Posts Tagged ‘Bruceploitation’

If you’re child of the 80’s like we are you’ll probably remember seemingly endless stream of Ninja movies staring mustachioed white ninja called Gordon on the TV. Later I would find out that those were directed by the notorious Hong Kong director by the name of Godfrey Ho (also known as  Godfrey Hall, Benny Ho, Ho Chi-Mou and Ed Woo) who routinely used cut- and- paste method producing dozens of Ninja movies every year. One of the tricks he used was to buy an unfinished Taiwanese film (or 10) and pepper it with his default Ninja fight scenes to create a unique mutant of the Martial Arts genre (often featuring dual storylines by sheer necessity).

Most of those Joseph Lai produced gems featured Harrison (sometimes even without his knowledge or approval), anything from Ninja Terminator (1985) to Ninja Strike Force (1988). And I can’t forget all the brightly colored uniforms or those headbands with Ninja written on them to this day!

Quite possibly the greatest scene in the history of Martial Arts cinema!

To go back in time even more so Harrison started his career much like Eastwood acting in Italian movies– albeit initially in the sword and sandals genre (The Magnificent Gladiator). He would eventually move up to the more commercial Spaghetti Western films (Gunfight at Red Sands, also first Ennio Morricone scored film ever) before becoming the European answer to 007 aka 077 (no, I’m not making this up). Also you should definitely check out his Italian team- up with  Bruce Le called Challenge of the Tiger. Eurospy meets Bruceploitationyou don’t see that every day!

Beware of that buff Italian guy!

He also famously turned down the opportunity to act in A Fistful of Dollars and recommended Clint Eastwood for the role. He jokingly said he considers that his greatest contribution to the world of cinema.

He first started collaborating with a Hong Kong studio when he played  the title role of Marco Polo in  Shaw Brothers‘s production in 1975 and Commander von Waldersee in The Boxer Rebellion a year later. More than a decent start. But in the 80’s with the fall of both Western and Eurospy movies he ended up signing a multi- picture contract with Joseph Lai’s Imperial Entertainment which lead him to Godfrey Ho and as they say- the rest is history!

We want to thank Guru Khalid Khan for this wonderful interview, It’s really uplifting to see a legend like Harris still alive and kicking  while being charismatic as he ever was.

 

 

 

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Since we last touched upon this subject (talking about the Ugandan Kung Fu project Bruce U) couple more Lee related projects popped up:

Danny Chan (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle) is for example starring as Chen Zhen (made famous by Lee in Fist of Fury) in a team- up action comedy Kung Fu League as well as reprising his role as young Lee in Donnie Yen’s Ip Man 4.

More significantly The Warrior TV show (for the longest time a stuff of legends) based on the original Bruce Lee’s concept  (and executive produced by his daughter Shannon Lee) spearheaded by Justin Lin (Fast and the Furious) is set to premiere on Cinemax in early 2019.

Now, as we all know by know when there’s an official project some unofficial ones can be expected too.

ENTER THE AFGHANI BRUCE LEE!

Abbas Alizada (Abb Li for short) gained prominence as a Bruce Lee imitator on facebook, his photos and videos going viral in 2014.  His first attempt of film-making was an Azerbaijani comedy picture released in 2016 called Brat Lee (Brother Li). Well, now it’s seems his first “major” English- speaking role is finally in the cards.

Armani Burj Khalifa held a press conference for the movie titled HE IS BACK (sounds more like a Schwarzeneggersploitation picture, does it?). Film is to be directed by Chitah Yajnesh Shetty with Abb Li joined by a female lead Alina Lliumzhinov. Movie is being produced by Showtime Cinema & SBM Pvt Ltd in association with Ninjoor Pictures so we know more than a few people are banking on this being a hit. Also it’s a pretty international affair seeing that talent spans America, Thailand, India and China.

If I was being a skeptic I would say that there’s far too many inexperienced people involved in this movie but there are some positives too. Director Chitah Yajnesh Shetty is a legit JKD instructor under the late Grand Master Richard Bustillo so he knows his martial arts. Kaecha Kampakdee of Ong- Bak 2 and Asian Connection fame is in charge of action choreography and cinematographer is Ross Clarkson (Undisputed III, Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear)  so that could easily translate to some solidly shot Martial Arts scenes. Filming begins in January 2019, so we’ll keep you informed how things go.

One thing is for sure- it’s 2018 and Bruceploitation is alive and well.

We talked before at length about the crazy and  wild world of Bruceploitation cinema. You can even read our tribute here. Now, unexpectedly, genre is making a slight resurgence with Michael Worth (himself a Martial Art actor/ director)’s excellent efforts shining the light on Brucesploitation with a book (Bruceploitation Bible), documentary and even a weekly podcast.  This once forgotten genre is finally getting the love it deserves!

Let the real Bruce Lee please stand up!

Now, to make things even more interesting we  have news of  Ugandan‘s premiere director Nabwana I.G.G. (Who Killed Captain Alex? and The Return of Unkle Benon) making his own spin on the Bruce Lee formula in an upcoming film staring African Kung Fu sensation Mansul Kiiza as the titular Bruce U. This will mark the first time Wakaliwood (Wakaliga, Uganda) Ramon production films in the People’s Republic of Chinaincluding the legendary Shaolin Temple and even The Great Wall of China!

Premiere of the movie was even attended by the Chinese ambassador in Uganda-  Chu Maoming and Star Times CEO Andy Wang so I wouldn’t be surprised with further China/ Uganda cinematic collaborations!

   Ugandan boy and Kung Fu fan Kiwa accidentally gets a chance to learn Kung Fu at China’s Shaolin Temple!