Before taking this class, I knew absolutely nothing about King Hu. Not only that but I knew nothing about Chinese cinema. Going into this class was actually really intimidating after the class introduction but it was well worth it once i got into it. Through this focused course on his career, I learned that King Hu actually entered into the cinema world by accident in the 1950’s. Beginning with set design and construction, King Hu worked his way up to director for the Shaw Brothers. It was with his second directing assignment that Hu’s mastery of composition and editing became apparent. It was also the very first wuxi film. The title of that film is Come Drink With Me. Here in the states most people would categorize his films kung fu films. He was the first person to create that genre and it exploded. Sadly he himself does not get recognize enough for his creativity and originality.
My first favorite film of my top three is Come Drink With Me. The reason its one of my favorites is because there is just something about watching the first of something thats ever been done. Knowing how much influence Chinese opera had on King Hu really made the choreography more understandable. It was more beautiful and graceful. In a normal fight it would look more ruthless and uncoordinated. But King Hu really turned it into an art form that carried him through the rest of his films. The second film I choose is The Valiant ones. The real reason I choose this one is because the action sequences were so captivating and there were so many dynamic characters that you could actually see a different fighting style in each of them. You never felt like you were watching the same fight. King Hu was very articulate with each battle and to make sure that each one offered something new and exciting. My third film choice is Raining in the Mountain. This film proves that King Hu can tell captivating and intriguing stories without having to put endless fight scenes.
The first film I choose for my least three favorite films is Touch of Zen. It was way too long and way too confusing. There were way to many moving parts that I feel like King Hu couldn’t keep up with. The second film i choose is Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon. I thought the acting was poor and to fake. I also though it was a little all over the place and only at bits at a time could I understand part of the plot. It felt like I was playing catch up with the storyline. The third and final movie on my list would be Dragon Inn. This film was filled with scenes that were drawn out way too long. I really believe that it hindered the storytelling and the fight scenes.
Hu’s innovations ultimately invented the Kung Fu genre. You will see his work copied and adapted in recent films by Wong Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou and, especially, Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Even if you haven’t even heard of him, He has impacted so many filmmakers to go out and be bold with new innovative take on cinema. To meet the requirement of making action interesting to an audience, Hu incorporated the beat and rhythm of Beijing Opera into the action choreography. Action became a matter of choreographing the space of the tavern as well as the actors’ movements, and this was Hu’s unique way of making the action sequences a visual experience. Not only was he creative with his action sequences but he also was innovative in editing as well. He would edit almost every single one of his movies. In fact, he would almost demand to edit or he would not really consider the film created by him. His quick cuts and and speed up film was a style that really brought his films to life.