This week’s movie, The Valiant Ones, is my second favorite movie so far (my first is actually last week’s movie, The Fate of Lee Khan). King Hu took elements that he experimented with in his previous movies and merged them wonderfully to produce really engaging action scenes. Instead of keeping the camera stationary while the characters moved through the planes of the setting, in The Valiant Ones, the camera panned smoothly with the action which made the fighting more dynamic while simultaneously ensuring that the audience could see all of it.
I remember while watching in A Touch of Zen, especially during the fights in the old fort amongst the tall grass, that I had a hard time keeping track of the fighting despite how in-depth keeping the fighters behind the grass made them. However in The Valiant Ones, King Hu maintained the depth of his scenes while still focusing on the action.
I immediately fell for this movie during the first fight scene at the old man’s fishing shack. I really loved the part when one of the heroes faced off with the bad guys just outside the shack. The hero would push back the bad guy along a low wooden fence. This would frame the fighters by keeping the audience’s attention above their waists and on their sword arms while also avoiding pulling in the camera too close.