film note: The Wrath of Vajra

Bodies and bulges

The Wrath of Vajra
Directed by Wing-Cheong Law
111 min, China | Hong Kong | Japan | Taiwan, 2014

If I were to rate this film solely on its homoerotic power, I’d give it 5 stars.

I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration to say this movie was made as an ode to male beauty. (It’s also about militarism, brotherhood and protecting the vulnerable, along with some anti-Japanese gestures.) There’s just so much strutting, puffing out of chests, flexing, taking off of shirts, fighting shirtless, bulging muscles that I wonder how 100% straight dudes can watch this and not feel uncomfortable. (There’s only one woman in the film and she’s not sexualized in the least.)

The final big high-contrast, hyper-realistic fight scene occurs in the rain and features even more muscle bulging, flexing and even some pit shots. I wonder if this is another of those Chinese martial arts movies made by a severely repressed “straight” director

Anyway. The film is nice to look at in other ways, too, and features one of the best fight scenes I’ve seen a while — between the lead, K-29, and some lanky, long-haired dungeon-dweller called Crazy Monkey — making good use of negative space and architecture, with beautiful and fast-moving wire work, and lots of crane shots and sweeping dollies. Really nice. That’s also the least homoerotic sequence in the whole movie, so enjoy it lads.

Finally, I’m now a bit obsessed with South Korean action star, Yoo Seung Jun who plays the bad guy. Whoa.

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The Wrath of Vajra
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