New to DVD/VOD this week:
IRON FISTS AND KUNG FU KICKS
A look at the origins and popularization of martial arts films.
Taking a fast and furious approach to this genre love letter, director Serge Ou assembles an impressive collection of film clips – beginning with the prolific output of Hong Kong’s legendary Shaw Brothers and continuing, more or less, to the present day – with commentary from an expansive parade of talking heads representing actors, academics, and film programmers. Best when focused on the giddy enjoyment of the films themselves, with their over-the-top action and wild energy – echoed to an excessive degree in the doc’s distracting score – the film also tries to make the case or martial arts mania’s impact on such disparate developments as hip-hop, parkour, and even boxing dramas like ROCKY – some claims more convincingly than others. While, unsurprisingly, best suited to pre-existing genre fans, Ou’s doc still has its pleasures for the casual viewer.