Trailer for Ip Man which isdirected by Wilson Yip (Flash Point; Dragon Tiger Gate; SPL) and starring Donnie Yen (An Empress And The Warriors) in the title role. The film co-stars the legendary Simon Yam. The award-winning wartime period action-drama Ip Man brings to the screen the fascinating life of the celebrated Chinese martial artist who famously became martial arts master to Bruce Lee and was the first person to teach the close range combat techniques of Wing Chun openly.

Ip Man is released in the UK by Showbox Entertainment on 26th October 2009

Last Hurrah for Chivalry

On the day of his wedding local noble Kao is visited by uninvited guests. A deadly kung fu master named Pai and his men. Pai had previously lost much of his land to Koa's father and sensing that the son is weaker than his father he decides now is an opportune moment to strike back. A fight ensues and Koa is badly wounded and his clan devastated. Koa Bitter that he was not able to defend his family and was unable to defeat the deadly Pai, Koa sets about looking for a way to get revenge at any cost. In the town their are two great swordsmen, one the hot tempered Chang has renounced the sword and works with horses, the other Green spends his day's drunk when not taking on jobs as an assassin. It does not take Koa long to figure out there must be a way he can use them to take down Pai.

1978's Last Hurrah for Chivalry was produced by Raymond Chow's Golden Harvest and written and directed by none other than legendary action director John Woo. Woo spent most of the seventies working on Martial arts films and the early 80's working in comedy. It was not until 1986's A better Tomorrow that he would hit on the style that would make him a legend in his own lifetime, though his other 1986 action outing Heroes Shed No Tears should not be overlooked in terms of enjoyment. 1976's Hand Of Death was competent outing for the young Woo, but Last Hurrah for Chivalry takes things to another level and is much more than just a curiosity piece for those looking into Woo's early career. In fact Last Hurrah for Chivalry is a very, very good old school swordplay movie. Where Hand Of Death hinted at what was to come later in Woo's career, Last Hurrah for Chivalry is very clearly a Woo film hand guns aside. The classic Woo themes are now firmly in place with honour, loyalty and male bonding top of the menu.

The other thing that marks this out as a John Woo film is the action. There are no birdcages being broken or slow motion white doves yet, but the action is played at a breakneck pace. In the second half of the movie you hardly get time to draw breath so constant is the fighting. Though you can't describe the film as gory it's certainly very bloody as the various characters hack and slash their way through opponents. The plot follows the revenge theme as does most of the genre, but Woo manages to throw in some brilliant twists.

Wei Pai (Five Deadly Venoms) Damian Lau (Duel to the Death, What Price Survival) are great in the lead roles as Chang and Green respectively. Lau Kong is great as Kao and shows off some pretty mean fight skills as does Lee Hoi San (Magnificent Butcher) as bad guy Pai.

Chang and Green storming Pai's home and taking on his various guards make for classic old school kung fu stuff especially when they take on the deadly but narcoleptic "sleeping Buddha". Fans of both John Woo's work and Old School Kung Fu flicks should seek this one out.


King Boxer (Five Fingers Of Death)

From Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers, the founding fathers of kung fu film, comes the groundbreaking cult movie King Boxer (Five Fingers Of Death). Required viewing for cinephiles and martial arts fans alike, King Boxer took world audiences by storm with the tale of a young martial artist who battles his way into a national tournament in the name of love, honour and revenge. His journey from young fighter in training to master of the Iron Fist delves deep into mythic kung fu lore and is laced with explosive action and dazzling fight sequences. Amazing special features included extremely rare film commentary by Quentin Tarantino.

As well as the Quentin Tarantino commentary also included are: Interview with filmmaker Chang-Hwa Jeong, Interviews and commentaries with film scholars David Chute and Elvis Mitchell, Interview with action director Lau Kar Wing, Stills gallery, Trailer gallery and Commentator biographies

Directed by Chang Chang Ho, Five Fingers Of Death stars the legendary Lo Lieh and  Wang Ping. This edition will be released on 23rd February 2009.

Basically a region 2 release of the US Dragon Dynasty disc which is being put out through Momentum Pictures. Interestingly Momentum had a crack at releasing films from the remastered Shaw Brothers collection in 2005 under their Momentum Asia banner, but quickly pulled the series after the initial releases failed to shift enough units. Which was a shame because they had some great title amongst those which did get a release was Chu Yuan's Death Duel, which is one of my favorite movies of all time and one I recommend seeking out.


Blaxploitation Pride

"An era of its own. A time when American was in a transition from separatism to civil rights. The 70's was a Golden Age on so many levels and the influence echoes around the world in present day. Blaxploitation is considered in my opinion to be the coolest of cool. Touching on the most sensitive material in America at its time and exploiting them on the big screen or the vinyls in your record player produced for a glorified genre that nobody will ever be able to duplicate."

Fans of "cult film" and / or funk music should really check this blog out as it's a brilliant resource.

Kung Fu Wonder Child

While walking down the street, a man and his teenage daughter are attacked for no reason. "Obey me and you will live, turn against me and you will die" cries the laughing maniac. It seems he is after their clans silver skull (don't ask me, I have no idea why they have such an item). The old man refuses to hand over the skull so is told that he and his daughter must die. A fight breaks out in which deadly beams are thrown and ninja smoke blasted, but the man and his daughter are quickly overcome. The laughing maniac then takes the souls of the defeated twosome and places them in pots with others who have lost to him and tells his zombie slave to guard them.

Enter a beautiful girl who is searching for her now missing father and sister. She's quick with her leg,s but it will take more than that to overcome the evil master and stop his diabolical soul stealing plans. It's not long before she enlists the help of the Kung Fu Wonder child, his grandfather and his two bumbling friends. Together they just might be able to do it, but first the kung fu wonder child has to go through being miniaturised, placed in a dolls house and fight a plastic face hugging scorpion ... no really.

Directed by cult Hong Kong director Lee Tsonam aka Tso Nam Lee (Shaolin vs. Lama, Hot, Cool and Vicious, Black Belt Jones 2). The film stars Lin Hsiao Lan as the titular Kung Fu Wonder Child, quite obviously a female, but she plays a male character anyway. Joining her is the lovely Yukari Ôshima who fans of cult Hong Kong Cinema will recognise from ultimate Hong Kong cult movie Riki Ô AKA The Story of Ricky amongst other stuff. Jack Long is in their as well a guy who has appeared in some real genre classics including fan favourites like The 18 Bronzemen, Born Invincible and Master of the Flying Guillotine.

Kung fu Wonder Child if you have not worked out already from the title is not a serious film. In fact it’s far from such mixing high camp, cheesy dialogue, toilet humour and crazy fantasy effects to produce a pretty ridiculous piece of celluloid fun. I guess it would fall in the fantasy Horror category, but this is low rent stuff compared to Sammo’s Close encounters of the spooky kind or Tsui Harks Zu Warriors of the magic mountain. But to its credit it is very entertaining and will appeal heavily to the fans of bizarre, cheesy and so bad it good films. There’s no getting away from the fact its trash, but its lots of fun and even if it is nonsense. Where else will you hear the line "Shut up! I am your master! I will urinate wherever I want!", or see a couple of young female orphans hopping after there deceased zombie father, who stops to give them a hug … ahhhh. Yukari Ôshima looking like she has been ripped right out of the old Nintendo street fighter game shows off some impressive legwork (and legs). The exaggerated by wires reaction to the blows that are dealt out by the various characters is cool. Some of the comedy is actually funny, which is not always the case with these cheese fests and director Lee is happy to throws in everything but the kitchen sink to make this entertain you.


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