Tag Archives: chan koon tai

GANG MASTER (1982)

gang master

Gang Master, a Shaw brother produced film released in 1982 directed by Chui Siu Ming is one of my top 20 Shaw movies of all time! It’s a costume-period piece epic film & not a modern triad street gang induced flick as the title might indicate. The “Dragon Gang” is an organization created by the Han Chinese rebels in the sole efforts to revolt against the Yuan Dynasty & Mongolian rule. Austin Wai Tin-Chi plays the lead role & is elected to succeed his slain father as the leader of the dragon gang. All seems cheery as a spring roll until Austin Wai gets framed as the culprit who is murdering fellow clan members. The truth also comes out that austin wai’s character may not have been a pure Han Chinese & persecution follows. What’s wicked about this film is that CHAN KOON TAI (one of my fave shaw brother actors) plays a mongolian villain & leader of the Yuan Dynasty clan with one goal in mind, eradicate chinese rebels. Another twist in the wrist in the story is that there is a mole in the dragon gang that is co-conspiring with the mongolian leader & causing chaos within the dragon triad. AUSTIN WAI is fighting for his life & his innocence in these accusations against him. There is also an added sidebar involving an EAGLE & AUSTIN WAI that opens up another can of worms in the film! Another Planet Chocko fave actor, Little Dragon Bruce Leung is also in the movie playing a kung fu fighting machine in the brotherhood! Bruce’s fighting sequence with the rope dart is off the chain gang! The action in GANG MASTER is fast & furious with lots of symbolism in triads & secret hand gestures to authenticate thyself! The fight scenes seemed to have been sped up a tad from the editing but, rest assured the cast of characters can all bust a move! The action sequences filmed in birdseye & panned out views definitely added some mass appeal to the scenes as well! Do yourself some justice & pickup some cheery spring rolls & a copy of Gang Master & go gang busters on it! No doubt, son! If you end up liking the wares of Austin Wai then I highly recommend another classic shaw movie, “FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS” , Ya’ Dig!

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GALLANTS

bruce leung at NYAFF - Gallants screening pics by Mr. C
mc jin at Gallants screening. Pics by MR. C
MC Jin at the Gallants screening on 7/8 (pics by Mr. c)

The screening of Gallants at the New York Asian Film festival on 7/8, the 2nd to last film of the event brought me tremendous happiness & sadness at the same time because we all knew it was near the end of the festival. The attendance of Bruce Leung & MC Jin at the Gallants showing was fun,fun,fun! Bruce Leung signed my program & I got a photo taken with him as well! I also spoke briefly with MC Jin to congratulate him on a job well done acting in his 1st HK movie & to give him props for his new mix tape called “Say Something”! MC Jin played in a role in “2 Fast 2 Furious” some years ago as well.

After reading a brief synopsis of the movie before watching it that night, I kept on hearing a reoccurring theme of old school & throwback being used to describe this film. I’m not quite sure if that description gives the movie it’s due justice,though. The fighting choreography was not akin to old school or shaw brother studio-esq nor did the plot of the movie take me back to memory lane of the movies from the 70’s or 80’s. In my estimation, the only thing old school were the gem of veteran actors that were served on a platter for our viewing pleasures! The overall theme for this movie was not about fighting,martial arts, or stunts. The message of the film was about BROTHERHOOD & the undying LOVE for their master & the 30 years of hardship that they endured while waiting for their teacher to awake from his coma. Shaw Brother great, Chan Koon Tai, Bruce Leung, Law Mong (Shaw Brother fixture), Teddy Robin, & Chan Wai Man round out the proven all stars selected to tell us about this wonderful tale. I got goosebumps & chills when they introduced the characters in the film with a millisecond freeze frame & caption with the name of the actor & the role that they played! The theater roared & clapped their hands when all the veteran actors of yesteryear were introduced to us in one by one fashion! I know I did my part in hootin’ & hollerin’! I doubt that this film got this same type of attention & love in their home city of Hong Kong! Nobody in Hong Kong seems to notice or care about these seasoned kick ass(literally) actors & actresses anymore. Proof? I asked my family who acknowledged these names from the depths of the wonder years, but they all asked me why do you watch these geriatric folks that are not current anymore? Why? Because they influenced & paved the path for these new young guns. To be honest, I enjoy & relate to most of these old time actors more than I do the current ones. An ounce of passion from these veteran stars would deflect a thousand pounds of Hong Kong canto-pop ,anyday! Original gangster actors & their skills in martial arts are lost at sea to the new generation of acting droids. I’m real proud of us fans in the USA for showing love & appreciating the skills of acting & fighting on screen from these studded all stars from the 70’s & 80’s! For me, seeing these great actors again is similiar to fantasizing about your favorite retired boxer like Joe Frazier,Muhammad Ali,Larry Holmes, & Mike Tyson step back in the ring again. You know they can never step in the ring again to duplicate their moves like they once did, but you still highly respect them for being the old tigers they are! Enough with talking around the movie! Let’s talk about the movie! Forget the nostalgia! This film was a hilarious feel good story with a comic book style way of telling it! In a nutshell, this film is about an officespace worker who gets shitted on by all his co-workers & boss. He gets assigned the crap duty in the boondocks of Hong Kong to help real estate management evict a tea house tenant leased by Master Law(teddy robin) & managed by 2 of his best kung fu students, Tiger(Bruce leung) & Dragon(Chan Koon Tai). The Tea house was formerly a martial art temple, but was converted to a restaurant while master law remained in a 30 year old coma from an epic battle with the big bad foes. It’s a classic tale between the forces of good & evil when “The gates of Law” martial arts defend their tea house against the evil of Law Mong & MC Jin. MC Jin, a real life hip hop artist from Queens,NY did a great job in his 1st ever movie role produced in Hong Kong. It was seriously hilarious when Master Law awakes from his coma & goes about his life like it was 30 years ago. He instantly asks for his smelly aged,dry duck, inquires about his deceased wife, & his 2 young studded students, Dragon & Tiger who are now fighting the clutches of father time! Dragon & Tiger show glimpses of their fighting glory ,but their skills are definitely a corpse of what they once were. Teddy Robin does a tremendous job playing the role of Master Law! He is a kung fu master full of shits & giggles,all 4 ft tall of him! Times get tough when Master Law suddenly dies. Law passes the seed to his students with the message of “If you want to win, then don’t fight, but if you fight, you MUST win!” This message will come in play when they enter a martial arts tournament. Tiger takes this message to heart when he battles a younger foe in honor of his teacher & the “gates of law” kung fu! the old lions in this movie really show that they still have the moves! The real message of the movie is not about winning or losing, but to always try your best with the utmost passion till the very end! Law Mong, Bruce Leung, Chan Koon Tai, & Chan Wai Man are my Joe Frazier’s,Mike Tyson’s, & Larry Holmes of the kung fu movie world! Thumbs up to this movie for the comedic relief, nostalgic actors, & flashes of kung fu glory! The soundtrack for the film was dope as all hell, too! It made me want to train & sit in a horse stance for quite some time till my legs started to quiver! Something of note, Chan Koon Tai plays the role of Dragon who manages the Tea House. In 1974, Chan Koon Tai starred in the “The Tea House” that he also managed in. In the 1970’s, Chan Koon Tai took no prisoners because he was a real martial arts champion in the ring before jumping into films!

Bruce Leung & MC Jin were in attendance at the screening of Gallants & they were touched by the standing ovation that we gave them! Gallants’ movie theme & casting screamed “underdog” & we love to root for underdogs! Subway cinema announced that Gallants & Castaway on the Moon were winners for the audience favorite awards from the festival! It’s no surprise to me because I really enjoyed both of those movies!

–Mr. C (Pics & video courtesy of Planetchocko & mr. c)