Tuesday, May 01, 2007

american buffalo soldiers?

more than three uses for a knife?

It's possible that the most bugged out martial-arts movie news you heard recently was NOT that Jackie Chan and Jet Li will be joining forces in 'Forbidden Kingdom,' a retelling of the Monkey King myth...

And you probably didn't even blink when you heard that Tarantino will be remaking 'Da Zui Xia' (because you're probably skeptical that he would direct a kung-fu re-do so soon after 'Kill Bill' and before his 'Spaghetti WWII' flick)

It's possible that you heard 'Redbelt' will be a contemporary take on samurai flicks starring "Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Jiu-Jitsu master who has eschewed prizefighting to operate a self-defense studio." And when you heard the plot ("he is conned by a cabal of movie stars and fight promoters... must enter the ring to fight in order to regain his honor") you probably thought it WAS the next Tarantino or Rodriguez project.

But your jaw hit the floor when you found out it will be penned by Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet. (But the whole "conned by a cabal of movie stars does tie in with his 'Bambi vs Godzilla' meditation on Hollywood...)

Or maybe it was no surprise since you already read an interview in February on Suicide Girls:

DM: ...I’ve got this other project I may do about the martial arts community in LA.

What would that be about?

DM: There’s this subterranean community that’s cross-pollinated between cage fighters and cops and boxers and stuntmen and Navy Seals. It’s a really interesting community. It is sort of a samurai film. It is about a guy who’s the world’s greatest fighter but he doesn’t compete. He just trains people because he says, “I’ll train you to walk out of the alley alive but I won’t train you to get points from a referee.” The movie is about how he gets seduced away from his path and becomes commercialized.

Is that something you would write as well?

DM: I wrote it already...

But if you don't frequent the realm of Suicide Girls and cage-fighters you might have been sharp enough to piece the plot together by reading Mamet's answers in the 'far more respectable' world of Leonard Lopate's list of standard questions (dated 2/12/07):
LL: What's one thing you're a fan of that people might not expect?
Mamet: The Triangle, the Kimura, and the Oomaplata

You SHOULD look forward to Mamet revisiting samurai lore since he juiced up and stripped down the 'Ronin' screenplay as 'Richard Weisz' although you probably aren't convinced he can direct an action flick. (You're thinking he can't even direct a good car commercial... but those were based on someone else's 'fake-Mamet' dialogue... and didn't even have Kelis...)

But when you saw the trailer for Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano's new film (which looks like his homage to the history of Japanese cinema... from Kurosawa to Ozu to... Godzilla and anime!...) you remembered how impressed you were with Beat's personal take on samurai action and figured why not Mamet... even Jarmusch did one.
So Mamet doing a 'samurai fable' set in a mythical L.A. streetfighter world isn't as strange as a Japanese director doing the sequel to a super-powered soccer flick from Hong Kong and changing the sport to lacrosse... is it?