G.I. Joe Retaliation Event at Martial Arts History Museum
On July 25th, Home Theater Forum was invited to an event at the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank to promote the Blu-ray release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This was a brief event, but with a lot of information packed into the hour we spent at the facility.
The event began with a tour, guided by Michael Matsuda, the President of the Museum. Journalists were escorted through the various areas of the installation, ranging through the multiple areas of the world where different specialties of martial arts have been created and practiced. Matsuda noted that the museum began as a travelling exhibit, eventually settling down into the current storefront space in Burbank. The museum is stuffed with displays of various implements of martial arts combat, including swords, sais, nunchucks, claws and various other tools for ruining someone’s afternoon in a hurry. A special display and screening area for G.I. Joe: Retaliation was set up for this event near the front of the museum.
Following the tour, our group was taken to an area out the back door, where two martial arts experts demonstrated various techniques embodying the five animals of the Shaolin: Tiger, Crane, Leopard, Snake and Dragon. The experts each demonstrated multiple moves at multiple speeds to show how these techniques can be used with and without weapons in hand. The second expert incorporated a number of different disciplines in his fighting style, including Drunken Boxing.
Once these demonstrations were concluded, our group gathered at the front screening area, where a trailer for the movie was shown, followed by a brief Q & A session with director John Chu and with Ray Park, who plays “Snake Eyes” in both G.I. Joe movies. Our discussion with them was fairly brief but got into some interesting territory. Park described the various physical issues he had to contend with in wearing his “Snake Eyes” suit – including cramping, heavy sweating and even extreme anxiety. I posed a question to both men about how they melded the multiple martial arts disciplines for this movie. Chu told me he wasn’t trying for a specific mixture of strict ideas but thinking of more of using whatever moves and styles felt emotionally right for each fighter and group. Park noted that different martial artists on the movie all had different styles, and that even he had to adjust his own moves to stay within the style established for “Snake Eyes” from the first movie.
Following these interviews and presentations, the event concluded. As always, it was a pleasure to be invited to this event, and on behalf of Home Theater Forum, I thank Paramount Pictures for having us there.