How Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA Became a Kung-Fu Fanatic

IndieWire | 7/5/2016 | Staff
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Filmmaker and hip-hop legend RZA made dreams come true for kung-fu fans on a recent Saturday night by programming a double feature of classic martial arts films “Five Element Ninjas” and “House of Traps” at New York’s Metrograph theater.

The original member of the Wu-Tang Clan made three appearances at the event and introduced the 1982 kung-fu titles, both of which were directed by prolific martial arts film director Cheh Chang and produced by Hong Kong’s legendary production company Shaw Brothers. “Five Element Ninjas” follows a young martial artist seeking revenge against the ninja who killed his teacher and brethren, while “House of Traps” centers on a team of skilled fighters making their way through a house rigged with deadly traps.

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“Five Element Ninjas”

Both sold out screenings were packed with kung-fu cinema devotees, many of whom felt compelled to express their love for the genre during a Q&A with RZA, moderated by Metrograph’s programming director Aliza Ma. RZA was also joined briefly on stage by his friend, master and actor Shi Yan Ming, a 34th generation warrior monk, teacher and founder of the USA Shaolin Temple.

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A kung-fu fanatic since he was nine years old, RZA explained that he chose the two films for their massive influence on his feature directing debut, 2012’s “The Man with the Iron Fists,” adding that “House of Traps” had never played in a New York cinema before. While working on the screenplay for “The Man With the Iron Fists,” RZA used “House of Traps” to help convey his vision for the movie to his co-writer Eli Roth.

“He wasn’t very familiar with a lot of the martial arts genre, and we went to his private screening room and I showed him ‘House of Traps’ and he said, ‘Okay, I see what you’re trying to do,'” RZA said. A...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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