Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Assassin

This episode marks the first appearance of Cain’s bamboo flute! It opens with him playing it.

“The Assassin” is about violence and love, and the Shaolin approach to both. Cain wanders into the middle of two feuding families. On one side is Alan Swan (William Glover), an Englishman with a Japanese wife and daughter that runs a trading post. On the other is Noah Jones (Dana Elcar), who, with his son Abe (James Keach), runs a transportation convoy. What began as some kind of business dispute has become an ongoing war between the two that’s threatening to pass on to the next generation, Abe and Swan’s daughter “Aggie” (Akiko, Beverly Kushida).

A ninja (Robert Ito) is involved, and it soon becomes clear to Cain that he must discover who he is and confront him. It also becomes clear to Cain that he loves Akiko. The flashbacks in this episode focus on these two poles – martial arts and the fighting ways on the one, love of women on the other.

Po instructs Cain in fighting, in how to balance the Shaolin’s destructive ability with its respect for human life. “Learn first how to live. Learn second how not to kill. Learn third how to live with death. Learn fourth how to die.” That’d be an apt epigraph for the philosophical views of the series! For love, Po tells him to risk it – make himself vulnerable and it’ll all come back to you. “Empty yourself and yet be filled.”

There’s a great flashback of Master Kan also instructing Cain. Kan demonstrates to the disciples how to maim or kill someone with a blow to the neck. When Cain is troubled, Kan demonstrates how the ability to perform evil acts while still retaining a good moral compass is necessary in life – as the sun uses shadow on a sun dial to tell time. “Choose between goods. Choose between evils.” In this episode, Kan’s instruction ties Po’s together and it’s the adult Cain that must realize it.

Sex and violence, the “Kung Fu” way. Great episode, although I found the Akiko sub plot distracting. Three out of four yin yangs. IMDB here. Very notable for its use of a ninja, ten years at least before the ninja fad in martial arts movies of the 1980s.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Check Out Kung Fu!

Guys, great site I found through a commenter: Kung Fu, a site with news, info and tidbits on Chinese martial arts and culture, including movies, TV, comics, athletics, and anything in between. If it's kung fu related, Ethereal Kung Fu web master Kenn is on it. Add this one to your kung fu resources, friends!

And thanks, Kenn, for your friendly comments on I Am Caine.

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Holy Facebook!

When I started this blog three years ago it was out of passion for a show and an era I loved as a kid, was re-experiencing on DVD as an adult, and the desire to talk about it with someone. And also, of course, with the aim of creating an online episode guide of sorts. In that time, I've never given enough attention to this blog, something I'm trying to rectify, and the few readers that do stumble here seem to appreciate what I'm doing and have encouraged me greatly, for which I thank you.

But another thing I did three years ago, which I'd like to bring to your attention, is make a Facebook fan page for Kung Fu. I did hardly anything for that page, but thanks to the fame of the show, it grew all by itself - to nearly 4,000 people today!

I need to be more appreciative and involved in that community of 4,000. So, henceforth, not only am I going to be more attentive to this blog, but I'm going to share it with the community at Facebook. If you're a Facebooker, please consider joining us and letting us know what we can do to improve the page. Thanks for your continued interest and support.

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