For Your Awareness: Kickboxer's Tears (1992)

I recall some time ago having a rather heated debate as to the value and necessity of dubbing movies, particularly those centering on Asian martial arts, a category that seems particularly subjected to problematic and often terrible dubbings. The friend I was discussing this with suggested that in a few instances dubbing managed to save a film from being altogether unwatchable, or manages to make dry plots and terrible dialogue seem humorous.  While many of his reference included some of the more obscure Godzilla spin-offs, I have come to understand his argument after my recent viewing of Kickboxer's Ters, tilted Xin long zhong hu dou, if you were to see the film in its original Chinese context.  A film that is preoccupied with the world of underground martial arts, in this case kickboxing, the movie is not of particular note and aside from some rather impressive cinematography and unusual gender commentaries manages to be lackluster and tragically dated.  Fortunately the particular version of the film I watched suffered from what may well be the worst case of dubbing I have ever encountered in a film.  I am not sure if the actors were Americans, English speaking Chinese guys trying to sound black or a set of Australians, because at not point is one characters voice consistently dubbed by the same person, nor is it delivered with a committed concept within the same scene.  I am sure some of the death scenes and moments of subtle intimacy were quite nice upon their initial release, but the reprehensible manner in which the various actors deliver the lines manages to take any sort of beauty out of scenes and any sort of seriousness out of even the most intimidating characters.  By about ten minutes into this work, I had convinced myself that it consisted entirely of b-roll footage from the television version of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, a notion that I have still not completely dismissed.

I am realizing that my "For Your Awareness" posts either take on the completely absurd or the completely artistic in their endeavor, only being connected by the obscurity factor.  Like my posts about Greed or Starcrash, I think a film like Kickboxer's Tears needs to be saved from obscurity, in this case not because it is a particularly profound piece of filmmaking, instead; because it is a thing to be viewed and pondered, much more in the vein of Troll 2 or Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Excluding the cinematic masterpiece that is obscure due to its lack of completion in Greed, each of the previous mentioned films have an aura of earnestness about their creation, it is clear that somewhere somebody was passionate about making Kickboxer's Tears, particularly the fight scenes which, while well choreographed take up a ridiculous amount of the filmic narrative.  Their are touches of Raging Bull within the film as well as some more than blatant references to Bloodsport, yet Kickboxer's Tears manages to exist as something less fantastic, certainly not aided by the previously mentioned dubbing.  I chose to mention the film though because it is so fun to watch and caused me to be surprised on multiple occasions, certainly by some of the POV camera work and some well-executed fight scenes.  Instead of offering this as a film of great cinematic value, Kickboxer's Tears is a midnight movie through and through, one that is quite deserved of its own drinking game and absurd cult following.

I would say buy a copy of this DVD, but my initial viewing of my copy was a result of discovering how valuable the disc was worth.  I went into watching it thinking I would hate it and sell it for the large profit immediately.  However, it is just too awesomely terrible to disown.  In which case I wish you luck finding a copy, mine came from a free bin at a used media store, which makes be consider the presence of a spiritual being even as I complete this sentence.  Also take note of how uneventful every persons death is within the film, it is laughably bleak.

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