Tagged: kung fu

Comic Cover of the Week: Wisconsin’s Forgotten 1980s Superhero!

Here’s a flashback to late 1980s indie comics who’s covers pack a punch (or more so a KICK)! Wisconsin superhero Badger was always a favorite of mine, for one reason because the cheese state, from which I hail, never got much attention in the superhero spectrum. Mike Baron’s ‘First Comics’ creation was a truly unique spin on the genre. This incredible cover was one as a Wisconsinite always stuck in my mind! Badger was truly reppin’ the Midwest! A dynamic cover from 1988 by Steve Rude is one of my faves hands DOWN!

Hong Kong HALLOWEEN: 1990’s A Chinese Ghost Story 2!

I’m making this post assuming that obviously everyone has seen the legendary 1987 Hong-Kong horror romance action hybrid ‘A Chinese Ghost Story’?! No?! Well It’s often referred to as the “Chinese Evil Dead” and that’s a great comparison. So If you haven’t seen part one you definitely need to check it out ASAP, but even so you can still watch part 2 without having to know much about the original!

‘A Chinese Ghost Story 2’ continues right after the events of the 1st movie but this time puts the romance a bit more in the back seat and the action/monster mayhem a bit more front and center! This 1990 Hong Kong horror hybrid follows a wandering scholar as he as he continues his outrageous supernatural adventures while trying to find romance simultaneously.

Along the way he encounters cannibals, escapes prison, hides out in haunted temples, fights off an amazing giganto (animatronic puppet) tree troll, meets the reincarnated woman of his dreams, teams up with a wild martial artist turned sorcerer, faces a gigantic flying centipede (ending up inside of its stomach) and even manages to perform a rap song while taking a bath in pool of rainwater. And that’s just the shortlist of this radical spectacle!

 As you can probably tell thus far, there’s really never a dull moment within it’s entire 98 minute run time. It’s filled with charming, colorful characters, amazing sets/landscapes filled with lush vegetation, roaming fog and spooky blue lighting in nearly every scene.

It’s also jam packed with awesome neon 80s animated lightning, some over the top martial arts and even manages to sneak in a little sweet romantic plot amidst all the magnetic mayhem. Better yet this one has some pretty on point comedy that shines through even despite the rudimentary but often incredible subtitles…

This is just a great big ball of fun. It’s equal parts fantasy/adventure/horror and comedy all stuffed into a juicy blender. I really think a great double feature would be to show both parts 1 & 2 back-to-back. I’d go as far to say this is probably the strongest horror franchises in all of Hong-Kong cinematic history. I have yet to see part 3 but from what I understand and these 2 are pretty much the cream of the ghostly crop.

So if you’re looking to get out of the American pumpkin patch this Halloween I highly suggest a trip to Hong-Kong’s golden era of of supernatural horror! These will not disappoint to deliver enough spooky, highly ambitious trick-or-treats from the Far East!

90’s HK Ass Kicker ‘TEENAGE MASTER’ has got the MOVES!!

I just gotta love a crazy 90s Hong Kong action flick, especially one where the main character is a ten year old master of martial arts who beats the snot out of anyone who steps to him or his damn dad! I’m not entirely certain why this sweet ass kicker from 1995 is called “Teenage Master” when the master is not a teen, but hell just go with it!

This is easily one of the most fun Hong Kong flicks I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s non stop fun, action and legit laughs!! I’m sorry to report however the kid doesn’t actually don a Superman costume at any time in this movie! Just on the poster…

This witty actioner Is totally ALL over the freakin’ place like many Hong-Kong movies of this era can be. One minute It’s spoofy slapstick comedy, the next it’s a dangerous highstakes buddy flick featuring a father/son duo who excel at one thing: kicking all the ass!

 A kung fu obsessed father (Collin Chou) and son (Tse Miu) are like two peas in a pod, living out in the country all by themselves. They hang out all day practicing martial arts, playing tic-tac-toe and eating tons of rice. That is until they’re lured into the big city of Hong-Kong  to take care of some family business with their elderly martial arts master, who’s locked up in a mental ward.

However it doesn’t take long for these two to get mixed up into some risky business with some truly evil murderous gangsters. Luckily these guys  Aren’t anywhere prepared for the frenetic skills of THIS wild father and his 10 year old son the “teenage master” (for some reason)!!

 Amidst a kick ass crazy confrontation in an apartment building the father and son get separated during the mayhem and goes straight to jail. The movie at times doesn’t make a lick of sense but anything lost in translation doesn’t matter much once the action kicks in and you get your witness the wild child deliverr some of the most hyper intense Kung Fu craziness set to screen. The teenage master wanders the streets by himself and is of  course quickly adopted up by ridiculously idioticly entertaining family. 

Yes some of the shenanigans in this movie are truly bizarre, sometimes veering into the Airplane/Naked Gun territory. Teenage Master however seems to seems to execute it’s strange tonal shifts almost perfectly And imo a lot of the jokes seem to for the most part stick to the wall. I suppose this might be fitting in style with something like ‘Shaolin Soccer’.

The main attraction  here is seeing “teenage master” Tse Miu going nuts on the bad guys with his dad. The fight choreography is nuts and a total blast to behold. The comedic details sprinkled in each confrontation is the extra icing on the cake here to. Wheelchair chases, steroid drinking, crazy mental ward murders & insane acrobatics make this a truly forgotten diamond in the rough.

There’s so much going on in this movie comedically visually and physically to love for true fans of obscure, bizarre cinema it’s well worth it to grab a copy or find it somewhere streaming. I got a copy on DVD from Far East Flix, for a mere $8! Grab s case of beer and your best buds, cuz Teenage Master is a full on Kung fu hyper-blast! 

Comic Cover of the Week: Marvel Comic’s MORAL Violence?!!!

I always thought it was so nice of Shang-Chi to let Billy Jack have a chance to kick ass on the cover of ‘The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu’ way back in the day! I mean Billy Jack was indeed a cinematic bad ass but who’d a thunk he’d grace the cover of a rad 70’s comic book? Well he made it happen, perhaps it was his posturing of Moral Violence?! Well back in 1974 he was apparently all the rage, this beautiful powerhouse round kick of a cover was done by icon Neal Adams!

Step Aside Danielson for OPERATION SCORPIO’s Epic 90s Noodles Kung Fu on MOVIE MELT!

On the latest episode of the MOVIE MELT podcast we cover one of my personal all time favorite martial arts flicks, 1992’s Operation Scorpio! I’m willing to bet there’s a big chance that you’ve never seen it, so if you’re a huge fan of stuff like The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai and Chinese food, particularly noodles, then you’re certainly likely to love this this incredible little film! I’m certain film buffs like Tarantino took notes from this one.

Think a higher stakes version of The Karate Kid with lots of yummy noodles, crazier characters, a legion of muscle men, epic styles that make the crane kick pathetic and a villain so bad ass he’d annihilate the whole damn gang of Johnny, the Cobra Kai, Kreese, Chozen and Terry Silver all in the bathroom of the school Halloween dance.

There’s lots to love here and we cover all the juicy details, it’s the very first Hong Kong film ever on the podcast & it desperately needs a BIGGER cult fan base.

Check this shit out as we go deeper into 80s Hong Kong cinema with the crew, as well as a “Battle of the Movie Bands” and a boatload of more insane cinematic info than a human brain can possibly handle!

Grab a drink and a hefty doobie to smoke tonight & get hyped for a wild ride ‘cuz Operation Scorpio delivers the fucking goods and then some!! 

Oh yeah and you’ll probably wanna order some Chinese take out food – I’m NOT kidding-LISTEN RIGHT HERE!

Shaolin Soccer Fans You’ll LOVE the Bonkers 80s HK Ass Kicker THE CHAMPIONS!

Yowza! So many people over the years have sited Stephen Chow’s ‘Shaolin Soccer’ as one of the zaniest Hong Kong productions ever made. I do whole heartedly agree but I think if we’re going to gush over that movie we just have to also mention its likely major influence from Brandy Yuen which came out waaaay back in 1983! Yes ‘The Champions’ starring Hong Kong lengend & shoulda’ been huge international superstar Yuen Biao sets the stage for Shaolin Soccer and is IMO an even better damn movie somehow!

It’s a wild little adventure flick that’s also focused on soccer, with a tinge of kung fu, some high stakes and some pretty well landing comedy to round its somewhat ludicrous banger of a plot out. From its opening credits, which feature Biao & his co star performing some of the wildest martial arts soccer shenanigans put to screen in front of a simple white backdrop, it’d already won me well over.

Yuen Biao stars as a kung fu country boy who flees his small village after competing in a wildly ridiculous town square annual game where he accidentally humiliates one of its powerful criminal competitors in front of the entire village. He’s forced to leave behind his poor struggling umcle and head out into the big city where he accidentally befriends a down on their luck rag tag soccer team.

<span;>He quickly finds his newest talent, fusing his martial arts skills with the game of soccer and yeah, what a sight it is to behold! Biao brings his charisma along for the ride as he quickly rises in the ranks of the game but ditches his old crew for the all the fame of his newly acquired talents as it begins to shoot him to stardom as well as begin to fill his pockets with loot. One crazy scenario after the next as his crazy kung fu style ball control gets the attention of wealthy corrupt criminal gamblers and his evil rival, the biggest soccer star in all of Asia.

Stakes rise when he’s eventually asked to throw a game and things get down right deadly when he refuses to do it. Reuniting with his old football buddy to do things legit only lands him in a game of soccer where the losers actually lose their legs by way of the blade.

The Champions is so much damn fun and delivers some truly incredible stunts on and off the soccer field. The spectacular eye candy ball play here is the main attraction, flips, kicks and near superhuman soccer moves are on full eye popping display. It’s an absolute treat to see Yuen apply his usual jaw dropping martial arts skills and stunt work to the game of soccer while predating Shaolin Soccer by nearly two decades. It surely must have pulled some influence from The Champions which must be noted though is grounded more firmly in reality which for me I actually prefer a bit more. Its also succeeds at not being an annoying slapstick comedy which can really at times be a turn off in my opinion with so many 80s Hong Kong movies relishing in poor taste potty humor and offensive gay jokes.

This one manages to cross the language barrier to provide some class A humor to its charm and beautiful locales to feast your eyes upo. It’ll make you want to travel in a time machine back to 1980s Hong Kong for a vacation you’ll likely never forget! You can score the sweet import blu ray from Panorama here and grab a few other Asian gems to your order like I do every few months! Check out The Champions, a movie more western audiences need to fall in love with!

The Craziest Movie Subtitles of ALL Time!

I’ve been watching a lot of Hong-Kong movies lately from the 80s and good lord let me tell you, there are some amazing unbelievable subtitles to behold! So every now and again I’ll pause the screen to take a snapshot to capture some of these in ALL their insane glory! These first two exhibits come from an amazing action movie from 1989 called ‘Pedicab Driver’ starring Sammo Hung! If you’re a fan of wild, over the fucking top martial arts then check this out ASAP and keep an eye open for these unforgettable words of wisdom within the text of their glorious subtitles!

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

WTF??????

Hong Kong Horror Gems: 1985’s ‘Those Merry Souls’!

Here’s a sweet little Hong Kong horror/action/comedy hybrid from 1985 that really put a BIG smile on my face, ‘Those Merry Souls’. Yeah this all but forgotten flick has some serious star power, featuring the likes of martial arts legends like the charming Yuen Biao & the late horror icon “Mr. Vampire” himself Lam Ching Ying (RIP) together for one spooky comedic action packed romper. 

Now as you can see the poster here. makes it look maybe like a full on comedy, and in many ways ‘Those Merry Souls’ plays out like one. However it also has a serious supernatural aspect and threat that slowly rears it’s head to the final genuinely creepy action packed finale. This one tells the story of two stuntmen one a wildly talented martial artist and his bumbling whiny cousin who’s obsessed with a beautiful local club singer. Oh yeah and their uncle has recently developed a rare creepy ability to astral project and has been helping people who die find their way to the other side. He helps those merry souls but during his waking life doesn’t remember a lick of it ever happening.

The two bosom buddy stuntmen spend most of their time trying to ridiculously find romance and getting into trouble while doing so, one of the best scenes takes place on a beach where Yuen Biao shines showing his kick ass martial arts skills taking on a gang beach bullies in only his skimpy little swim suit. Biao really should have been an international star, he’s got the skills and a similar raw charisma of Jackie Chan. Things do get a bit dark and scary here though and what starts off like the perfect 80’s Hong Kong buddy comedy morphs into a pretty thrilling little supernatural tale.

This happens when their uncle, while in his astral form is instructed to take the soul of his own nephew when he’s injured doing a wild stunt on a movie set. At the moment of truth though he decides to let him live & spare his soul a mistake that costs him his own life and sets forth an evil entity upon them. In a way it’s a tiny bit Final Destination and when they employ the help of their other uncle, played by Lam Ching Ying, who’s of course got some secret magic skills of his own to ward off evil, things get really interesting.

The film’s finale is joyous as the whole gang along with their girlfriends all face off the evil entity along with their taoist priest uncle in an action packed final showdown. The stakes get high and the action is off the rails bonkers in true Hong Kong fashion as the entity possesses members of the group and soon things erupt into a crazy supernatural kung fu battle.

We even get to see Lam Ching Ying and Yuen Biao go at it full force, which is treat to behold. Bottom line here, ‘Those Merry Souls’ is a damn good time balancing out the comedy, kung fu & supernatural elements in all the right ways, something I’ve noticed many Hong Kong films of this era seem to fail at in my opinion more often than succeeding. If you’re looking to get in 80’s Hong Kong Horror I highly recommend ‘Those Merry Souls’ as the perfect party movie to share with a hungry gang of movie maniacs!

And for fans of Yuen and LamChing Ying check this out too..

THE MAGIC CRYSTAL: Hong Kong’s Killer 1986 Cynthia Rothrock Kung Fu Sci-Fi Adventure!

So you’re in the mood for an ass kickin’, science fiction, martial arts packed 80’s adventure? Look no further, ‘The Magic Crystal’ from 1986 delivers the damn goods and THEN some!! It also delivers the iconic action star Cynthia Rothrock in one of her earliest roles doing what she does best, throwing the  beat down on the wise guys. This Hong Kong production filmed largely in Greece, has some truly stunning locations and makes good damn use of them, following a stylin’ cool guy mercenary (Andy Lau) who’s hot on the trail of an alien artifact, you guessed it, a magic crystal. This green crystal which actually looks more like a glowing green glob also houses an alien within it shimmering surface. 

Of course there’s an evil mastermind named Karov (Richard Norton), who’s also head of the KGB and also full on martial arts maestro who’s dead set on acquiring the magic crystal for his own villainous plans. This huge dude is so bad ass it almost always requires at least two kung fu masters to take him on and even then he usually ends up on top. He also wears some awesome evil black studded outfits while he does his sinister business and is just a plain awesome bad guy here.

Andy Lau soon meets up with a small cast of colorful allies, Cynthia Rothrock being one of them, who help him on his pursuit for the alien artifact. Luckily for the mysterious crystal it ends up in the hands of a little boy who quickly discovers what’s actually inside of it. From here the movie goes in another different direction as the kid forms a bond with the alien and we end up with a sorta E.T. type of thing going down. Yeah the crystal even grows a creepy glowing finger and shares some of it’s “ancient wisdom” and “power” with the kid leading them on a bit of an adventure of their own.

The whole movie is simply a delight to behold. With it’s fun sets, beautiful greek isle locations, endearing characters, pulpy villains and that oh so sweet era of the mid 1980’s for it’s ambitious story to take place in. The action is top notch as well and though the movie is jam packed with bone breaking stunts and martial arts it’s definitely not simply just a kung fu flick. In fact the final third of the movie plays out more like an Indiana Jones adventure as our band of heroes delve deep into trap filled caverns and tunnel slides for our characters to glide down to more even more danger.

It actually kinda feels like this flick might have been where Spielberg got his idea for ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’! Hey you never right? There’s so much fun here to be had, the classic 80’s fx in play and a ridiculous paper mache alien that could have used a bit more work still come off as charming. Cynthia is also right on top of her game here as well and it’s fucking awesome to see her in some of these Hong Kong productions where she looks right at home in their frenetic bone breaking action sequences. The kind that US productions never could seem to replicate but never stopped trying. I checked the movie out on Blu Ray, though it sadly wasn’t an official release (it desperately needs one!), you can watch the English Dub on Youtube and get the scoop about the flick from Cynthia herself right here below,   

 

Cynthia Rothrock’s Butt Kickin’ 1980’s KFC Commercial?!

Now this was welcome surprise to brighten up the dark days here, a recently unearthed Cynthia Rothrock KFC Commercial from the 1980s! I just saw this today and just having watch the ultra weird 1990 Hong Kong adventure fantasy flick “Prince of the Sun” she starred in made my day!

Anyway if you don’t know who Cynthia is and you’re a fan of 80’s & 90’s action movies or someone who thinks the “strong female lead” in movies is some new phenomenon, you’d better track down some of her movies. You’ll get a heavy dose of wild martial arts action and plenty of bone breaking stunts! She did some sweet lesser know Hong Kong productions early on in her career that are also a blast. Anyway check her out as she sells her soul to Colonel Sanders!!!