Tagged: stunts

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!

Ditch ‘Die Hard’ This Xmas & Check out Hong Kong’s 80s Ass Kicker THE ICEMAN COMETH Instead!

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…

 

 

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,   

 

Crazy Crazy Cat Man: “ROAR” Finally Gets It’s Debut in the USA!

Holy shit! I had the pleasure of seeing a screening last night of one of the most insane flicks I’ve ever seen at the Hollywood Theater right here in good ol’ Portland, Oregon! Yep “Roar” from 1981 has been called the most dangerous film ever made. This is hardly an exaggeration- It took about five years to make. It’s story revolves around Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall, (writer, director, actor in the film)  along with Hedren’s real-life daughter Melanie Griffith and Marshall’s real-life sons John and Jerry.

Oh yeah and it also stars their real life adopted family of over 100 dangerous lions, tigers, panthers and cheetahs!! This movie is seriously insane, and had me cringing in fear around every corner as Noel Marshall is surrounded by these giant cats for nearly the entire movie. The plot is simple Marshall lives in Africa in a Swiss Family Robinson style house along with all of these man eating cats and a giant pissed off African elephant. The rest of his family (like in real life, Tippi in the movie, is his wife though they’re separated in the film) decide to drop by unexpectedly, only problem is dad isn’t there when they arrive….but the CATS are!

This movie is utter mayhem, filmed with just a loose plot, most all of the one million feet of footage shot depended on what the cats decided to do while shooting. These cats in the movie are considered Marshall’s harmless buddies, though he’s tackled, smothered and in the middle of raging giant cat fights pretty much nonstop throughout the film. To see these actors deliver their lines while in the midst of these beasts is quite a hilarious feat to say the least!

Now onto the other crazy fact of this film, no animals were harmed in the filming but over 70 cast and crew members were!! Much of the injury can be seen on film, though carefully edited. Here’s a list of exactly what when down via the Wiki page:

“Cinematographer Jan de Bont had his scalp lifted by a lion, resulting in 220 stitches. Tippi Hedren received a fractured leg and also had scalp wounds. This occurred after an elephant bucked her off its back while she was riding it. She was also bitten in the neck by a lion and required 38 stitches. This incident can also be seen in the film. Melanie Griffith(Hedren’s daughter) was also attacked, receiving 50 stitches to her face; it was feared she may lose an eye but in the end the wound was not disfiguring. 

Jan de Bont after the lion attack!

Noel was attacked so many times that he eventually was diagnosed with gangrene. One of those incidents, he was clawed by a cheetah when protecting the animals during a bushfire that occurred in 1979. All animals were evacuated, though it took several years for him to recover from his injuries. Due to the injuries, turnover was high as many did not want to return to the set. Some of the lions also suffered from illnesses that reduced their population. John Marshall was bitten by one of the lions and required 56 stitches. His brother Jerry was bitten in the foot while wearing tennis shoes. He later jokingly said the lion had a “tennis shoe fetish.” Assistant Director Doron Kauper had his throat bitten open, his jaw was bitten, and one of the lions attempted to rip an ear off. He was also injured in the head, chest, and thigh. Although it has been reported that the attack nearly proved fatal, the Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 9, 1978 printed a quote from a nurse saying his injuries were acute. He was also reported as being conscious and in a fair condition.

Sound pretty unbelievable huh? Well after watching this movie, which was never officially released in the US until now it’s pretty clear how the insane list of injuries is totally accurate with what you witness before you! There’s a ton of crazy stunts and an angry elephant scene that will scare the pants off of you! The cats were adopted by Hendren and Marshall from defunct circuses, zoos & irresponsible owners and given refuge at The Shambala Preserve  just about 50 miles outside of Los Angeles which they started together. in fact you can still visit the preserve today. Before you do though make sure you do not miss this movie it’s a truly incredible piece of cinema and one experience you’re likely to never forget!

What If The Spider-man Movie had Real Stunts? Check This Out!

The Amazing Spider-man 2 is coming at us this weekend and though I’m going to see it I wouldn’t say so it looks like anything truly amazing. Another shiny Hollywood Blockbuster overflowing with glittery video game style CGI and extremely limited real life stunt work.

This pic really has nothing to do with this post-I just think it's rad seeing 1970's Spidey on a skateboard.

This pic really has nothing to do with this post-I just think it’s rad seeing 1970’s Spidey on a skateboard.

But what if suddenly Hollywood wised up a bit? What if they decided to use CGI only where necessary to enhance imagery and went with some actual real choreography to put together the action sequences for everyone’s favorite webhead? Well this recent video of parkour master Ronnie Shalvis will certainly prove that Spider-man doesn’t need to be a largely CG character in his action sequences. Of course you’ll never see something this cool in a Spider-man flick these days, check out what Spider-man might really look like in a real world setting doing real stunts…it’s breathtaking!

Check out the behind the scenes video-normally I’m not a fan of drones, but I’m totally cool with them being utilized this way!