When I was a little boy (all those years ago) back in the 80's, I was heavily into Martial Arts and I used to watch Martial Art movies all the time. But the one genre which rose above the rest and had SO many variations made were NINJA films. There were hundreds of them and there seemed no shortage of crappy storylines - as long as the word 'Ninja' appeared in the title and some guy was kicking and punching whilst wearing a black ninja suit it got made, and yet sadly, I must have seen nearly all of them.
Most of these were simply awful, but one guy stood out from the rest was Sho Kusugi.
The reason he stood out so much was he was a real life Ninja, playing a Ninja on film.
Pray for Death was one of his best. He did a few movies, some featuring his sons and then he seemed to disappear; as Ninjas do! That is until now.
I just watched Ninja Assassin (come on with a title like that who wouldn't) and low and behold Sho was the lead protagonist. A role he played well too I might add - as he's a typical hero type.
The plot as always was thin and typical revenge story line, no great dialogue and paper thin acting for some characters, but some great work did go into this, nice slow mo (ala Matrix stylie) and wickedly fast fight scenes, blood and gore, but more importantly was the little details so important to the mythology of Ninjas; things like the hand gestures, training and weaponry used.
I was happy to see Ninjas back on the big screen, when I say big screen I mean my TV screen of course. Then whilst chatting to Hussian he told me of a film about Yip Man (Ip Man).
Quick background, Yip Man was Bruce Lee's teacher and all round Chinese hero.
The lead was played by Donnie Yen, another talented martial artist, but I must say great work on this performance in the role. Nice pace to the movie, good background story, great martial arts, a little wire work and 'loosely' based on Yip's own lifestory, with a nod to Bruce Lee at the end.
Why not check out those movies and here's some of my favourite martial art movies you may also want to see: Fist of Fury (Bruce Lee), 36 chamber of Shaolin (Gordon Lui), Drunken Master (Jackie Chan), Shaolin Temple (Jet Li).
Worthy mentions also go to: Kung fu Hustle & Ong Bak.
I could go on but you get the point - here's a classic clip to whet your appetite, enjoy ;)