Kung Fu Movies: Mar’s Villa (1978)

A much more “classic” kung fu film this time around.  Or, at least, what I feel like a classic should be, given my uneducated state.  Starting with the previous movie (Circle of Iron) looks like a mistake now that I look back.  But part of this whole project is trying to discover the movies in the first place.

So in this movie, we have a lot of the elements that I think should be in any classic kung fu movie: bad dialogue, contrived traps and killings, random acrobatics, jumping off of tall structures, lots of staring and fast/tight zooming into and out of actors’ faces, forced marriage, weird hair and eyebrows, twins who fight as a team, and so on.

But the ending was abrupt.  Enough so that I went, “*blink* Huh?  That’s the end?” and skipped back to see if maybe something had gone wrong.  But I was streaming it from Netflix, and sure enough, that was it.  A very fast, “hero and his wife start walking” and that was it.  Cut.  No fade, no moment to watch them, nothing.  Just bam.  End.

So that felt a little lackluster, given the epic fighting scene that took place before it.

There were also a few areas where it seemed as if some important stuff was left on the cutting room floor.  Or else it should have just been edited out.  For instance, the brother of the wife dies, there’s a few seconds of the hero being upset because he didn’t get there in time to save him, and then we never hear about the brother again.  Not even to get a reaction from the wife whose brother just died!  In another scene, the hero and his sidekick talk about how he should leave, it’s too dangerous with all the opponents around, and the hero states that no, he will rebuild his school and wealth, you’ll see…. oh, and by the way, do you know where they took my wife when they kidnapped her?

A few things I noticed in this movie:

  • apparently, in kung fu movies, people walk everywhere.
  • The prime role of a student is to run around yelling, “Master!  Master!”
  • It’s a pretty bad idea to walk into a building/temple/field/etc that’s completely empty, because by now you should know that a horde of opponents are going to jump out from every nook and cranny (think English muffins, except with weapons and more yelling).

Another thing I noticed is that it’s not dishonorable to have a cohort join the hero in his battle against the villian. Maybe villians undergo additional training to handle this.

Oh, another thing: somehow, people can get beat up for 10 minutes without looking worse for the wear, then other people (not just the hero / villians!) can get hit twice and die.

Themes:

  • quest for patience over violence
  • challenger of a technique
  • kidnapping and rescue
  • uncertain adversary: friend or foe?
  • vengeful family
  • training for goal

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