Slavoj Žižek argues that ‘Western Buddhisms’, or East-meets-West cultural formations such as martial arts, are ideological in that they do nothing to fundamentally disrupt capitalist ideology. With an understanding that, yes, martial arts can anesthetize us to capitalism as Žižek claims, it does not follow that this is their inherent function. This paper explores the critical intertexual link between Akira Kurosawa’s martial arts saga Sanshiro Sugata (1943) and its spiritual successor, Johnnie To’s Throw down (2004), and suggests to the contrary that martial arts as humanism can allow individuals to internalize resistance. More specifically, it explains how To applies Kurosawa’s poetics of humanist cinema to contemporary Hong Kong in order to foreground dehumanization in capitalism and propose a meaningful alternative to our current global capitalist routine.
How to Cite:
Walters, M., 2014. Martial Arts Cinema as Post-Capitalist Cinema: Akira Kurosawa, Johnnie To, and Critical Intertextuality. JOMEC Journal, (5), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2014.10275