Tag Archives: chen kuan tai

THE BOXER FROM SHANTUNG (1972)

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THE BOXER FROM SHANTUNG (1972)
Director: Chang Cheh
Shaw Brother Studios
Actors: Chan Goon Tai, David Chiang

The Boxer from Shantung aka Killer from Shantung was aired on WNEW’s Channel 5 in the NYC area originally on 7/31/1982 . It’s a classic early 1970’s basher style kung fu piece as opposed to clean riptide style kung fu as we know it today. One of my favorite shaw brother studio actor’s, Chan Goon Tai plays a righteous country bumpkin with deadly kung fu skills who migrates to Shanghai to make a better living. Unfortunately, trouble finds Chan when his morality attracts a few gangs in a middle of a turf war. He also finds himself challenging a Russian fighter that looks like “Iron Mike Sharp” from the WWF to make $20. David Chiang appears on the scene as an aristocratic gang leader who gets a taste of Chan’s ‘big country style’ power! They both gain mutual respect for each other after this encounter. Chan’s character vows to be as successful as Chiang. Badass mofos get what they wish for! With this ambitious attitude, he finds himself transforming himself from that good ol’ country boy to this righteous gang leader. Yes, as righteous as a gang can get which is an oxymoron. Chan Goon Tai finds himself reverting back to his country pride when gang wars erupt. There’s an awesome final battle that y’all can’t miss! It’s bloody, it’s brutal, & it’s at the Teahouse! Chan Goon Tai at his savage best! I love Chang Cheh’s camera work with his closeup shots when brutality stares the villain & the protagonist in the face! This is definitely a Shaw Classic!

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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!

HUMAN LANTERNS

Human Lanterns directed by Sun Chung for Shaw Brother Studios in 1982

Human Lanterns is one of my favorite period piece kung fu-horror mashup movies that Charles Manson might even find appealing. This Shaw Brother studio film was released in 1982 directed by the great Sun Chung with the help of a legendary fight choreographer, Tang Chia. Human Lanterns mixes up great Chinese period piece costumes with awesome set design, off the meat rack kung fu display, & off the chain casting including Chen Kuan Tai (Bad ass Chinese version of Sonny Chiba), the great footwork of Lo Lieh, Sun Chien(played the scorpion in 5 deadly venoms), & a cameo appearance of Lo Meng (played the Toad in 5 deadly venoms). The premise of this movie is basically about two well to do kung fu scholars competing to see who can make the flyest Chinese Lantern for the annual Lantern Festival in ‘TimBuktoo’ China. The desperation to see who’s got the ‘biggest back’ has inspired one of the scholars to hire a passionate, underground Chinese Lantern maker played by Lo Lieh. Lo Lieh is the jekyl & Hyde character that posseses the spirit of Charles Manson. He plays the once burned, twice scarred role of a man that has been disrespected & deemed an outlaw in society, basically living in a souless body according to him. This apparition of a man finds his solitude in kidnapping, raping, & then skinning his beautiful female victims alive, before taking their ‘breath away’. What’s shocking is that Lo Lieh uses the freshly torn skin to make his unique creation, otherwise known as the Human Lantern. This Jekyl & Hyde figure looks similiar to Chewbacca from Star Wars that dons a skeleton mask. Chewy wreaks havoc on the village as he dispatches the young ladies while creating dissention between the 2 protaganists in the film. The action in the movie was bonkers as should be expected given the A+ cast & Tang Chia’s direction. Lo Meng’s character fought with a cool looking weapon that looked like dual tonfa’s, but with hooks on one end, & a secret latch that releases a blade on the other end! Lo Lieh played the psycho killer role to a tee as his martial skills shined through once again! I will spare you the details of the flick, but if you have the cajones, I recommend you martians to hang onto your skin, grab a bowl of freshly popped corn kernels, & go to town on this movie! The only thing that I would of loved to see or actually hear in ‘Human Lanterns’ would of been a score of music from the horror-punk genre! I think that would of added another off the wall element to an already off the wall movie. Hmmmmm, let me see…kung fu, horror, gore, & punk music! It’s a ten 10 ten 10 TEN!
–Mr. C (7 out of 10 skin grafts for Human Lanterns!)