Knockin Duh Conch Style Movie Review
The Bahamas’ first Martial Arts Film
The Bahamas’ first Martial Arts Film put on by the Bai Sung Institute of Kung Fu. Knockin Duh Conch Style was filmed in Nassau, The Bahamas and shows the fighting style of the four winds of Kung Fu school.
Cast and crew
In this day and age we often tend to expect great things with the advent of technology and the progression of society. Knockin Duh Conch Style, in my opinion, is a timely movie that was begging to be brought to life. Devron Pinder / Diplight Media performed an insurmountable feat in the making of this movie. The biggest task, I would think, would be to entertain a group of picky of viewers. Martial Artist. With the premier of the film being watched by a predominantly martial arts following, entertaining this picky crew is no small task. Martial Artist will see things in fight scenes that the average person would not pick up on. Even myself as a martial artist and huge fan of Kung Fu movies, was watching closely at the fight scenes, the movements, camera angles, the drama, and the energy throughout the entire movie. With that said I say hats off to the cast and crew of Knockin Duh Conch Style, you are the pioneers that will pave the way to more Bahamian themed movies. Good Job!!
I have no previous movies to compare this film to, however, it reminded me of the earlier Kung Fu movies that were made in the early 70’s and in particular a 1994 Thai movie named Spirited Killer where Tony Jaa had a leading role. Thailand was in the baby stages of their movie making careers and they, as with the cast and crew of Knockin Duh Conch Style, were new to the film industry. Over the years the film makers learned new techniques and bettered their skills that brought their film making up to the twenty first century standards with movies such as ONG BAK. Knockin Duh Conch Style, is the first Bahamian martial arts movie thus it stands alone. I could however compare it to ‘Balls Alley’, another Bahamian film, which was interesting and well put together for fledgling movie directors but the concept would be different. Both movies are great works by young Bahamians and they are the pace setters for others to follow. I went into the theater with no reservations, but an open mind to see what creativity was being brought to the screen.
I have been writing Kung Fu movie reviews and other blogs for over two years. I have trained in the martial arts for over 18 years studying various styles but never Kung Fu (yet). I started watching Kung Fu movies from the age of 4 my first movie was Last Hurrah for Chivalry
(see my review of this movie – http://www.squidoo.com/Last-Hurrah-for-Chivalry). Its been over 30 years and I still enjoy a good martial arts movie and have amassed a personal collection of over 1000 old and new martial arts movies (maybe more). I consider myself to be well versed on the ins and outs of martial arts movies, being a practitioner and an avid fan of the genre.
Please read and understand how I rate Martial Arts Movies. There is an eight point system that I use to determine the overall rating of all movies. I took into account that this was a low budget movie and kept in mind the creativity of the cast and crew. The rating DOES NOT mean it is on par with any blockbuster movie produced by Hollywood, Asian Cinema or other large martial arts studio.
Again I congratulate the cast and crew of Knockin Duh Conch Style, for a job well done. I hope you find my review informative
Knockin Duh Conch Style Trailer
How moveis are rated
Martial arts movies are judged based on 8 different aspects of a movie
1 – Choreography
2 – Character Building
3 – Cinematography
4 – Dialogue
5 – Locations
6 – Music
7 – Plot
8 – Wardrobe
Each movie aspect gets a rating from 1 – 5, then the total score is added and divided by 8. This final number is the 5 star rating given to moves that i watch.
For example a movie may get these ratings:
Choreography – 3
Character Building – 2
Cinematography – 4
Dialogue – 2
Locations – 2
Music – 5
Plot – 2
Wardrobe – 3
divided by 8
Total Rating 2.87 rounded up
MARTIAL ARTS MOVIE RATING – (3) THREE
Choreography is key to the success of a martial arts film. It is what many fans want to see, the action. This combined with a good plot can almost guarantee a great movie. Fans of early kung fu movies and kung fu practitioners would enjoy the choreography of this movie. The fighters incorporated different styles of kung fu fighting in the movie and executed them well, however the scenes were sometimes a bit slow and robotic. There were some great scene where the flow of the fight was at full speed and the energy was high, drawing the viewers into the movie but this was not consistent throughout the entire movie. Although the choreography was well put together some fights lasted a bit longer that they should between characters. This actually led to an open ended question as to how good the star of the movie was. It was compounded at the start of the movie when no named fighters in mask attacted him and although the assailants were knocked down they kept getting back up.
The sound effects added to blocks, kicks and other strikes was an added bonus although at times it would seem a bit distracting. The sound further more exaggerated the slow fighting scenes, however, it may be that the director wanted to show the movements more precisely or maybe it was just a slow motion fight, its unclear. All in all, the knowledge and skills of the fighters to execute the fight scenes was evident and well planned.
Rating – 4
The basics of character building is to first establish the good guys from the bad guys, then to find out what role each of them play with in the plot of the movie. The cast of this movie was short yet sweet and their roles were easily portrayed and understood. Its often that conversations between the characters will set their roles and that’s exactly what happened in this movie. The star of the film, in which everything seem to revolve around was quite evident. The bad guy was not revealed until later in the plot with an unexpected twist of events. It was the character building of the villain that was most interesting and shocking. His role and character is what will make a sequel to this move most exiting. There were one or two persons within the movie who’s characters were not fully understood but the main cast was clear and concise and the dialogue between the characters helped bring out their role
The characters were consistent in their roles and never strayed from that particular role, which made following the movie easy.
Rating – 5
Cinematography was a major downfall in this movie. The outdoor scenes were over exposed leaving the sky and anything light colored completely white. This was very distracting to the overall movie. The night scenes were too dark and the colors were off making it difficult to see the characters as they interacted with each other. The use of additive light during night and indoor scenes would have greatly improved the visual effect of the movie.
The camera angles were very creative sometimes utilizing a close point of view shot that would make the viewer feel as if they are apart of the film. Other times the classic side shot was used. The low and close angles used during the fight scenes made the fighting seemed close and involving to the point that sometimes the viewer may feel as if they were actually there. Character dialogue views were close and personal keeping the viewers eyes from straying and keeping them involved in the dialogue at hand.
Rating – 2
Words were not wasted in this film. Nothing was said that didn’t need to be said, which kept the viewers wondering and thinking about what will happen next. There were a few instances where some minor clarification would have helped but nothing was too confusing as to completely loose the viewers.
The speech of the characters was good but not excellent. With a Bahamian movie it would be expected that the colloquialisms found in the country be heard throughout the movie. The main cast did a good job of remaining relaxed and playing their roles with the exception of one or two persons where the dialog seemed fake as if to over enunciate certain words. If the character’s role is to ‘put on airs’ then the tone would be accepted but if not it becomes confusing as to the particular role of that character. Although an average amount of colloquialisms were use the accent of Bahamians could truly be heard and will be recognized by persons abroad easily.
As to be expected with early films there were some explanation scenes that were missing that could have been replaced by the proper dialog between characters but for a short film it was not necessary.
Rating – 3
This short film consisted of a few locations, the more noticeable ones being:
Home of the star character
East Side Clinic
Other locations were used such as a contemplation beach scene, a short training scene in the wilderness, a city driving scene and a mystery fighting scene at the end of the movie.
The scenes were not overly stimulating, but they served their purpose well. Each location was utilized well placing the characters in key locations to maximize shooting and camera angles. The locations also helped draw the viewers into the life of the main character and his journey through the plot of the movie.
Rating – 2
The movie had an interesting brew of modern and Chinese like sounds and music to assist in the mood of the film. It was not overbearing as to take away from the overall feel of the movie, but it helped prepare the viewer for the upcoming scene or the actual scene that was playing. The classic character music was not used, whereas each time a certain character was in view or about to come into view his music would play, for example the Darth Vader tone in star wars. This however may not have worked with the twist of one of the characters in the movie.
Rating – 3
I must be honest, I am unsure of the overall plot of this movie. It seems as if it has something to do with betrayal, but not exactly. Other times it seems as if its about one mans journey as a martial artist and how his wife does not understand him. Then again it seemed like the story of a fighter looking for personal glory to be the best. A part of the film also suggested that it was about a rogue student seeking ultimate power through the martial arts by destroying his master and his students. It also may be the story of a martial arts school, the camaraderie, the honor, the students and their code of ethics. The movie plot was not clearly defined but the film flowed well as to not leave viewers wondering much about the plot.
The twist and turns through out the movie made the plot a bit hard to follow but was fun and exiting to watch. It made viewers laugh and at times, sit silent in shock through others and left viewers wondering what will happen next through a few scenes. More explanation of a few scenes would probably help define the plot a lot better, such as who was the man with the pole and straw hat? and what is his relationship with the star if the film. What about the rude lady inquiring about the class schedules? what was her purpose? why was she so rude? Even more so and importantly, why did the student betray his school?
The movie ended with a shocker that left the viewers wanting more, hopefully in part two all these questions will be answered.
Rating – 2
Wardrobe in a movie often defines the status or identification of a character. The main cast predominantly wore the garb that would associate them with the Bai Sung Institute of Kung Fu. Since the time period was based in 2010, general and modern clothing was worn by the cast, it was pretty much life as we all know it. The meaning of a Chinese symbol on the headband of one of the thugs at the beginning of the movie may have held more meaning if it was translated for the audience, its all a part of wardrobe.
The one interesting appearance was by a character who appeared to be a shaolin monk. His wardrobe seemed authentic and what added to the mystery was that his face was never shown yet his Kung Fu skills were unmatched.
Other characters were easily identified based on their wardrobe for example, the workers at Whims Auto, the doctor and nurse at the hospital, the monk, and the pageant ladies (not sure why they were there). There was nothing spectacular about the wardrobe in this film but nothing was to distracting as to take away from the film and nothing, besides the monk, that added to it.
Rating – 3
Over the years I have viewed many martial arts movies and I have seen big budget films far worse that this film. That being said i commend the cast and crew of the movie for a job well done. The film can be considered, good taking into account that this is their first film. I do however expect a vast improvement on their next film. I believe this is only a taste of their true potential and if the viewers are honest and the cast and crew humble they will learn from constructive criticism and make all necessary adjustments to any other film they decide to produce.
A new baby is born in the world, the martial arts genre of the Bahamas.
Knockin Duh Conch Style Movie Rating
1 – Choreography – 4
2 – Character Building – 5
3 – Cinematography – 2
4 – Dialogue – 3
5 – Locations – 2
6 – Music – 3
7 – Plot – 2
8 – Wardrobe – 3
Overall rating for Knockin Duh Conch Style
3 out of 5
A must see for all Bahamians and Martial Arts movie lovers
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Do you think this movie was worth watching?