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Posts Tagged ‘Adam Cheng’

Saving General Yang

Thursday, May 4th, 2023

It wasn’t until 2013, a full seven years after directing FEARLESS (and four years after not directing BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE), that Ronny Yu released another film. In interviews he credited the hiatus to only being offered horror scripts in the U.S. “I don’t want to do this kind of thing anymore,” he said. Instead he wanted to “learn more about my Chinese roots.”

Written by Yu with Edmond Wong (DRAGON TIGER GATE, IP MAN 1-4, MASTER Z) and Scarlett Liu Shi-Jia, SAVING GENERAL YANG is based on The Generals of the Yang Family, a famous set of stories about a real military family that lived early in the Song Dynasty. (I didn’t figure this out while watching, but EIGHT DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER comes from the same story, as do THE 14 AMAZONS and several other films.)

Adam Cheng (SHAOLIN AND WU TANG, ZU WARRIORS FROM THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, SEVEN WARRIORS) plays the titular General, and this is the story of his seven sons (deliberately cast with hearthrob actors, many of them pop stars) coming to rescue him during a battle. But in the opening scene he’s at home, about to whip Sixth Brother Yanzhao (Wu Chun, 14 BLADES) and Seventh Brother Yansi (Fu Xinbo of the boy band BoBo) for “breaking Family Law.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain

Monday, February 27th, 2023

Tsui Hark’s groundbreaking 1983 wuxia epic ZU: WARRIORS FROM THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN recently got a fancy new blu-ray release, inspiring me to finally get around to seeing it. In fact I watched it right before I watched IRON MONKEY for the first time, so that was a hell of a night of filling in (some of) my Hong Kong cinema blind spots.

I can’t say I liked ZU as much as IRON MONKEY, because I can’t say I followed it as well. Like much of Tsui’s work it has a haphazard, is-he-making-this-up-as-he-goes-along? feel to the storytelling, which here I think is a combination of his sensibilities and the difficulty of someone from another culture (me) processing a DUNE-like cinematic condensation of a famous 1932 Chinese fantasy novel steeped in mythology I don’t necessarily have a context for. But I can say that it’s an enjoyable fun house ride, an absolute visual delight, and a key missing link in my understanding of Tsui’s filmography. Everything else he’s made makes more sense after seeing this. I guess it’s kinda like if I’d seen all the modern Spielberg movies and then saw E.T. and JAWS for the first time. (read the rest of this shit…)

Shaolin and Wu Tang

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

SHAOLIN AND WU-TANG a.k.a. SHAOLIN VS. WU-TANG is the 1983 directorial debut of Gordon Liu, made right before THE 8-DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER. Liu also co-stars as the young representative of Shaolin in the titular rivalry. It’s an independent production (distributed by Hing Fat Film Co.) but feels very much like Liu’s Shaw Brothers movies, maybe partly because it’s produced and choreographed by 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN director Lau Kar-leung.

Jun-kit (Liu) and Fung-wu (Adam Cheng, ZU: WARRIORS FROM THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, SEVEN WARRIORS) are the respective top students at Shaolin and Wu Tang schools in the same city. Although their masters (Han Chiang and Hoi-San Kwan) have a bit of a rivalry when they run into each other in town, their students laugh it off and hang out at the brothel together. But they make the mistake of sparring there, showing off their abilities in a friendly competition. Word gets to the local Qing Lord (Wang Lung Wei, MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE, THE BOXER’S OMEN, THE SEVENTH CURSE), who says “If what you say is true, the Shaolin and the Wu Tang could be dangerous,” as famously sampled by Wu-Tang Clan on “Bring Da Ruckus.” So he decides he must learn both styles to protect himself. (read the rest of this shit…)

Seven Warriors

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

tn_sevenwarriorsDon’t get your hopes up as high as I did, but SEVEN WARRIORS is kind of cool because it’s the 1989 Hong Kong take on the SEVEN SAMURAI story. So that means the version with the most complex and acrobatic action.

I had been under the impression it was a Sammo Hung movie, which is not accurate. The credited director, Terry Tong, has a total of nine directing credits, mostly movies that have not made it to the States. He has bit parts in DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS OF THE FIRST KIND and TWIN DRAGONS, so maybe he is a Sammo associate, and maybe IMDb has a reason to list Sammo as co-director. But the credits and other reference sources do not. He does have a small cameo in the opening scene, which is a weird place for a cameo. It’s a much smaller part than Bruce Campbell in CONGO.

The screenwriter is Kan-Cheung Tsang, who wrote ROYAL WARRIORS and a bunch of Stephen Chow’s movies including SHAOLIN SOCCER and MERMAID. He sets this version in “the Warlord Era” or “Chaotic Era” of China, when veterans wander around as mercenaries or thieves, some of them led by hairy-mole-faced Piu (Lo Lieh, CLAN OF THE WHITE LOTUS) to terrorize and extort a defenseless village. So of course a couple of the villagers go into town and they find Chi (Adam Cheng, ZU: WARRIORS FROM THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN), a once respected, now alcoholic commander who was in the war with Piu, to gather up some of his old troops. They’re a colorful set of characters, the most impressive being the suave knife thrower and Karl, the big blacksmith who walks away from repairing some lady’s pan the second the Commander asks for help. He carries around a giant spiked club, almost as big as a person, which is enjoyable in any genre. We could use more of those in cinema. (read the rest of this shit…)