Archive for Kung-fu

Review: Master Of The Drunken Fist: Beggar So (2016)

Posted in Cao Jun with tags , , on October 26, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

Starring  Cao Jun, Wang Meiying, Chen Zhihui, Zhao Olusheng

Fight Choreography by

Directed by Jian Yong Guo

Last year HBO teamed up with China to create HBO Asia, an arm of HBO to create original content coming from China. This may well be in response to pretty much everything that Netflix is currently doing. First up, they decide to do a DTV film retelling of the original drunken master Beggar So.

I’m not really sure what I think if this film.

The story starts as we meet a vain and prideful So Chan, a scholar summoned to the Emperor to take over as a military advisor (not really sure why they’d want a scholar instead of someone like, say, a general) but after sneaking into the emperor’s private kitchen and doing battle with an intruder skilled in drunken boxing, eunuch Song Fok-Hoi frames So Chan for, I think, doing exactly what he DID do. So Chan is beaten, his family killed, and himself banished from the court. So Chan is taken in by the Beggar Sect, led by Lau Pak-Gwai, the very man he fought in the Emperor’s kitchen. Knowing that his life is still in danger from Song, So Chan starts to train in the art of Drunken Fist, and eventually becomes good enough to get his revenge for his family…

The story is simple, and the characters are drawn in broad strokes, but you don’t really get invested in any of them. It also hurts that this film is tremendously inferior to other films about drunken boxing like the Jackie Chan Drunken Master series, where Beggar So is played wonderfully by Simon Yuen, or True Legend, with Vincent Zhao. This film does have a TV budget, but it could have done a lot more with it than it did. I never got the feeling of the passage of time with this film, as it seemed as if his family is killed, and he trains for a few days and becomes a Drunken Fist master. That’s not the film’s intention, but that’s the feeling. Also, I couldn’t help laughing at the fact that close to the climax of the film, So Chan learns the final missing pieces of the style after GETTING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING. That’s right. He gains drunken mastery the same damn way Barry Allen becomes The Flash. Not one bit of it is earned. The acting is okay but there are no standouts here. Competent is the best thing I can say for it.

 

The fight scenes are okay, and may even be good, but the camera work zooms in and out, shoots too closely, and the edits are too fast to truly appreciate the movements, and what’s maddening about that is I can feel the choreography is good if the camera would just STOP MOVING. And of course any film called Drunken-anything really can’t mess up one important scene: the training one. Drunken Master set a high bar and is in the running for best training scene ever, and this film doesn’t come anywhere near that. It starts well enough, but is far too short with no real story element added like comedy or even urgency. At the end if the film I’m not sure Beggar So is any different than he was at the beginning of the film. He’s no longer even a beggar.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 4

This is not a great or even good film, but there were some bones that HBO could set a better film on. Hopefully they have better films in the future. If not, this experiment won’t last long.

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Birth of the Dragon Trailer (2017)

Posted in Philip Ng with tags , on July 30, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

Okay, things have been crazy lately but it’s time to get caught up. First up, Birth of The Dragon. I showed a different trailer not long ago (the overseas version) and I’ve since heard not-so-good things about the film. One item I hear about is how the film almost treats Bruce Lee’s conflict with Wong Jack Man almost a side story to the Steve McQueen-style hero, which would be a shame. I’m hopeful for the film, but remember there are several other Bruce Lee biopics currently in development. I’m confident in Philip Ng and his ability, so there are positives even if the film doesn’t turn out to the be ideal Bruce Lee film. So far the trailer looks great! Fingers crossed for the film!

 

The second trailer for Lady Bloodfight is here!

Posted in Amy Johnston, Bey Logan with tags , on April 6, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

We now have the second trailer for Lady Bloodfight, starring Amy Johnston, an immensely talented woman who could very well join the badass ranks with Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins, and this trailer looks much better than the previous trailer, and the idea of a female kumite interests me greatly. If you’ve seen some of Amy’s previous works then you know she’s got the goods. Add to that Chris Nahon, who directed Jet Li’s best American film Kiss of the Dragon and I’m all in.  Check out the trailer below, and get ready for the DVD release in June! Hit the comments section below and let me know what you think!

LBP Stunts presents: Blind Date!

Posted in Amy Sturdivant, Emmanuel Manzanares with tags , on December 11, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

Emmanuel Manzanares directs Amy Sturdivant (Queen) and Thelkla Hutyrova in another great action short. Just watch rinse and repeat!

Review: Masked Avengers (1981)

Posted in Chiang Sheng, Chin Siu Ho, Philip Kwok with tags , on August 16, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

masked avengers 2

Starring Philip Kwok, Chin Sui-ho, Lu Feng, Wang Li, Chiang Sheng.

Fight Choreography: Philip Kwok, Sheng Chiang, Chu Ke

Directed by Chang Cheh

Masked Avengers begins as we meet an unfortunate bastard who runs into and is killed by a group of assassins known as the Mask Gang: a cult who kill for money but on top of that, for some odd reason that is never, ever explained or even gone back to later in the film, drink the blood of the men they kill. A group of warriors arrive in town to attempt to stop these killers and stay at a local inn, where they find themselves being spied on by the cook Gao (Kwok). They have a list of suspects, but Gao finds himself quickly moving to the top of their investigation (such as it is) as the top culprit to be one of the Mask Gang.

The warriors find themselves being picked off one by one as young Zeng (Sheng) Jun, one of their best fighters, befriends Gao, and together, begrudgingly, they get to the heart of the Mask Gang to find their leaders, but Gao holds a terrible secret, and even worse, one of the heroic warriors isn’t nearly as heroic as he appears to be…

Masked Avenger

Shaw Brothers silliness abounds, and that’s a really, really good thing. Philip Kwok is excellent as the mysterious Gao, and it won’t take long for anyone to figure out what he’s really up to. Chiang Sheng shows his normal comedy schtick, and does well with it, being youthfully exuberant and all Errol Flynn-like in the face of evil. Chin Sui-ho is great as the leader of the good guys, and I love the fact that the fan is far from the only weapon he carries, just the only one you see…The Mask Gang kills are treated like a horror film, and just like those movies there are some really good stealth kills, but c’mon, many warriors would have lived if they heeded this simple lesson:

“Don’t stand anywhere a goddamn trident can get thrown at you.”

There was one death that struck me as odd, when a captured Mask Gang member dies…by biting his own tongue out. Besides just being painful, I’m not sure how that kills you in mere seconds.

There is a second lesson this film tries to teach, and it’s actually pretty important:

“Showing off at the wrong moment will get your stupid ass killed.”

Oh yeah, and one last lesson that would’ve saved a couple of good guys:

“If you don’t see Gao move forward first, don’t be the first one to run ahead.”

In fact these guys are so “Star Trek Redshirts” that Gao pretty much just lets them run ahead of him, setting off whatever trap that Grants Painful Deaths. The final fights are the fast paced, acrobatic choreography you expect from the Shaw Brothers, and they do save the best for last. I have to admit, the leaders of the gang make their entrances like bosses:

Like. A. Boss.

Like. A. Boss.

The final boss fights are awesome, but really, the main baddie does mostly because he makes a really bad tactical decision that still has be baffled, but his death scene was really cool. Why oh why does everyone have to die with several tridents to the mid section in this film? Keeping in mind that Philip Kwok and other did the fight choreography is really impressive, and allows each of the main main characters a chance to strut their absolute best stuff, particularly with trident and fan work. Yeah, you gotta watch those dudes running around with fans…

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

A good Chang Cheh film that’s not his best but really comes close, and Philip Kwok really gets to shine here as a hero. A fun film from start to finish!

Fight Of The Day: Philip Kwok vs. Lo Meng: Shaolin Rescuers (1979)

Posted in Lo Meng (Turbo Law), Philip Kwok with tags on August 16, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

Philip Kwok fights Lo Meng. As if you needed to know more! A classic fight over a bowl that is fantastically performed and choreographed in a film where they broke the budget on blood capsules! And nothing beats the Lo Meng Look of Disdain!