Colleen Broken Wing

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The general buzz I’ve been seeing online is that Colleen Wing is the one saving grace of Iron Fist, the first true failure of the Marvel Netflix offerings. I’m here to disprove that.

(We all know the Meechums are the true delight of Iron Fist. I mostly kid of course.)

Fair warning, there will be spoilers.

First off, let me say that I have no issue with Jessica Henwick, the actress who plays Colleen. In fact, I would go so far as to say that all of the positive buzz online is because of Henwick’s skill as an actress and her ability to at least look believable as a martial artist. This woman was given a shit sandwich and made it look appetizing enough that most of the internet loves her character.

So why do I have a problem with Colleen Wing? Because she’s a terrible sensei. Her boyfriend Danny isn’t much better, considering he beats a student, but Colleen gets an extra helping of scorn from me because her abuse is much more subtle.

A prime example is after her “urban combat” training (where she runs around with a bokken or wooden sword in the middle of friggen New York) after beating on her students she’s verbally abuses them. In fact, at no point in the entire show do we really see her actually using encouragement, except for a brief bit after one of her students “graduates” and is sent to a super secret Hand training camp.

Yup. Colleen Wing is a flunky of the Hand, which makes one wonder why her dojo is failing? You would think the Hand, even a slightly impoverished branch of it, would find a way to keep one of its recruitment centers going, especially since it’s given them young operatives willing to work in multiple lucrative careers.

Another issue I have is the for a dojo that teaches Japanese martial arts all we ever really see Colleen employ is obviously kung-fu based moves. This can be explained by the fact he school teaches kempo, a Japanese interpretation of kung-fu, but it would have been so much more visually interesting to see her counter Danny’s overblown kung-fu with some karate or jujitsu.

Of course Colleen’s greatest sin is the one most people won’t recognize or understand because they’ve never trained in kenjutsu or kendo (Japanese fencing is case you’re wondering). Her greatest sin is not cutting off the red strings off the shinai her students use and properly oiling them. The shinai, not the students.

The reason this is a big deal is that it turns the shinai, which really only should be used by kendo practitioners who intend to hit each other dressed in full armour, into possibly lethal weapons. A shinai is four bamboo staves held together and if used properly will cause at most a bruise on unprotected flesh. If not used properly, say held together by strings so it can’t flex, it’s the equivalent of hitting someone with a club.

A shinai is supposed to be a stand in for a real sword that can be safely used for practice. Unlike the bokken Colleen goes gallivanting around New York with, a shinai is not shaped like a real sword and therefore should only be used in kendo where the intent is to hit each other. In kenjutsu, which Colleen is supposed to be teaching, the students should be using bokken for swinging practice as they are both heavier than shinai and shaped closer to a real sword.

The sad part is, a bokken is actually cheaper to buy than most shinai since there’s less work involved in making it, and from what I saw Colleen had plenty of them lying around. There’s no practical reason for her students to be using shinai and it might explain why she’s having cash flow problems.

Of course all of this comes down to the makers of Iron Fist not truly understanding martial arts and martial artists. In more capable hands Colleen would truly be the badass character the internet is imagining she is and I would be singing Jessica Henwick’s praises rather than saying she did her best with the turd sandwich she was given.

Do better, Marvel. Do. Better.

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Stupid Danny, That’s Not How You Iron Fist!

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So I’ve watched the new Netflix entry in the Marvel universe, Iron Fist, and I have some thoughts. Harsh, brutal, unforgiving thoughts.

Fair warning, there’s gonna be spoilers.

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So first off I’ve never read a single Iron Fist comic, so I went into this show with no preconceived notion of who or what Iron Fist was supposed to be. However, I am a fan of martial arts films, have a black belt in kendo, studied one form of kenjutsu and familiar with the basics of a couple others, and have a reasonable amount of knowledge on the martial arts as a whole. I’m not a martial arts scholar by any means but I can generally recognize the difference between kung fu and jujitsu.

With my bonafides established lets move on to why this show is a steaming pile of garbage.

The first reason why Iron Fist sucks, in fact the biggest reason it does, is Finn Jones. He is by far the worst actor I’ve seen in any of the Marvel productions and from what I’ve seen from him online a complete and utter twit. Jones appears to have graduated from the pouting-white-boy school of acting with a degree in wooden delivery with a minor in wangst. His kung fu sucks, graceless and flabby at best.

The producers would have been better off to hire a real martial artist and send them to an acting bootcamp.Jones weaknesses are readily apparent anytime there’s a real martial artist on screen. He’s supposed to be the preeminent martial artist of the world, so good his fists are like iron, yet he looks like a drunken frat boy practicing tai chi.

Marvel received a lot of flak for hiring Finn in the first place, largely because here was another “Mighty Whitey” story where the white guy comes along, learns martial arts with ease and is so much better than the natives and so on and so forth. The truth is Iron Fist could have worked with the right actor regardless of their ethnic background. Heck, after a conversation the other day I imagined what it would be like if the Stephen Amell had been hired instead of Jones and it was so much better.

The second sin of Iron Fist is that it’s mostly boring. The fights are lackluster and too much time is spent on corporate drama. The only saving grace is….the Meechums!

I bet you thought I was going to say Colleen Wing, didn’t you. No, she’s terrible in her own way but that deserves it’s own post. I will say that the actress who plays Colleen, Jessica Henwick, does a lot with what she’s given and is not at fault for Colleen’s failures.

But back to the Meechums. They waffle back and forth between villains and protagonists, their story being almost Shakespearean in scope, and are the source of most of the series twists. The sad part is for the series to work the should have played a much smaller role.

The reason the Meechums should have played a smaller role as more time should have been devoted to Danny’s time in K’un-L’un. I may get derided for saying this, but the old series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues would have been a good template for the show runners to steal from as it used flashbacks to the main characters time in a temple to highlight and or contrast the story set in the present day.

We needed to see more of Danny’s time in K’un-L’un to understand who he is and why he acts as he does in the present. It would have built up his character so much more, and meant possibly a ton of cool kung fu action!

As it stands, Iron Fist disappoints on multiple levels and unless Finn Jones can pull his head out of his arse then things are looking bleak for the Defenders series which is next in Marvel’s lineup. Here’s hoping the first thing Luke Cage does is give Danny a smack hard enough that Finn Jones can suddenly act.

My New Home

110Image from https://www.creativespotting.com/2013/06/10-magical-hobbit-houses/

So welcome to my new home on the Internet! Previously I ran the Left Hand of Dorkness over on Blogspot but since I needed to create a WordPress blog as part of a school project for a tech-writing class I’ve decided it was him time to switch over to this platform.

To be honest, between work and school and having a life, I’m a pretty terrible blogger. I don’t know how often I’ll update for if this blog will lie as fallow as my last one. We’ll have to see.

You can find my old stuff here.