Posted on July 6th, 2009 in Brick Prior, Movies, SHAW-A-DAY-A-THON by Brick Prior

Who cares about Day 5 when there’s Day 6? Personally, I don’t care since Day 5 is over with and Day 6 is here… you can’t worry about the past in Day 5, because Day 6 is the present.  Day 6 is today- Day 5? Yesterday. 

Welcome to Day 6.

If you missed Day 5, make like a tomato and KETCHUP.

THE TRAILER

 

 

THE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

“What started as the masterful kung-fu filmmaker’s homage to the heroic Sung Dynasty Yang family becomes a furious rumination on heroic sacrifice when international idol Alexander Fu Sheng died in a car accident midway through production. Wanting to immortalize Sheng’s final, unfinished performance, Liu carried on. The result is unique in the director’s extraordinary filmography in its emotional intensity and kung-fu power. There are heartbreaking references to the tragedy throughout, but the stunning climax is truly unforgettable. It must be seen to be believed…”

THIS IS WHAT I THOUGHT HAPPENED SINCE I HAD TO READ SUBTITLES AND WATCH ACTION AT THE SAME TIME, HAR HAR HAR

Hoo boy.  Here’s a bit of “Jedi” wisdom from your truly- when you send your family off to battle, don’t read their fortune to see what’s going to happen to them.  When the matriarch of the Yang family does just that, she gets the message “Seven gone, six returned”; she takes it to mean that one of her sons will end up dying in the upcoming battle, but what happens is that five Yang sons and their dad get killed within the first five minutes of the film, leaving Brothers Five and Six alive.  Six returns home, crazed from watching his brothers and fathers be horribly murdered (seriously, the Yangs get fucked up via getting ARROWED~!, trampled, cut in half, etc, etc… dear old Dad takes a few arrows and commits hara-kiri by smashing his head into a large tombstone, so this is some harsh shit to start with), while Yang-Fifth escapes, runs into a hunter, and tries to hide out at his house for a bit in order to come up with a plan.

No dice there, naturally.

Continuing with the tone of the film (hint: it involves a lot of death), some Tartars (enemies of the Yangs) storm the joint, and while the hunter puts up a fight, he ultimately sacrifices himself to ensure that Yang-Fifth gets away.  Fifth heads to the Shaolin Temple and pretty much demands that he become a monk, damn near committing breaking and entering in the process.

Example!

“HEY, MAKE ME A MONK!  I WANNA BE A MONK!  I’M GONNA DEDICATE MYSELF TO BUDDH- HEY SLAPPY, GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY IF YOU AIN’T GONNA CUT MY HAIR, BITCHES!  I’M SERIOUS!  FUCK THE WORLD!  MAKE ME A MONK!  MAKE ME A MONK! I WILL BURN THIS MUTHAFUCKA DOWN IF YOU GUYS DON’T LET ME BE A MONK!”

You get the idea.

Yang-Fifth greedily gets into line to get his head shaved, but everyone bails… so it’s cringing time, as he takes the straight razor and shaves his own head, and then burning his head in several spots (the “dot tattoo” seen on various monks’ heads) to represent what he has lost.

Hardcore, Yang-Fifth is.

He wakes up sometime later, and he’s in limbo- he can hang around the temple all he wants, but he can’t practice with the other monks as he’s still tied to the world.  There’s a neat sequence here where Fifth, impatient with everyone not letting him do anything with them, destroys the wooden practice wolf that the rest of the monks use to train with.  Never undeterred in his quest to kick ass and disrupt life as everyone else knows it, Yang-Fifth decides to spend all his time working on his pole fighting skills, while one of the abbots heads to the Yang home to let them know that Yang-Fifth is still alive.

Hooray, right?

WRONG!

Quicker that Admiral Ackbar can say “IT’S A TRAP!”, the abbot is ambushed on his way back to the temple, and promptly kills himself rather than revealing that Yang-Fifth is alive.  The pattern continues!

Yang-Fifth goes strolling into the practice area, wondering if NOWS GONNA BE THA TIME that everyone lets him practice, when he notices that… no one is practicing.  Confused, he’s wondering what the fuck is going on, when he notices that some of the monks are crying while meditating.  He puts two and two together, and realized that the abbot is dead, and promptly blames himself, deciding to stay at the temple to purify himself… until he gets the chance to beat the shit out of someone, that is.

Don’t worry, it’s gonna happen soon, Fifth!

Meanwhile, back at the Yang home, his eldest sister decides to dress like a dude and head off to find him.  She sets out for an inn, notices that one of the Tartars is brandishing her father’s spear, and beats the crap out of them until the Tartars rush in and she’s trapped.  Aided by a few Yang family supporters, she almost makes it out, but gets kidnapped by the Main Bad Guys.  One of the Yang supporters manages to make it to the temple, and lets Fifth know that his sister has been captured before he kicks the bucket.  Yang-Fifth immediately grabs his pole and starts to head off before he’s confronted by the abbot, who’s not going to let him go without a fight.  And they have one hell of a fight, knocking around mats and candleholders and whatnot, until there’s a yin/yang symbol on the floor, a draw, and the abbot lets Yang-Fifth go.

What does Yang-Fifth do?

He heads down to the in with a cart full of bamboo poles and hacks everyone up with shredded bamboo… and that’s just to get into the fucking inn!

Once he’s in, he’s facing off against the general and his minions, and he puts up one hell of a fight before the numbers are too many… but in the nick of time, the rest of the monks show up, and in one hell of a final sequence, just about everyone’s teeth get knocked out, and Pan Mei, evil general extraordinaire, gets to headbutt a coffin for the mortal loss.

Yang-Fifth then storms off, no longer a monk, but a part of the world… hey Youtube, help me out here!  Everyone has to see the ending!

 

 

Chilling stuff.

 

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS MOVIE

Even though he died during filming, this is Alexander Fu Sheng’s film.  I’ve got a couple of more films of his in the stack, but it feels like he’s all over this film even though he’s noticeably gone before the third act starts.  If films could be haunted, then this one definitely is.  It’s also a must see on an actual TV, and not on Youtube.  Heartily recommended stuff.

And now, some pictures.

FROZEN IN THEIR DEATH POSES

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DOC CUTS HIS HAIR LIKE THIS

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NOW THAT’S A GODDAMN HEADBUTT (PART ONE)

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THE AFTERMATH OF SAID HEADBUTT (HINT: THOSE ARE TEETH)

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NOW THAT’S A GODDAMN HEADBUTT (PART TWO)

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TOMORROW

House of what?  House of Traps!