The world lost one of its baddest asses today, and is not near as cool as it was.
I grew up on a diet of Kung Fu reruns. There was action in every episode, but there was also the wise teachings of the old Chinese guy from Gremlins. Like Grasshopper, it was the basis for my spiritual understanding. Then you get to see David Carradine use that knowledge to solve problems in the old west… with a few swift kicks to the bad guy’s face.
I even watched the 90s revamp. It wasn’t nearly as good (and how the hell did it take place in modern times?), but still… Kung Fu with Carradine!
As a young man that felt out-of-place watching Oscar nominee borefests, I turned to schlock and trash films. One of the first ones I watched, and the one that would guarantee my eternal love of low-budget cinema was Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000. To my surprise, there was David Carradine again, this time as the mysterious driver Frankenstein. If you’ve never seen this movie, you seriously owe it to yourself to get it immediately and enjoy some nice, campy violence. And Carradine being a totally smooth son-of-a-bitch in a car that looks more like a dragon than an automobile.
Audiences re-discovered the chi-master in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, my favorite of the director’s flicks. Why is it my favorite? David Carradine. Cool as ever, but with a nasty streak. His explanation of why Superman is his favorite superhero hit a chord that left me awestruck by the man’s presence. How can you not be?
So watch a Kung Fu re-run. Rent Death Race. See Kill Bill again. Hell, I’ll be re-watching the tons of straight-to-video movies he did when the world forgot just how badass he was. Remember the man as one of the calmest, coolest actors to have ever kicked your television’s ass.