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Shaolin Kung Fu

posted Jan 16, 2013, 7:17 AM by Vu Nguyen

New to Shaw Brothers movies? These are my favorites:

March 2, 2010
Dragon Dynasty

July 3, 2007
Image Entertainment

March 13, 2012
Tokyo Shock

You know I love my Kung Fu movies, so when when I saw the trailer to RZA's "The Man With the Iron Fists" movie, I had mixed feelings about it. I knew RZA was a Shaw Brothers fan (having created the Wu-Tang Clan and naming all the rappers after characters from Kung Fu movies), but after finally watching his movie that I really respect the man for his love of the Kung Fu movie genre.

Is "The Man With the Iron Fists" a great movie? Well… it's not the best Kung Fu movie, but for what it is: I was entertained. I can see where RZA was inspired by old Shaw Brothers movies (in particular those Venoms movies, including "Crippled Avengers"). I wish RZA just stay true to the source period - which meant no rap music in the soundtrack (this was also another problem I had with Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" usage of hip hop and rap music in a western!) and no Americans (so sorry, but RZA's character shouldn't have existed in this world - along with Jack Knife).

I guess my advice to you is that you shouldn't spend any time analyzing the plot or wondered how a man can use his iron hands (surely you didn't ask those questions in those incredible Chang Cheh movies), then you'll have a really good time. It's a popcorn movie; just expect a lot of martial arts action.

Look, I'm just happy that more people are interested in Kung Fu movies, I am hoping to see more Shaw Brothers movies on Blu-Ray, as of this writing only 10 titles are available (and I own 7 of them!)

You can buy "The Man With the Iron Fists" on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 12th.

If you can't wait for the DVD, might I suggest checking out the soundtrack. You can stream the songs on Bandcamp, and if you're a massive fan - there is the deluxe edition with includes five CDs, vinyl and posters, etc.

I feel I should explain the 'monk' thing below. Legend has it that it was the Shaolin Monks who developed Kung Fu to defend themselves.


Rare Monk is an indie rock band from Portland, Oregon. They said that they like to mix sax and violin to "rock jams" to make danceable songs.

Their full-length album, Sleep/Attack will be out February 26th. They actually didn't send me the cover artwork, so I'm using the cover of their previous EP, Death By Proxy.


You remember Old Monk. Lara can't get enough of them. Turns out NME loved them, recently featured singer Josh Carrafa's "Music History in GIFs blog" on their website.

Now that I have your attention, Old Monk will be playing at Pianos (with Maude, Tropical Ooze, Vulture Shit, Black Forest) in New York this Saturday (01/19/13).


Sydney's Monks of Mellonwah recently won "Best International Rock Act" at the Los Angeles Music Awards last November. The band also recently wrapped up their first ever U.S. tour, ending last month (December), playing mostly along the west and east coast.

Monks of Mellonwah's latest EP is called, Neurogenesis, and featured their single "Neverending Spirit" (the music video was picked up on MTV's network.)


Ending this roundup is a band not called anything remotely monk-ish in name, Boston's Moduloktopus.

I had to follow up on this band because they recently mixed Bruce Lee's philosophy in their latest song, "Formless" (in collaboration with Michael Gold.) I've heard Lee talk on various documentaries over the years, especially with the recent "I am Bruce Lee" still fresh in my mind.