From the 80’s thru the mid 90s, American films had some great martial arts films. Although some possess a typical storyline (i.e. seeking vengeance towards deceased loved one), many of these films reflected the reason why martial arts was apart of pop culture. For example, Best of the Best was perhaps one of those great martial arts films which executed excitement with its epic storyline and martial arts choreography. In fact, this film actually demonstrated the true nature of sport martial arts. This particular match is the final bout against team USA and Korea. Philip Rhee who portrays Tommy Lee of Team USA faces off with Team Korea and Tae Kwon Do champion, Dae Han (whose his real life brother Simon Rhee). Tommy’s moral code as a martial artist is tested because Dae Han is the man who killed his brother (typical in films right).
Despite the great basics and choreography, I was more pleased about the integrity Tommy faced in this match. Here you have a person who has the chance to settle the score against their ultimate adversary. Despite his repressive moments and illegal hits, Tommy fought hard to overcome Dae Han. However, this true test was the compromising decision to finish him. Instead, he took the high road during the guidance of his coach (James Earl Jones) and teammate (Eric Roberts). During the present moment, it doesn’t always feel great to take the high road based on conflicting moments. Reflecting back at those moments it make us appreciate the right decisions we make. This fight demonstrated it entirely in the best metaphorical way possible.
Whether people recognize it or not, but martial arts will claw back its way into pop culture! One of the reasons I know this is simply because of high-profile directors such as Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger- Hidden Dragon), Quentin Tarantino (i.e. Iron Monkey and Man with the Iron Fists) and now Martin Scorsese presents an epic martial arts film which depicts the life of wing chun master, Yip Man (again). It took no surprise wu-tang clan artists RZA and Raekwon have worked on yet another movie endeavor, this time considering martial arts icon Ip Man in Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster. Featuring dynamic martial arts choreography and brilliant editing, there are also blitzing track from Wu-Tang members. The film release this weekend and can’t wait to see what this film has to offer opposed to its counterparts.
In my opinion, this is probably one of the best fighting scenes during the late 90s. Jackie Chan is widely known for his spectacular and unique martial arts choreography throughout his career. Through the influences of the late comedic actor Buster Keaton and Chinese Opera combat and acrobatics, Jackie has created something martial artists and non-martial artist would enjoy filled humor and finesse! Majority of his main scenes provide a particular message. In this scene from the romantic film, Gorgeous, Jackie was an out of shape business defeated from an outdoor boxing match from the opponent (Bradley James Allen) shown in the video. Due to his defeat, he seek to train more frequently (not for competition, but for himself). His dedication for training showed us how much we need to always sharpen our skills so we can ready at all times.
The opponent offers him a rematch which he accepts. The choreography displayed beautiful striking and aerial kicking while complimented the individual fighting styles. Eventually, Jackie recognized he must alter his fighting style to overcome his opponent. Naturally, the alternate style was more fluid and “bespoken” to him. Sometimes, it takes a few hits for us to wake up and change our current position to outweigh those particular outcomes. I love the contrast on the stylish minimal black and white ensembles as it reflect the yin-yang concept throughout the match! This is one of my favorite fighting scenes ever!