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Posts Tagged ‘Ric Meyers’

Return of Kung Fu Trailers Of (2017) Blu-Ray Review

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

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Stars – Angela Mao, Bolo Yeung, Don Wong, Chang Yi, Chuck Norris

Released by Severin

Reviewed by Steven Ruskin

This is the sequel to the popular trailer collection Kung Fu Trailers of Fury just as the title tells you. Many of these may not be familiar and that is part off the kick in this fun trailer compendium. This is not the expected cascade of Shaw Brothers releases that were popular on TV screens on weekend afternoons in the eighties. Every city and town seemed to have its own home grown program or a syndicated version of Kung Fu Theater on TV. There are a few that you’ll recognize such as the Chuck Norris film and some with Angela Mao Ying but for the most part these are lesser known titles. Quite a few are not from Hong Kong. Several are made in Taiwan. All of them are full of explosive fight scenes and the requisite over the top sound effects.

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For me it was more fun to watch them with the commentary by Ric Meyers, Frank Djeng, Greg Schiller and Ric Stelow. 134 minutes of trailers is a lot to get through on your own.  Right at the start Meyers states that rather than try to give you every fun fact about everyone on screen like he attempted in the last one he wanted this to be more of a free for all. He asks the others guy to interrupt him whenever they wish. There is a lot of talk about which stars had real Kung Fu skills on display. We get to hear who made a career out of these films. Ric Meyers tells a fun story about running into a guy he recognized from these pictures as a waiter in a restaurant. H said he worked there now because it paid better. One of the guys gives us an easy way to see if a film was actually shot in Hong Kong by checking the license plates on the cars. Hong Kong plates all have two letters followed by four numbers. At one point there is a cartoon trailer that gets the treatment from these fellows. While it is not the rowdy free for all Meyers called for it is still a lot of fun. The trailers are a hoot and these guys really know their stuff.

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Here is the full listing of original trailers :
Thunderbolt, Tellow Faced Tiger, Kung fu Master Named Drunk Cat
Invincible Super Guy, Invisible Terrorist, Shaolin Invincible Sticks
Bruce and the Iron Finger, Snuff Bottle Connection, Story of Chinese gods
Along Come the Tiger, The Owl, Two in Black Belt, The Young Avenger
The White Hair Devil Lady, The Super Kung Fu Fighter, Killer from Above
Kung Fu Killers, Guy with Secret Kung Fu, Bloody Mission
Revenge of the Shaolin Kid, The Thundering Mantis, Shaolin Hero Chang San Feng
The Bomb-shell, Black Guide, One Way Only, The Old Master
The Big Leap Forward, Gambling for Head, Silent Romance
Itchy Fingers, Crazy Horse and Intelligent Monkey, The Legendary Strike
The Instant Kung Fu Man, Dragon and the Tiger Kids, Avenging Boxer

The trailers are drawn from films released between 1973 and 1984.

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Video – 2.35:1
A collection of trailers like this has the varied degrees of quality you’d expect. Any blemishes are entirely forgivable.

Audio – Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
The garish sounds of the trailers come across fine. The classic fighting effect blare jarringly from the screen just like you want. The commentary track frequently turns off the volume of the trailers as they talk so you can follow the conversation more easily.

Extras – Commentary with writer Ric Meyers (FILMS OF FURY), Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival), Martial Arts Instructor Greg Schiller and Ric Stelow of Drunken Master Video

On a scale of Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent, Classic :

Blu-Ray – Good

Movie – Good / Excellent

Kung Fu Trailers of Fury (1972-1983) Blu-Ray Review

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

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Actors – Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Jimmy Wang Yu

Released by Severin

Reviewed by Steven Ruskin

A large collection of 35mm trailers was uncovered beneath the stage of a former movie theater in England that showed Asian films. They are in pretty nice shape. Sure there is wear and tear and they very likely never looked all that sharp to begin with. But these are the ones that were shown to hype the upcoming films back in the heyday of Kung Fu movies. The 35mm source gives them a much better look that many trailer compilations but bear in mind that these were not restored at all. They look like they did when you saw them on screen. They are all in Chinese expect for a couple with English voice overs. Severin has loaded them up back to back and let them run. These include many familiar actors to fans of the genre. Some of the films advertised are well known like Way of The Dragon, Enter The Fat Dragon and a host of Jackie Chan titles however most of them are not the big titles that you’d think would be chosen for a trailer retrospective. That only serves to reinforce the vast number of these films that were turned out in any given year then. Since Hong Kong was a British colony then studios were mandated to release their films with English subtitles. That was a huge advantage to those of us that sought these films out in various Chinatowns on VHS and later on DVD.

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There is a nice featurette on the history of Kung Fu movies by Ric Meyers. Meyers will be familiar to anyone who has followed Kung Fu movies. He was one of the first to write about them in the US. He also had a column in Inside Kung-Fu magazine that I used to read. He knows his stuff and is fun to listen to. He retains a nice enthusiasm about the actors, directors, stuntmen and the whole field. While sitting through this many trailers in one shot may seem a daunting task I’d highly recommend trying the commentary track by Meyers and three others. The fact that there is a live audience allows Meyers to be very chatty as if he is watching these with friends. The group never passes up an opportunity to talk about the glut of Bruce Lee imitators that filled the screen after his untimely death. Bruce Li, Bruce Le and a host of others get their due. They remain in awe of Jimmy Wang Yu and how he was able to get so many stars to work with him. The trailers are a non stop fury of great over the top action. I had a blast with this. It’s easy to watch at several different sittings.

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Here are some of the films included in the set -
Ways of Kung Fu, Fists of Bruce Lee, Kung Fu vs. Yoga, Death Blow, Two Champions of Shaolin, Golden Dragon Silver Snake, Daggers 8, Secret of the Shaolin Poles, The Happening, Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, Story of the Drunken Master ,Chinese Kung Fu Against Godfather, The Invincible Swordsman, Return of Bruce, Bruce Le’s Greatest Revenge, Shaolin Iron Claws, Fast Fingers, Enter the Fat Dragon, My Kung Fu 12 Kicks, Brutal Boxer, Blacklist, The Damned, Bruce’s Deadly Fingers, One Armed Chivalry Fights Against One Armed Chivalry, Way of the Dragon, Hong Kong Connection, Chinese Kung Fu, 18 Shaolin Disciples, The Blazing Temple, Shaolin Wooden Men, The Magnificent Boxer.

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Video – 1.85:1 and a variety for the trailers
Due to the 35mm print source these look better than many other trailer compilations but they are not restored at all. They still look like what you would have seen on the screen at time with a few scratches and dust.

Audio – 2.0 with subtitles offered in English
The sound on the trailers is that typical muddy mix of yells, screams and musical stingers. The commentary sounds fine.

Extras -
A Brief History Of Kung Fu Cinema: Featurette With Experts Ric Meyers and Frank Djeng
Commentary with experts Ric Meyers (Films of Fury), Michael Worth (The Bruceploitation Bible), Martial Arts Instructor Greg Schiller & Rick Stelow of Drunken Master Video
The Way of the Cube- Featurette on the discovery of the original 35mm trailers underneath the stage of a maverick UK cinema

The Brief History of Kung Fu Cinema is well done and definitely worth a look, even for those who know the story. The running commentary for the trailers is recommended. Ric Meyers is very lively and super well informed. He prompts the others to chime in, too. Very enjoyable and for me to best way to watch the onslaught of trailers.

On a scale of Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent, Classic :

Blu-Ray – Excellent (more for the extras and commentary than the condition of the trailers)

Movie – Good