Archive for December, 2014

Kiai-Kick in 2015!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Kiai Kick Films

Wow! We are quickly reaching Kiai-Kick’s five year anniversary! It’s been a crazy ride so far, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some truly fantastic people, and review some awesome films! So what comes next?

Well, There is my web series Cornered under the Kiai-Kick Films banner. The series is now being editing, with a premiere date sometime in the spring! I hope you all like my little ode to martial arts cops films of the 90’s! I know reviews have been scarce, but that’s due to the web series, and this little fellow who has changed my life for the better:

2014-11-11 10.42.21

Things are starting to settle down, and so I will be returning to review films as normal in February. I’ll bring back the News and Notes section, which some folks seemed to like, and I think it’s especially needed now with what looks like a record year of martial arts films, both mainstream and independent, on their way!

I’m looking to start doing video reviews of films on occasion, so look out for that! Plus more Q & A’s with so many more folks, and some retrospectives on select martial arts actors and directors, and a review of where they are, and where they can go (or where they went). I’m also open to suggestions if anyone has something they would like for me to try, whether it be a different format, or type of film, etc. I may also do a google hangout if anyone is interested to talk martial arts films, which I NEVER tire of talking about!

Steven Seagal

(BTW Starting this year I will begin to review Steven Seagal films. I’ve had an issue with the guy that had previously prevented me from reviewing his films, but I’m setting any biases out of the way, so this website will be complete!)

Plus I will film a few micro short martial arts films this year! Maybe…a contest for a small script I will turn into a short, perhaps?

Haa haaa! The possibilities are endless!

The best is yet to come!

Long Live Martial arts in 2015!!!!

–Michael

I leave you with one of my favorite moments in martial arts cinema history. I dare you not to laugh:

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Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody, and John Cusack! The Dragon Blade Trailer!

Posted in Jackie Chan on December 26, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Thanks to friend of Kiai-Kick Lee Golden for this one! I have to say, the production value looks amazing, and for perhaps the first time ever Jackie Chan gets to rock with GOOD Hollywood actors! The trailer seems  a bit disjointed, but I’m still game!

The Water Margin (1972)

Posted in Chen Kuan-Tai, David Chiang, Ti Lung, Wu Ma with tags , on December 12, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

water margin

Starring Ku Feng, Chin Feng, Yueh Hua, Fen Mei Sheng, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Lily Ho, Cheng Lei, Lui Tan, Wu Ma, Wang Chung, Peng Peng, Lo Wei, Chen Kuan Tai, and pretty much anyone who has ever been in a Shaw Brothers film.

Fight Choreography by

Directed by Chang Cheh

THE MOUNTAIN BROTHERS ARE ALL HERE!

Those words reverberated through me at the age of eight, as this was the first martial arts film I over watched with my Dad, the first of many during Kung-Fu Saturdays, and I had visions of characters with such awesome names as Young Dragon, Red-Haired Devil and moves with names like the 13 Throws of Young Dragon, The Triple Kick Of Death. I had never seen anything like it. I found it so much more interesting than any cartoon or comic book at the time. Little did I know who much this film would help forge who I am today. So is it as good as I remembered it?

The film starts with introductions for each character, and dang it, it’s an hour into the film before they are done with them! It’s actually kinda funny and would make a great drinking game. “Drink every time you see a Chen or Feng on screen!” You’d be drunk ten minutes into the film!

We are introduced to the 108 bandits who are more freedom fighters than anything else: the Liang Shan fighters. We pick up where their leader, Chao Gai, is hunted down and killed by Shi Wen Gong for the Zeng Family, a powerful and corrupt family aligned with the government. The other LiangShan fighters vow vengeance, but first they must find a fighter who is the equal of Shi Wen Gong. They find such a fighter in Lu Chun I and his protege , Yen Ching but Lu Chun I is in trouble himself as he is betrayed by his wife and her lover, his own steward. The rest of the film deals as the fighters of Liang Shan take their revenge and save Lu Junyi as well…

The film itself it as epic a Shaw Brothers film as you’ll ever find. You’ll probably find every location on the Shaw Brothers lot has been used, casts of hundreds (cannon fodder baddies, but whatever) and colorful characters with names like The Timely Rain, Red-Haired Demon, Black Whirlwind, The Rash, The Pallid, and so so many more. The film mostly concentrates on Lu Chun I and Yen Ching, but that’s okay because everyone is larger than life in this film, and it reminds me of the American Film All Quiet on The Western Front, which starred most of the actors of the day. The deaths are all operatic and funny to watch as characters are skewered multiple times but have enough gumption to say something or do something before expiring, even with things like spears, arrows, and axes in their bodies! Chang Cheh is the best of the Shaw Brothers directors, and his skills are on full display here, using every camera angle and style in the book to deliver an epic film, at a time when “epic” and kung-fu movies were not synonymous.

watermargin1

The music deserves a mention here as well. It’s a different animal all together, and has some really funky themes, like the Chiga-Chiga-Cha! whenever Yen Ching shows up, and the soulful singing that occurs throughout the film. It all fits perfectly, but on paper you wouldn’t think so.

The fights are pretty good, but it’s the finale of the film where it all comes together and shines brightly. It’s all full of Shaw Brothers goodness. Ti Lung gets the most work here, and looks great doing it. It’s actually funny to see the Shi Wen Gong call out the moves for his students to watch out for…right before the move actually happens, which winds up killing his students! There are better fights in other Shaw Brothers films, but it’s the story, not the fights, that is the winner here.

I know this may be a biased review by me, but…

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 10

One of the absolute best of the Shaw Brothers library. Full of operatic acting and epic battle sequences and fights, Chang Cheh pulls out the stops to deliver an epic tale of honor, loyalty, and justice!