When I’m asked to recommend good kung fu films from the last few years, I always seem to accidentally leave “The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake” off the list so I want to take some time to recommend it now.
It’s not the most fight heavy film you will ever see, but it does something so few kung fu movies actually do: it presents a female protagonist who has the strength and skill to rival any male character in the film.
So many female kung fu characters are given blatant weaknesses or stereotypical femininity. Well..there’s very little of that here.
And yeah, you can argue, “Well, Guts and Uppercuts, she does dress like a man. Isn’t that a bit anti-women?” Not really. She dresses like a man to destroy the idea of male and female roles. That’s basically what the entire film is about. Destroying the construct of what women are for and what men are for. Then there’s some political stuff thrown into the mix.
But it’s genuinely good. Again, it’s not a balls-to-the-wall (or labia-to-the-wall) action film, but it’s a really nice mix of kung fu and historical drama. And it’s definitely a fresh of air for the genre.
I imagine this and “Kung Fu Wing Chun” would make a great double bill if anyone was interested.