For me, movies based on kung fu manuals pretty much reached an impenetrable ceiling when Stephen Chow turned out the slow-starting, yet insanely entertaining Kung Fu Hustle. For the unfortunate uninitiated, he played a shifty geek whose life was irrevocably altered when some vagrant sold him a manual on the “Buddhist Palm” technique as a child and coerced him into trying (and failing) to become a great fighter. When he attempted to stand up for a girl under assault by neighborhood teens, he got an ass-whooping and an R. Kelly (or I guess if you want to update that reference, Kim Kardashian?) Special for his efforts. Things turn out better for him later on, but the point is, the bar has been raised.
Now, some brave soul’s going to attempt to stand up to greatness by doing a kiddie kung fu manual movie, although the twist on this is actually kinda clever. Described as a cross between a martial arts manual and Machiavelli’s The Prince, Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Rivalry is a yet-to-be-written book that Nickelodeon Movies recently snapped up in mere proposal form. The book is to be rendered as an illustrated how-to on physical and psychological ops that some bad-ass kid can subject their brother or sister to, and it is actually Nickelodeon Movies’ first literary acquisition, which is surprising given the amount of kiddie book-to-film transitions that happen these days.
Obviously, at this stage there aren’t many details, but it still sounds like a potentially cool concept. Children’s entertainment needs some fresh blood and fresh ideas in the worst way right now, and I say that mostly as a soon-to-be parent who’s going to be forced to read and watch a lot of this stuff to my spawn.