Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New DVD Releases: 3/30/10

One big release this week, and one smaller release. First the big release. Making it's long awaited return to home video is John Woo's "The Killer," starring Chow Yun-Fat. Originally released to the masses by Criterion, this time Dragon Dynasty is doing the honors on both standard definition and Blu-Ray with this classic bullet-ballet.

Here's a synopsis:

When Jeffrey, a hit man, accidentally blinds a young nightclub chanteuse, his guilt makes him leave the racket to take care of her. Falling in love with the vulnerable singer, he eventually agrees to do one last hit to raise the money needed for a cornea transplant that might restore her vision. His assignment is to assassinate mob leader Tony Weng during the crowded Dragon Boat Festival. The hit is successful, despite all the police protection, and he almost gets away. But a child is injured during his escape, and Jeffrey nearly gets caught while taking the time to drive her to a nearby hospital for medical attention. Because his identity was revealed while saving the child, the new crime boss now wants him killed. Refusing to pay him for the successful hit, he puts a contract out on his life instead.

Trailer for "The Killer"

Up next is "High Kick Girl" from director Fuyuhiko Nishi. Kei (Rina Takeda) joins a karate dojo and quickly proves herself to be the most skilled fighter amongst all her male peers. However, her sensei Matsumura still refuses to give her the coveted black belt until she learns all the kata. Too impatient to wait any longer, Kei hastily joins a fighting group called the Destroyers. The Destroyers don't care about anything but fighting and earning money, and this suits Kei just fine. But when she finds out their true purpose is to destroy Matsumura, she decides she must do whatever it takes to put a stop to them.

Check out the trailer! High impact kicking, and short skirts... what's not to love here!?

"I plan to kill every one armed man I come across here..."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kung Fu Humor: Subpar Subtitles

Time for another installment of Subpar Subtitles!

Sometimes the language barrier is harder to break than a stack of boards, and they say English is the hardest language of all to learn. Literal translations of cliches and sayings common to a particular language can be quite comical. Here's some screen caps of English subtitles taken from various kung fu and action films. Special thanks go out to Hong Kong Subtitles on Facebook and twitter. Enjoy!

That's gonna be a long list of credits...

And they go well with your underwear shoes!

Well aren't you special?

Uh oh, looks like the Chupacabra finally has some competition!

Kind of young to have that attitude already, no?

The birds and the bees, Asian style.

Go ahead, I think I'll pass...

That chicken ass must be a delicacy in China!

"I have come here to avenge my teacher..."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New DVD Releases: 3/23/10

Wow. A whole bunch of martial arts and asian cinema releases for Tuesday the 23rd! Let's start with the old and move up to the newer films...

First, coming to Blu-Ray from Criterion, we have Yojimbo and Sanjuro, two classic Kurasawa films. Here's a little run down from amazon.com:

Thanks to perhaps the most indelible character in Akira Kurosawa’s oeuvre, Yojimbo surpassed even Seven Samurai in popularity when it was released. The masterless samurai Sanjuro, who slyly manipulates two warring clans to his own advantage in a small, dusty village, was so entertainingly embodied by the brilliant Toshiro Mifune, that it was only a matter of time before he returned in a sequel. Made just one year later, Sanjuro matches Yojimbo’s storytelling dexterity, yet adds a layer of world-weary pragmatism that brings the duo to a thrilling and unforgettable conclusion.

Yojimbo (1961): To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage in Akira Kurosawa’s visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo.

Sanjuro (1962): In Kurosawa’s sly companion piece to Yojimbo, the jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan’s evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a proper, samurai on its ear.

Available individually, or together in a 2-disc Blu-Ray set!

Trailer for Yojimbo...

Next up we have the Red Ninja 3 Film Collection. This includes the movies "Ninjascope," (1966) "Watari the Conqueror," (1967) and "Watari and the Fantastiks" (1970). These three stories follow the fantastic adventures of Watari the Ninja Boy as he battles a bevy of evil ninjas and crazy monsters with his mystical weapons and unearthly powers! If you like it trippy, wacky, and campy, then this is for you. At the retail price of only $9.98, it's a must grab! Check out the trailer...

Trailer for Ninjascope...

Next up, from FUNimation Entertainment, is the Shaw Brothers film "14 Amazons" (1972). Long before "feminism" made it to Hong Kong, women proved themselves more than equal to men in this martial arts classic. The cast is a veritable "who's who" of the golden age of Shaw Brothers swordplay adventures, and was not only a major box office hit (ranking fourth for 1972), but also a top prize winner, including Best Supporting Actress for Lisa Lu, a special citation for outstanding lead female performance for Lily Ho, Best Director for Cheng Kang, and an award for Honourable Mention For Drama.

Also releasing from FUNimation, another Shaw production, "Shaolin Hand Lock" (1978). From the director who gave Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung early breaks in film, Ho Meng-Hua teams up with Mr. Kung Fu Hero, David Chiang, in a funky, over the top martial arts chiller based upon a secret kung fu technique that is also the film's English title, "Shaolin Hand Lock". Fans and non-fans of the genre will elate to again see Chiang match fists with Shaw's number one villain, Lo Lieh.

And finally, from Magnolia Home Entertainment, is the release of "Red Cliff" (2008). Directed by John Woo, Red Cliff follows the epic historical drama based on a legendary 208 A.D. battle that heralded the end of the Han Dynasty. A power-hungry Prime Minister-turned-General Cao Cao seeks permission from the Han Dynasty Emperor to organize a southward-bound mission designed to crush the two troublesome warlords who stand in his way, Liu Bei and Sun Quan. Vastly outnumbered by Cao Cao's brutal, fast-approaching army, the warlords band together to mount a heroic campaign - unrivaled in history - that changes the face of China forever. Red Cliff (Theatrical Version) is available in standard definition as well as Blu-Ray. Also available in SD or Blu-Ray is the Red Cliff (International version) Parts I and II.

Trailer for "Red Cliff"...

"Buddha bless you..."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Kung Fu Time Capsule: Marquees

Well looky here! It's Leg Fighters Week at the Roxy! 4 Smash hits, one admission price! Can't beat that! First up we have 'Twister Kicker,' a 1974 melodramatic basher, with a little bit less action than one would expect from a movie with that title. Next up is 'Dual Flying Kicks,' a 1978 Taiwanese production starring Chan Sing, and ol' Flash-Legs himself, Dorian Tan! Feature number three looks like 1979's 'The Magnificent,' with Carter Wong, Chan Sing, and a bunch of other familiar faces. Here's a pressbook (.PDF format) for what looks like a recent video release. And finally we have "Eagle's Killer," a 1981 flick featuring spectacular bootmaster villain Hwang Jang-Lee. What a line-up! Looks like I better get to work on my time machine!

(Click to Enlarge...)

"Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand. .."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New DVD Releases: 3/16/10

Ok, some old-school and some new-school releases are hitting the shelves today!

First for the old-school, coming from Code Red, we have a double feature of "Challenge the Dragon" (1973 - AKA The Way of the Tiger) and "The Needle Avenger" which seems to be "Dragons vs. Needles of Death" (1976 - AKA Dragon, Tiger And Phoenix). Neither title has been officially confirmed yet. According to the cover art, it says "Master Lee's Drunkard Cinema Vol. 1" which looks like this may be the beginning of a series of old school kung-fu releases from Code Red. That's a good thing in my book! Bring it on!

And for the new-school action, being released on DVD and Blu-Ray today we have "Ninja Assassin" (2009). Korean actor Rain makes his first Hollywood production appearance in this high impact modern day take on the much loved 1980's ninja flick genre. Rain takes on the role of Raizo, a ninja who teams up with an investigator and turns his back on his former ninja clan. He sets out to put an end to the ruthless violence and killings the clan is responsible for, which leads to a confrontation with his former master. Everyone's favorite 80's ninja Sho Kosugi also stars as the evil clan leader Ozunu!

"Ninja Assassin" Trailer...

"Amita Fo..."

Monday, March 1, 2010

New DVD Releases: 3/2/10

A couple great martial arts DVDs are hitting the shelves tomorrow...

Hitting Blu-ray tomorrow is the Shaw Brothers classic "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" starring the Master Killer himself, Gordon Liu. Liu plays the role of San Te, a young rebel who's family was slaughtered by General Tien (Lo Lieh), the local Manchu head. San Te ends up at Shaolin, where he goes through rigorous training in the 35 Chambers of Shaolin. San Te becomes an accomplished fighter and returns to his hometown to get his hard worked for revenge on the Manchus. This is one of the top classic martial arts films of all time. Not your standard revenge flick, but a real movie that has heart and a real message. A must see. Released by Vivendi/Dragon Dynasty.

Also releasing on 3/2/10 by Vivendi/Dragon Dynasty is "Return To the 36th Chamber" again starring Gordon Liu. This, a sequel of sorts to the previous mentioned film, sees Liu in a more comedic light playing the role of a young man, who again, trying to keep the Manchus off the working man's back, attempts to con them into thinking he's the Shaolin master San Te! Of course this doesn't work out and he once again ends up at Shaolin and meets the real San Te, who puts him to work doing various maintenance jobs around the temple. Unbeknownst to him, he's actually learning kung fu at the same time, and finally returns to town to get his revenge. Another Master Killer classic!

"The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" opening...

"What style of Kung Fu is this? Rooftop Kung Fu!"