My foray into reductive, click-bait, list type articles on Buzzfeed was short-lived. Oh well, here’s my article that, for some reason, didn’t get to the front page.
1. The plots are really weak
Many of you will be familiar with plots where broken washing machines invariably lead to copulation. The premises of some of these pornographic films are absurdly bad. Consider the film Throat a Cautionary Tale, starring the actress Sasha Grey, where the viewer is supposed to swallow the concept of a woman with a clitoris in her throat. The plots of some martial arts films are just as flimsy. Continuing the theme of mislocated anatomy, Tony Jaa must find the stolen head of a Buddha statue in the Muay Thai epic: Ong Bak. In his follow-up film Tom-yum-Goong, Tony Jaa, now apparently a chronic victim of kleptomania, must retrieve some stolen elephants. It’s almost as if the plot came as an afterthought to the action.
2. You’re only interested in the action scenes
I once managed to obtain a copy of Jet Li’s Fist of Legend without dubbing or English subtitles. Understandably, I just skipped through to all the excellently choreographed fight scenes. Let’s face it though; even when one does understand the clumsy plots, we only watch martial arts films for the action scenes. The same can be said of ‘pornos,’ as we flick back and forth to the ‘best bits.’ This feat is made more difficult as it must often be accomplished with the use of just one hand!
3. The dialogue is really poor
On the rare occasions I decide to watch the non-action scenes, the dire dialogue causes me to rue my decision. Despite this, the culmination of terrible acting, perfunctory script and tenuous sexual links often has funny results.
“You stupid piece of shit, this shirt was 400 dollars and now you want to touch my tits?”
This quote from The Slutmother (I wonder on what film this was based?) perfectly demonstrates the awkward dissonance of having to act like a macho, high-profile gangster who readily dishes out sexual offers one cannot refuse.
Martial arts films are not spared from such hilariously bad quotes. This is especially true of older kung-fu films, where meaning may be lost in translation:
“Well! Masturbate in hell!”
Clearly the above quote from Full Contact (starring Chow Yun-Fat) would not be out of place in a porno.
4. They have interchangeable titles
The Forbidden Kingdom, Unleashed, Fist of Fury. These are the titles of martial arts movies, but, laden with sexual innuendo, they could just as easily be the names of pornographic films. They even correspond to specific sub-genres of porn. Enter the Dragon? Well, that’s clearly some MILF-related narrative. The Big Boss? That’s tailored to those with a BBW fetish.
Like many of these films’ protagonists, this phenomenon goes both ways. Manhunters, Uninhibited and, at a push, Penetrator, could all conceivably be the titles of martial arts movies. In this vein, Edward Penishands is perhaps too unbelievable, although the main character sounds as if he may be quite adept at the Chi Sau or “sticky hands’ of Wing Chun kung-fu.
5. Many involve Japanese people getting shots to the face
For various historical reasons, martial arts movies depict fights between Chinese and Japanese martial artists. The debate as to what is the best martial art is contentious and unproductive; yet, in the final showdowns of both Fist of Legend and Ip Man, Chinese forms reign supreme. The Japanese fighters sustained multiple, accurately targeted hits to the face. Type “bukkake” into a video search engine with the safe-filter switched off and you’ll observe much of the same. The only difference is that the latter recipients have no intention of evading such shots. In both types of film, however, the people delivering these ‘shots,’ rather than synchronising their efforts, seem to fire sequentially in an orderly, if not somewhat ineffective, queue!