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Thread: Kung Fu TV show CW REMAKE

  1. #31
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    Continued from previous post

    As it turns out, the film’s resonance with the present moment is something of a coincidence: Tran conceived the story a decade ago, drawing on his experiences growing up in a multicultural martial arts community in Seattle. He never imagined it would be released during a pandemic, much less at a time of surging racist violence.

    “Obviously, there’s a different subtext now that kind of lingers in the air,” he told me. Still, with its subtle allusions to race and cultural appropriation, the film hits upon facets of the Asian American experience that feel just as relevant now as they did several decades ago. Importantly, it’s also an Asian American film that exists on its own terms. Though it centers non-white experience, it doesn’t announce itself as such—not to the point of color-blindness, but in a way where cultural difference feels normal, and honored.

    It’s nice to see martial arts, and kung fu especially, treated with reverence and respect. Although kung fu and martial arts movies have been a part of Hollywood’s diet since the 70s, the form has too often been relegated to an unintentional sub-genre of comedy—one replete with its fair share of racist stereotypes. As the report notes, a large component of the anti-Asian racism perpetuated in pop culture is the representation of Asian men as weak and effeminate compared to their Western counterparts—an emasculation that continues to be expressed by Hollywood through the physical domination of Asian characters by predominantly white leading characters.

    One of the most notorious examples is Quentin Tarantino’s characterization of Lee, the most beloved and celebrated martial artist of all time. In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the Lee character—caricatured as a toxically masculine showboat—challenges Brad Pitt’s stuntman character Cliff Booth to a three-round fight. It technically results in a draw, but Lee walks away humiliated after Booth handily throws him into a car.

    Yuen described the scene as exemplifying American pop culture’s impulse “to take a strong Asian man down a notch.”

    “They get these really amazing Asian actors who are at the top of their martial arts game, and then they have the white lead beat them up in order to show his prowess and maintain a kind of racial hierarchy,” she said.

    Not surprisingly, over the past year, there have been disturbing reflections of that dynamic in real life. After a man of Chinese descent was assaulted in an unprovoked attack outside New York City’s Penn Station in March, his attacker reportedly assumed a mocking kung fu stance before fleeing the scene.

    “It makes them feel better about themselves to beat up an Asian whom they feel is the enemy, because Hollywood has historically represented Asians as enemies,” said Yuen. Trump’s “kung flu” rhetoric from last year, part of his campaign to scapegoat Asians as foreign vectors of disease, certainly hasn’t helped.

    Warrior, a Cinemax original series with an Asian-dominant cast that premiered in 2019, is yet another martial arts-related project that attempts to examine and subvert this sort of racist scapegoating. With a premise conceived by the late Bruce Lee himself, the show is set during the Tong Wars of San Francisco in the 1870s—a period in American history that arguably gave birth to some of the most enduring and damaging Asian American stereotypes, from that of the disease-carrying foreigner to the Chinatown gangster and the brothel worker. The series follows Ah Sahm (played by Andrew Koji), a kung fu prodigy who becomes a hatchet man for a powerful tong, or criminal brotherhood, as it vies with rivals in Chinatown for control over resources. Notably, it’s set on the eve of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which effectively banned all immigration from China until 1943, in addition to prohibiting Chinese immigrants from becoming American citizens.

    “[In the show], we are dealing with the introduction of the Chinese mythology and propaganda machine,” said Olivia Cheng, who plays Ah Toy, a fictionalized version of the eponymous Chinatown madame known as the first recorded Chinese prostitute in America. In an interview with VICE, Cheng said that she was challenged with not only honoring the real Ah Toy’s life but also playing against the traps of one of Hollywood’s favorite and most harmful tropes about Asian women: the “dragon lady,” an Asian femme fatale who wields power through sex.

    I began the show a month after the Atlanta shootings, shortly after it was announced that the series would be renewed for a third season, on HBO Max. Given the heartbreak and impotence I felt, I wasn’t surprised to find myself drawn to Ah Toy, an Asian female character who seems fully possessed of her power as she navigates gender dynamics and a racist criminal justice system—power structures that are not only designed to oppress her but that render women like her entirely disposable. In the first season, when the police raid Ah Toy’s brothel as a means of signalling to its white citizens that it’s “cracking down” on Chinatown crime, she bribes the sergeant with a few calm words and a small red envelope. “A gift for Chinese New Year,” she says, meeting his gaze with an unflinching stare.

    Cheng told me that other Asian women have expressed being triggered by her character’s profession, which she understands. She said she had to overcome her own reticence about Ah Toy, but ultimately decided to lead with her character’s humanity. “I definitely feel a responsibility,” she said. “I think you’d have to be incredibly vacuous to be in my position and not.”

    Every character in Warrior contends with different articulations of power, said Shannon Lee, executive producer of the show and Bruce Lee’s daughter. “We’re presenting power when it gets out of control and the people who have to participate in that culture, who are the victims of that culture but who don’t think of themselves as victims,” she said. “They think of themselves as humans. They want what every human wants, and are fighting for it.”

    As violent as Warrior can be (and disquietingly close to our current reality), I have been enjoying getting to know these kaleidoscopic characters—people who reveal new sides of themselves with every power play. Even as I tense at the scenes of racist confrontation (in the opening two minutes of the series, a white immigration officer singles out a man disembarking from the boat, calls him “Ching Chong,” and knocks him to the ground), I can take cover in characters with the agency to defend themselves. I can see them fight, and I can see them win.

    “Catharsis is something that people need right now,” said Hoon Lee, who plays Wang Chao, a quick-witted black market arms dealer. “In the context of a show, you can experience—and, hopefully, exorcise—some of that rage that you might not know what to do with otherwise. That’s a primary function of storytelling.”

    Martial arts might be a safe bet for a Hollywood looking for low-hanging fruit when it comes Asian representation, but in this new slate of film and television shows, it’s also the Trojan Horse: a vehicle for Asian characters whose identities are as layered and complex as people are in real life. And while, yes, these bodies encounter brutal violence, they survive to experience what lies beyond it—joy, grief, rage, and humor together. In devastating times like these, we need storytelling that shows us that access to the full spectrum of human experience is possible—not just suffering.

    threads
    Stop-Asian-Hate
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    Once-Upon-a-Time-in-Hollywood
    Mortal-Kombat-2021-reboot
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #32
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    Anyone watching?

    I've seen every ep but the finale, which I plan to watch soon. That's not bragging. I'm not sure what that is.

    But this is sweet.
    Watch injury turn into a surprise engagement for stunt doubles on set of Kung Fu
    By Rachel Yang July 22, 2021 at 09:06 PM EDT

    The cast of Kung Fu pulled off an epic stunt recently, and it had nothing to do with martial arts.

    The stunt doubles for stars Olivia Liang and Eddie Liu got engaged on the set of the CW action drama while filming the season 1 finale.

    Liang shared a video on Thursday of the epic moment, which happened after Ken Do (who does stunts for Liu's character Henry Yan) tripped and landed on the ground. Megan Hui, filming the scene as Liang's Nicky Shen, quickly approached him in concern.

    After some excellent acting, Do pulled out the ring and popped the question, prompting oohs and ahhs from the cast and crew.

    Hui's stunned reaction had Do double-checking: "Is that a yes?" It was of course a yes and the couple hugged and kissed, with Hui shedding some happy tears. The beautiful moment was capped off by cheers and claps from the Kung Fu team, many of whom helped make the surprise happen.

    "the best best best part of shooting the finale was planning the engagement of our superstar stunt doubles," Liang wrote on Twitter, with plenty of crying emojis. "Megan Hui and Ken Do are the kindest, most generous, and most mega talented people i've ever met. so proud to be Megan's acting double"

    Hui expressed her excitement and gratitude to her now-fiancé and everyone who helped plan the engagement "months in advance," including Liang, Liu, Jon Prasida (who plays Ryan Shen), Yvonne Chapman (Zhilan), Tony Chung (Dennis Soong), director Joe Menendez, and some of his fellow stunt performers.

    "BOY DID YOU SURPRISE ME @kendo482 ! Last shot after filming the final fight for the season finale of @cw_kungfu and I thought you broke your ankle lol," Hui said on Instagram. "I feel so fortunate to be able to call you all my friends and super blessed to now be engaged to my best one."

    Hui also included some fun photos on set, like one of her and Do with their "acting doubles" Liang and Liu in matching outfits.

    The sweet setup even got the attention of Henry Golding, who commented, "YEESSSSSS Love this guys ♥️🙌🏼 congrats."

    Hui was a stunt double in the movie Snake Eyes, which stars Golding. Hui and Do have also done stunts together for films like Deadpool 2, Skyscraper, Wu Assassins, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow, and more. Hui has also appeared as the character Biyu in two episodes of Kung Fu. The series, a reboot of the 1970s show, got renewed for a second season in May, a month after it debuted.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #33
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    Finale fell by a 10th

    ‘Big Brother’ Wins Wednesday Ratings, ‘The $100,000 Pyramid’ Takes Viewers; CW’s ‘Kung Fu’ Season Finale Falls From Debut
    By Alexandra Del Rosario
    TV Reporter
    @_amvdr

    July 22, 2021 11:57am

    CBS
    Unscripted programs ruled Wednesday evening as CBS’ Big Brother and ABC’s The $100,000 Pyramid marked the evening’s highest-rated and most-watched titles, respectively.

    The latest installment of Big Brother was the most-watched program in the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. timeslot, airing to 3.33 million viewers and gaining a 0.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic, per Nielsen Live + Same Day Day fast affiliates. Big Brother bested NBC’s Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers special (0.3, 2.49M). ABC’s Press Your Luck was the second most-watched title of the hour (0.5, 3.29M).

    Also in the same hour was the Kung Fu season one finale. The season ender, which saw a major showdown between Olivia Liang’s Nicky Shen and Yvonne Chapman’s Zhilan, aired to approximately 832,000 viewers and drew in a 0.1 rating. The finale fell from the series’ debut in April (0.2, 1.4M) by a tenth in ratings and about 40% viewers.

    Later in the evening, The $100,000 Pyramid ruled the 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. slot taking in a 0.5 rating and 3.60 million viewers. Following behind were Chicago Fire (0.2, 1.83M) and Love Island (0.3, 1.62M). Crime Scene Kitchen closed off its first season crowning Natalie Collins-Fish and Luis Flores as the winners, but the season ender (0.3, 1.55M) failed to be the cherry on top viewers and ratings-wise.


    ABC’s Match Game closed out Primetime winning the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. time slot (0.4, 2.80M).
    I'm astonished how much good press this show has received. I'm just going to say it - Tokenism?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #34
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    Yvonne Chapman

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    BREAKING NEWS
    ‘Kung Fu’: Yvonne Chapman Upped To Series Regular For Season 2

    By Denise Petski
    Senior Managing Editor

    August 26, 2021 2:35pm


    EXCLUSIVE: Yvonne Chapman, who heavily recurred as villain Zhilan on the first season of the CW’s Kung Fu, has been promoted to series regular for Season 2.


    Laura Baldwinson
    Chapman’s Zhilan, a hard-edged and cunning assassin, is ruthless in achieving her goals. After stealing an ancient sword from Nicky’s shifu Pei-Ling–and nearly killing Nicky in the process–Zhilan flees China and begins her pursuit of the rest of the mystical weapons. The mystery of Zhilan’s identity, and her real intentions with those weapons, will fuel Nicky’s quest for justice.

    Kung Fu follows a young Chinese American woman, Nicky Shen, played by Olivia Liang, whose quarter-life crisis causes her to drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to San Francisco, she finds her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption and her own parents Jin (Tzi Ma) and Mei-Li (Kheng Hua Tan) are at the mercy of a powerful Triad. Nicky will rely on her tech-savvy sister Althea (Shannon Dang) and Althea’s fiancé Dennis (Tony Chung), pre-med brother Ryan (Jon Prasida), Assistant District Attorney and ex-boyfriend Evan (Gavin Stenhouse), and new love interest Henry (Eddie Liu) as well as her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice…all while searching for the ruthless assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai) and is now targeting her.

    Christina M. Kim wrote the pilot episode and serves as executive producer/co-showrunner with Robert Berens. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Martin Gero and David Madden also serve as executive producers. Hanelle Culpepper directed and co-executive produced the pilot episode. Kung Fu is produced by Berlanti Productions and Quinn’s House in association with Warner Bros. Television and is inspired by the original series created by Ed Spielman.

    Chapman is repped by The Characters Talent Agency and Jared Schwartz at Industry Entertainment.
    I kinda like her character but I'm a sucker for villainesses.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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