What makes your film blogs different than others?

I feel that I am able to offer different insights to film reviews for many different reasons. 

(1) I am a working Entertainment Professional (Stunt/Fight Coordinator, Actor, Producer, Writer) and will provide an insiders view to things.

(2) I am an Asian-American, who straddles and understands both Asian and Western cultures and points of views.

(3) I was a professional stand up comedian with 14 years experience and 3 national TV appearances and have worked with comedians like Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Richard Pryor, and Sam Kinison.

(4) I am a practicing a martial artist (training since 1973) in various styles who also has a deep knowledge of Asian and martial arts history.

I feel I am able to give readers a different take on a film because of m varied background and experiences in life.  I am a huge cineaste who loves all genres of film.  I have spent most of my adolescence “in the dark” at Grindhouse and Chinese run theaters in Washington D.C. and NYC.

What is your definition of a fight scene?

I consider it non-verbal screenwriting because we are creating a scene that is usually described in the script with general vague terms like “They fight!”  Like a screenplay, a fight usually goes through different revisions until everyone is finally happy with it.  I see a fight scene as a little story within a bigger story. A good fight has a 3-act structure to it (no matter how short or long it is).  It has a beginning (a cause and initial engagement), middle (conflict), and end (resolution).  It’s a combination of emotion and spectacle.  A great fight has to have a reason to justify why the characters are in the fight, varied emotions, mood, and repercussions that result from the non-verbal conflict. 

I see the techniques used in the fight and the response to them (whether it is a block, counter, or reaction to getting hit) much like a screenwriter would create with lines of dialogue to advance the story and show the personality traits of the characters. A great fight also has a 3-act structure to it.  Too many fight choreographers get caught up in making it look cool instead of focusing on the emotion of the conflict.  That disease is called “cool-move-itis!”  However, there needs to be a balance between the two.

Fight choreography is an art in itself… and a very misunderstood art!  A lot of people (even in the film business) think a real martial artist can choreograph or perform fights on film without any understanding or training in theatrical combat.  That’s like hiring a real life psychotic killer to play Hannibal Lecter for the sake of authenticity.  Even though on the surface it might look the same, but the purpose, applications, and technical skills needed to make the scene work are completely different.  Being a professional fighter or martial artist is counter-intuitive to choreographing and selling an effective fight on film.  They have to unlearn what they were taught, understand, and do in order to make it work on film.

Do you favor Asian or Western style fights on film?

To be honest, I like both.  The problem is there are strengths and limitations to both Eastern and Western fighting styles on film.  Asian fights can sometimes too long and extremely stylized to a point where it’s almost dream like, while Western fights are limited in their fight vocabulary, approach, and get extremely repetitive. 

Do you answer all your blog emails?

Yes.  I try to as best as I can, but there are times I will be working on a project where I cannot answer back as quick as I would like.  So if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me. 

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