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Bamboo, Nunchucks & Dirty Footprints

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On the eve of the 46th anniversary of Bruce Lee's passing, Alan Canvan will premiere a new edit of Lee's Game of Death (Running Time 39:05), a posthumously released unfinished film. Visualized by Canvan, the new cut reframes Lee's famous project by combining John Barry's riveting film score with Lee's extended raw footage to reveal the hidden symbolism and themes within the narrative of Game of Death. The result is a powerful and resonant story that explores classical mythology and Jungian psychology, honoring the artistry of both Bruce Lee and John Barry. After the screening, Canvan will be joined by author Matthew Polly (Bruce Lee: A Life) for a discussion on Game of Death, followed by Q&A with the audience.

RSVP link to screening/talk, https://19-07-19canvan.eventbrite.com

 

Bamboo,Nunchucks and Dirty Footprints.jpg

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To those who have asked, the cut does not include any additional footage, as none exists.

However, it does contain the ACCURATE  missing dialogue words.  The words you hear in the Artport/ HKL cut  -- "Do you understand? This bamboo becomes a sword" -- are just plain wrong.

If you're around, show up just to hear the REAL dialogue. Just sayin'. 😎

Edited by Alan C

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6 hours ago, Alan C said:

However, it does contain the ACCURATE  missing dialogue words.  The words you hear in the Artport/ HKL cut  -- "Do you understand? This bamboo becomes a sword" -- are just plain wrong.

 

I always felt some of the dialogue was a bit hokey, especially when it was supposed to be a much deeper film.

 

Was Game of Death re-released in the U.S recently?

 

bruce1.jpg

Edited by DragonClaws

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15 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

 

 

I always felt some of the dialogue was a bit hokey, especially when it was supposed to be a much deeper film.

 

Was Game of Death re-released in the U.S recently?

 

bruce1.jpg

Agree with you 110%  DragonClaws. It's mainly the gaurdians that have the really bad lines.My version cuts down on that considerably. I'd like to think Bruce would have come to similar decisions in the editing stage, had he lived. I would also hope  he would have done away with the expository thought dialogue, as it really detracts from the  physical story that's being told through the combat. In the end, I believe he would have. The golden rule of film is rightfully  "show, don't tell".

 

Re: the poster-- I saw this online a while back. I'm not aware of a re-release and I suspect it might be a photoshop.

Edited by Alan C

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On 6/20/2019 at 9:25 PM, Alan C said:

Re: the poster-- I saw this online a while back. I'm not aware of a re-release and I suspect it might be a photoshop.

 

Most likely, I assumed it was the U.S due to the R-Rating symbol on the poster, but there was know location listed when I saved it.

 

 

On 6/20/2019 at 9:25 PM, Alan C said:

Agree with you 110%  DragonClaws. It's mainly the gaurdians that have the really bad lines.My version cuts down on that considerably. I'd like to think Bruce would have come to similar decisions in the editing stage, had he lived. I would also hope  he would have done away with the expository thought dialogue, as it really detracts from the  physical story that's being told through the combat. In the end, I believe he would have. The golden rule of film is rightfully  "show, don't tell".

 

We can only guess, but I'd say the whole pogoda sequence might have been shot more tightly. With cutaways to other scene's to break it up a little too?.

Edited by DragonClaws

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21 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

 

We can only guess, but I'd say the whole pogoda sequence might have been shot more tightly. With cutaways to other scene's to break it up a little too?.

Without a doubt, it would have. The thing that's important to remember when looking at WJ, is that despite the fact that it was edited exactly according to Bruce's notes, the thing that wasn't taken into account was that it was just that -- Bruce's notes. Fans then tend to look at those notes as being the gospel, when in reality, from a filmmaker's perspective (and let's remember Bruce was a filmmaker) they would have amounted to a  rough cut or "first draft". There's no director in the history of cinema that's nailed it out of the gate on a rough cut.

It is often said that a movie is written three times: once, when the screenwriter commits the story to paper; again, when the director and actors commit the story to film; and finally, when the editor constructs the story in time. This crucial final telling of the story—the editing—is no less important than the other two, but is often the least discussed.

It's just the nature of the filmmaking beast.

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2 hours ago, Alan C said:

It is often said that a movie is written three times: once, when the screenwriter commits the story to paper; again, when the director and actors commit the story to film; and finally, when the editor constructs the story in time. This crucial final telling of the story—the editing—is no less important than the other two, but is often the least discussed.

 

I've heard that expression before, reminds me of story Dennis Hopper told on the Making of Easy Rider. There's one scene in the film, where the three mian characters are heckled in a small cafe. The scene originally ran much longer, Hopper said he couldnt bring himself to trim it down. He handed the job of editing the film over to another guy. Then said he'd never attmept to edit a movie again. Though he did go onto Direct other pictures.

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Game of Death(1972) - Redux by Alan Canvan

 

"When Bamboo strikes, it's hard"

 

Quote

In Latin, redux (from the verb reducere, meaning "to lead back") can mean "brought back" or "bringing back." The Romans used redux as an epithet for the Goddess Fortuna with its "bringing back" meaning; Fortuna Redux was "one who brings another safely home." But it was the "brought back" meaning that made its way into English.

 

In October 1972, Bruce Lee began filming his Game of Death project, over at Golden Harvest movie studio's. The basic premise went like this, a group of men are hired to fight their way through an Island of Martial Arts experts. In order for a Korean crime gang, to obtain a hidden treasure there. Led by Bruce Lee's retired Kickboxing character, the Yellow Faced Tiger. Hence the black on yellow stripes, that appear on his nunchaku and iconic jumpsuit. You can say that Hai Tien(Bruce Lee) and his fellow fighters are hired as some sort of demolition squad. Sent in to clear the path, for the gangsters. The most significant portion of footage filmed for this incomplete movie, were three pogoda based fights. Re-created on the Golden Harvest sound stages. The Korean pogoda set sequence's, would be be the central part of the story. Of course, we can always say 'What If 'Bruce Lee had lived. Would he have done this, or changed that?. It's one of the many reasons this abandoned film, continues to sparks discussion among people. Over forty years since filming ended.

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to be sent a link to Alan Canvans excellent re-edited, re-scored version, of the existing fight footage. That was originally captured, with the help of Japanese cinematographer Tadashi Nishimoto. Now, many people might ask. Why do we need another version of this?. Golden Harvest had already taken advantage of the then un-used fight footage. For their 1978 Robert Clouse directed interpretation. Then we had the Artport and Warriors Journey editions of the extended footage, released in 2000. Making this version the fourth to be released. While the Artport/Warner releases, gave us the chance to see longer version of the existing three pogoda levels. In their quest to use as much footage of the Little Dragon as they could, it created some pacing issue's. Robert Clouse film might have had a lot of negatives. However, the films editor Alan Portillo gave Lee's fights a much edgier pace to them. Which was more in line, with the rhythm and style of action from his other movies. I wonder if Brue Lee used drums in his fight choreography?. The way he worked them into the training of students, and himself.

 

Quote

Analytical psychology (sometimes analytic psychology), also called Jungian psychology, is a school of psychotherapy which originated in the ideas of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist. It emphasizes the importance of the individual psyche and the personal quest for wholeness.

 

One big major difference, is Alan Canvan cut put's a much stronger emphasis on the soundtrack. Including the many sound FX, that punctuate the fights. With Hai Tien spouting Jungian inspired dialogue, to his island foes. It's clear this wasn’t going to be another Fist of Fury. With the ever-flexible bamboo Bo, representing his ability to adapt to any given situation. John Barry's score comes across more like a piece of classical music here. Than the 1978 B-movie soundtrack that it became. With some sections coming across very heavy, like classical German composer's Sebastian Bach or Richard Wagener work. The big reveal of Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s character. Now has the music cue from Dr Land' death scene laid over it. This I thought worked really well here. There's a really strong sense, that each level has its own personality. Which isn’t just down to the individual fighting styles, that we see on-screen.

From the surviving footage, Chi Hon-Choi's Hall of The Dragon, has now become centre piece. Jammed between Dan Inosanto’s Hall of The Tiger, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s Hall of The Unknown. It's during this level, that fans can get a brief glimpse of just how impressive the film could have turned out. We don't know if Mr Lee would have used any cutaways to other characters?. Watching the footage out of context now, gives you a sense of claustrophobia. Which any exterior shot would have broken up. Chi Hon-Choi’s level, also benefits the most from Alan's changes. The fact Chi’s character is a Master in Dragon Claw, is simply lost in other versions. Here it emphasized more, repeating the shot of Chi holding his right hand in the Dragon Claw position. Which works really well, and gave me a different viewpoint of his role. During their duel, Hai Tien’s character performs a spinning heel kick. The third-floor guardian simply deflects it, with his rigid but strong right arm. This is emphasized with sound effects on the new soundtrack.

"Rehearsed routines lack the ability to adapt"

The second, third and fourth floor fights, are now much smoother and sleeker. They maintain the urgent pace of the 1978 cut by Alan Portillo. While retaining Chieh Yuen and James Tien role's too. Their characters are also subtitled here, a minor alteration you might think?. Yet it makes all the difference to how you see them in the footage. Especially the interactions between them. With Tien setting up the former Mr Taiwan’s character, over and over again. The shot of Hai Tien holding out his hand to his foe, doesn’t last forever here. Like it did in the Artport print, being just one small positive alteration. It might only sound like a small thing, but all the tiny changes add up. Giving the viewer a chance to view the work, from a new perspective. I could devote another article, just to pointing out all the many differences.

One thing that really stood out to me, is the final level. His duel with the light sensitive giant, really feels a like a more epic encounter in Alan's re-dux. When I watch the Art-port or Warner Brothers versions. Each fight appears to be roughly the same in length. Something Canvan’s editing has appeared to rectify. While his other foes appear to lose, because they failed to adapt. Sticking to their rigid set pattern's. It's almost like Bruce Lee was seeing himself, up against what he referred to as the Classical Mess?. While Jabbar's mysterious character, appears to almost defeat himself. It's clear that Hai Tien is no match for him at first. When Tien gets knocked dizzy by the big man, he crashes into the shoji style blind's. Forcing a ray of light into the darkness. Which gives the small guy, an advantage he would not have known about before. Did his own strength start to work against him?. The former Kickboxing champion then becomes like water dripping on a stone, wearing Kareem's character down. Hanging around his neck, like a hyena would hang from the neck of a zebra. Until there too drained to continue on.

Now, one of my few minor gripes with the new version involves some of the sound FX. In the last fight, some of punches sounded very flat. In particular during the second half of the throw-down. A problem which wasn’t evident with the other encounters. There's also some muted/missing dialogue from Kareem. I also would have left the in the complete shot of Hai Tien, laid out on floor. With the camera rocking back and forth, as if you are seeing him from Kareem's point of view.

The following critique applies to all versions. If Kareem's character so light sensitive, why is this floor lit up just as well as the other two?. He's got various candles burning, and I feel the footage/set should appear darker. With the candle light he had, it wouldn't have looked so well lit?. Also, when the panels do get broken, the ray of sunlight doesn’t appear as prominent. If the footage was a little darker, there would be a much bigger change when the light eventually gets let in.

 

(1972) the star, with his daughter Shannon and his wife Linda, having a break from filming.

image.png

 

The death of Dan Insanto’s Filipino guardian, also looked hokey. Does he break his neck?, or does he simply choke him out in a matter of second's?. Just how would Yuen Wah's skills, have been inter-grated into the last temple fight?. When Kareem trys to push Hai Tien face onto the broken piece of vase. You will see Bruce suddenly goes from being horizontal. To standing up and kicking Kareem around the head. Also, around the 8-minute 55 sec mark, Lee's own nunchaku bounce of his forehead. It's a blink and you'll miss it mistake. Eagle eyed fans should watch out for Whang In-Sik, who doubles for Chieh Yuen during some of the Hap Ki-Do/Dragon Claw grappling moves. The Korean kicker, was not simply present during some of the New Territories shoots.

Overall, I really enjoyed this professionally re-worked vision, of the 1972 G.O.D pogoda footage. Clocking in at thirty-three minutes, Alan Canvan and his team have done a first rate job. The English dialogue now syncs up with the character's lip movements. The use of John Barry's music is far superior, to the newly commissioned scores we got before. It's a sad and melancholic at times, which was surely influenced by films star prematurely passing away. Joseph Kuo would have done something very different. Had the composer got his chance to score Lee's work back in 1973. Matt Soul worked as the editor under Mr Canvan. Building on the great work of Bran Kaup, Alan Portillo and John Little. Little Warriors Journey project, was sadly held back when Warner cut the budget during production. Just what he originally had planned for the film we will never know. Mr Canvan has provided a new perspective, on a well known part of Bruce Lee's movie career.

This production, might never have been as deep as the Silent Flute script. Yet it’s very clear Bruce Lee was starting to put more thought into his films. The foundations of the multi-level movies he wanted to make, were being built here. The script was going to be a big step up from anything he done before. The pogoda could almost represent the elders of the Martial Arts. Whom Bruce Lee verbally fought with in America. He overcome it all by his ability to change, rather than stick with one style. He climbs the tower, and becomes more enlightened as he goes. Similar to the ascension of people in the Mason's, and their symbolic use of the pyramid to illustrte it.

 

 

(I'd  like to note, this redux does not  contain any new additional footage)

 

Edited by DragonClaws

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Sounds great I would love to see this.

Always preferred the flow of the 78 release over the full footage.

Edited by makone

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On 7/24/2019 at 9:56 AM, DragonClaws said:

 

Game of Death(1972) - Redux by Alan Canvan

 

"When Bamboo strikes, it's hard"

 

 

In October 1972, Bruce Lee began filming his Game of Death project, over at Golden Harvest movie studio's. The basic premise went like this, a group of men are hired to fight their way through an Island of Martial Arts experts. In order for a Korean crime gang, to obtain a hidden treasure there. Led by Bruce Lee's retired Kickboxing character, the Yellow Faced Tiger. Hence the black on yellow stripes, that appear on his nunchaku and iconic jumpsuit. You can say that Hai Tien(Bruce Lee) and his fellow fighters are hired as some sort of demolition squad. Sent in to clear the path, for the gangsters. The most significant portion of footage filmed for this incomplete movie, were three pogoda based fights. Re-created on the Golden Harvest sound stages. The Korean pogoda set sequence's, would be be the central part of the story. Of course, we can always say 'What If 'Bruce Lee had lived. Would he have done this, or changed that?. It's one of the many reasons this abandoned film, continues to sparks discussion among people. Over forty years since filming ended.

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to be sent a link to Alan Canvans excellent re-edited, re-scored version, of the existing fight footage. That was originally captured, with the help of Japanese cinematographer Tadashi Nishimoto. Now, many people might ask. Why do we need another version of this?. Golden Harvest had already taken advantage of the then un-used fight footage. For their 1978 Robert Clouse directed interpretation. Then we had the Artport and Warriors Journey editions of the extended footage, released in 2000. Making this version the fourth to be released. While the Artport/Warner releases, gave us the chance to see longer version of the existing three pogoda levels. In their quest to use as much footage of the Little Dragon as they could, it created some pacing issue's. Robert Clouse film might have had a lot of negatives. However, the films editor Alan Portillo gave Lee's fights a much edgier pace to them. Which was more in line, with the rhythm and style of action from his other movies. I wonder if Brue Lee used drums in his fight choreography?. The way he worked them into the training of students, and himself.

 

 

One big major difference, is Alan Canvan cut put's a much stronger emphasis on the soundtrack. Including the many sound FX, that punctuate the fights. With Hai Tien spouting Jungian inspired dialogue, to his island foes. It's clear this wasn’t going to be another Fist of Fury. With the ever-flexible bamboo Bo, representing his ability to adapt to any given situation. John Barry's score comes across more like a piece of classical music here. Than the 1978 B-movie soundtrack that it became. With some sections coming across very heavy, like classical German composer's Sebastian Bach or Richard Wagener work. The big reveal of Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s character. Now has the music cue from Dr Land' death scene laid over it. This I thought worked really well here. There's a really strong sense, that each level has its own personality. Which isn’t just down to the individual fighting styles, that we see on-screen.

From the surviving footage, Chi Hon-Choi's Hall of The Dragon, has now become centre piece. Jammed between Dan Inosanto’s Hall of The Tiger, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s Hall of The Unknown. It's during this level, that fans can get a brief glimpse of just how impressive the film could have turned out. We don't know if Mr Lee would have used any cutaways to other characters?. Watching the footage out of context now, gives you a sense of claustrophobia. Which any exterior shot would have broken up. Chi Hon-Choi’s level, also benefits the most from Alan's changes. The fact Chi’s character is a Master in Dragon Claw, is simply lost in other versions. Here it emphasized more, repeating the shot of Chi holding his right hand in the Dragon Claw position. Which works really well, and gave me a different viewpoint of his role. During their duel, Hai Tien’s character performs a spinning heel kick. The third-floor guardian simply deflects it, with his rigid but strong right arm. This is emphasized with sound effects on the new soundtrack.

"Rehearsed routine lack the ability to adapt"

The second, third and fourth floor fights, are now much smoother and sleeker. They maintain the urgent pace of the 1978 cut by Alan Portillo. While retaining Chieh Yuen and James Tien role's too. Their characters are also subtitled here, a minor alteration you might think?. Yet it makes all the difference to how you see them in the footage. Especially the interactions between them. With Tien setting up the former Mr Taiwan’s character, over and over again. The shot of Hai Tien holding out his hand to his foe, doesn’t last forever here. Like it did in the Artport print, being just one small positive alteration. It might only sound like a small thing, but all the tiny changes add up. Giving the viewer a chance to view the work, from a new perspective. I could devote another article, just to pointing out all the many differences.

One thing that really stood out to me, is the final level. His duel with the light sensitive giant, really feels a like a more epic encounter in Alan's re-dux. When I watch the Art-port or Warner Brothers versions. Each fight appears to be roughly the same in length. Something Canvan’s editing has appeared to rectify. While his other foes appear to lose, because they failed to adapt. Sticking to their rigid set pattern's. It's almost like Bruce Lee was seeing himself, up against what he referred to as the Classical Mess?. While Jabbar's mysterious character, appears to almost defeat himself. It's clear that Hai Tien is no match for him at first. When Tien gets knocked dizzy by the big man, he crashes into the shoji style blind's. Forcing a ray of light into the darkness. Which gives the small guy, an advantage he would not have known about before. Did his own strength becomes work against him?. The former Kickboxing champion then becomes like water dripping on a stone, wearing Kareem's character down. Hanging around his neck, like a hyena would hang from the neck of a zebra. Until there too drained to continue.

Now, one of my few minor gripes with the new version involves some of the sound FX. In the last fight, some of punches sounded very flat. In particular during the second half of the throw-down. A problem which wasn’t evident with the other encounters. There's also some muted/missing dialogue from Kareem. I also would have left the in the complete shot of Hai Tien, laid out on floor. With the camera rockcing back and forth, as if you are seeing him from Kareem's point of view.

The following critique applies to all versions. If Kareem's character so light sensitive, why is this floor lit up just as well as the other two?. He's got various candles burning, and I feel the footage/set should appear darker. With the candle light he had, it wouldn't have looked so well lit?. Also, when the panels do get broken, the ray of sunlight doesn’t appear as prominent. If the footage was a little darker, there would be a much bigger change when the light eventually gets let in.

 

(1972) the star, with his daughter Shannon and his wife Linda, having a break from filming.

image.png

 

The death of Dan Insanto’s Filipino guardian, also looked hokey. Does he break his neck?, or does he simply choke him out in a matter of second's?. Just how would Yuen Wah's skills, have been inter-grated into the last temple fight?. When Kareem trys to push Hai Tien face onto the broken piece of vase. You will see Bruce suddenly goes from being horizontal. To standing up and kicking Kareem around the head. Also, around the 8-minute 55 sec mark, Lee's own nunchaku bounce of his forehead. It's a blink and you'll miss it mistake. Eagle eyed fans should watch out for Whang In-Sik, who doubles for Chieh Yuen during some of the Hap Ki-Do/Dragon Claw grappling moves. The Korean kicker, was not simply present during some of the New Territories shoots.

Overall, I really enjoyed this professionally re-worked vision, of the 1972 G.O.D pogoda footage. Clocking in at thirty-three minutes, Alan Canvan and his team have done a first rate job. The English dialogue now syncs up with the character's lip movements. The use of John Barry's music is far superior, to the newly commissioned scores we got before. It's a sad and melancholic at times, which was surely influenced by films star prematurely passing away. Joseph Kuo would have done something very different. Had the composer got his chance to score Lee's work back in 1973. Matt Soul worked as the editor under Mr Canvan. Building on the great work of Bran Kaup, Alan Portillo and John Little. Little Warriors Journey project, was sadly held back when Warner cut the budget during production. Just what he originally had planned for the film we will never know. Mr Canvan has provided a new perspective, on a well known part of Bruce Lee's movie career.

This production, might never have been as deep as the Silent Flute script. Yet it’s very clear Bruce Lee was starting to put more thought into his films. The foundations of the multi-level movies he wanted to make, were being built here. The script was going to be a big step up from anything he done before. The pogoda could almost represent the elders of the Martial Arts. Whom Bruce Lee verbally fought with in America. He overcome it all by his ability to change, rather than stick with one style. He climbs the tower, and becomes more enlightened as he goes. Similar to the ascension of people in the Mason's, and their symbolic use of the pyramid to illustrte it.

 

 

(I'd  like to note, this redux does not  contain any new additional footage)

 

Great review,hope this becomes available to the general public one day to buy.👍👍

Edited by sym8

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On 7/24/2019 at 12:55 PM, makone said:

Sounds great I would love to see this.

 

Finger's crossed it will get a wider release.

 

 

15 hours ago, sym8 said:

Great review,hope this becomes available to the general public one day to buy.👍👍

 

Thanks @sym8, there's so much been said about this footage already. @Alan C has has presented it in a new light, gives fans a different perspective on the project.

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Dragonclaws, thank you for the kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Sym8, I'll keep you updated on how things progress, but the plan is to get it out there for all to see. Thanks for your interest!

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7 hours ago, Alan C said:

Dragonclaws, thank you for the kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Sym8, I'll keep you updated on how things progress, but the plan is to get it out there for all to see. Thanks for your interest!

Great to hear, Alan. Looking forward to it, however it may be released.

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On 7/26/2019 at 10:01 PM, Alan C said:

Dragonclaws, thank you for the kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

 

No worries.

 

 

On 7/26/2019 at 10:01 PM, Alan C said:

Sym8, I'll keep you updated on how things progress, but the plan is to get it out there for all to see. Thanks for your interest!

 

If you did get the chance to give this a much wider release, would you make any further changes?.

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On ‎7‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 8:56 AM, DragonClaws said:

 

If you did get the chance to give this a much wider release, would you make any further changes?.

Very little. I might add a little more detail to the written  intro, and maybe a few small tweaks here and there, but nothing major.

Edited by Alan C

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20 hours ago, Alan C said:

Very little. I might add a little more detail to the written  intro, and maybe a few small tweaks here and there, but nothing major.

 

Cool, how did the U.K event go in London?.

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On 7/30/2019 at 8:19 AM, DragonClaws said:

 

Cool, how did the U.K event go in London?.

Went well, nice group of blokes and we had a good discussion despite the time constraint.

I'd like to plan another event there in the near future.

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6 hours ago, Alan C said:

Went well, nice group of blokes and we had a good discussion despite the time constraint. 

 

Glad to hear it went smoothly and without any technical issue's.

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Question for Alan Canvan,

Ive you want to re-create, re-edited and re-scored the existing fight footage of GOD why didn't you ask  Stephen Au for this he has all the GOD footage including the lost log scene...

Everybody has een AWJ, Artport and HKL what make's this version better than the others, maybe the music and you did leave some BL footage out....

Leon

 

 

 

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The Log scene was trimmed from the original GAME footage. It's in the GAME reel which HK actor/director Stephen Au Kam-Tong discovered it around 2006. So, it wasn't lost. Why it was not release? I guess a lot have to do with the copyright the issue with the Estate.

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