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!
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!
Are you ready for ass kickin’ HUNKS, sexy BABES, Prison Drama, M. Night Shyamalan style twists and Erik Estrada’s incredible on camera booger? Well then look no further because we just showcased 1990’s CAGED FURY on the latest episode of MOVIE MELT!
Yes we decide to get deep into the corrupt prison system of Caged Fury as we follow a gang of women wrongfully locked up against their will and tormented by a bizarre team of villainous sex crazed prison guards.
Beware when going to LA looking for fame & fortune cuz what you just might end up with is a case of Caged Fury! Don’t fret though, you might also end up meeting Eric Estrada and his crazy ass martial arts master, best friend Richie Barathy for some romance, bar hoppin’ and a hefty dose of ASS kicking!
We get down to the nitty gritty details of this Intense action adventure film filled to the brim with twists and turns. We also give you some cool suggestions of movies you might want to check out if you dig stuff like Caged Fury as well as a “battle of the movie bands” competition! Check it all out and let your brain fill with more useless cinematic junk than you imagined humanly possible! LISTEN HERE TO THE MOVIE MELT PODCAST!
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!
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!
Christmas is creeping up quickly and it’s time to get list of cool shit ready to view for the holidays! So I’m here to throw a few largely unseen gems at you to mix things up this year that have the Xmas vibes oozing from them. Let’s waste no time, because ‘The Iceman Cometh’ from 1989 is not only one of the coolest kick ass Hong Kong action flicks, it also takes place during Christmas! Ho ho ho!
Yeah, If you’re looking for an Holiday action flick this year and are burnt out on ‘Die Hard’, then look no further than the ‘Iceman Cometh’. Leading dude Yuen Biao has just as much charisma and 10 times the damn moves of Bruce Willis anyday. Add the beautifully charming Maggie Cheung and the devilishly evil villain Yuen Wah and you’ve got yourself a bonafide blast of action, Christmas spirit, romance and supernatural shenanigans.
Long story short, we’ve got two highly skilled, super powered swordsmen hell bent on destroying each other, facing off in ancient China. In the midst of battle they become frozen in ice when falling off the edge of a snowy mountain- only to thaw out in 1980s Hong-Kong 300 years later! There they try and fit in while preparing for one final confrontation that could take them back to their own time.
I find this one particularly intriguing since most of the Hong-Kong movies I’ve seen never take place during the holidays and feature Christmas as a prominent set piece. The Iceman Cometh however has this going forward and then some! Yuen Biao has quickly become one of my all time favorite action stars and here all of his ass-kickin’, back flipping martial arts are on full jaw dropping display. Bone breaking stunts and a bad guy who’s so damn evil you’ll be cheering for someone to beat his ass to smithereens! Yuen Wah really shines as the ultimate villainous murderer.
Things only get worse too once he discovers how much evil he can Is accomplished in the 1980s with a wide array of firepower! Easily one of my favorite Hong-Kong productions it simply should not be missed. It’s got a ton of heart, a great story, incredibly likable colorful characters, wild action sequences, sharp comedy and even some sweet romance. It most definitely needs a wider US audience and an official blu ray release here in the states.
The fight sequences are truly stunning and even better there’s plenty of that hand drawn eighties lightning / electricity FX here that I love so much to go around to fully please any fan of the era. Count me so IN! It’s also a spectacle to see how amazing the city of Hong Kong looks in the 1980s, with neon a plenty & loads of cool fashion sported by Maggie Cheung and both of the Yuens. Everyone looks so cool and you can tell a lot of care went into making this one an unforgettable cinematic spectacle.
Make sure to watch for the rooftop scene with the 747 flying past, incredible detail in so many scenes. This is the classic fish out of water scenario done right and it still amazes me that Yuen Biao did not become just as big as Jackie Chan or Chow Yun Fat In the United States. So if you’re looking for something different this year to watch this Christmas don’t sleep on The Iceman Cometh! It’s got all the right moves for the holiday and then some! I recently bought a copy of this on blue ray but it can only be shipped from Hong Kong. Do a little poking around and I’m sure you must be able to stream it somewhere…
Hot damn! How I love me some motherfreakin’ Karate Kid and Cobra Kai! I’ll even openly admit that I love 1994’s ‘The Next Karate Kid’ as well, something I recently watched for the first time after writing it off for sooo many years as some lame soft remake of the original. So while waiting for Cobra Kai season 4 to drop I needed something in the same vein that could tickle my Karate Kid fancy, enter 1993’s big time radical ripoff: Showdown!!
This sweet high-school martial arts action/drama hybrid flick hits all the same beats basically as Karate Kid but with more ridiculous & extreme circumstances around every corner! I guess it exists in the same idiotic type of narrative as Karate Kid Part 3, which is A-ok with me. Story wise I won’t waste your time here it’s pretty much the exact basic premise of the original karate kid except with Billy Blanks being being a janitor of a high school, taking the role of the Miagi mentor type character. It’s also worth noting that the high schoolers here, especially our hero and and his douchey “Johnny Lawrence” style opponent appear to be pushing 40!
We get a mega ridiculous “love” triangle type of thing going on as well that’s far less believable and unromantic than anything in the Karate Kid. Also the villanous karate dojo here is focused around a violent unregulated illegal death matches rather than you’re all Valley karate tournament! Oh yeah and they also have an older sultry seductress working within their ranks who tries to use her feminine charms to seduce high school karate kids and lead them down a sexy path to defeat!
I guess that’s why they needed to up the ante with the inclusion of major bad-ass Billy Blanks doing what he does best in this movie: kicking major highschooler ass.
Jam packed with a ton of ridiculously stupid dialogue And idiotically charming characters, Showdown most definitely makes for a highly entertaining watch for die hard fans of the Karate Kid franchise.
MVD’s “Rewind Collection” released this bad boy on a sweet blu ray with a ton of excellent bonus features!
Check this out in the meantime to get your fix while we all wait patiently wait for Cobra Kai Season 4!
U-Dork teams up again with the Movie Melt podcast to cover 1997’s moronicly bad ass Irish martial arts flick: Fatal Deviation!
Oh Yeah! We lost some serious brain cells here as a 19 year old Van Damme obsessed filmmaker puts himself in the lead role to constantly lose his temper and kick trailer park gangster ass!
Yes another vanity project that would make Tommy Wiseau jealous jam packed with patheticly enjoyable “acting”, mindnumbing ^plot” twists and some impressive indie ass kickin’ kung fu! Take a listen here for a ton of debatably useless cinematic info to get your mind off the stresses of the damn daily grind! Fatal Deviation is a movie that will surely bring a smile to your face if you’re feeling blue! Check out the new episode right HERE!
Ok as a HUGE fan of the first two Karate Kid movies and fan of the third installment for all the wrong reasons, I’ll admit that up until recently I’d never given ‘The Next Karate Kid’ from 1994 a watch or for that matter a fair chance. I’d always wrote it off as some irrelevant, unrelated knock off of the franchise. However, as I’d rewatched some of the first season of Cobra Kai, once again I’d realized just how much I missed Mr. Miagi and how even more awesome the show would have been if he was still with us. I thought what I’d give for just one last adventure with the character.
Then I’d read in an interview with the creators of Cobra Kai that they’d addressed the 1994 sequel as cannon in the series and slightly teased how all of those movies characters are on the table for possible appearances in future seasons of the show. It dawned up me quickly, after all these years there was indeed one last adventure out there with Pat Morita in his legendary role that as a Karate Kid fanatic I’d ignored for all these years. It was finally time to put my snobby Karate Kid purist attitude aside, to see a movie 27 years in waiting!
So I’m here to report that not only is ‘The Next Karate Kid’ a way better film than ‘Karate Kid 3’ but I think it’s imperative that Hillary Swank return to her role as Julie Pierce in Cobra Kai. Clearly she has a story to tell Daniel with her history with Miagi and she also shares his karate style, something that would make for a great plot element in the series. As far as the fourth installment of the Karate Kid franchise goes, it really was so sweet to see Mr. Miagi in this role, in a movie I’d put off for some reason for so long. It felt like a rare treat to see it when I finally did as I was also surprised at how wrong I’d been, the movie was by no means the flimsy carbon copy sequel I’d guessed it was. Nope quite the contrary, Hillary Swank and Pat Morita both kick ass here in a movie that has a true heart of it’s own and explore more into the history of the Miagi character.
We delve into his past as he heads off to Massachusetts to accept a prestigious award for Japanese American soldiers of WWII & also meets back up with an old friend, Louisa Pierce, the widow of his commanding officer. At Pierce’s home, they catch up on old times, war stories and there he meets his next student, Julie Pierce. The troubled teen is taken under Miagi’s wing and she even finds time to care for an injured hawk at her school. Miagi sees quite early on that she, like Daniel has got some true karate potential and also anger management issues of her own to take care of. She’s also got some problems with some weirdo violent militant Frat boys that need taking care of, something Miagi is happy to help with! The great thing here is that it goes a lot of different directions, we don’t have Daniel’s story for Hillary Swank retold like a “Force Awakens” Karate Kid sequel. Instead she nurses a bird of prey, visits a Buddhist monastery where she befriends a group of charming monks, learns karate and also finds time to fight an elite group of assholes not in a tournament either but in a real damn bare knuckle brawl!
So yeah, I was wrong The Next Karate Kid is a cool movie that not only adds to the Karate Kid legacy but it also expands the story of the late great Miagi. It’s a sweet 90’s sequel that seriously deserves a second chance from Karate Kid purists and fans of Cobra Kai alike. Let’s face it, if the Netflix show can snag Hillary Swank, who’s an incredible actor to come back as Julie Pierce, they’re going to be utilizing the secret weapon of the franchise. I’m sure we’ll be seeing her in the near future on Cobra Kai but in the meantime I think the fans need to give this little 90’s gem a re-watch. There’s so much fun to be had in The Next Karate Kid and I’m glad I finally saw it almost three decades later for my first viewing! A welcome slice of epic lore that makes the Cobra Kai series missing character, Pat “Mr. Miagi” Morita that much more special and severely missed by all the fans….
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..