The innocent ‘80s karate kid is now the kung-fu black kid. He repeatedly gets beaten savagely. One generation later, youths are comparatively sentimental, but more brutal.
Behold Jackie Chan. The first generation of famous martial artists is dead; the second is less promising, if more professional; – the old ones have yet to prove such men age well. We must see Chan’s art taught to understand it; his display of his art is his self-understanding or self-assertion. He chooses to make a man out of a boy, who learns to obey a master – being fatherless, that is not complicated. The boy learns to endure pain & the art of war.
As Bruce Lee would have said, to understand energy & spirituality is to see the world through the fist. Kung-fu is everywhere means the world is at war; hence true men are warriors. Asia has always been ruled more or less tyrannically; perhaps that cannot change. If Asia presents a coherent understanding, as its admirers claim, they must admire tyranny. In Beijing, we see enormous terraces with thousands of young Chinese practicing kung fu…
The warrior looks to his art for his understanding of the world. – All arts work this way, each requiring unique knowledge. But some claim to be comprehensive, or else the hard work required to build habits & gain skill is paid for in blindness. – Jackie Chan teaches the boy that people must focus on their business, learn a craft & perfect it. This is good practice; but is it self-knowledge?
Chinese kids are ruthless, trained to fight in the immense Beijing, moving & shouting as one –future tyrants, one might say: The new Japanese. These Beijing kids, their future is easily predicted: They will be servile, fearful of their masters, ruthless to their servants. They think beauty ultimately means the grandeur of Forbidden City. So long as tyranny is grand, it is legitimate. But maybe the black kid doesn’t know history
The American kid is fashionable. He wears baggy jeans. He wears his hair like girls do. He dances like they might at the circus. He is outspoken; his naïve sense of justice gets him beat up repeatedly. His anger & weakness show a bad education; he abuses his mother; he is a slave to his passions… – He is a joke: a black kid who gets a black eye & conceals it in a manly way, with make-up.
Finally, there is this Chinese girl, amused at this exotic boy, whose birthright is freedom. She is skeptical of his strutting, but he is a kind of lover. She plays Bach & seemingly walks in beauty. Her harsh parents would destroy her, because her world cannot countenance such tenderness.
If you like the trailer, you’ll like the movie, too