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Everything posted by 2tintoe

  1. 2tintoe

    Shaolin Mantis (1978)

    Hmmm... before I make any definitive comments on the film, I want to state that I have not seen this film in probably 15 years. Having said that, I remember enjoying it quite thoroughly. I'm hesitant to comment on the fighting (although I remember the fights being pretty sweet... and isn't there a little Gordon Liu cameo in the beginning?). The "hook" of the story (the hero being a villain) is one of the things that always stuck out to me as the selling point of the movie- It was a nice change of pace to have a Shaolin story told from the Q'ing side (well, sort of... it's not the actual Q'ings are portrayed as anything but evil), and I loved how Lau screws with your expectations. On some level, it almost seems like a Chang Cheh film, in that there is far more melodrama and pathos to the protagonists plight. I DO remember watching it as a kid thinking "If David Chaing just TELLS the Grandpa what he's doing, they can figure something out!" Still a definite change of pace, both in Chaing's onscreen fighting and Lau's storytelling. It may not be their best work, but it's definitely worth checking out!
  2. 2tintoe

    Favorite last era shaw films.

    There is a bit of a double-edged sword (as opposed to a deadly breaking sword) when examining this period of SB output. Yes, the films became more set-bound, and the budgets are obviously not what they once were. On the other hand, this is the period of the Venoms, the greater portion of the Lau brothers' output, and perhaps most significantly, the era that I would imagine most of us (Shaw fans in the West) are the most familiar with and for many of us, I think it's fair to say that the latter period of Shaw Brothers Studios provided us with our first Kung Fu film experience. So, yes, in many ways there is a cheesy aspect to them, and I can see now that in it's pretty obvious that the best days of the studio may have been long gone, but on the other hand, the sheer joy that this period in HK film history, and specifically Shaw Brothers history far outweighs any of the negatives.
  3. Ya know KFS, that's a really good point. Particularly with these Shaw films, where there is no guarantee that these films are going to make money, or that their releases will continue, or that the companies that produce them with stay afloat, maybe they shouldn't waste the money printing the sleeves. I release it's probably something like two sleeves for a penny, but it does add up, and I'd rather have, say, extra features than a piece of cardboard.
  4. Oh man... the whole opening monologue explaining the research involved in the making of the film is just mind-blowing. Just a big ball of vertigo-inducing confusion.
  5. I stand corrected, it's been awhile since I watched the dub.
  6. "I did the right thing! Did I do the right thing?" Never has an internal exploration of one's ideals been so succinctly captured.
  7. 2tintoe

    Five Deadly Venoms - Dragon Dynasty

    As I said earlier, I think Bey Logan does a good job, better than others (ie Meyers), and I would not argue that, overall, his commentaries are well-researched, but I think there is an inherent flaw in HK action commentaries, which is naming and giving a brief biography of every actor in a film. This is a double edged sword, since, well, I want to know all about this kind of thing, but by the time one gets through a history of all the cast and crew, the movie is over. Also, I've noticed that most HK commentaries seem to be aimed at an audience entirely unfamiliar with the films, so one seems to get a history lesson about the entire cinema history of HK. This can be entertaining and informative, but, coming from the perspective of a film student/enthusiast, I prefer to here people speculate or theorize about themes, directing styles, etc. As for the original batch of DD commentaries, I actually LIKED that QT and RZA sat in to basically talk about how much they enjoy the films. They certainly were not a commentary to be listened to if one wants an informative treatise on Five Fingers of Death, but as far as a bunch of guys just jabbering about how much FUN watching kung fu films can be, and relaying the experience of watching old school flix in a 42nd theater/drive in, well, I think the tracks are kind of perfect. At the end of the day, it's all a matter of taste. And we've come a long way from the "SB Video" brand bootlegs that used to plague my VHS collection. Thank goodness!
  8. 2tintoe

    Five Deadly Venoms - Dragon Dynasty

    Nothing at all against Bey Logan, but I wish that the future DD Shaw releases would have a bit more of an eclectic mix in regard to commentaries. Again, I do like Bey's commentaries, but I like the mix of general film enthusiasts discussing the films; While it's great to know all the names of the actors and locations and stuff, I also am interested in asides about themes and general film theory discussions on commentary tracks. HAving said that, at the end of the day, I'm just happy to get a good copy of the original film.
  9. Hey all, So, if, in theory, you wanted to show what you feel is the definitive collaboration between Chang Cheh, David Chiang and Ti Lung, what would you pick? I've seen a good dozen of their pairings, but I'm curious to know what others think. Now, to make this thread interesting, don't just list titles; pick one and explain why you think it defines the pairing. Personally, I am at a loss... Vengeance has the emotion and narrative arc that I'm looking for, but Ti Lung is basically a guest star in the film. Duel of the Iron Fist seems to fit my specifications, but (and this is shameful to admit), I've never seen it. I'm looking for a film that encompasses male bonding, heroism, angst, rebellion, loyalty and of course, a bloody and tragic finale. Anyway, I've been posting for years, took a long break, and now that I'm back, it seems the forum has become more a listing of release dates and less a place for film criticism and opinions. I think we, as high level fans of the company and genre, should get back to celebrating these films- nerding out about them- and not just use this place as a site to discuss various dub tracks and release comparisons. Do not get me wrong, the aforementioned release posts should be here, but let's mix it up, maybe? I hope I don't come off as an opinionated jerk, I just don't have a social circle that has the love of the Shaw studios (or kung fu in general) that I possess, and I always looked here for people to commiserate with.
  10. 2tintoe

    Chang Cheh/Lo Lieh question

    Sorry I haven't been around to comment on the great info and interest this I got. Thanks for that awesome LKL interview and the various pics that were sent. In regard to Iron Boats comments about LKL's use of comedy, it seems to me that a-comedy was "in" at the time and b- the comedy kind of serves as a sort "spoonful of sugar" to make the strict martial themes go down as palatable. I also feel that doing the light comedy probably helped thematically separate Lau's work from Chang Cheh, giving him a unique voice at Shaws. But really, at the end of the day, if Lau ONLY made 36 Chambers, he'd still be a ridiculously important and influential figure in the history of the genre.
  11. 2tintoe

    Chang Cheh/Lo Lieh question

    I was watching Golden Swallow the other day and it occurred to me: Chang Cheh and Lo Lieh didn't work together that often. This struck me as odd considering that Lo Lieh seemed to work with virtually every other action director at the Shaw studio. This caused me to wonder: Was there bad blood between the two of them or was it just happenstance? The other question is, am I ignorant of the two working together beyond The Magnificent Trio and Golden Swallow? Anyway, if anyone knows or has a theory, I'd love to hear it. Thanks!
  12. 2tintoe

    Chang Cheh/Lo Lieh question

    Awesome pic! What is this interview with Philip Kwok of which you speak? I'd love to see/read it! And certainly, the grindhouse aspect of Shaw's production schedule would be a factor. One thing that is immediately noticeable when watching his later films is that they are usually entirely shot on sets, with rarely any exteriors. I guess when the production schedule is a month, you don't have time to do worry about things like the weather. Actually, I often wondered how much of the "churn 'em out" mentality wore on Chang Cheh- come to think of it, there are a lot of questions I have about Chang Cheh as an artist and his attitudes and interests. I feel that the depth that was prevalent in his earlier work suffered with time. Don't get me wrong, the venom films (and the immediate pre-venom films) are, nine times out of ten, a blast, but the "youth rebellion" theme that is so often explored in his Wang Yu period through his Iron Triangle era seemed to have been replaced with high-energy fantasy (or Ching dynasty) adventure. Obviously, there are exceptions (Chinatown Kid). Of course, I agree that Chang Cheh was a talented director, and I watch his films with a disturbing regularity. I do wish there was some sort of biography/appraisal of his work that didn't just tote the Shaw company line, a la the "Elegant Trails" extras on the Celestial discs.
  13. 2tintoe

    Chang Cheh/Lo Lieh question

    Well KFS, you certainly gave me some food for thought. As far as I know (and this is from various forums ad hearsay, not an iron clad source), Chang Cheh and LKL split because Lau wanted a more realistic portrayal of Shao lin kung fu in Chang's films. I don't know how much bad blood resonated from that, and I wonder if in addition to LKL feelings of the portrayal of martial arts, LKL was feeling the itch to start directing. As far as Ti Lung and LKL never working together, to be honest, I was always a little disappointed their paths never seemed to cross, and like you, I wonder "what might have been". Having said that, although Lung never worked with LKL, he did do numerous films with other directors, most notably Sun Chung and Chor Yuen. Although, it seems (and this is from the most cursory of research, I may be wrong) that once Ti Lung started to work with other directors, he never looked back (not counting Shanghai 13). This leads me to a theory I developed about Chang Cheh. I noticed after watching numerous trailers to his films that there is a reoccurring theme in the ad copy; his films constantly seem to promote Chang's skill at introducing new talent. I don't know if this is an image Chang cultivated himself, or whether this image was thrusted upon him by the marketing division at Shaw Brothers, but in either case,by the mid seventies his films tend to focus on younger talent, or at least have younger talent buoyed by established stars. Perhaps the reason Lo Lieh and Chang Cheh didn't work together post 1969 was that Lieh was already established and therefore didn't fall into Chang's preferred method of casting. This would additionally explain why David Chaing and Ti Lung's role seemed to become more on the periphery in their latter films with Chang Cheh (ie Shaolin temple). If I may continue on this tangent, this "discoverer of new faces" rep also explains why the emotional intensity that seemed to be on the forefront in the best of the Iron Triangle films takes a back seat to straight action set pieces by the late seventies. Don't get me wrong, I love the venom's flix (by and large) but I doubt many would argue that they have the character driven stories that the films pre-1974 had. OK, I totally drifted from the topic of the post. Thanks for reading and thanks for responding!
  14. 2tintoe

    Chang Cheh/Lo Lieh question

    huh... I never knew Shaw actors had particular contracts with certain directors, although that does make sense.
  15. 2tintoe

    Chang Cheh/Lo Lieh question

    Thanks for responding and giving me the Chang/Lieh filmography. It's kind of a shame they didn't work together more in the 70's and 80's... Lo Lieh is probably my favorite actor at Shaw's and Chang is my fave director. In my opinion he could of been a swell villain in any number of Chang's films. Then again, they both did plenty of fine work independently, too.
  16. 2tintoe

    Venom's fims have lost their luster

    I have to say, The Venom films are always "hit or miss" with me. Crippled Avengers is the one title that I've been able to watch again and again (since I was about ten... in 1985), always with delight... but other than CA, I find my tolerance for the Venoms to be entirely based on my mood. I feel, as a whole, that by the time Cheng Cheh got to the (for lack of a better term) The Venoms Team, Cheh had exhausted himself; the tension and high drama, so prevalent in the Wang Yu and Chaing/Lung films seemed to have taken a back seat to the action. And hey, these are Kung Fu flicks, the action is part and parcel to the enjoyment of the films. But without the strong story or character development to balance the action, it's harder to become emotionally invested, at least for me. Having said that, I do enjoy the "martial world"/"superhero" feel to the films, and at various points (again, depending on my mood) there is nothing more fun than a Venom movie. On that note, I recently watched the trailers on DragonDynasty's One Armed Swordsman disc. What I found fascinating is it seemed like the Shaw Brothers valued Chang Cheh's ability to find "new faces" more than his ability to tell a story. Perhaps this influenced the aforementioned ennui in Chang's directing, as if he was thinking "Eh, If I show 'em a bunch a kids doing kung fu, Run Me will be happy and I can pay my mortgage." Or, as I implied earlier, maybe after doing a billion films about the martial code of brotherhood, he ran out of creative steam. I actually have a bunch of theories about Chang Cheh's creative process, but this post is fairly long as it is, I'm sure nobody wants to hear me blather.
  17. 2tintoe

    Shaolin Hand Lock / 十字鎖喉手 (1978)

    As a kid this film plagued me: I saw chunks of it on TV all throughout my childhood, but never in one sitting and I never knew the title. Finally I bought a bootleg copy in the early 90's and much to my shock, the "films" that featured David Chaing on the motorcycle, the Thai boatchase and Lo Lieh with the hidden knives were all the same movie!
  18. Hey Everyone! Just moved from SF to NY and I was wondering what the best spots were for picking up Shaw Bros. flicks. I assume Chinatown is a good place to start...
  19. 2tintoe

    looking for shaw bros in New York

    Thank you, sir. I shall give 'em a look tomorrow.
  20. Yeah, it's funny... when I was something like 8 years old I saw the first 20 minutes of 5 Deadly Venoms (on WNyW's drive in theater, naturally) and it left such an impression on my young mind I remembered distinctly for something like 8 years until I finally saw it from beginning to end (on Channel 26's Black Belt theater, which I believe was stationed out of Providence). It's not the best Kung-Fu flick ever, it's not even my fave Venom film (Crippled Avengers, if you need to know) but there's something about it that just sticks with you... i dunno, maybe the mystique of the Poison Clan, or maybe the mystery aspect, or the comic book/superhero milieu (the masks, "super-powered kung-fu", etc), but in any case, it's just great.
  21. Throne of Blood is the "art" film, Hidden Fortress is the "fun" film. Both are masterful, but for better or worse, " I would say "Hidden Fortress" is more entertainment for entertainment's sake. Beautiful widescreen photography.
  22. 2tintoe


    This movie is so incredible, so insane and so much damn fun it's mind blowing! And the DVD has some great extras and is pretty cheap too!
  23. I'm sure someone else must of wrote this, but I didn't catch it: -If you have a beard, show that sucker off! Stroke it while thinking, laughing, fighting, doing algebraic equations, tying your shoes: Let all of the men deprived of facial hair in the martial world know it- you have a beard, and you are better than they are. -You can not really call yourself a master villain unless you have an extremely weaselly or effeminate henchman. -If you are trying to keep your villainy on the DL, have your aforementioned weaselly henchman sing your virtues to the heroes of the film. Despite how ridiculously over the top sleazy and conniving the weasel may be, he will know just what to say to dupe your heroes in to thinking that you're a stand up guy. -If you are a villain, and you have a daughter- KILL HER ASAP. She will somehow lead to your downfall.