Is it ever permissible to review a movie before you see it? And if so, can I give it four stars ahead of time?
I have yet to see Disney/Marvel’s latest superhero movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings . But given the track record of Kevin Feige and his teams, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. It’s looks to be both fun and important.
And you know what? A mostly Asian cast is a good start to rectifying wrongs of the past. This movie blew past all early estimates and scooped up in nearly $100 million at the U.S. box office over the Labor Day weekend. Its now one of the top-grossing movies of the year. Not too shabby, right?
My one worry is that this movie doesn’t seem to be about my old pal Shang Chi and his friends, lovers and antagonists. I am glad that this character is now given Cinematic Validations, but back in the 70s, Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu was one badass title. It quickly became a favorite and a must-read. Like Conan the Barbarian, MoKF (as we called it back then) existed in its own corner of the inter-connected Marvel Universe, mostly independent of the usual cross-over nonsense. And it had a tone all its own.
Shang Chi was the protagonist, but he also served as our entry point to the ongoing spy stories. Shang would often refer to his adventures as “games of death and deceit”. It was a sprawling engaging tapestry: a James Bond world with nefarious villains, creative henchmen (ala Goldfinger’s Oddjob) and over-the-top plots. The love interest was the beautiful – but deadly – Leiko Wu and Shang’s comrades in arms were Brits like Black Jack Tarr and other spies – pulled from the pulps or created as offspring of famous fictional characters.
In this old comic series, Shang Chi was the wayward son of master villain Fu Manchu, a pulp villain. As a kid, my local library, the legendary Seymour Library, had several Fu Manchu adventures in the mystery section. When I found them I thought I had discovered treasure. I loved reading them. Continue reading “With Further Ado #162: I Miss My Old Pals From Shang Chi”