Posted on Monday, August 16th, 2021 by Jeremy Mathai
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has a lot to live up to. As comic readers know, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is a skilled martial artist, on par with (or even better than) the absolute best in the Marvel world. So far, we’ve received brief teases and glimpses of the superhero’s fighting prowess in this cinematic adaptation of the character, but a new clip puts the focus entirely on his ability to stave off multiple enemies at once in the most precarious of spots … and with his only “weapons” being his hands and feet.
Here’s the clip for your viewing pleasure.
Much like Shang-Chi himself, Marvel has a consistent ability to deliver on the action spectacle that audiences are now used to demanding from their blockbusters. This looks to be a significant step-up from the studio’s usual efforts, as the action is staged in a wonderfully kinetic setting that demands the characters (as well as the movie’s visual effects team) use the surrounding location and integrate it into the actual fight sequences. I’m personally not a fan of the amount of “floating camera” used to pull back and deliver a grounding sense of geography to the fight, but it’s at least balanced nicely by the shots cutting in tight to close quarters combat and making viewers really feel like they’re right in the middle of the action. And who can deny the pleasure of seeing Shang-Chi use a goon as a horizontal ladder in place of falling bamboo?
The music by Joel P. West, frequent collaborator of director Destin Daniel Cretton, feels like more disappointingly generic superhero fare, but I’ll freely admit that’s nitpicking. This is less than a minute of footage that’s certain to integrate much smoothly with the rest of the movie when seen in-context … but then again, these clips are meant to be dissected, so that’s what we’re doing here!
Honoring the Past
Sadly, the anticipation for Shang-Chi comes tempered by the news that universally well-regarded stunt choreographer Brad Allen has passed away at the tragically young age of 48. In addition to his work alongside legends like Jackie Chan and Guillermo del Toro, Allen also served as second unit director for films like Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Shang-Chi. He worked extensively as Supervising Stunt Coordinator for the upcoming Marvel movie and his efforts are immediately recognizable just from this clip.
Brad Allen will continue to be honored posthumously between this and the scheduled release of The King’s Man, though it’s comforting to know that his contributions will also live on forever within every one of his previous movies as well.
Shang-Chi will release exclusively in theaters on September 3, 2021.
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