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KUNG FU BOB

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About KUNG FU BOB

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  1. Thanks for the heads up @DragonClaws; I've merged the two threads as you can see.
  2. I love this artist's work, and I did purchase the DVD (sadly no Blu-ray was released) of the documentary about him (pictured above) but have not had a chance to watch it yet. I'll post here once I do though and share my thoughts on it.
  3. KUNG FU BOB

    Crystal Hunt 1080p custom

    I'd like the Blu-ray. Thanks for another custom!
  4. Thanks for posting this @Chu Liu Hsiang. I'd always been curious about Eddie after seeing him in some of the modern day fight classics, and this is a really good interview. Rest in peace.
  5. KUNG FU BOB

    Meeting the old school stars in Hong Kong

    @rdenn these photos are fantastic! So happy that you got to have such a cool experience. But we want to hear details, stories, etc. What's this all about? How'd it happen? Who said what? Give us the deets please, brother.
  6. KUNG FU BOB

    The Eureka! Kung-Fu Cinema Blu-ray Thread

    I'm very happy to hear this @Graysman. I'll bet they were originally planning on including Bey Logan's audio commentary, as they seem to have ported over a lot of features from Hong Kong Legend's old DVD release, but decided against it in light of all the allegations against him.
  7. KUNG FU BOB

    The Eureka! Kung-Fu Cinema Blu-ray Thread

    Wow, looking at the back cover listing of the special features that @Graysman posted! Eureka is really doing a great job with these. Such a fantastic looking release, totally hooked up and seemingly worthy of these Jackie Chan classics. I'll definitely be picking this up. I wanted to pre-order it, but it just wasn't in the budget this month. Soon though... soon... ūü§ď So far I got their releases of POLICE STORY 1 & 2, IRON MONKEY, the ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA set, and CITY HUNTER.
  8. Hello,

    My name is Alan Canvan. I'm the author of an ÔĽŅessay entitled "The Big Boss, A Perspective" that, to my shock, was swiped and posted here by a user who calls himself Fist of The Heavenly Sky. The post¬†¬†has been up for nearly 3 and a half years (originally posted on 9/27/15) and this individual takes credit for writing¬†the article¬†¬†(as well as adding a few sentences of his own that are tonally inconsistent with my piece). My essay is copyrighted¬†and¬†I'm currently considering legal action. I'm reaching out to the members of this forum and¬†the administrative team in good faith to help¬†rectify this.¬†Below is my original article which was plagiarized:

    I first saw The Big Boss when I was nine years old. My older cousin, who¬†had introduced me to the image of¬†Bruce Lee a few years¬†prior, supplied me with a detailed¬†synopsis of the film. Like him, I was genuinely enthralled. Unlike him, having been born the year the film premiered,¬†I had not experienced the Bruce Lee zeitgeist of the early 70‚Äôs, and, at that point, had only had real (reel) time with¬†Lee in ‚ÄėGame of Death' (1978). For the better part of two years, I had idolized¬†my¬†hero¬†mostly through still¬†photographs and campfire lore. Because of this, he'd inherited an¬†additional mythical quality. Fortunately, I came up in the era¬†of home theater, and was, eventually, provided with¬†the opportunity to witness this 'artifact' that no longer played in cinema houses. As I slid in the VHS tape, I recall¬†the distinct feeling¬†that I¬†imagine might¬†not have been too dissimilar to the one Indiana Jones must have felt upon discovering the Holy Grail. I had lived with the idea of what¬†this¬†film was for a child‚Äôs eternity, and¬†felt I had a pretty good¬†handle¬†on¬†what to expect. What I¬†wasn't prepared for¬†was¬†how much the¬†film itself would feel¬† ¬†almost exactly as I had imagined it. For this reason, amongst others, ‚ÄėBoss‚Äô will always be extra special to me.

    What¬†makes the film so compelling? Unquestionably, the sheer magnitude of Lee‚Äôs screen presence ‚Äď a fact that¬†wasn't lost on producer Raymond Chow, who promptly downplayed the lead role initially¬†intended for¬†James Tien. Upon closer inspection, though, ‚ÄėBoss‚Äô possesses a primitive spontaneity and textural rawness that gives it a tangible and visceral quality, not unlike¬† Martin Scorsese‚Äôs¬† Taxi Driver or Tobe Hooper‚Äôs The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. From the¬†opening¬†shot where Lee‚Äôs character, Cheng Chao Ahn, arrives at the Pak Chong dock, right through to the evocative finale when he‚Äôs hauled off by Thai police, there‚Äôs a certain sense of reality taking shape. One¬†almost gets¬†the feeling that this story could be unfolding¬†in real time somewhere,¬†which keeps the viewing experience kinetic and alive.

    Cheng is a young man from mainland China who travels to Thailand for work and the hope of prosperity. His newfound home offers him the opportunity to both join his extended family as well as redirect his life through the hard work of manual labor - a trade not uncommon to most Chinese expats. Though it's never directly stated in the film, his pilgrimage is partially the result of his rebellious and temperamental nature back home (much like Bruce Lee 's move  to the US twelve years earlier). Due to his new surroundings, Cheng’s demeanor is both respectful and, oftentimes, painstakingly shy, but there’s an innate innocence to him, represented by the jade locket given to him by his mother. And the more we spend time with him, the more we witness the gradual loss of that innocence, which sets the stage for what will, essentially, be his right of passage into adulthood. Interestingly enough, while Cheng is a highly skilled martial artist and harbors a fascination with combat, it's this inherent innocence that suggests he may never have been exposed to the real horrors of violence. Indeed, his understanding of it, seems to, at best, be rooted and relegated to schoolyard skirmishes and contests of strength.
     
    But from the very start, there's a pervasive sense of conflict in the air, and it walks beside him, innocuous and seductive. It‚Äôs there: upon arrival when he and his Uncle witness thugs harassing a young lady that works at the ice stand; when he‚Äôs introduced to the manager of the ice factory who¬†casually tells¬†him to ‚Äú get along with the other workers, no fights‚ÄĚ; when he accidently breaks the block of ice and one of the henchmen sprints over and unleashes a¬† hard haymaker across his face; and when he¬†witnesses his cousin, Hsu Chien, fighting off a few casino rascals who are irked by a good deed¬†done for a neighbor. In one of the films many¬†deleted scenes,¬†there's a particularly poignant¬†piece of dialogue that foreshadows Cheng‚Äôs eventual path. It occurs immediately following the aforementioned roadside¬†encounter that Cheng and Hsu Chien¬†have¬†with the casino locals. The missing footage picks up with¬†Cheng and Hsu¬†continuing down the road, making their way home. They¬†detour through an alleyway, and find themselves besieged by¬†one of the¬†remaining¬†thugs, who proceeds to push a burning rickshaw cart towards them. Barely escaping (by leaping over a wall in unison), Hsu turns to Cheng and comments on the lengths that some men will go to obtain vengeance ‚Äď unconsciously informing our hero (and the audience) of his own destiny. The scene was most likely omitted to due to pacing issues, but in the process, theme and character study suffer.
    That said, as previously noted, we get numerous glimpses of¬†Cheng's¬†courtship with¬†conflict,¬†although it's always checked at the door - defused before it¬†ignites. The set up works¬†perfectly,¬†as Cheng, essentially, comes to understand himself through his capacity¬†for violence, which is¬†both uncompromisingly brutal and¬†significantly purifying. In an abstract way, the violence serves as¬†confession, paving the way¬†for redemption and allowing the character to¬†come full circle, and embrace the animal he sought to suppress. On a fundamental level, the slaughter of his family¬†becomes catalytic for¬†the emotional arc he‚Äôll fulfill¬†in his journey. A literal¬†example of this motif comes close to the climax of the film, when Cheng searches¬†the ice factory¬†late¬†one night¬†for clues¬†to his cousins' disappearance. Bathed in¬†an eerie¬†red light (that suggests the blind rage to come) he discovers his cousins' corpse. The flood lights come on and we see: Cheng glaring at¬†a group of thugs¬†slowly encroaching ; lightning quick, he hurls his flashlight at one of¬†'em - impaling it¬†in¬†the guy's¬†forehead. Then, using every weapon at his disposal - including a saw ‚Äď he proceeds to systematically rip through each one of them with¬†a serene savagery. This Zen-like dispassion has two exceptions: earlier when the jade locket is torn from his neck by one of the thugs, and¬†in the final battle against Mi Hsiao, when he pushes his fingers through the villain‚Äôs ribcage and pummels his lifeless body to a pulp. If the broken locket represents the unleashing of¬† Cheng's inner beast then the¬†final image of him collapsing from exhaustion on top of Mi‚Äôs¬†dead body¬†suggests the exorcism of that beast.

    One of the major themes that separates ‚ÄėBoss‚Äô from Lee‚Äôs¬†other films is it's¬†blatant exploration of sexuality. For the first (and only) time we see Lee sexually charged and uninhibited on celluloid, with sex¬†manifesting into it's¬†own character, figuratively mirroring¬†the violence.¬†Sexuality is prevalent through all of Cheng‚Äôs relationships with women: flirtatious with¬†Nora Miao's¬†girl at the ice stand, borderline incestuous with¬†his cousin Chow Mei,¬†and¬†brazenly promiscuous with¬†two¬†prostitutes - the latter of these encounters was included in the original Mandarin print of the film, but not in the subsequent theatrical versions. In the scene, Cheng, having made his decision to take vengeance for the murder of his family, returns to the town bordello. In direct contrast to his earlier encounter with the first prostitute, he¬†is¬†no longer acutely self-conscious,¬†but straightforwardly aggressive. He shoves¬†the girl on the bed, fully disrobing in front of her - his¬†naked body¬†symbolic and representative of¬†the¬†sacrifice he‚Äôs willing to make in the¬†face of¬†death, as well as the spiritual rebirth that fuels that decision. Equally significant, is his departure from the room -¬†particularly in the way he pays the girl for her service - delicately placing the last of his money on her belly. There‚Äôs both a sensual gravitas and a prevalent solitude that linger as he leaves the room. The scene was¬†eventually removed from subsequent prints¬†in an effort to preserve Lee‚Äôs screen image, following his designated status as a cultural hero and role model to the¬†South-East Asian audience. I always found¬†this rather¬†ironic, considering the numerous affairs Lee had both in the US and¬†in Hong Kong throughout¬†the last five years of his¬†life.
     
    Additionally, of particular interest is the¬†music used in the film.¬†Soundtracks¬†were not of much focus in those ol'¬†chop socky films¬†and¬†typically ‚Äėstock‚Äô music was just added to them in post production.¬†Although three different dubs were¬†released, the most memorable is the English version which¬†uses¬†compositions¬†by German¬†musician Peter Thomas. Thomas was hired to create a soundtrack that would appeal¬†to western audiences in the international market and¬† he delivered a wonderful¬†hybrid of late 60‚Äôs/ 70's jazz fusion¬†with a heavy¬† emphasis on synth and bass that, at times, is reminiscent of the experimental work of Chick Corea. Sparingly used throughout, the score not only increases tension, but also adds a surreal quality to the scenes ‚Ästcreating¬†the effect of a sonic sculpture, taking a life of it's own. Moreover, it connects the viewer to the more primal elements that lurk underneath the scenes. This comes to the fore particularly¬†in the final showdown between Cheng and Mi. Consisting of little more than an off- rhythm, machine gun style bass line, punctuated by a haunting synthesizer and guitar twangs, it creates a vibrant¬† sense of urgency as the two men face off. The result is classic mis en scene. In retrospect, it‚Äôs even more impressive that this was for all intents and purposes, serendipitous, as, in those days,¬†that level of¬†care was not normally¬†given to those films. The resonance of these pieces is¬†a¬†testament to the brilliance of Thomas‚Äô¬†work and, specifically, the marriage of¬†the instrumentation¬†to the images in¬†the film. No small feat considering that¬†the¬†Mandarin/Cantonese¬†dubs utilized music by Pink Floyd.

    All things withstanding, 'Boss' is by no means flawless. As is true of most Hong Kong film productions of the period, it was shot on a less than shoestring budget, and it clearly shows. Continuity is oftentimes ignored, the dialogue¬†dubbing is abysmal and, at times, the film stock appears damaged. Additionally, Lo Wei‚Äôs direction occasionally falters into the absurd, including a comical shot of Lee punching a thug through a warehouse wall‚ÄĒ leaving the imprint of the man‚Äôs body in the wood. The saving grace is Lee‚Äôs superb combat choreography ‚Äď which, to this day, is still resonates as it¬†did in¬†1971. For all the reported tension between Lee and Wei, it‚Äôs noteworthy that, in an early letter to his wife, Lee would write: ‚ÄĚThe shooting is picking up steam and moving along much better than it was. The new director is no Roman Polanski, but as a whole he is a much better choice than our ex-director.‚ÄĚ Lee was referring to the original director, Wu Chia-Hsiang, who was fired a few days into shooting, for both going over budget and having a lackadaisical attitude on the set. Indeed, the rift between Lee and Wei would come¬†during¬†their second¬†collaboration on Fist of Fury.¬†Lee was annoyed at Wei's penchant for taking credit for the fight scenes that Lee, himself, had¬†choreographed, and for generally being more interested in gambling at the races than producing a high quality film (the feud would eventually¬†come to a head¬†at Golden Harvest Studios¬†a year later¬†when Lee threatened a terrified Wei,¬†before authorities were summoned and Lee acquiescing to signing a document that stated he would not harm the director).

    Despite it‚Äôs¬†retread of generic tropes used in most martial art films of the time, ‚ÄėBoss‚Äô differs in that it embraces a¬†distinctly pagan spirit, mainly through the¬†protagonist's¬† inherent self indulgence and¬†eventual¬†sacrifice. This, essentially,¬†allows Lee to¬†create¬†his own mythology, in the vein of Neitzche‚Äôs √úbermensch, and is most apparent in¬†the set up for the final battle: Cheng leaps over the tall metal fence,¬†radiating a cool detached calmness, jacket¬†casually slung over his shoulder, holding a¬†bag of prawn crackers (which he continuously munches on). In that moment,¬†he¬†is an image straight out of western mythology. He is the gunslinger returning to¬†town, seeking retribution. Through this, he fulfills a self imposed purpose and, morphs completely into the quintessential Western archetype. As Nietzsche wrote: ‚Äúthe spirit becomes a camel; and the camel, a lion; and the lion, finally a child.‚ÄĚ In many ways, ‚ÄėBoss‚Äô is a classic story told in a conventional way. It succeeds though, despite its failings, because it exhibits a consistency that other genre films lack. It's unabashedly operatic,¬†yet it¬†contains a¬†distinct thematic honesty that leads it's hero (and viewers)¬†through¬†the process of¬†innocence, self-reflection and fate. At it's core, 'Boss' is a true¬†coming of age story.

    This was Lee‚Äôs debut in a leading role, and¬†it consistently showcases his¬†instincts as an actor. I‚Äôm not uncomfortable stating that it may be his best acting role. Gone is the apparent self-awareness that dominated his role in the ‚ÄėLongstreet' television series (shot a few months prior) and replacing it is a more subtle, moment to moment, presentational performance that‚Äôs¬†become the¬†staple of¬†occidental cinema.¬†Interesting to note,¬†it's is his most Western performance in his most Eastern film. The reason for this, I believe, is that Lee hadn't¬† fully committed himself to the Asian style of representational acting, which¬†he¬†relied on heavily in¬†his follow up films Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon. Not that those were bad¬†performances by any means, but compared to¬†level of¬†depth that Lee gives¬†Cheng, they're far less nuanced. The result is easily¬†the most three dimensional character of¬†all his adult¬†films and while much of¬†Lee's appeal can be attributed to the timeless boyishness of his face ‚Äď his aura radiating a strong James Dean quality ‚Äď as well as his tremendous physique, it‚Äôs fair to say this performance shows his capabilities as an actor. Quite revealing is a moment that occurs towards the finale when¬†Cheng sits by the river, contemplating his past. As the camera slowly focuses in on his face, we see Bruce Lee, not Cheng, look up to the sky, prophetically catching a glimpse of the future: the ascension of his star(dom) and (im)mortality.

    A final note: it‚Äôs been said that the events in ‚ÄėBoss‚Äô were based on a true story. The details of that¬†story and characters¬†do not necessarily¬†resemble that of the¬†movie. But, as¬†the old adage goes,¬†one should not let facts¬†stand in the way of¬†truth,¬†in a¬†story. Keeping that in mind... allegedly, in Bangkok, there stands a statue that the townsfolk refer to as the Chinese Big Brother. Legend has it that many years ago, the man, whom the statue was modeled after, had done an incredible thing. His name? Cheng Chao Ahn.
  9. Glad you dig it @theThirdMaster. No, that idea wasn't mine- it was all Arrow with that neat little touch. Because I'm a freelancer as opposed to a staff member I rarely have anything to do with that aspect of the presentation. I just deliver the art, then they do their thing with text graphics, embossing, etc. Though if I have ideas regarding those factors I will share them, and sometimes they do go into play. For instance, when I did the art for THE STREET FIGHTER I wrote an impassioned plea that they use the original US poster's logo font for the the set, and I included it when I sent the finished art so they'd have the option if they wanted it. Shout Factory may very well have planned on using that anyway, even if I hadn't asked. But either way, I'm very happy that they did. I always create "temp text" as a place holder when planning a piece's composition, and when I send companies the finished job I include an "art only" version, and a second version with my text (sometimes I even add my own taglines for fun, as you can see in the SISTER STREET FIGHTER sketch design). Sometimes they like the text I create and use it, like Code Red did for their JUNGLE HOLOCAUST release (including my tagline too). It was a surprise when TVP- The Vengeance Pack sent me the finished Limited Edition Blu-ray of BLACK MASK and it had such cool, unique packaging and embossing. ūü§ď Thanks @ShawAngela that's nice of you to say. I try my best to be a kind, compassionate person. Certainly I have not always been successful at it though. The second I'm given the okay from the companies I always let you guys know. Though more often than not, I see the public announcements because someone tags me in them, and I had no idea that they had been revealed. Me too. It's a complicated, ambitious project I've challenged myself with. Hope I don't screw it up. ūüôĄūüėĚūüėč
  10. KUNG FU BOB

    Wolfguy (1975) - Sonny Chiba's Wildest Movie?

    Cursed streaming nonsense! Cutting the very end off of a Chiba-san flick? "In my day movies had endings. Now days... it's just a child's game!" As for your other questions (and thanks for keeping it "spoiler-free" for those that haven't seen it yet. I love that)... Yup, definitely a weird one! I think the problem is that you are just too nice a guy. Perhaps you'd need to be more dark and twisted like me to enjoy this movie in repeat viewings? ūü§™
  11. Thanks bro! I did mention ALEXANDER FU SHENG: BIOGRAPHY OF THE CHINATOWN KID, hoping to help spread the word about it, but unfortunately it got edited out (along with a few other tidbits, like the part about how I found a pristine print of TIGER BOY, once fought Bruce Lee over a chocolate-chip cookie, and my victory in the Kumite tournament ūüėĀ ). Damn man, thanks very much. You know how I feel about you- you're family to me. Much appreciated! Hope it gets some more people picking up your books too.
  12. Wright and Chan? Gotta check that out! The JC episode of Incredibly Strange Film Show is one of my favorite things I've ever seen JC in. I actually do a JC imitation regularly quoting him from that episode. ūüėÉ It'll be nice to see it in a higher quality than I've been watching for all these years. @KenHashibe did you see in the post above that on the back cover they list "mono" for the Cantonese soundtracks? Thanks! I'll be listening to this sooner than later. From what I heard the recent showings of POLICE STORY 1 and 2 are using the Criterion prints, and I keep hearing that they're exquisite.
  13. I was interviewed by the site Cinema76.com based on my SISTER STREET FIGHTER artwork. Initially my interview was going to be a part of a story about that film series' Blu-ray release, but afterward the author decided to split it into two articles so he could make the focus of the second piece more specifically about me. Big thanks to writer/interviewer Aaron Mannino for his interest in my work and for the very nice piece. Here are links to the two articles: SISTER STREET FIGHTER set article: https://www.cinema76.com/home/2019/3/6/shihomi-etsuko-the-lady-dragon-revisited INTERVIEW article: https://www.cinema76.com/home/2019/3/10/drawing-on-history-interview-with-artist-kung-fu-bob-obrien
  14. KUNG FU BOB

    Chat Feature?

    Wow, what an overwhelming response! ūüėĄ I had fun chatting with other members on several occasions when we had the feature, so if it was here I'd probably use it once in a while.
  15. Hey people, just a reminder: Well Go USA has given this a limited theatrical engagement, and it's playing on screens right now. Sadly, due to a tight work schedule it looks like I won't get to see it that way. ūüėě I'm not aware of a release date yet, but I'll definitely be purchasing this Blu-ray on day one of its release. ūü§ď
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