and pay them more.”

The frustration on the old farmer’s face was palpable. “But we have no more!”

Advisor Zhen hoisted his heft upward and looked down on the peasant. “Why do you bore me with such lies?”

The farmer was bewildered by the accusation. “Sir?”

“If your life is as difficult as you say it is, then surely you would not have time to assail my ears with your tedious whining,” Advisor Zhen said. “You’d be out foraging for berries or eating dirt before you’d come to me with this nonsense.”

“But we have done that,” the old man said.

Advisor Zhen shooed the farmer away with a flick of his wrist. “Whatever your village’s taxes were before, considered them…doubled.”

The old man clutched his chest. “Sir?”

“Do you want them to be tripled?” Advisor Zhen asked.

The old man shook his head. “No! Please, sir, no.”

The advisor leaned back on the throne and focused on his next grape. “Away with you, wretch. Do not return with such contrived tales of woe again.”

“Yes sir,” the old man said. He bowed, then turned and hurried out of the throne room.

“Now then,” the advisor said as he slapped his hands together and rubbed them, then looked to his beauties. “Who wants to play a game of slap and tickle?”

The beauties giggled. General Tsang cleared his throat to grab the pig’s attention.

“Oh,” Advisor Zhen said. “Someone left a pile of shit in a suit of armor on my doorstep. What is it, Tsang?”

Tsang stepped forward. “If you can take a break from testing the bolts in the Emperor’s throne with your corpulent ass, I need a word.”

Tagged , , , ,

Movie Review – Way of the Dragon (1972)

I love it when I can watch movies related to a project I’m working on and call it research.

Bruce Lee’s signature film, a super hairy Chuck Norris and a whole helluva lot of kung fu.

BQB here with a review of Way of the Dragon.

I have to be honest.  This film is considered to be the quintessential martial arts film but when I look through it via a modern frame of mind then…well, yeah, it kind of stinks.

It’s basically one step above being a high school AV club project.  The plot is goofy.  In Rome, a  mafia don wants a restaurant owned by Uncle Wang and, I guess his relative of some sort, maybe his daughter or some shit I don’t know because it’s hard to understand, so what the hell, we’ll just call her his daughter, Chen Ching Hua (Nora Miao).

Chen’s other uncle from Hong Kong sends a friend, Tang Lung (Bruce Lee), to Rome to help protect the restaurant and beat up some motherfuckers with his kung fu skills.

Throughout the film, there are cheesy jokes aplenty.  For example, Tang Lung arrives at the airport and an old lady stares at him, unsure what to make of him.  He then orders soup at an airport restaurant but his elderly waitress is confused as to what he wants.  He points to soup on the menu a bunch of times, so she brings him like twenty bowls of soup.

Being a gentlemen, Tang Lung eats it all and then throughout the first part of the film it becomes a running joke that he needs to keep asking for a bathroom because he has the soupy shits.

Meanwhile, the don’s top henchman is a flamboyantly gay, scarf clad stereotype, so outlandish in fact that I’d love to get Ken Jeong on the phone just to ask if he based Mr. Chow in The Hangover films on this character.

Blah, blah, blah, there are a lot of jokes, a lot of fights, a lot of squabbling over what is going to happen to the restaurant and then, wham!  There’s the big finish in which the don hires American martial artist Colt (aka Chuck Fucking Norris) to take down Tang Lung, because apparently, he really wants that fucking restaurant.

Add to the list of the movie’s plot holes a lack of an explanation as to why this restaurant is so important.  The don goes through like nine-hundred henchmen just to get his hands on this joint.  Is gold buried under the floor boards?  Is it prime real estate that can be sold at a high markup?  What the hell is going on here?  Oh well.  Nobody knows.

And I also digress.  This film was Chuck Norris’ big screen debut and holy shit, was he a sight to behold in his youthful, pre-mustache glory.  The man had a bear-like mange of chest hair, so luxurious that Bruce tears a hunk out of it during the final fight scene.

The man’s back was even hairy.  That shit just wouldn’t fly today.  If you want to be on screen then you have to be waxed, but they didn’t care about that shit in the 1970s.  Hell, hairiness was a sign of virility.  The hairier you were, the more poon you got and let me tell you, by the look of his back, young Chuck Norris was swimming in strange.

Can you believe I once had a girlfriend who complained about my hairy back?  Shit.  I bet young Chuck Norris didn’t have to put up with uppity broads trying to rub Nair all over his shoulder blades.

I have digressed again.  Look, the film is on Netflix so you should check it out.  Don’t shit on the film as I have but rather, keep in mind that it was a 1970s flick, made at a time when martial arts films were just getting started.  Ignore the cheesiness, the silly jokes, and the terrible English voiceover dubbing.

The final fight scene is intense.  Bruce and Chuck never speak to each other but it is clear they are both professionals.  They silently taunt one another but they also fight with honor and respect.

Come for the movie.  Stay until the end for the epic final showdown between Bruce and Chuck, two titans in all of their glory.  Sadly, the world lost Bruce way, way too young, but at least Chuck stuck around long enough to grow a sweet mustache, appear in a shit ton of B movies and become an Internet meme.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Invent a time machine and bring me back to the 1970s, a time when men were men and the only limit to the amount of chicks they could bag was measured by the amount of bear-like fur on their manly chests and backs.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Zom Fu – Chapter 26

karate-312472_1280

The Forbidden City was a vast complex of architecturally impressive buildings, walled off from the rest of the world, leaving anyone without the Emperor’s permission “forbidden” from entering. In the center of it all stood the Imperial Palace, the tallest, most luxurious structure in the entire country.

The gruff and grizzled General Tsang wore impeccably polished black armor. His posture was rigid. His demeanor was curt. In his youth, a knife had been dragged across the right side of his face, from just underneath his eye all the way to his jaw. The wound never slowed him down, but the scar remained.

The general walked on top of the city’s wall, inspecting his troops along the way. One young soldier appeared to be suffering a case of poor posture.

“Stand up straight like a man!” the general barked. The soldier immediately complied.

Further on down the wall, the general found Weiyuan and Tengfei, his two laziest soldiers. They engaged in a frivolous conversation, paying attention to anything but their duties.

Weiyuan puffed out his chest, put a dour expression on his face and did his best General Tsang impression. “‘Blah, blah, blah! I’m the boss! Blah, blah, your armor is out of order. Beg for forgiveness and kill yourself! Blah, blah, blah!’”

Tengfei slapped his knee and laughed until he saw “the boss” approaching. He straightened up quickly.

“‘Blah, blah, blah!’” shouted Weiyuan.

Tengfei looked away.

“What?” Weiyuan asked.

Tengfei kept quiet.

Weiyuan gulped. “He’s right behind me, isn’t he?”

“Unghh,” came the general’s grunt of disapproval. Weyuan quickly joined Tengfei in standing at attention.

“Do you two think it is funny to mock your commanding officer?” the general asked.

“He did it all on his own!” Tengfei blurted out. “I tried to stop him. Oh, I how I tried!”

“Lies!” shouted Weiyuan. “It was all his idea, sir! Please punish this rapscallion! He is a walking offense to the Imperial Army.”

The general grunted. “Do you think it would be funny if an assassin were to sneak through these walls and make quick work of the Emperor while you two fools are amusing yourselves?”

Weiyuan and Tengfei looked at one another then met the general’s eyes with blank stares.

“Is this is a trick question, sir?” Weiyuan asked.

The general provided the correct response. “No, it would not!”

“Right, sir,” Weiyuan said.

“That wouldn’t be funny at all, sir,” Tengfei added.

“Return to your duties or I’ll have you both skinned alive and boiled in oil,” the general said.

“Yes sir,” the soldiers replied in unison.

As the general headed down the wall, he could hear his subordinates whisper about him.

“He’s in a better mood than usual,” Weiyuan said.

“Thank goodness,” Tengfei replied.

Further on down, the general came across a soldier with a smudge on his breastplate.

“What is that?” the general asked.

The general broke out in a cold sweat and began shaking. “What is what, sir?”

General Tsang snapped his pointer finger up, brushed it across the smudge, then showed the soldier the filth that had rubbed off.

“You make me sick,” the general said.

“I…I’m sorry sir,” the soldier said. “I make myself sick as well. A thousand apologies.”

“You will get no sleep tonight,” the general said. “You will polish your armor until sunrise and you will show up for duty looking presentable or I will personally throw you off the side of this wall. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir,” the soldier said.

The general slapped the soldier’s arm. “Good. Say hello to your mother for me, Cousin Nianzu.”

“Yes sir,” Nianzu replied.

The general reached a quiet, lonely spot and took a moment to observe the city below. Bureaucrats, administrators and servants all hurried about, tending to their duties in service of the Emperor.

“General,” came the voice of an old man.

On pure instinct, General Tsang drew his sword and turned, only to find the ghost of…

“Infallible Master?” the general asked.

“The same,” the master answered.

The general returned his weapon to its scabbard. “Congratulations on your mastery of astral projection. I knew you’d figure it out one day.”

“Thank you,” the master said.

“Still,” the general said. “I’d prefer to see you in person.”

“Would that I could,” the master said. “But I can’t, for I am dead.”

Tagged , ,

Zom Fu – Part 4 – Aftermath

karate-312472_1280

Junjie is beside himself with woe.  The Infallible Master will walk the earth forever as a ghost, Mei-Ling is a statue and Niu is a brain addict.

Chapter 22          Chapter 23          Chapter 24           Chapter 25

Tagged , ,