KFMG Podcast S01 Episode 05: UK martial arts movie special

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“The fan base for martial arts films is very loyal… my selfish thing is that I want to see more films, so I need to make sure people are making them and bringing them through.” Soo Cole, co-founder and director of Fighting Spirit Film Festival

Here’s something a little bit different from our usual podcast format, as I sit and talk to some of the best emerging talent on the UK martial arts movie scene, courtesy of the first Fighting Spirit Film Festival. The inaugural event took place on 16 July 2016 at The O2 Cineworld, London, and coincided with the …

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Bulletproof Monk (2003)

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As a wry look at how eastern philosophy has influenced western subculture, this feature film debut from music director Paul Hunter works quite well. It comes unstuck, however, because of its silly story and distracting editing, not to mention an overload of CGI and wire fu. After two decades of relatively straight roles, Chow Yun-fat can afford to ham it up a little. He does so as a heroic Tibetan monk with more than just bulletproof credentials. He is safeguarding an ancient scroll which can suspend time and bestow superhuman strength. Young scoundrel Seann William Scott (Stiffler from American Pie) …

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KFMG Podcast S01 Episode 04: Leo Au Yeung

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“Martial arts is important. But teaching how to be a better person, this is more important.”

We have Ip Man fight choreographer and kung fu expert Leo Au Yeung on the show today. Leo is a Hong Kong-born Wing Chun expert who teaches in London. From an early age, he was taught the close-combat Wing Chun style by Ip Chun – the son of legendary kung fu master, Ip Man, who would go on to teach a young Bruce Lee. Over the years, Leo has become a close friend of Ip Chun, working for a time as his English interpreter. We talk about …

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Winners and Sinners (1983)

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A thoroughly silly, crowd-pleasing action comedy from Sammo Hung. This was Golden Harvest’s answer to Cinema City’s popular Bond spoof Aces Go Places, with Sammo embellishing on the bumbling crime-fighting formula by including some blistering stunt and fight sequences. In a nod to the British ‘Carry On’ series, Sammo assembles an instantly likable group of top comedic talent to form his immature, eccentric Lucky Stars gang. There’s the loudmouth Curly (John Shum), the pervert Exhaust Pipe (Richard Ng), the smoothie Vaseline (Charlie Chin), the parental Larry (Stanley Fung) and the bashful Teapot (Sammo Hung). They’re all idiots, released from prison …

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Dragon Blade (2015)

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A sweeping desert-based historical epic from China which conjures up vague allusions to those sweeping desert-based historical epics from America made in the 1950s and 60s. Nowadays, of course, the cardboard sound-stage vistas of yesteryear have been replaced with awesomely vast computer-generated landscapes, and the costumes, set design and scale is quite magnificent. (The film was designed for IMAX 3D).

The story of Sino-Roman relations is an interesting one and something which hasn’t been explored too often on film. It is used here by writer and director Daniel Lee and producer and star Jackie Chan as a device for cross-cultural understanding, …

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Jason Bourne (2016)

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Triumphant return of the silent but deadly amnesiac super-spy Jason Bourne. This fifth installment in the franchise reunites the insightful duo of actor Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass and wisely sidesteps the 2012 Legacy spin-off. This picks up nearly a decade on from Ultimatum to find a battle-scarred Bourne punching heads for money in a masochistic spiral of self-doubt and destruction. Luckily for Bourne, snooping veteran Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) rocks up in Reykjavik to hack into some more secret CIA files. She uncovers another secret black ops initiative and further information on the now defunct Treadstone case with direct links …

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1911 (2011)

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Stirring historical drama to mark the centenary of the Xinhai Revolution, which caused the collapse of China’s dynastic rule and the appointment of Sun Yat-sen as the country’s first provisional president. The film runs through the radical politics of the time at a fast and methodical rate, skipping over key details in favour of presenting an emotive and violent struggle in which large volumes of everyday Chinese lost their lives in a number of failed uprisings. Their names appear on screen to acknowledge their sacrifice. Jackie Chan – who also acts as co-director and executive producer – positions himself as …

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KFMG Podcast S01 Episode 03: Meredith Lewis

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“I love the choreography… it’s really sophisticated stuff. For me, it stands up as much of an art form as any great dance piece.”

For episode three of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast, I have a nice chat with the Australian blogger Meredith Lewis, who runs the rather excellent kung fu movie blog, Dangerous Meredith’s Fu Thoughts. I managed to spend a bit of time with Meredith over Google Hangouts just before a talk she was doing at a Melbourne festival on the topic of Monkey – the popular Japanese TV show from the 1970s, known to international audiences as …

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Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

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Where do you start in describing this rollicking, satirical, often brutal and downright weird movie? What begins as a Goodfellas-style Yakuza film about one man’s journey to the top of the criminal fraternity, quickly takes a left turn when the gang’s benevolent boss is revealed to be a bloodthirsty vampire. The Yakuza have become all-powerful in a poverty-stricken, post-apocalyptic town ravished by aftershocks and what looks to be the result of a nuclear fallout (this is clearly a reference the 2011 tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima disaster). But then an English-speaking Japanese Quaker with a giant stun gun and The …

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Stoner (1974)

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Former Australian model and James Bond star George Lazenby had already signed a three picture deal with Golden Harvest to star alongside Hong Kong’s biggest action hero, Bruce Lee, when his future co-star was pronounced dead at 32. The first of these films was to be Game of Death, and Lazenby, Lee, Golden Harvest producer Raymond Chow and the actor Betty Ting Pei were all scheduled to discuss the project on the night of Lee’s passing. This film – originally titled The Shrine of Ultimate Bliss - was scheduled to be Lee and Lazenby’s next project together, salvaged by Golden Harvest …

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