Wuxia: A Question of Balance
The qi of springtime is on the move up here in the mountains around the Dragon Gate Inn. Stand anywhere on the ground, especially in your bare feet, and you can feel the earth’s urge to grow flow through you. It’s a great time to be doing taichi outside – energy is everywhere!
I’ve been to the movies and had a great time watching Iron Man ride his energy to a great height - way above all those other “super heroes.” There might have been some qi involved, but to my eyes, it was mostly the energy of good characterization – the critics are right on, Robert Downey Jr. IS Iron Man, great job! If I could afford it, I would have turned around and gone right back in and seen it again. I’ll contain myself till the DVD is released – definitely one I’ll add to my collection.
So once again, good characters and good storytelling trumps a lot of money spent on special effects. Don’t get me wrong, the special effects were fantastic, but it was
But is it “wuxia”? Look at it: wu for martial, certainly. And xia for chivalry – however you define it, Tony Stark’s character arc attains it once he realizes how naïve he’s been about his weapons industry. Good stuff! This is not mindless gunfire and explosions, not an excessive emphasis on the martial side – there is a balance here and that, for me makes the best kind of wuxia.
Once upon at time, even East Asian wuxia had this balance. It wasn’t just revenge driven martial arts. I still return to the altar of Seven Samurai to be reminded of what heights this genre can attain. And apparently even Western movie makers can still reach that level. Mark Pollard (www.kungfucinema.com) has a great review of the David Mamet movie Redbelt. I haven’t seen this one, yet, but Mark writes,
REDBELT is the American FEARLESS, THROWDOWN, and TWILIGHT SAMURAI all rolled into one. It is the American martial arts movie that finally hits the mark dead center in action and philosophy and at the right time and place. For anyone with an interest in a great dramatic story, MMA [mixed martial arts] fighting or any martial arts regardless of technique, this is a must-see film.
As for your humble Innkeeper’s projects, I’ve got my fingers crossed for the possible publication of a murder mystery I wrote a number of years ago. Naturally, it’s set in
At the same time, there is a long, long, on going project – a trilogy sent in my beloved Tang dynasty. First volume is complete with the second volume in progress – slow progress, I’m too distracted with all this other stuff! But this trilogy is epic stuff that will take the reader the length and breadth of 7th century
There’s more going on, but let’s have some sense of balance here! Enough, for now!