I know this is old news to most of you, but I was out in Washington, DC locked in a hotel basement for the past week. According to Variety, on August 9th, Warner Independent Pictures has selected "The Shield" executive producer Kurt Sutter to direct a re-envisioning of the Bruce Lee classic martial arts extravaganza.
This is pretty exciting, and pretty worrisome, news. While Five Fingers of Death was likely the first real experience Western audiences had with the martial arts film, and it certainly set the tropes for most American kung fu films, it was Enter the Dragon starring the legendary Bruce Lee that guaranteed that US audiences would be watching martial arts films for years. I am excited to see what Kurt and crew can do with the picture, but as I mentioned I am also worried.
As I read the Variety article, it became increasingly clear that the "hero" of the film (or at least the narrative focus) is likely to be as white as I am. The "noir" potential of the piece appeals to me, but the "lone FBI agent who pursues a rogue Shaolin monk into the bloody world of underground martial arts fight clubs"? Not so much.
A "lone FBI agent? A "rogue Shaolin monk"?
Does it take place in "a world gone mad"? Or even "beneath our noses"?
It's a little cliché. Maybe Kurt Sutter can incorporate some of the narrative of how the Triads and the Southern Shaolin Temple are related. Now that has noir potential.