How to make a martial-arts film


  • From: J.Chan, Head of Production, Golden Moon Film Company
  • To: All Directors

It has come to my attention that attempts have been made to produce ‘artistic’ martial arts films. A long and proud tradition of films cut to ribbons by the BBFC is placed at risk by this thoughtless behaviour – the tendency of certain people to include “camerawork” and “conversation” rather than a good nunchaku sequence is to be deplored by all who care for our industry’s future. In an attempt to stem this tide, all movies must now adhere to the following rules:

  1. Plate glass windows have one purpose: to be broken. Whether this is accomplished using animate or inanimate objects is left to your discretion.
  2. There will be at least one scene in a restaurant, or similar setting, which provides tables to climb on, chairs to throw and plate glass windows (see 1).
  3. Kicks and punches must be accompanied by the regulation sound (midway between a gunshot and an axe hitting an oak tree).
  4. Falls onto hard surfaces may only be broken by more unpleasant surfaces e.g. a twenty foot leap onto concrete may, at your discretion, become a twenty foot leap through a car windscreen. All falls most be panned to completion on aforementioned surface – the camera must not cut away at any stage during the fall.
  5. Bear in mind the foreign video market. Much amusement can be given to viewers by making dialogue totally undubbable. Alternatively, we have a large stock of humorous typos and mistranslations available for use in subtitled movies.
  6. Historical scenes will be included wherever possible as this allows us to maintain our bulk discount at Tung’s Silly Costume Emporium. If modern settings are used, characters may be supplied with fire-arms – these must, however, either jam, run out of ammunition or be kicked from the owner’s hand within 15 (FIFTEEN) seconds of being drawn.
  7. Two types of female behaviour are permitted: “vicious, sadistic bitch” and “helpless, giggly kitten”. The latter will always be cute, the former, depending upon personal sexual proclivity and the availability of cute, vicious, sadistic bitches.
  8. Two plots are permitted: you-killed-my-brother-and-you-must-pay and you-are-a-drug-dealer-who-has-framed-me-and-you-must-pay.
  9. Being based in an area of the world with more centuries of civilization than most, even the most bizarre plot elements can rely on historical precedent. Do not worry about audience reaction, they will be too busy wincing at the stunts (see 4) and deciphering the subtitles (see 5) to notice the plot.
  10. The credits will always thank a long list of companies who have nothing obvious to do with the movie itself (e.g. the bottler of Coca-Cola). The advertising revenue gained this way will be used to support future presentations.
  11. Despite large numbers of beautiful, sexy, cute (see 7) women, sex will never happen and nudity will not exist. Note: this only applies to Hong Kong nationals, decadent foreign devils are exempt and may take their clothes off if necessary to the plot or your well-being.

Failure to adhere to these rules will result in the offending party/parties being surrendered as our representative in the exchange deal with Merchant-Ivory.

This will be your only warning.

Julie Chan.