Sunday, February 13, 2005

Wuxia


I've been slowly drawn back into playing Magic the Gathering by my friends. And the latest expansions with Samurais and Ninjas didn't help...

I admit I have a fondness for this kind of stuff. I think it began with my comics reading in the 80s with Power Man/Iron Fist and Master of Kung-Fu. I think Martial Arts is cool. And ninjas are even cooler.

When I came across the new MtG expansions (Champions of Kamigawa and Betrayers of Kamigawa) I remembered that they had an introductory set a while back called Three Kingdoms, which dealt with the characters and themes from the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". Unfortunately it wasn't released in North America and the English text version is very hard to find. Sure would be nice to have, however.

There was a card game based on the "Legend of Five Rings" and I heard it was pretty popular. I never got a chance to mess with it. Unlike RPG games where you can afford to dabble in different sytems whenever you want, Magic is something that you focus on or get left behind. So me and my friends never played it.

I remember an RPG that Wizards of the Coast put out for free back before 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons came out, called "Dragon Fist". I downloaded and printed it out and we had some fun with it. One of the greatest parts of it was the resources page where it listed films that conveyed the "Wuxia" feel. If you ever find a copy and it interests you, I also reccomend "GURPs Martial Arts" and the "AD&D Ninja Handbook". Both have a few great ideas that can be brought over easily. As well as the "Legend of Five Rings" RPG books.

Another one of these RPG systems was "Hong Kong Action Theatre". It, too, had a great reference list of movies. Most of which were described as "Bizarre Fantasy".

Because of these two books I was compelled to buy "The Bride With White Hair", "Dragon Gate Inn" and several other movies which I found at Poker Industries. And I will state as a fact that subtitled is much better than dubbed. DON'T EVER buy dubbed editions unless you absolutely, positively have to.

I also went and saw "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", since it was in theaters about the same time as the Asian-flavored RPGs were at their peak. Awesome movie to watch on the big screen. And it was subtitled! It was a great time for Asian film fans.

Here's a great introduction to wuxia:
Wuxia Fiction.


Update: I found my copies of Dragon Fist and Hong Kong Action Theatre. Here's the lists of films from each of these books:

Dragon Fist:
The Bride With White Hair
Burning Paradise
A Chinese Ghost Story
Dragon Gate Inn
Encounters of the Spooky Kind
Mr. Vampire
New Legend of Shaolin
Swordsman II
Tai Chi Master
Zu: Warriors of the Magic Kingdom

Hong Kong Action Theatre (Bizarre Fantasy):
A Chinese Ghost Story
Big Trouble in Little China
Peacock King
The Heroic Trio
Savior of the Soul

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You must see "Iron Monkey." One of the most entertaining martial arts films of all time.

– Christopher Mills

Republic of Replicants said...

I haven't seen that one, yet. I'll make a point to check it out. I think we have a copy at work.

I also have in my collection: "Spooky Encounters" and "The New Legend of Shaolin".

And of course, "Kill Bill" 1 & 2.