(I originally posted this mini-rant on Google+, but figured those of you who don’t bother with all that social networking B.S. would also be interested.)
I just finished watching a martial arts movie called Chocolate. The movie itself is pretty awesome: it’s about girl whose autism allows her to learn fighting styles at a young age; her mother and father were part of a gang/Yakuza dispute in Thailand, which led to her father’s exile (before she was born). And when her mother contracts cancer and can’t afford the medicines, Zen (the girl) and her “cousin” Moom set out to try to collect on debts once owed to Zin (the mother). But things go terribly wrong, as you can imagine. Point is: touching little story with a whole bunch of amazing fight scenes a la Ong Bak (only, you know, with a seemingly pre-teen girl beating the crap out of fully grown men).
But that’s not the amazing part. The really amazing part is when you get to the end and they start showing you the results of some of the fights. This stuff wouldn’t be allowed in the U.S., I imagine. All the actors do their own stunts, and they get stabbed, break ribs, get smacked in the face, fall badly, and so on and so forth. It adds a whole new dimension to the experience, because you start to realize that a lot of the things you see on the screen, while scripted, really do lead to the people getting effed up. And that’s, well, kinda awesome.
In any case, if you haven’t seen Chocolate and you’re looking for a little magical realism in your martial arts obsession, this is one to check out.
(Psst. It’s on Netflix stream!)
(I should note that I’m well aware that injuries occur in martial arts films quite regularly — and probably with some regularity in other kinds of stunt-heavy films. We just don’t get an opportunity to see the carnage to the extent that you see in Chocolate. Everyone gets messed up in this film at some point or another — even the main actress.)