Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Lee’

Recently we talked about the upcoming Bolo Yeung documentary but we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on another legendary movie villain who’s documentary is just about to come out.

After an indiegogo campaign and  almost three years of production Henchmen: The Al Leong Story is finally done. It had it’s premiere mere days ago on June 7th on Days of the Dead convention in Las Vegas and it’s coming out on DVD on July 16th. Being a long time fan on the Fu Manchu-ed villain I’m pretty sure it was worth the wait.

Synopsis: This documentary explores the life of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces from 80’s action films. In addition to being the greatest cinematic henchman, Al Leong is also a martial arts champion, stuntman, biker, cancer survivor, and much more. From Die Hard and Lethal Weapon to Big Trouble in Little China and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, follow the career of Al Leong with vintage footage, film clips and candid interviews from the likes of John Carpenter, Jeff Imada, Craig Baxley and more.

And for those who missed it the first time around my favorite Al Leong fight scene with non other than Brandon Lee in his ’92’s film Rapid Fire:

 

After the surprising success of the original The Crow movie, directed by Proyas and staring the late Brandon Lee  the studio decided that The Crow concept is good enough to warrant a series ala Nightmare at Elm Street. Unfortunately The Crow mythology was never really built for a franshize. The author of the original comicbook James O’Barr did his best to keep the control of the projects with different pitches for sequels like the one with a Native American of the Crow tribe coming back from the dead to avenge his family (later comic-ized as The Crow: Dead Time) and the female Crow who died on her wedding day (now a basis for O’Barr’s still unpublished The Crow: Engines of Despair) but both were rejected.

obarr-engines-pinup

Still unpublished The Crow: Engines of Despair

The second part ended up being a The Crow: City of Angels with Vincent Perez, actually a fairly decent film that still failed to live up to the expectation after the original. Dimension Films decided not to stop there so another sequel was put into production, this time with even less of a budget.

The movie starts with an overly dramatic execution scene of conveniently named Alex Corvis via the electric chair in the local prison. Our hero is accused of stabbing his girlfriend 20- something odd times and people are cheering his demise. He is of course innocent and as it usually goes returns from the dead with a roasted face that somehow evolves intro something alike a classic The Crow jester make- up. As he runs away we are treated to a not so good suicide dive  followed by a really bad shapeshift moment! So the Crow flies with him but he also turns into a crow too, isn’t that a bit too much?

The mystical crow leads him to the police department’s evidence room, where he discovers proof that his girlfriend Lauren was killed by a group of corrupt cops. He also has a vision of the leader of the killers who has a scars on his arm. He goes to her grave and there, he runs into Lauren’s younger sister Erin, played coincidentally by young Christine Dunst (who would find much bigger success in another comicbook series some years later).  She doesn’t seem to recognize him at first but when she does she gets really angry still believing he is the killer but he promises to prove otherwise and then disappears.

vlcsnap-2017-01-30-21h44m15s717Unfortunately Morbus  is just too gangly and funny to be a convincing angel of revenge

He tracks down his friends Leonard who testified falsly and got him in all this jam. Turns out he testified in return for a job at a CONSTRUCTION! This just might be the single worst deal in the history of film. He gets names of the corrupt cops out of him and goes on a wild killing spree.

After killing a cop via car crash (you can do fun stuff like that when you’re invulnerable) he uses the evidence he found on him to convince Erin of his innocence. It turns out her father Nathan had dealings with the cops and that started this whole mess.He owns a business company cops used for smugling drugs.After trying to prove to her that her death was a mistake he ends up killing himself. In a really cheep twit  it turns out the main leader of the evil cops is- the police chef! Also a dabbler in the occult (I mean, who isn’t) and the man with the scars. Already knowing the way to cheat the crow (not so smart animal after all) he organizes and ambush for Alex in a “modern” night club (they have computers and really bad cameras and stuff). Alex of course thrives in the chaos and kills more than couple of cops. We even have a default impalement on a pipe, a staple of American cinema.

impaleImpalement pipe- don’t leave your home without it!

Now one of the detectives manages to ignite a gas leak (remember that pipe from minutes ago) and the whole place goes up in flames and then in all the dead bodies Alex finds a severed arm with the scars. His mission is finally done. Or is it? Of course not. It turns out the Cheif of police faked it, and managed to trick the fate itself.You see having finished his task Alex is now without his powers and can finally be stopped. This moment really drags movie (even further) down. I mean if the mystical crow is this stupid I don’t thing a single death would be successfully avenged.

He confronts the Cheif but knowing he has an uper hand he stabs him to death all the while convincing him he really is guilty of his girlfirends death. What a deranged prick! He with a help of detective Madden and his slut secretary drag him to the taxidermy room (that exist in a police station- for some reason) and we find the sister Erin there too- with her mouth stitched shut. Now when all seems lost the crow shows up, take’s Erins bracelet, drops it on Alex and he finally comes back to life all reachached and ready to go. Man, this movie loves it’s clishes so much!

Alex being back in revenge mode manages to defeat everyone and he chooses to place the Cheif on the same electric chair that he was on. Poetic justice all the way. After that he returns to being dead, the necklaces now resting on the cross on his grave.
Trivia: This movie does continue the cool tradition of having cool alternative rock/ industrial/ metal bands contribute to the soundtrack. Just listen to this Danzig track.

Unfortunately by the time the forth movie rolled over (more on that one soon) the budget for the soundtrack became non- existent and they stopped that particular tradition.
Trivia, continued: It’s interesting how almost every move post- the original Brandon Lee hit turned out to be such a miss. Like I said, Dimension Films ignored some really descent story ideas from James O’Barr, just the damn author of the whole thing. Then there was a whole crazy script treatment for The Crow V that involved resurrection of a good and evil rappers starring (then young) Eminem and Doctor Dre. That leads us all the way to today with Relativity Media remake that was supposed to be directed by Javier Gutierrez (who even went as far as to ask for O’Barr’s blessing) with Luke Evans as Eric, after that fell trough Jack Huston has signed to direct with Andrea Riseborough as (female) Top Dollar, Corin Hardy after that and then Relativity bankruptcy happened. Strangely they kept pushing the project even after the bankruptcy now with Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Justice League) attached as a lead by trust me- don’t hold your breath.

379e78d89eee9a6b76fec02b13223040346cefd936e9ae240d48a7ca411a3926

Bradley Cooper, once attached as Eric -thankfully that never happened.

There is a special kind of people that make good movies shine and bad movies fun and they routinely get little or no  appreciation from the movie viewing public – the henchmen. Long haired, muscular and more often than not foreign people whose sole reason for existence in the movie world is to look cool and die making the hero even cooler in the process.

al

This is a tribute to greatest that ever was, is and ever will be, the grand- master of all henchmen- Albert “Al” Leong aka  Al ‘Ka Bong’. With his receding but long hair, killer Fu- Manchu mustache and deadly martial art skills he embodied (but ultimately outgrow) Asian henchmen stereotype and went head on and all out with the stars caliber of Kurt Russel, Mel Gibson, Jean Claude Van Damme, Brandon Lee  and Bruce Willis and has been brutally killed by most of them.

Now I will let Al’s hand and feet do the talking…

During his storied career Al has broken all his ribs at least twice, cracked his sternum twice and broken his arms… none of that stopped him of course, ’cause he’s the freakin’ Al Leong. His popularity was so enormous that he even outgrew henchmen position and also stared in roles of dangerous Sensei  figures and even had memorable and frankly quite brilliant performance  in  Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure playing Genghis Khan (it was also one of the few films Al doesn’t die  in!)

al-leong-rapid-fire

His most impressive performance, when he was paired with the late great Brandon Lee who was good enough martial artist to keep up with him and make it incredibly engaging screen fight in the process and also because simply somebody  finally let him do his stuff instead of opting to kill him too soon.


Henching ain’t easy!