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Thread: Action choreography in Wuxia TV shows

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    Default Action choreography in Wuxia TV shows

    Long time lurker, first time poster so please forgive me if this is in the wrong category and needs to be moved, but this is something that I have wanted to get off my chest for some time now.

    I have noticed a marked decline in the quality of fight choreography in Wuxia productions despite a dramatic rise in their overall production values. HD playback is a big part, but the sets, costumes, makeup, etc. are markedly superior to what was available a decade ago let alone two. However this has not been matched by the fight choreography which as I have mentioned has seemed to have declined. This is in contrast to films which have consistently maintained high standards and continue to this day exceed anything Hollywood action films has been able to muster even with its 9 figure budgets. For example the hyper-kinetic visceral choreography in Flashpoint or SPL, the classic 90's golden era style of the Ip Man films, or the perfectly composed and beautifully filmed scenes in Wong Kar Wai's the Grandmaster, are all consistently excellent in their respective ways. Now I understand the cost limitations and compressed time schedules involved in shooting television is far different from TV and you cannot realistically expect to shoot something like the scenes from Hero (The minute or so blue lake scene took weeks to film) when you have maybe 3 days to shoot 1 hour long episode.

    However, despite even bigger limitations, Wuxia series of the late 90's up until the late 2000's were still able to have passable action sequences. There seems to have been a precipitous fall since 2010 where every Wuxia TV show I have seen has had worse choreography than the show preceeding it. Tian Ya Ming Yue Dao while one of the first Wuxia TV series I recall that was available in HD had absolutely crap fight choreography despite how critical it is to the overall story because it is adapted from a Wuxia novel. Xiao Ao Jianghu was only slightly better but arguably relatively worse since it is an adaptation of a story that pretty much defines the elements of Wuxia. Tian Long Ba Bu was almost painful to watch because of how bad the action was and so was the Return of the Condor Heroes. The action choreography was so terrible that it basically ruined all potential enjoyment of the series. They are markedly inferior to their Liu Yifei counterparts made in 2003 and 2006 respectively. The Sword Stained with Royal Blood (2007) and HSDS (2009) while both having their flaws still had decent action despite the laters horrible abuse of bad CGI and occasional times where you could even see the green screen itself.

    The reason why I had the urge to write this is because I recently watched two more series last month that characterizes both what is wrong with Wuxia television and what is right. Hua Qian Gu isn't exactly a Wuxia genre as it is more outright fantasy, but the action scenes are probably the ultimate example of how terrible it has gotten. None of the combat choreography actually even involves any physical contact whatsoever between actors and all that is accomplished is spinning around in circles shooting bad CGI energy blasts at one another. No parries, ripostes, kicks, or acrobats to speak of, just spinning around in circles in mid-air while pointing their fingers going pew pew pew. I wasn't expecting anything good, but my disappointment with admittedly low expectations made it all the worse.

    And then I finished up the 2014 adapation of the Duke of Mount Deer this weekend. The adaptation of a novel that is at heart a genre-defying anti-Wuxia Wuxia turned out to be a refreshing breath of fresh (or rather decade old air) in which it exceeded all of my preconceptions. I am not a big fan of Qing period pieces but despite this, I found the show exceptionally made in spite it being a comedy and not taking itself too seriously. The action scenes were well choreographed and executed with precision. Some standouts being Hai Dafu's fight with the cross-dressing disciple hidden as a palace maid, the two unnamed assassins fighting the condemned prisoners, Hai Dafu's fight with the Empress Dowager, and even the Empress Dowager's bought with Jiunan. That I can actually remember each of these fights clearly is a testament to how well executed the choreography was as opposed to it's other post 2010 siblings. Even the CGI was well integrated into the action and subtle enough to not be overwhelming. Better yet, the show had some of the best costuming I had yet seen in a TV adaptation with historically accurate clothing, though the styles were more late Qing than it should have realistically been only two decades after the Ming. The costumes simply looked great and again I say this in spite of the fact that I hate the Qing period. This stands in stark contrast to some other recent shows where the costumes were not only not period appropriate but complete fantasy (I'm looking at you here Lan Ling Wang). I'm not particularly obsessive enough to care that a hairstyle is from the Jin period rather than the Western Han, but I do appreciate period accurate costuming that doesn't look like it stepped off from a Las Vegas (Seriously, WTF was up with the feathers on the costumes in Lan Ling Wang).

    Since I have just finished with the Duke of Mount Deer, I am unfortunately in a bit of a funk in that I expect that anything I watch from now on will not be able to live up to it. Does anyone else have recommendations for Wuxia or even simply ancient period TV shows made post 2010 that actually have decent action? Please include lesser known adaptations of authors besides major figures like Jin Yong that I may have missed out on (I enjoyed Da Tang You Xia Zhuan 2008). I had initially thought that part of the problem of the decline in action was because of the tailoring of the shows for younger and more likely younger female audiences more interested in love stories and "idol" actors than interesting plots and thumping action but the Duke of Mount Deer despite casting a veritable stable of nubile beauties did the genre justice. Liu Yifei isn't exactly known for her emotive chops either but both of her TV shows were alright in that department.

    I also would be interested in hearing the opinions of others. Agree? Disagree? Obscure Shows with lesser known actors?

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    1) the tv broadcast censor board deleted many scenes on recent drama to tone down "violence"
    individual tv stations can do another layer of edits to shorten the episode and add more commercial time

    2) over reliance on body doubles , the female actresses will morph into manly stature when their faces can be obscured by long hair

    3) romance is a better selling point than fight scenes ... for china audience , a signature of YuZheng productions transforming politics and wuxia into a string of love stories

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    Actors and actresses in series/drama don't get paid as much compared to movies and don't get the same recognition in fame either. Therefore they are less willing to do real contact and fancy wuxia actions as it requires much more energy and time. Most of the actresses and actors on the small screen these days probably don't have the physical ability to withstand a long fight scene anyway. Also, a wuxia series takes longer to shoot than a movie, the condition is generally seen as harsher for ancient series to begin with and if you add more actions to it, it's not something every actor and actress is willing to do. Using more CGI also cuts out a lot of the production cost. Also, there aren't many real wuxia series these days, it's mostly fantasy 'xian xia' so there is less need for long well choreographed fights. I would like to see some decent wuxia series too, but I have kinda stopped hoping. If there is one, it's a bonus, but otherwise, times have changed and the styles have changed. Altough I am still hoping the new Bordertown Wanderer will be done properly...hehe...

    I don't have recommendations for post 2010, but I do have a recommendation for pre2010 if you haven't watched it already. 书剑恩仇录 2009.

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    You have a legit question, and I think it has been discussed here. Maybe not yet a separate thread in the Mainland TV forum, but in another SPC forum (you can browse). In the Mainland forum, though, we did deliberate about it in diverse series threads. The first thread I got into was the Demi Gods and Semi Devils 2013, and it's quite interesting that many of the participants were of the opinion that it has a "wuxia feeling" that was not present in the majority of recent wuxia dramas. This is despite the series' flaws -- and it's probably the least popular DGSD version.

    I agree with the previous comments that cost consideration often forces production houses to limit the budget for hiring wuxia choreographers, they'd probably rather use it to sign popular idols and actors. But I think there are still wuxia dramas out there that have decent fighting choreography, but much much less known and don't have English subs.

    I am currently watching the Legend of Qin (2015) and I am quite satisfied with the fighting scenes. One of my favorite scenes is from 25:57" to 28:34" of the following episode http://myasiantv.se/drama/legend-of-qin/episode-13/.

    Another series that I think has pretty good wuxia is The Great Protector (2014). Just like The Duke of Mount Deer, it's actually not a wuxia series. But the fighting scenes are very well done. Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChOvP...PMXkXlM6pYtAwo 33:20" to 35:48". In the same video 38:05" to 39:20" they did a "theoretical battle", which is quite interesting.

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    Thank you for the responses.

    Regarding the issue of censorship, I don't really think that applies to the action choreography. As I mentioned, the choreography was much better last decade and some of those shows were produced CCTV, and they were never particularly violent let alone sexually suggestive.

    Regarding actors salaries potentially becoming a much larger portion of the production cost, this is possible but I'm not so certain. The 2003 version of Condor Heroes had Zhou Xun, who is basically S-Tier nowadays when it comes to how much money she can command, had already been in a large number critically reviewed films and was working with the likes of Chen Kaige. I doubt Zhao Liying or any number of recent starlets could have cost as much as Zhou Xun.

    Thanks for the recommendations lenje, I checked out the two links you mentioned. Maybe my tastes are different, but the first I found to be not that great, the choreography was boring and something I just noticed when I compared it to DoMD was that the music wasn't quite fitting, or rather it sounded like generic video game background music that didn't quit fit with the action. Also it ended up being overwhelmed by the sound effects. Good sound design is also integral to the overall experience. I'll give you some links to what I identify as good choreography for a Wuxia TV series. Btw you can adjust youtube links to play at a particular time segment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhX5CUBCqyU&t=3m50s

    Brief fight that lasts about a minute. CGI well integrated into the martial arts so that it doesn't look cheesy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE0EYkWvKO4&t=4m10s

    A longer fight with some talking in between. More CGI, but again well integrated into the overall martial arts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMtH4WRKU5A&t=14m10s

    A brief scene but everything works great here. The choreography is beautiful, a lot of CGI but very well integrated into the martial arts and tastefully executed. Best thing of all the music is exquisitely tailored to the scene.

    Your second link I actually greatly enjoy and I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see it is another Huace production. They seemed to have really upped their game since DGSD 2013 where they dropped the ball on the action sequences. It's good to see them making a comeback. The style of your second video is actually quite "artsy" with the great fitting music, slow mow shots, and dark backlighting. In fact, it cribs shamelessly from the Grandmaster with the snowfall.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tk44p0tLlg

    You can see where nearly all the artistic inspiration of that fight scene are present in Wong Kar Wai's original. Of course a TV budget and shooting timeframe doesn't allow the execution to approach that of the film, but it is nonetheless an adequate attempt and far superior to the other contemporary shows I've mentioned.

    *edit fixed a link
    Last edited by Vortigern; 01-12-16 at 03:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vortigern View Post
    Thank you for the responses.

    Regarding the issue of censorship, I don't really think that applies to the action choreography. As I mentioned, the choreography was much better last decade and some of those shows were produced CCTV, and they were never particularly violent let alone sexually suggestive.
    Their censorship board banned any kind of scenes with blood spilling on the assailant's face.
    This keep the production team on their toes as they don't want to waste production hours on close-quarter fight scenes that may not survive the censor board.

    I wonder if you noticed DukeOfMtDeer2014 had many jerky inconsistent scenes stitched together badly, that was the effect after the edits by the censor board.
    Keen eye fans can recall scenes seen in trailer and opening/ending theme, not appearing on the actual episodes.

    Example dice throwing in DukeOfMtDeer2014
    Flying ring weapons in Condor Heroes 2014

    Gambling and Tibetan culture are prohibited to be promoted on their mass media.
    Well , us on the outside world would see them as being over-sensitive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vortigern View Post
    Thanks for the recommendations lenje, I checked out the two links you mentioned. Maybe my tastes are different, but the first I found to be not that great, the choreography was boring and something I just noticed when I compared it to DoMD was that the music wasn't quite fitting, or rather it sounded like generic video game background music that didn't quit fit with the action. Also it ended up being overwhelmed by the sound effects. Good sound design is also integral to the overall experience. I'll give you some links to what I identify as good choreography for a Wuxia TV series. Btw you can adjust youtube links to play at a particular time segment.
    Thanks for the links! I only watched a few random episodes of DOMD 2014, so I definitely missed those scenes. I agree with you that those are really good choreography. The coloring, though, is a little too bright for my taste. I don't think that my favorite fighting scene of the Legend of Qin is inferior, but it's a matter of different taste . I can see why you're saying that accompanying musical score isn't fitting for that part. They could've picked a better one.


    [
    Quote Originally Posted by Vortigern View Post
    Your second link I actually greatly enjoy and I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see it is another Huace production. They seemed to have really upped their game since DGSD 2013 where they dropped the ball on the action sequences. It's good to see them making a comeback. The style of your second video is actually quite "artsy" with the great fitting music, slow mow shots, and dark backlighting. In fact, it cribs shamelessly from the Grandmaster with the snowfall.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tk44p0tLlg

    You can see where nearly all the artistic inspiration of that fight scene are present in Wong Kar Wai's original.
    I was highly amused reading this. The scriptwriter for the Great Protector (Biao Men) was the same writer of the Grandmaster, Xu Haofeng. I read that he spent several years finishing the Great Protector script, so it's no wonder the series itself is of high quality. I personally consider TGP one of the best C-dramas of recent years, but it mostly went under the radar, despite featuring well known actors like Wallace Huo and Jia Qing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lenje View Post
    Thanks for the links! I only watched a few random episodes of DOMD 2014, so I definitely missed those scenes. I agree with you that those are really good choreography. The coloring, though, is a little too bright for my taste. I don't think that my favorite fighting scene of the Legend of Qin is inferior, but it's a matter of different taste . I can see why you're saying that accompanying musical score isn't fitting for that part. They could've picked a better one.
    Yes the colors were a bit Yu Zhengish but honestly I don't mind that much and it really pops in HD. At least it is far better than the blurry muted 360 resolution videos from before Chinese shows were in HD.

    I was highly amused reading this. The scriptwriter for the Great Protector (Biao Men) was the same writer of the Grandmaster, Xu Haofeng. I read that he spent several years finishing the Great Protector script, so it's no wonder the series itself is of high quality. I personally consider TGP one of the best C-dramas of recent years, but it mostly went under the radar, despite featuring well known actors like Wallace Huo and Jia Qing.
    I'm already 5 episodes into the Great Protector and you are right, it is good. If I can't find some time over the weekend, i'll see how far I can marathon it. This is one of those rare times were I am a little disappointed that it is only 38 episodes. I can't believe they bothered filming enough material for 50 episodes of that steaming pile of crap that was Ancient Sword Legend. Unfortunately, I didn't learn my lesson fast enough and got 20 episodes in before I finally threw in the towel and realized it wasn't going to get better and that it wasn't worth suffering more for brief glimpses of Chen Zihan.

    By the way, do you have any other recommendations after this one?

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    I gonna ignore the years because I don't know. I just post series I recently watch. Since you know a lot about Jin Yong series (especially when a certain someone is the producer). I don't need to go into them again. I apologize for posting in viet, I am sure if you are chinese you can read the chinese names and or subtitle to find it or the forum members can help you. I post some old stuffs that you may not have watch.

    Young Justice Bao 3, and I could say all those Judge Dee series.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vigilantes_in_Masks

    Three Kingdoms. The new Water Margin had nice fight scenes too. But the story doesn't aged nicely for modern time.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHZbS_S8GaQ

    Ni Shui Han had good beginning and then it drags on and on and on.

    Also, I think you should marked down the producers/directors for whether if you like the action scenes/choreography or not. And of course the writers and the original works it adapted from, for if you like the story or not.

    I only find works that I like usually from the same director/producer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lny8p9Bj5Yw

    You may like the actions in this series also (something about big flag hero). Another forgettable storywise.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCee...ZW_RxfZJF4pm_Y

    ....

    http://mydramalist.com/9122-legend-of-dance

    Legend of dance is great action/writing beginning to end. Beautiful. One of the master piece that I had the leisure of watching. Shame that it isn't very popular compare to the crap that Yu zheng put out. Despite the title may put you off. The fight scenes are awesome. Everything about it is great: plot, character, setting, action, music, and boy cinematography.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fist_of_Fury_(TV_series)

    There is one more, who fall under the category of good action but mediocre story that I don't remember the title. So I will get back to ya.

    Any of the series I mentioned, look up the producers/directors/action choreographers from dramawiki.

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    Young Justice Bao 3 had some really nice fights. But the fights don't occur often.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_to_Fate

    At one point, I enjoyed this like the shaolin series I posted above. Not sure if I still enjoy them.

    I just google around.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgGmcZP9lCs

    Never seen this one but it looks promising.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lian_C...ue_(TV_series)

    Speaking of Jin Yong, possibly most over look work. It is fine, there is the action you look for. But not among the greats.

    Not sure if A Step into the Past is something you looking for, but I have enjoyed it ages ago (again not sure if I still like it).

    http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Da_Qi_Ying_Xiong_Zhuan

    So this is the mediocre flag series I was talking about, but I am sure the action is what you looking for.
    Also to note about the Justice Dee, there are like multiple seasons of it and movies. And there are like a Young Justice Dee series too. I think I found them more interesting than the regular Justice Bao. But it gets repetitive at time.

    hmm, I google around and I still can't find that one series that I forget. I know for sure it isn't a Jin Yong work so it must be some other wuxia writers but not one of the more notable works like Twin Heroes, Flying Dagger, Chu LiuXiang, or Lu Xiaofeng. I remember the villain have a gauntlet/claw like weapon.

    Great works: 3 Kingdoms, Fist of Fury, Legend of Dance, Justice Bao 3 (though not that original), Vigilante in the masks, Ni Shui Han (first few episodes lel), Demi God Semi Devil 2003/1997, Xiao Ao Jiang Hu 2001, hmm possibly one of the Duke of Mount Deer (not sure which one at the moment since I didn't see them all so I guess I will stick with the first one I saw with Jordan Chan). Well, those are for the action elements. I think I like other series too and I sure you know other Jin Yong works that didn't get mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by weixiaobao View Post
    Legend of dance is great action/writing beginning to end. Beautiful. One of the master piece that I had the leisure of watching. Shame that it isn't very popular compare to the crap that Yu zheng put out. Despite the title may put you off. The fight scenes are awesome. Everything about it is great: plot, character, setting, action, music, and boy cinematography.
    Legend of Song and Dance is one drama that I've always wanted to see! It's been recommended by some bloggers and I've ventured into the first episode, but need time to continue watching it. Unfortunately it doesn't come with English sub, so I have to be content with the cinematography and the fight scenes (provided they are as awesome as you say )

    Three Kingdoms is one of the best C-dramas. I'm actually watching it right now, but it takes dedication to finish the 95 episodes LOL. The fans made a top-notch English sub for it. I'm glad they don't use any CGI for the fighting scenes, but the choreography isn't the best one out there IMO

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    Quote Originally Posted by lenje View Post
    Legend of Song and Dance is one drama that I've always wanted to see! It's been recommended by some bloggers and I've ventured into the first episode, but need time to continue watching it. Unfortunately it doesn't come with English sub, so I have to be content with the cinematography and the fight scenes (provided they are as awesome as you say )
    First off, I finally found out the mediocre series with good fight scenes I was talking about, and it actually in the OP's post which is Paladins in Trouble Time/Da Tang You Xia Zhuan. And not to my surprise, it produced by Zhang JiZhong and action director was Sun Meng Fei (who of course pretty awesome with his previous works).

    So the problem with that series is not the "directing" aspect of it. But rather the mediocre writing it was based on. And to be fair, most wuxia stories are mediocre except for a few.

    Yeah, I doubt Legend of Song and Dance will ever got english sub. How would I describe it? Game of Thrones/A song of Ice and Fire meet ancient James Bond thriller meet Korean romance meet Detective Conan, meet One Piece adventure.

    Political intrigue? Check. Adventure? Check. Thriller/Action? Check. Psychology? Check. Mystery? Check. Style/Substance? Check. Romance? Check. Beautiful location shooting? Check. Interesting premise? Check. Beautiful choreography? Check.

    Characters with unique motivation, people don't act out of place/dumb? Check. Chemistry? Check. Music? Check.

    I can't praise this unknown gem enough. Why don't people watch it more?

    Just the opening sequences reminded me of Game of Thrones opening with all the unique buildings.

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    This is one of the things I hate about modern wuxia fights, the wire works are too obvious...
    I'm not against stunts using wires at all, but they must be more subtle...

    Anyways part of the blame goes to the director. It takes a lot of skills to produce movements that seem natural. Recall XLN/YG floating down towards a lake n the OP in ROCH 2006. It seemed seamless. That is proper wire work done right.
    Last edited by hirobo2; 01-16-16 at 03:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hirobo2 View Post
    This is one of the things I hate about modern wuxia fights, the wire works are too obvious...
    I'm not against stunts using wires at all, but they must be more subtle...
    hmm, actually the wire in the vid that you just quote is the least problem of that tv series, and the least problem of modern day wuxia. The unbearable storyline is the worst thing in that tv series. The over the top/super obvious cgi/green screen is what wrong with modern day's wuxia.

    If ya watch any of the later crap, this looks golden by comparison.

    And I like how you mentioned wirefu, where as, if a non chinese person watch that. They would be confuse why did these guys are hitting the air at point instead of an easy hit to the opponent, especially the moment where the guy is upside down and do some sort of jumping motion with his one hand.

    From ROCH 2006, I remember one of the high light was the umbrella fight scene. And btw, Ni Shui Han is 2 years older than ROCH.

    The umbrella as a prop, I think is actually done better in Legend of Dance.

    And I also confused by your word choice of modern wuxia, because what time frame exactly was it perfectly done?

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    Quote Originally Posted by weixiaobao View Post
    hmm, actually the wire in the vid that you just quote is the least problem of that tv series, and the least problem of modern day wuxia. The unbearable storyline is the worst thing in that tv series. The over the top/super obvious cgi/green screen is what wrong with modern day's wuxia.

    If ya watch any of the later crap, this looks golden by comparison.

    And I like how you mentioned wirefu, where as, if a non chinese person watch that. They would be confuse why did these guys are hitting the air at point instead of an easy hit to the opponent, especially the moment where the guy is upside down and do some sort of jumping motion with his one hand.

    From ROCH 2006, I remember one of the high light was the umbrella fight scene. And btw, Ni Shui Han is 2 years older than ROCH.

    The umbrella as a prop, I think is actually done better in Legend of Dance.

    And I also confused by your word choice of modern wuxia, because what time frame exactly was it perfectly done?
    I think you got the wrong idea. I like WireFu. Have you seen HSDS 2009? Best use of wirefu ever. Esp. the wirefu fight between ZhaoMin and Zhang Wuji. But I hate the wirefu in the above clip. They made the fighters seem like 170lb bodies suspended by wires rather than ppl w superhuman abilities...

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    ZJZ is the master of wirefu stunts. When ZW arched backward but remain above the ground, at no point did I go "oh this guy was suspended by a wire hanging from his tummy" but rather his movements were set up so he'd rebound from it... that's what I mean by making the wires almost inconspicuous to the fighter's movements... Nobody can do it like ZJZ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by hirobo2 View Post


    ZJZ is the master of wirefu stunts. When ZW arched backward but remain above the ground, at no point did I go "oh this guy was suspended by a wire hanging from his tummy" but rather his movements were set up so he'd rebound from it... that's what I mean by making the wires almost inconspicuous to the fighter's movements... Nobody can do it like ZJZ...
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=us

    I used cache since that site is down or something.
    The director Ju Jue Liang/Kuk Kwok-leung for Ni Shui Han worked on ZJZ's 2003 Demi God Semi Devil, 2003 LOCH.

    I don't know what he does in



    But those are also included in his credits.

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    It depends on how you define 'good' martial arts choreography. True combat is really quite boring to watch (unless you find footwork and subtle biodynamics remotely exciting, as I do ). Martial arts choreography is usually a flamboyant version of the original, often sacrificing the impact for the show of a particular move. It is rare when actors and actresses talented for movement, choreography, camera work, editing, and CGI all blend together seamlessly and effectively to produce a great fight scene that does justice to the spirit of combat and showmanship.

    Quote Originally Posted by lenje View Post
    I don't think that my favorite fighting scene of the Legend of Qin is inferior, but it's a matter of different taste .
    Well, I quite like that fight sequence. The CGI was minimal, yet quite game-like, which I thought was funny but seemed to work to visualize the impact of sword Qi. What I thought made it a good scene was the functionality of their moves. I find this a rare thing, mainly because it depends on all parties of the fight. Each slash was often followed up by a close body punch, as if they were really going for it. And there were attempts to follow through with each motion. When Gai Nie slides backwards and uses his foreleg to slow the motion down, I was so impressed that he did it like he meant it. More often than not, this is done in a showy way, where it is unbelievable that it is being used for it's purpose.

    Some recent and decent martial art series:

    Hua Xu Yin - Ying Ge story arc (2015)

    Considering the lead is an assassin, there is an appreciation for the fighting. Why I recommend this is because I know Guo Zhen Ni, who plays the titular character, is pretty serious with her martial arts. As in, she is known to practice in her own time, does most of her own stunts, and heck, the effort pays off. While there are times when I think she does too much flexion through the hips in her moves, she has a mighty fine sword stance. Her hand-to-hand combat near the finale was also awesome to watch, because it did look like she was trying to strike Rong Xun. Go for the rare female actresses who mean their strikes! While there is WireFu, if I remember correctly, that is about it. No CGI during contact fighting. To top it off, Guo Zhen Ni and all her co-stars are exceptional actors, and it follows as close to the novel material in plot as possible (some dialogue word-for-word), so yep, one of the few recent martial art examples that has the whole package.

    Flying Swords of Dragon Inn (2015)

    Known as a sequel to Dragon Inn. Which really says it all, because I think anything Dragon Inn says 'fighting'. Once again, WireFu, and limited CGI, if any. There is also something really satisfying with desert backdrops, because there are no distractions to the fight, but the fight. Close quarter, edgy combat is also a theme in Dragon Inn, which I love. I've dabbled - hopefully will be consistent one day - in Iaido. Probably one of the remaining weapon forms that specifically caters for close quarter weaponry. Which is why I always appreciate shows that try the close quarter fights, because people have to really pay attention to how they place and move their body.
    Last edited by NuDaFu; 01-26-16 at 06:16 AM.

  19. #19
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    Jan 2016
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    Thank you everyone for your recommendations. Finished Biao Men and thoroughly enjoyed it, solid story, acting, costumes with excellent choreography (barring that silly horse killing scene). Truly an underrated gem when so much other dreck gets so much attention here. I was really curious about the actress who played the Manchu princess and noticed she was in Lang Ya Bang so I ended up watching that afterwards. Not normally a fan of political shows but the writing was absolutely razor sharp with excellent cinematography. One of the best plotted Chinese or otherwise TV shows I've seen. Unfortunately the actress only had a minor role and period era really hair does not suit her face as more modern styles do.

    Anyways back to more *** kicking shows. I've tried to find the 2015 version of flying swords of dragon gate, but have only managed to find a low red Korean sub. Anyone know where I can watch it in HD? Its really hard to search since I keep getting false hits for the 2011 movie. Also the thread for this series here on the forum is very sparse and I noticed a major change from the 2014 previews. The eunuch villain was supposed to be the same actor from 2003 DGSD but the one in the actual show looks completely different. I only skimmed/skipped the first episode and noticed this immediately, in addition to the almost total lack of any musical score whatsoever. Its shaping up to be a real disappointment because the stills were beautiful and Ming era periods are my favourites.

  20. #20
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    Last edited by Mido-Ban; 02-04-16 at 09:12 PM.

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