Fist of Fightin' Words: A Glossary
What follows below is a list of terms and items I've used in reviews. Or maybe I haven't yet, but plan to. Maybe I don't even plan to, I just like making lists of words and definitions and putting them on the Internet. A bit pathetic, but they're collected here for your reference so you're not left out in the harsh cold world of words without meaning. Some are actual things, some are completely made up, others are riffs on existing terminology, but all have their proper applications in the context of analysis of martial arts b-movies. This list will be updated randomly and frequently. If you have a glossary suggestion, please feel free to submit it in the Comments section for this page.
Bait-and-switch - The occurrence of a well-known martial-arts actor being exalted as the star of a film based on DVD/VHS cover art and associated marketing material, but has only a modicum of actual screen time. [Ex. Bolo Yeung in Shootfighter, Jean-Claude Van Damme in No Retreat, No Surrender]
Cirio-sense - The overwhelming feeling that a movie was helmed by Cirio Santiago and shot in the Philippines, even if different directors and filming locations are listed. Often applies to films utilizing elements common to exploitation films (gore, rape, criminally unsafe stunt work, etc.)
Crying fist - Overly melodramatic scenes of martial arts protagonists awkwardly emoting on camera. Not the terrific 2005 South Korean boxing drama.
Expat Pack - An informal association of mostly American actors who appeared in numerous Filipino action films in groups of two or more, throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. The list could include, but is not limited to: Nick Nicholson, Jim Gaines, Mike Monty, Jim Moss, Romano Kristoff, Mike Cohen, Bruce Baron, and Richard Harrison.
Glockophobia - The fear of department-issued firearms; only affects martial artist police officers. [Ex. King of the Kickboxers, Showdown, China O’Brien, Bloodmoon]
Groinalyzer- Popularized in the films of Jean-Claude Van Damme, the Groinalyzer is any crude mechanism used during martial-arts training to forcibly stretch the groin (or hip adductor muscles) of the trainee. Often comes in the form of a painful pulley system, as illustrated in the image below.
Ho-sense - The overwhelming feeling that a movie was helmed by Godfrey Ho, even if a different director is listed. Often applies to poorly edited films utilizing ninjas as archetypes.
Kickpuncher - A variation on the term "punchfighter," a label coined by Comeuppance Reviews to describe "movies about underground bare-knuckle fighting that spectators bet on."
Kung-fruit salad - Any sequence where a character chops, slices, mauls, squeezes, punches, or kicks a piece of fruit (ex. watermelon, apple) as an expression of rage or a facet of training.
Leg-sweeps-and-lasers - Not unlike the “swords-and-sandals” or “bullets-and-babes” labels used to describe action film sub-genres. Adequately defines any martial-arts movie that attempts to combine fighting elements with flimsy scientific ventures such as virtual reality, programmable assassins, lasers, or cyborgs. SEE ALSO: spin-kicks-and-science
Rich mahogany - Wooden line delivery. [Ex. Jalal Merhi]
Spin-kicks-and-science - SEE: leg-sweeps-and-lasers.
Taste test - A martial artist pausing in the middle of a fight to wipe blood from his or her mouth, which is usually then pressed to the tongue in a show of masculinity. Occasionally spat out just because.
Torontoyork City - The film technique of trying to pass off footage shot in Toronto as New York City.
Villainfiller - An underwritten martial-arts movie villain who can’t or doesn’t fight. Sometimes portrayed by disinterested, check-cashing character actors. Common stock types include the evil, middle-aged businessman, the crooked politician, and the cruel and/or disgraced sensei.
Zubaz - A brand of elastic-waist pants popular among football players, professional wrestlers, and martial-arts actors of the 1980s and early 1990s. Most popular pattern is Zebra-print but can also be found in snakeskin and other varieties. Usually found in any American martial-arts film filmed between 1987 and 1994. Will almost definitely be the last entry in this glossary forever. [Ex. "Did you see the Zubaz pants on those goofy motherfuckers?"]