content by

Eliza Chan

Shang-Chi: A Diasporic Love Letter to Asian Cinema

It’s not a spoiler to say Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a martial arts film. After all, superhero films are about action, one-on-one fights, and big set pieces. (Thankfully, it’s no Iron Fist.) The film delivers the dynamic martial arts choreography made famous to the west by the likes of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. It ticks all the boxes for fans of the genre: a training montage, a wooden practice dummy, and a weapons upgrade; it even throws in a tournament (okay, fight club) for good measure. Honestly Shang-Chi could have stopped there and it would’ve been enjoyable enough. But it goes further. It engages and gently subverts other hallmarks of Asian cinema—both those made in Asia and the portrayal of Asia(ns) in English-speaking productions.

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