Martial artists and extraterrestrials: TV and movies viewed

The CW’s new KUNG FU has nothing to do with the David Carradine series (of which I’ve seen S1, S2 and S3) besides the name) which made me worry the name would turn people off rather than draw them in. It’s been renewed for a second season, though, so I guess they knew what they were doing.

Olivia Liang plays Nicky Shen, who fled her overbearing mother and wound up spending three years in a Shaolin monastery. After the mysterious martial artist Zhilan (Gwendoline Yeo) murders Nicky’s mentor Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai) and steals an ancient sword, Nicky returns home. Reuniting with a family she blew off isn’t easy; then she learns from history student Henry (Eddie Liu) that the sword is part of a set of mystical weapons that will make Zhilan seriously bad news if she collected all of them. In between trying to recover some of the McGuffins, Nicky winds up helping out family members and others with her combat skills.

While the mystical backstory doesn’t grab me, the characters and actors are good, the action’s fun and the Chinese-American elements are interesting (Nerds of Color gives them a thumbs up). I look forward to the second season. “If you want to judge my teaching, do not look to my skill — look to yourself.”

After watching Beyond Skyline I Netflixed the previous film, SKYLINE (2010) but it’s neither informative about the alien agenda nor particularly good: a group of unremarkable twentysomething friends have to put their personal dramas on hold to evade the aliens who’ve attacked Los Angeles. Even though this ends on a cliffhanger, I don’t think Beyond Skyline followed up on any of the characters here; I wouldn’t bother with the third film, Skylines, but it has elements I think will be of interest for Alien Visitors. “They aren’t dead — they’re just really pissed off.”

I rewatched THE VAST OF NIGHT (2020) to see if I gleaned more from it now that I’m further into the alien abductions chapter. What I mostly gleaned was that I must have been in a bad headspace when I first watched it as I liked it so much better this time (though the gimmick of making it an episode of a Twilight Zone type anthology still doesn’t add anything). A telephone operator picks up a strange sound coming over some of the wires, which leads to her and the local DJ investigating and discovering a story of UFOs, abductions and mysterious government cover-ups.

This works despite explaining very little of what’s going on, or why. It does show how much UFO abduction stories track with horror; with a little tweaking, this could be about the protagonists stumbling onto some Lovecraftian secret, just as one woman’s strange child could be a changeling. “Free will is an illusion with them up there.”

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2 Comments

Filed under Movies, TV

2 responses to “Martial artists and extraterrestrials: TV and movies viewed

  1. Pingback: Movies I’ve recently rewatched about alien visitors | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: TV, with aliens and without | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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