Kung Fu Movies: Circle of Iron (1978)

The first film in my kung fu film foray was Circle of Iron with David Carradine.   I didn’t know this before watching it, but the intro screen of the movie told me that Bruce Lee (and two others) wrote this script under the original name The Silent Flute and that he wanted to incorporate some of his (mostly Zen) philosophy into a movie.  As such, the movie did have a preachy element to it.  It was obvious that the writers were trying to make points, especially in a few scenes where a character (usually one of Carradine’s four) infodumps some philosophy.  Given the time period of its release, the movie likely served as an introduction for eastern philosophy and martial arts for some viewers.

What struck me the most about this movie was the editing. Some scenes went on way too long.  Others felt too random and out of place within the narrative.  I didn’t write about it, but I remember thinking the same thing back when I watched Mad Max: “What the hell did that have to do with anything?”

It makes me wonder how much of it is a sign of the times and how much is just the project, its budget, and the staff available.  I don’t doubt that movies and visual storytelling has changed in the thirty years since this movie was made.  Yet I also know from other movies that the nature of this film isn’t de-facto across all movies of the time period, either.  I expect to get a better view of this as I continue to watch movies.

Themes/archetypes:

  • competition as selection for task
  • wrong person chosen for task
  • character goes anyways and overcomes what chosen one could not
  • series of trials
  • hidden teachers
  • real / assumed nature of the sought-after thing differs

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2 Responses to “Kung Fu Movies: Circle of Iron (1978)”

  1. Hayley September 29, 2010 at 12:03 am #

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