I first saw this tribute clip a few years ago when its maker Angel Vargas, aka The Flashpoint75 aka That Puerto Rican, posted it to the Heroic Sisterhood Facebook page. At the time, Angel was active on Facebook and was good enough to post many of his clips to our page (many can be found on his YouTube page and are definitely worth a look). Angel’s clips were always really well put together. I also appreciated the fact that he gave a lot of attention to many of the excellent female action stars in Hong Kong action movies.
My very favourite clip is this one paying tribute to Hong Kong kung fu movie tough guy Johnny Wang Lung Wei. The way Angel has paired movement with music is outstanding, especially in the opening section featuring footage from Lau Kar Leung’s Martial Club. Angel has selected music with beautifully complex rhythms that seem to match the rhythms in the choreography perfectly. This is a great underscoring of the fact that great choreography in kung fu movies often does feature very intricate and very beautiful rhythms and combinations of movements.
The rhythmic precision of the music, emphasising the rhythmic precision of the choreography, draws the viewer’s attention to the precision of the movement in its execution by the combatants. I have long loved the deftness and neatness of the movements of great screen fighters, it’s a hangover from my dancing days. Neatness may sound a bit mealy mouthed and not like a quality to get excited about but it is very important when it comes to performing physical movement. It doesn’t matter how athletic, extravagant or virtuosic the movement is, if it is not performed with neatness and precision then it is going to look out of control and messy. By having the aural precision of the music accompany our watching of the fight scenes in this clip, we have an extra means for tracking the ability of the performers to nail their movements with precision and control.
Sometimes, when I tell people that I love kung fu movies, they look at me a bit oddly. “Why do you like those silly movies?” people ask. The reason I give is that they are not as silly as people think and, choreographically and physical performance wise, they are not silly at all. I guess I love this clip because it highlights the ways in which these old movies were so extraordinarily well crafted and highly creative. I feel that if everybody could watch this tribute they would see what goes on inside my head when I watch these movies.