Example Of Swordsman III And Fist Of Fury Research Paper
There are various similarities and differences between the movies “Swordsman III” and “Fists of Fury”. While the similarities are focused mainly around the political and social commentary that the movies attempt to make, the differences are associated with the scale as well as productions of the two movies. While they both contain a sense of nationality, they are different in their execution of this idea.
Swordsman III is an interesting and thought provoking period piece that takes place in the past, with characters that are at odds with the world at large. “Tsui Hark's spectacular and fanciful production of "The East Is Red: Swordsman 3," a dazzling yet poignant martial-arts period fantasy” (Thomas) This scope sets the movie apart from the earlier film that starred Bruce Lee and showcased his talents.
Fists of Fury, on the other hand, is set in the 20th century, and focuses on the Japanese occupation of mainland Asia around the time of World War 2. “Set sometime in the early twentieth century during the occupation of Shanghai by Japan, Fist of Fury depicts the violent Sino-Japanese tensions of the time with naked and clearly mutual antagonism” (McMillan) In this way, the movie is more concerned with portraying a larger scope and period in time.
In this way, both movies seem to be making commentary about imperial powers overreaching in favor of their own motivations. While in the case of Fists of Fury it was a foreign power that had established political control, in The Swordsman 3, the essential characteristics of the struggle are internal, as the plot is concerned largely with the way that the imperial rulers treat their people, and the Japanese and Dutch are considered outside aggressors rather than dominators of the political realm of China.
In comparing and contrasting these two movies it becomes evident that there are some inherent differences. Time periods are different first of all. While fists of Fury is set during the 2th century, the period of the Swordsman 3 is set during an earlier period. This is the most noticeable difference between the two films.
The overall tone and style of the two movies are very different as well. While the Swordsman has an element of the fantastic, Fists of Fury is a realistic portrayal, and an attempt to pay homage to a specific individual in a specific period of time. This difference reflects the inherent purpose of the creators of the film.
Fist of Fury, being set during the Japanese occupation of China, is fueled with social and political interactions that are sewn into the plot. It is seen from the pount of view of a community during this period in time, and so is a reflection of the tensions that were still felt at the creation of the film.
Despite the heroic picture that Fists of Fury paints of Bruce Lee’s character, it does, in a sense, present itself as a warning to this blind hatred, though. “Many of his fellow students would still be alive at story’s end if not for his proto-slasher movie antics in investigating his master’s death” (McMillan)
The Swordsman 3 also had political interactions, but does not seem to have the depth of social commentary and inherent anger at being occupied. This movie is actually much more widely applicable, as it has a wider ranging fight between various nations. “The stylish, slyly amusing "The East Is Red" is charged with both sexual ambiguity and a hostility toward the Ming Dynasty's oppression of the Highlanders and also toward greedy Dutch explorers and Japanese ninja sailors” (Thomas)
The two movies were made about two decades apart, which further contributes to their differences. While Fist of Fury was done in the 1970s, a time when film was just beginning to become more complex, the Swordsman 3 was made in the 90s, and so has a much higher production value, leading to the ability to create much more depth to the plot, as well as much more imaginative and breathtaking execution of scenes.
The Fist of Fury was, often, a fully nationalized epitome of that presented the Japanese as stereotypical, fascist, and one dimensional. On the other hand, the Swordsman 3 presents a somewhat more diverse characterization of foreigners, although none are presented in a particularly positive light.
The essential similarities between the two films involves their social and political commentary regarding foreign aggression as well as the inherent conflict between those in smaller political environments and larger imperial forces that threaten their sovereignty. This sense of nationalism permeates these, as well as many other similar movies that have come out of China.
However, these two movies are different in both their scope and the periods in which they were made, resulting in a fundamentally different cinematic experience from both of them. In this way, while they may have similar messages to offer in terms of their ideologies, they are presented in radically different ways.
Fu, Poshek. The Cinema of Hong Kong. History, Arts, Identity. University of Illinois. 2000.
Li, Minggang Dr. From Swordsman to Wolf Modern China and Japan in Popular Film and
McMillan, Calvin. Fists of Fury: AKA The Chinese Connection. 2002.
Thomas, Kevin. Movie Review : 'Swordsman 3': Martial Arts and Heart Both Play a Role. 1994.
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