On the 13th of each month, I write about a movie whose title contains the number 13.
martial arts movies over the course of this project, and they've almost all been terrible: cheap-looking, poorly written, incomprehensibly plotted, broadly acted and completely lacking in suspense or excitement. Probably that's a byproduct of the kinds of movies that end up being retitled for home video with the number 13 in them; most of the horror movies I've written about suffer from the same problems. But since I have a general aversion to martial arts movies, I probably have less patience for these shoddy examples than I do for the many, many terrible horror movies I've seen over the years. I tend to tune out during even the most elegantly staged fight scenes, which I find inherently repetitive and dull. That's not to say that I've never enjoyed a martial arts movie, but it's often other elements (plot, character, set and costume design, cinematography) that draw me in.
I've thus far avoided recounting the plot, because I'm not quite sure I know what it is. There's a kung-fu school in what characters keep referring to as Shanghai, even though the movie is from Taiwan. A couple of white American businessmen have imported an American martial-arts champion to fight against Chinese kung-fu masters for some reason. There are references to the combination between Western and Eastern styles (maybe 13 of them?), and in an early scene, one of the kung-fu champions fights an American boxer, complete with boxing gloves. I'm tempted to credit this movie with inventing mixed martial arts, but that would imply that I understood what was happening.