Wuxia Woman, Where Are You?

So, it may seem that I’ve abandoned my love of Chinese wuxia, having seen the bright lights of the kdrama Queen Seondeok and the sexy manly of Korean idol bands like SS501 (oh yes, a WHOLE entry devoted to them is coming)…..

Fret not, I’m still down with my wuxia! I thought people might get a little sick of me continuing to wax poetic about Zhuge Liang, because I can talk all day long about Romance of the Three Kingdoms!  I teach an Asian film and lit class, and that time is rolling around again for the biannual showing of Red Cliff, Parts 1 and 2.  I did watch Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame awhile back, and was pleased, just haven’t got around to putting my thoughts down.

But the historical kdrama and the Chinese wuxia series are closely related to my interests: women you don’t want to mess with, and talented handsome  men who tag along! (How many times do I gotta tell y’all about applying to be my own personal Hwarang?  Then again, I have to think about what function a contemporary Hwarang would have….and do they need a health plan?). So I need a basis for comparison. Plus, the Chinese series are a little slow in coming….I’m not really interested in Chinese Paladin, and I’ve heard bad things about The Jade and the Pearl.  The last ones I watched were The Master of  Tai Chi (with my perennial boo, Vincent Zhao) and The Four (with, you know, those four guys).  While The Master of Tai Chi had several significant women’s roles, The Four had none.  Well, that’s not true, it did have one, but she’s kinda disappointing in the end. Ok, more than one, but it was still not the greatest for women. I keep meaning to hit the new versions of The Book and the Sword and Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, but not yet.

I’ll be back in full effect once my YesAsia shipment gets here: most notably, the 95-episode treatment of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, True Legend, Reign of Assassins, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (DOOOONNNNIIIIEEEE!! I know, not wuxia, but it’s Donnie Yen!).

Don’t worry, I keep my eye on the wuxia world………

Rock the Bells: Ding Dong Suckers!

So I’m finishing The Master of Tai Chi, and noticed just a passing shot that featured a large bell, which got me to thinking how prominently bells are featured in wuxia dramas. Surely there is something to this.

Need to stash your super secret kung fu manual? Carve it on the inside of a bell.  Not only is this the case in The Patriotic Knights, I also think this trick is used in the old school Return of the Condor Heroes ’83.

Wanna deliver some old school justice?  Put your adversary in a bell and set a fire like in  The Legendary Warrior. This move is particularly satisfying, but you gotta commit to watching the whole thing to find out why. Schnacky!

However much I may like the large bells, my favorite use of bells are small bells.  While our ninja friends may value stealth and secrecy, nothing beats the sheer coolness of wearing a bell, or several.  Romance of the Red Dust is NOT my favorite series, but I’ll watch that for dude with bells on his belt.  Which he rings just before he kills you.  Or chickie in…..you guessed it….The Patriotic Knights, whose staff has bells.  She can’t be more than a teenager, but I’ve seen her mess people twice her age up with that staff!

What do bells say?  They say, “I’m so bad, I don’t care if  you know I’m coming!”  Now, all I need to do is find some……..