Ok, I’m going to risk having this thought moved to the “MPSIMS” thread.
I’ve been watching a lot of popular wushu movies lately that are advertised on the basis of the number and quality of the martial arts “battles” they contain. All present beautifully choreographed “fights,” sometimes with flying sequences, as in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and sometimes even with pure dance sequences added, as in “House of Flying Dragons.” I just bought “The Raid: Redemption,” which is a tougher, Indonesian martial arts variant.
All of these films are spectacular in the controlled movements of the human body, with beauty, form, and creative movement highly valued and on display – well leavened with mayhem as the result. On the other hand, you don’t see a lot of popular films in which dance itself is featured, like the old Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers films. These used to be highly admired films based on the skill of the dancers and the creativity of the choreography.
I’m wondering if the new martial arts films are a new cultural variant on these old dance films, satisfying a public desire for displaying human form, timing, and spectacular choreography as esthetically pleasing entertainment, but with the updated attraction of violence as a force-multiplied “payoff” for a new demographic? Clearly, it would be the young male viewer who might be attracted most to this new form of kinetic esthetics, yet males in the “dance film” era seemed quite admiring of Fred Astaire’s talent and skill – very useful for impressing females without an unpleasant result lying around.
Put bluntly, the esthetic here seems to have moved from a “Chick Flick” genre and girl power to a young male and violence genre and male power, and yet retained the core attraction of the old dance films: the esthetics of disciplined human kinetics.
Is there anything to this? Has a cultural shift taken place, as described, or are dance and wushu two different genres, and I’m baying at the moon?
I wonder what dopers think about this.