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The Wong Fei-hung Kung Fu Movie Review.

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I'm thinking of maybe doing something with the films of Robert Tai, just to keep it a little trashy.

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7 hours ago, odessasteps said:

So no one ended up doing Hong Kong Phooey? 😞 

The other bonus review I had thought about doing was Kung Fu Panda

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Execproducer said:

I'm thinking of maybe doing something with the films of Robert Tai, just to keep it a little trashy.

I believe I will try to perpetuate the tradition of reviewing the movies of unsung Kung Fu / Martial Arts movie dudes since this year, we have given James Ryan and Carl Scott the love and respect they rightfully deserve.

Since I have a partially completed review of Last Hurrah for Chivalry, I will probably shine a spotlight on Wei Pai and review Invincible Shaolin since he is that Venom Mob guy that always seemed to take a back seat Kuo Chui when it game to heroic roles and Invincible Shaolin was his only starring joint in the Chang Cheh / Venom Mob run for Shaw Brothers.

That's probably why he bailed to Golden Harvest and made Last Hurrah.

Edited by J.T.
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Posted (edited)

Next year I will shoot for at least Alexander Fu Sheng pic and I will endeavour to watch Circus Kid, even though its a tad... dull BUT it continues my love for Yuen Biao. The Heroic Trio was already mentioned and I'd love to Bonus Review that (as long as I don't have to review the sequel, seriously FUCK Executioners!)

Fuck I might even break down and try to review Best of The Best, because the first one is a pretty good movie for a bunch of white dudes doing competitive martial arts.

As a kid I actually had a dream that Bruce Lee was on an episode of Bonanza. He had come to the Ponderosa as Hop Sing's nephew after getting in trouble in the mainlandd and was there the promise to his uncle that he wouldn't get in any fights. Bruce befriends Hoss and they go to VVirginia City on erands. Basically shit goes wrong, Bruce keeps his promise but gets branded yellow by the locals. The dream ends with the guys who picked on Bruce are actually going to rob the bank, thus givving Bruce the excuse to cut loose and beat some ass. Episode ends with Bruce leaving for San Francisco saying good-bye to Hop Sing and Hoss... I don't know what I ate to dream that at 12 but GOD I wish that were a real Bonanza episode!

James

Edited by J.H.
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I really should have participated, but you guys actually mentioned some films that I don't have//haven't seen; good on ya, for that!

Let me just close by saying that Five Deadly Venoms is the greatest film of all time. 

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This has been a delightful romp.  Thanks guys.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OSJ said:

I really should have participated, but you guys actually mentioned some films that I don't have//haven't seen; good on ya, for that!

Let me just close by saying that Five Deadly Venoms is the greatest film of all time. 

It’s great, but I think the best kung fu flick is The Avenging Eagle. 

“I had a look around and this seems like a good place...to bury your bodies.”

Sleeve knives. 

Edited by The Magnificent 7

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Posted (edited)

I may be too busy to post the last two reviews tonight. Most likely Sunday night.

Edited by Execproducer
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Posted (edited)

FINAL BONUS!!!!

 

Film: Drunken Master II

(Hong Kong, 1994)

Golden Harvest

Reviewed by: J.H.

Drunken Master 2

 

You can ask 100 different people what the best Jackie Chan movie is and you might not get 100 different answers. This is because Chan’s output in Hong Kong from 1978-1996 has so many incredible movies that trying to pick “The Best” is daunting task. Add to that you are always going to have matters of personal taste to factor when discussing such things. In my case, I know what I think are my 5 favorite Jackie Chan movies are but there is one that stands head shoulders above the other 4.

 

That movie is Drunken Master 2

 

Chan starred in the first Drunken Master back in 1978 with Simon Yuen as Beggar So. It was simple Kung-Fu comedy, as well as Wong Fei-Hung movie. Drunken Master 2 is barely connected to the first movie. In fact the only real thing connecting it to the first film is Jackie Chan is, once again, playing Wong Fei-Hung. Now, it is 16 years since the original, Simon Yam is long dead, having passed a year after the original Drunken Master was released and Jackie Chan is 10 times the star in 1994 that he was in 1978. Being the biggest star in Asia allowed Jackie to attract a pretty great cast and crew. I mean look at this supporting cast man: Ti Lung as Wong Kei-Ying, Anita Mui as Ling, a cameo by Andy Lau and of course Lar Kar-Leung (aka Liu Chi-liang) as Fu Wen-chi.

 

In fact, Lar Kar-leung directed the majority of the film and he and Chan were noted for disagreeing on the tone of the fight scenes. Kar-Leung wanted a more old school approach to the fights with more wire work, something Chan was opposed to since his films relied more physical stunts with little wire work. That isn’t to say that there isn’t wire work in the movie but its kept to a minimum. The disagreement between the two led to rumors of Kar-leung’s character being killed just past the mid-point of the movie. The final fight scene was directed entirely by Chan while Kar-Leung left the production to make Drunken Master 3, taking Andy Lau with him (Lau was supposed to have a bigger role in DM2 but the part was reduced to a cameo). Drunken Master 3 has nothing to do Drunken Master 2 story wise, save for the fact that Wong Fei-Hung is a character in it. Kar-Leung still got the director’s credit for DM2 in the end. I might have read that there was a court case over the final Director’s credit but I could be wrong. If true that’s a very “Clint Eastwood directed The Outlaw Josey Wales” argument for HK cinema. I’ll say this much for DM3, it gets a bad rap, mainly because it was marketed as being part of Chan’s Drunken Master franchise. It’s got some fun fights but it is missing the incredible cast of DM2. I mean DM3 has Gordon Liu in it so I can’t totally hate on it.

 

So, let’s get to the movie itself and why it is so damn good. The story is two-pronged. The story of why Wong Fei-hung using Drunken Boxing isn’t a good thing and the story of the British plundering China for ancient artifacts to smuggle on the black market. Fei-hung uses Drunken Boxing as his main form of offense in a fight but the problem is that unless he is actually drunk the form isn’t strong enough to beat a foe down. The idea is that after drinking the user of Drunken Boxing will increase their power because they won’t hold back because… well… they’re drunk. The point about how weak Drunken Boxing is comes across in the first fight where Wong Fei-hung squares off against Fu Wen-chi. Fei-hung has mistook Wen-chi as a thief on a train and chases him to underneath the train wear the first fight starts. It starts cramped until they get to more open space and Fe-hung can let loose with Drunken Boxing versus Wen-chis’ spear work. When they end their fight on friendly terms Wen-chi straight tells Fei-hung that while his Drunken Boxing is good it just isn’t powerful enough and most importantly can’t kill in a fight.

 

Fei Hung was on the train with his father Wong Kei-ying getting medicinal supplies for the family’s apothecary. Specifically, they traveled by train to get some fresh ginseng root for one of Wong Kei-ying’s regular patients. The problem is, the box the ginseng was a dead ringer for a box Fu Wen-chi was looking for that had a smuggled Chinese artifact in a British diplomat’s suitcase. Fu Wen-chi stole the artifact back but then got in to his little brouhaha with Wong Fei-hung and… well its a Jackie Chan movie and fuck if Jackie Chan isn’t above using old comedic tropes like a switcheroo.

There is your McGuffin for what a semblance of a plot there is in this movie. Otherwise this movie is a collection of incredible fight scenes built around the myth of Drunken Boxing. Mind you, it is also a chance to see the late great Anita Mui practically steals the whole movie as Ling, the wife of Wong Kei-ying. Seriously, Anita Mui is so awesome as a comedienne in this film she actually is funnier than Jackie Chan. She steals every scene and situation she is put in and the movie might only be ½ as good without her in it.

 

Look I could go on and ramble about the plot of the movie but this movie is all about the fight choreography and that in itself is incredible. Mind you Jackie Chan’s big stunt in this one only rates a 6 on the “Crazy Shit That Jackie Chan Has Done Onscreen”. I mean, that stunt in this instance is Jackie letting himself be kicked into burning hot embers from a steel mill. Of course, it comes during the final fight between Jackie versus Ho Sung Pak and Ken Lo. Christ, what a fight that thing is!
Jackie as Wong Fri-hung is getting his handed to him by both Lo and Pak (Lo’s kicks are incredible in this movie) that Fei-hung resorts to drinking industrial strength alcohol to make his drunken Boxing more effective. It’s essentially Wong Fei-hung becoming a Chinese version of Popeye, where you sub spinach with booze that potentially make you go blind!

 

Fuck I love this movie. I can’t do it enough goddam justice describing every fight. Every fight is good, even the “Show me how strong Kung-Fu is and you don’t have to pay for this fish” fight early on, to the “Mid-Boss” fight in the factory to Fei-Hung v. 2 guys fight at the end. Christ just thinking about all the fights brings a smile to my face. Thinking about how great Anita Mui is makes cackle in delight.

 

I love this fucking movie and I can’t think of one person that has seen it in its original version that doesn’t[ii]. It never gets old and just blows me away every time I watch it/ To me, it is, without question the definitive Jackie Chan movie of the 90s!

 

 

Film: Martial Club

(Hong Kong, 1981)

Shaw Brothers

Reviewed by: Execproducer

Martial Club opens with a prologue where director Lau Kar Leung explains the rules and etiquette of Lion Dancing, particularly what you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO if you wish to avoid strife with rival Kung Fu schools.  Then the film proper begins with a Lion Dance being performed by Zheng school student Yin-lin ( Mai Te-lo AKA Robert Mak). The dance is quickly interrupted by the Lu school lion dancers who do  all the things you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO!! Lion sniffing the other lions butt!! Unprovoked blinking!! It seems the Lu school is the Cobra Kai of the city, wanting to be #1 no matter what. Naturally a huge brawl breaks out. Later Master Zheng (Wilson Tong) and Master Lu (Tiet Wo Chu) have their dispute mediated by Wong Kei-ying (Ku Feng), whose son Wong Fei-hung (Lau Ka-fai AKA Liu Chia-hui AKA Gordon Liu) witnessed the fight and backs his best friend Yin-lin, much to the chagrin of his father, who is trying to restore harmony.  Master Lu has no interest in harmony and much of the film will be taken up with his machinations to supplant all other schools.

Meanwhile, friends Fei-hung and Yin-lin are constantly trying to prove who has the superior Kung Fu. Since they won't fight each other, they seek out bouts with local fighters to see who can prevail in the least number of hits. They both scheme to have these bouts fixed, Fei-hung through his fellow student Chen-huo (Hsiao Ho) and Yin-lin through his sister Chu-ying  (My Young Auntie's Kara Hui). As a result, they end in a draw. Both declare themselves masters and move their belt knots to the front as an indication of such. Trouble strikes when they meet a real master in the street and are quickly exposed. This master was on his way to see Wong Kei-ying so Fei-hung is soon in for an earful, something familiar to the fans of Jackie Chan's Wong Fei-hung. Gordon Liu's version lies somewhere between Jackie's juvenile delinquent and Jet Li's younger version of the Kwan Tak-hing sagacious Hung Gar master and medical healer. It is also the second time around for Liu, having portrayed  a younger, less experienced version of the character in Lau Kar Leung's Challenge of the Masters.  

Yin-lin convinces Fei-hung to accompany him to a brothel. There Yin-lin displays his Martial skills like parlor tricks to get free services from the courtesans. Since they never resolved who was better, they once again seek to rig a bout. Unfortunately, they pick a Northern fighter who is actually in town to work at the Lu school. He doesn't understand these strange Southerners trying to give him money but he is more than happy to have his skills tested. During their bout Master Shan (Wang Lung-wei) injures Yin-lin's throat though he holds back from doing critical damage. When Chu-ying happens upon the scene, she believes Fei-hung is the culprit and vows revenge, going after him a couple of times before the misunderstanding is cleared up. Yin-lin soon recovers.

Wong Fei-hung and Yin-lin both take very different lessons from the confrontation with Master Shan. Yin-lin, though very good, is not a serious person and is more concerned with wine and women. Wong Fei-hung however, steps up his training and sharpens his focus and is soon making huge strides. When Yin-lin invites him back to the brothel, Fei-hung tells him he is done with all that. On his next visit, Yin-lin is set-up by the courtesans and is easy pickings for Master Lu's son, Shan-hou (King Chu Lee). This time he is seriously injured and Fei-hung and Chu-ying go to the Lu school to confront Shan-hou. When they have to face the whole school, Master Shan steps in to prevent an unfair fight. Though Master Lu and son plot to use him as a weapon against the other schools Master Shan is no dupe. He is constantly correcting Master Lu  and chastising Shan-hou. While he backs his employer, he does so within the bounds of his code and he recognizes a budding Master in Wong Fei-hung. 

After inviting the other schools to view their opera  Master Lu attempts to frame them for entering without tickets and another melee occurs. After the dust settles, Master Shan convinces Master Lu to apologize for the misunderstanding and invite Masters Wong and Zheng to the Lu school to accept gifts. Wong Fei-hung and Chu-ying show up in their stead and the "gifts" are used to test Fei-hung's skill. Suitably impressed, Master Shan invites Fei-hung outside for one final test. They have their contest down an increasingly narrow alleyway in one of the best fight scenes ever filmed.

The issue with the schools is never definitively resolved but that isn't really the story of the film anyway. The larger story is Wong Fei-hung's journey from callow youth to Master and that is actually just the framework that Lau Kar Leung used to create a love letter to the Martial Arts, particularly his family's Hung Gar style, learned from Wong Fei-hung disciple "Butcher" Lam Sai-wing. Martial Club is essential viewing for anyone that considers themselves a Kung Fu movie fan.

Hey, let's do it again next year.

Edited by Execproducer

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On 6/22/2019 at 11:12 AM, The Magnificent 7 said:

It’s great, but I think the best kung fu flick is The Avenging Eagle. 

“I had a look around and this seems like a good place...to bury your bodies.”

Sleeve knives. 

Yes, extra points for sleeve knives, I concur...  While I think 5DV is the still the best kung fu film, my personal favorite just for sheer batshit insanity will always be Shaolin Prince (or Deathmask of the Ninja, as it was retitled for US sales despite not having anything to do with either ninjas or deathmasks).

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Next year, I'll be deadly serious next year. Do you reckon things will get a bit more obscurist, now we've established that this is a thing?

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I think we had a pretty good mix and don't see why it would be any different next time. I'm always up for being presented with something I've never seen before.

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27 minutes ago, AxB said:

Next year, I'll be deadly serious next year. Do you reckon things will get a bit more obscurist, now we've established that this is a thing?

U think it will be like this year, asolid mix of hidden gems, favorites that everyone has and a love of the genre. This project got my writer's block shook loose. I'm not sayign I'll go ahead restart my blog or anything but next year at this time I'll be geared up for this project, probably even more than I was for Ernie Ladd project. The thing is, there are just so many martial arts movies/marts arts media out there that this whole project can extend for years, hell even decades!

James

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You really ended this one on a couple bangers. Two of my favourite ever films with two of the best finales ever. The Martial Club finale was actually the first Shaw Bros. fight I ever saw and it was in a total vacuum. Someone lent me a VHS tape that had just the finale included at the end of another movie. That was one of those HK cinema fanatic moments I'll never forget because it completely opened my eyes to the Shaw flicks and LKL and gang especially.

I really enjoyed this whole contest. Big thanks to exec for putting it on and everyone else for the reviews. I'll definitely be back next year as well.

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I hope you guys were watching El Rey yesterday and caught Rendezvous With Death.  The hero's umbrella fu was as awesome as I remember it being.

It has occurred to me that nearly every Gordon Liu film pretty much has the ending of 18 Weapons of Kung Fu but just shoved into a different time period and there is nothing wrong with that since I could watch Gordon Liu weapon fight scenes all day.

Funny that there are some guys like Lo Meng or Chen Kuang Tai that I prefer to watch in empty hand fight scenes and there are some guys like Gordon Liu or Lu Feng that I love to watch in weapon heavy fight scenes.

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If you guys do a ninjapalooza again, try out Ninja in a Deadly Trap, the movie that Kuo Chui/Chiang Sheng/Lu Feng made instead of Five Element Ninja with some of the same ideas and I believe they even use the same scroll of techniques. Chang Cheh took another crack at ninjas in the movie Ninja in Ancient China. It is obviously not as good. You could also do Heroes of East. Or Conan Lee's Ninja in the Dragon's Den.

Shaw crush would be Kara Hui who has had a renaissance recently.

Some of the more "plot" heavy movies with Venom guys would be House of Traps and Life Gamble. The latter is rather...confusing as to who is aligned where.

Chin Siu Ho was being groomed to be the next leading Shaw guy but the boom ended and he never had his big run. See Legend of the Fox or I Will Finally Knock You Down Dad for him as a lead. Or New Kids in Town with Moon Lee.

Speaking of Chang Cheh. If you want to see a whole bunch of Shaw stars and a very young Andy Lau find Shanghai Thirteen. It's basically fight after fight with a plot somewhere in there.

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Posted (edited)

Happy birthday, Biao Yuen.

Celebrate his life, bitches.

This video perfectly encapsulates what I said about him earlier in this thread.  The dude is a fucking machine.

Edited by J.T.
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Posted (edited)

Hey, look at what some awesome dude posted to the YouTubes!

EDIT:  Damn, someone pulled the Carl Scott joints.  Fucking YouTube Nazis!

Edited by J.T.
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Posted (edited)

Holy SHIT that's a lot of movies. If you watch all of them you deserve a medal. 

Funniest title: Guy With Secret Kung Fu hahaha

Edited by Curt McGirt
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9 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Holy SHIT that's a lot of movies. If you watch all of them you deserve a medal. 

I'm on night duty for another week and a half, so I should get through at least half of the list if I keep watching the selections on that playlist.

I probably won't make it since I've also got some indie horror queued up as well.

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FYI the movies aren't subtitled.

That being said, there's some good ones in the list.  I highly recommend Hong Kong Godfather.  Beardy Leung being his most badass.

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Posted (edited)

A couple of the movies are subtitled. I think maybe ones that were released on Celestial DVD? Naval Commandos and I Will Finally Knock You Down Dad have English subs, anyway. There are others where you have to sign in because the Shaw movies did flash the boobies sometimes.

The Wu Tang Collection is a great source for the non-major stuff. I combine searches on the Hong Kong Movie Database and Hong Kong Cinemagic (now sadly not updating) to find the people I catch glimpses of in bigger movies.
http://www.hkmdb.com/

http://www.hkcinemagic.com/en/main.asp?

Also, I know this thread is more for old school stuff but has anyone seen Triple Threat? It has Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Tiger Chen, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping and Jeeja Yanin all in it.

Edited by lostinube

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