Posts Tagged ‘Kung Fu’

We already covered one of the “crown jewels” of Loren Avedon’s career King of the Kickboxers but it’s time to take a closer look at the movie that propelled him to his short- lived B movie stardom. After launching his career with Corey Yuen’s “classic” “No Retreat No Surrender II” (remember- the first one introduced the world to the awesomeness of Van Damme and his incredible splits) he continued his rise thru the ranks with the sequel. Now, this sequel is mostly a sequel in name only- having completely different tone, and abandoning previous “Tournament”setting for more urban of a urban Kickboxing meets Spy Thriller style.

This dude cracks me up!

Films starts with a fitting quote from Mao Tse Tung of course fallowed by a terrorist action by bunch of ridiculous mustached idiots. Their plan comes undone when one of the hostages turns out to be CIA agent Casey Alexander, man whose kickboxing skills are only overshadowed only by his  over the top facial expressions (ala Erik Roberts). He kills the bad guys and gets the girl (there’s always a girl there somewhere). In the meantime his younger brother Willis beating up some noobs.It turns out those are his students and he is just “preparing them for the street”. I am always shocked and amazed by complete lack of charisma and acting ability by this man! Anyway he is called by his father on his birthday party/ family reunion and he reluctantly agrees.

No.Retreat.No.Surrender 3.1990.DVDRip.XviD BROTHERS BLOOD.avi_000147600Mao said it best…

He arrives at the birthday in an old Volkswagen Beetle and ripped up jeans with some Communist insignia. Hmm… I’m wondering if the Chinese director is trying to tell us something here. Anyways, kudos for sneaking in thing like that in something that is an American production. He then menages to get into an argument with his rich CIA brother and quickly leaves. After the party’s over a new party begins as the old man faces bunch of assassins who look like Ninja Bee Gees in his very home and he even menages to kill one of them.Unfortunately he menages to die by flying out of the window like a freakin’ cannonball in one of the many hilarious highlights of this movie. His killer is devious Franko, a man that can be best described as am albino mulleted mongoloid.

Avedon returns home but it’s already too late, his father’s carcass is floating in the family pool. He then has a dramatic, tearful scene with his older brother and I painfully realize that his Keith Vitally is just as terrible actor as Avedon himself, hell maybe even more so! Next thing we see is a funeral and the FBI brother who gets a tap on his back via one of his superiors with words like “he was my partner and my best friend”. We momentarily realize that this man was in fact responsible for the murder… yeah cliches galore in this one!

Avedon journeys to Hawaii to have his revenge and his brother tries to track him down (unfortunately it seems CIA didn’t train him enough cause he fails miserably). First thing Avedon does is find a local dojo and gets into the fight with the friends Martial Artist he has here (how convenient). After blowing some steam they use their prowess and also their acting skill to get Avedon into a gang that they suspect is responsible for the murder. The less said about the way they manage to do that- the better. He ends up being rapidly inducted into the gang with his first mission to… KILL HIS BROTHER! No, I am not making this shit up.

After a disastrous “fake” subduing of his brother, the boss finally figures thing out (he’s no the head of operation for nothing) and starts torturing the brothers and the random girl the older brothers is having sex with when he’s in Hawaii (how conveniant). After being electrocuted the devious plan of CIA agent and Albino dude is finally clear, they want to use Avedon to kidnap the Ambassador of Mozambique and make a diversion which they’ll later use to FUCKIN’ BLOW UP THE PRESIDENT WITH A BAZOOKAA! These men aren’t thinking small.

No.Retreat.No.Surrender 3.1990.DVDRip.XviD BROTHERS BLOOD.avi_004907800

Of course they have a hiccup in their plan and that’s older brother Casey freeing himself and threatening their whole plan. Then finally two brothers team up and put all the evil folks thru their Martial Art blender. It’s also fun to note that the Lowe, the director desperately tried to tone down his usual sensibilities and make fight scenes a bit more in American Karate/ Kicboxing style opposed to over the place Chinese Wire- Fu but it’s like he said “fuck it” in this last scene and went over… and out.

Notice the joyful death of Franko, the albino killer!

Verdict: Director Lucas Lo shows everything that was wrong in Hong Kong cinematography of the 80’s/ 90’s in one place. And Avedon- well he proves why he was never propelled to the stardom of his dreaded nemessis Jean Claude Van Damme.

Trivia: Same director and lead actor had another team up not long after and that resulted in probably the most over the top Martial Arts film of all times- King of the Kickboxers. If you missed it- you enjoy the review here.

PS Loren is having a comeback of sorts these days acting in Frank Caruso’s vehicle Risk Factor and the movies seems like something you can watch straight after NR NS III without spiking a beat.

Something we felt the urge to share with you good people! A brilliant tribute to Big Trouble in Little China, a gem of B- filmmaking by legendary horror/ SF/ action maestro John Carpenter. It’s crazy- ass fun ride in which ancient Chinese Kung Fu magic meets southern-American trucker badassness – with deadly consequences of course. Video is a fantastic mix of overly popular PSY’s Gangnam Style and some memorable scenes from this legendary flick! Surprisingly original Lo Pan, 80- something year old prolific cult- actor James Hong even makes an appearance, you can catch him in the elevator scene in 2:10!

For those who haven’t seen Big Trouble in Little China, bow your head in shame… and then watch this video.  That will be the start of your redemption.

The one can not claim to be bad movies expert without being familiar with wannabe-action-hero Bud Spencer. His movies were cheering up (and making them cry) generations of our fathers and I dare to say even older ancestors. Here, I am going to talk you about one of his highest rated (by this blog standards) sensation – Go for it!

The movie starts with Terence Hill (Rosco Frazer) traveling across the country in roller skates (?!) followed by cheerful ’70s music. From time to time he manages to hitchhike someone, but only if driver is a woman so he can plow her (and plow he did). Instead showing us that gruesome act of love we get switched to close scene of Bud Spencer (Dough) being released from a prison. Why he has been held up in a prison remains mystery to me. Maybe because of public disturbance or possibly because of attempt of taking over world’s hamburgers industry. Either way, he got free and now he can do what he likes the most – eating himself to death at the gas station. That’s where his future companion Rosco meets him. After some small talk between those two guys and somewhere between Dough’s 7th and 8th hamburger, some rednecks decided to mess up with wrong guys. Naturally, every one of those rednecks ended up biting the dust, all thanks to Dough’s mighty open-palm cleave. Someone called a police and new-found partners decide  to steal one of the rednecks trucks (i guess Rosco hadn’t registered his roller skates for two persons). To top of that they got mistaken for robbers and cops started chasing them. That’s the end of the first act. Promises a lot, don’t you agree?

Traditional way of traveling

After a long driving and cop chasing they had arrived to their destination – Miami, where now they got mistaken for secret agents. There is a choice to be made: Revealing their true identity or accepting offer from inspector-Cloesauish commander. Offer is a simple: they are supposed to go undercover as a rich Texans in order to defeat evil gang of super-villains known as K1. The luxury that task bears with it made their decision easier. After getting a room in 5-stars hotel real comedy is about to start. Next one hour are filled with Dough’s attempts to order 12 hamburgers, Rosco attempts to plow some more, japaneses, retarded ninjas, secret agents working as hot-dog vendors, clumsy cops, combinations of Rosco’s “martial arts” and Dough’s short tempered street fight and many, many more ridiculous things.

One-man army

The final scene is on yacht of K1 boss himself. He is not an ordinary super-villain. He is not even big bad boss of crime (tho he is fat). No, he is super-duper-mastermind-villain!!! His goal: Getting world domination by destroying all numbers on Earth!!! That plan even made some sense after K1 had explained it to our heroes. How is he going to do that I hear you asking? Very simple… By launching earth-to-space missile named K-bomb! Now we are doomed!!! The only ones who can put an end to it are our two brave super agents. But first they have to face another challenge: 50 retarded ninjas and some really bad ass chick. Two minutes later and they are all beaten up. With haste Dough and Rosco had infiltrated to launching chamber in order to stop missile from it’s evil trip. Unfortunately, they learned that launching is imminent since K1 (the fat one) himself was there. He calculated every detail of his devious plan (I guess he wasn’t aware of irony of using numbers in order to destroy numbers). K-bomb is ought to be launched and hit it’s target in specified time. Dough came to brilliant idea how to stop it!!! By confusing scientist while this one was counting down last 10 seconds. Missile missed it’s target, numbers are saved, and many school-kids started raging because they’ll still have to learn math in future.

Big bad super-duper-mastermind-villain of crime

P.S. Reviewing this was very hard for me. Tho, there is no doubt that this movie is complete garbage by all standards, I can’t say that I haven’t had fun watching this. I have nothing but a respect for Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. Surely, they had marked one era in cinema history.

*Black Dynamite tells it like it is

The fact of the matter is: In 1971 Bruce Lee pitched in a treatment for a series called  The Warrior,  about a martial artist (Lee himself) in the American Old West. After rejecting his idea with famous “world is not ready for an Asian lead” AKA “we are a bunch of racist fucks” they decided to blatantly steal his idea, name series Kung Fu and instead of a famed and revolutionary martial artist that was Bruce Lee  cast David Carradine who: 01. Is not Asian 02. Closest thing to martial arts he ever did was dancing.*

Without any disrespect to Carradine who proved himself to be a competent actor on  rare occasions when
he was cast in a substantial, well written role- he was catastrophic choice for the part of Kwai Chang Caine yet he built his career on that 70es martial arts show (even spawning a sequel series and a movie). So how does he pays tribute to the man he (at least indirectly) screwed over? Well… by buying his unused script for Silent Flute, putting it  into production AKA by screwing the man again (even after his death!). Classy thing to do man, for sure…

What was planed as a first Bruce Lee‘s big American movie, 20th Century Fox’s Silent Flute was to be fascinating, martial arts epic full of Lee’s unique philosophy– touching upon everything from eastern mysticism to personal liberation. Script (or more accurate a draft) was written by Bruce Lee, James Colburn (planed co- star, and a central figure of the movie) and Sterling Silliphant, veteran Hollywood writer and  Lee’s close friend (they collaborated on Silliphant penned Marlowe and Long Street series). 20th Century Fox reluctantly agreed to finance it,  providing that it had to be shot in India. Unfortunately studio and the power trio came into disagreement over the locations of filming and after unsuccessful scouting for locations in India the project fell trough. Bruce would have to wait for Enter the Dragon to see his dream of being the first Asian lead in a American production see the light of day and even that was a bittersweet victory because he died from a brain edema just days before Enter the Dragon premiere.

So, what happened to the script? It ended up in the hands of none other than David Carradine who was incredibly eager to make it a reality. So, Silliphant and  Stanley Mann dusted it off and finished the script and in the process killed some  of the  explicit and most intriguing scenes, be it incredibly brutal fight that has Lee’s character (literally) crushing opponents balls, scenes of tantric sex, fantastic ambiguous ending and even a big chunk of Zen inspired philosophy that underlines our hero’s journey. Name Silent Flute was also scrapped and replaced with bad-ass sounding but meaningful Circle of Iron.They also changed the location from real world  to “a land that never was and always will be” and decided to shoot it in Israel (decision that for a change makes sense because Israel gave the movie an exotic and mystic backdrop that it so desperately needed).

Number of people were approached for the lead role of Cord including ex- karate and kickboxing champion Joe Lewis, (who had trained under Bruce Lee for at least a year) but he declined. He eventually did show up just as they were finishing up the film…  fight scenes ended up being so idiotic that he agreed to shoot some additional martial arts scenes and double the main actor in few instances.

In this version the lead, rebel “martial artist” Cord, (Jeff Cooper – Carradine’s friend who didn’t run away from the role like all the others did) embarks on a quest for the Book of Enlightenment, kept by mysterious and possibly evil Zetan (played by none other than great Christopher Lee) and in his journey is confronted by three trials. All the trials of course educate him in Zen philosophy and he runs across a string of bizarre character including but not limited to Ah Sahm, a blind flute player, a human- monkey hybrid, Death himself and a leader of a tribe of Gypsies . All are of course played by David Carradine (including almost bare- ass monkey man). It’s always fascinating to see Carradine in action, he has no speed, no muscle and no moves… and even worse he obviously gave some lessons to Cooper because he fallows the same “style” to a T.

“Only thing about me is the way that I walk…”

Anyway, Cord’s trials strange as they are involve combat, riddles or deep conversations- like the one with
a man (Eli Walllach) who has been sitting in a barrel of oil for 10 years in an unusual attempt to remove the lower part of his body, namely his genitals. Ah Sahm helps him often by reciting different wise words (some directly lifted from the original script) but you can hear it in his voice that he doesn’t really understand one word that he’s saying and considers it nothing more than some hippie new- age mambo- jumbo.

“Dissolving in oil I see, how’s that working out for you?”

Eventually Cord passes the tests (including a stupid sex scene and a death of a said girl) and reaches the Zetan.
When he finally opens the book he discovers that each page of the book is a mirror, showing him that the secret to enlightenment was within him all the time. After that he returns to the world, maniacally laughing and credits start rolling with Carradine  playing his flute in his honor.

Remake or should we say a new interpretation, with a post- apocalyptic edge is in works for possible 2013 release date. China’s National Film Capital will co-produce it. For now the only confirmed casting is Gina Carano (ex- Muay Thai and MMA fighter and a friend of Bruce Lee Legacy foundation ) as Tara. The fact  that Tara in the original film did nothing but sleep with the main protagonist and subsequently die because of it (via crucifixion none the less)–  will probably have to be changed a bit. I’ll just have to presume that producers are not imbeciles who would waste world class fighter on a role of a bimbo.

Concept art for a new version of the film

Anyway we’ll have to wait and see will the justice FINALLY be done to the original Bruce Lee’s vision (’cause it’s about time) or is it all just wishful thinking.