Tag Archives: shaw brother

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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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!)

Drunken Monkey

The Master Killer & The Shaw master Director!

The Master Killer & The Shaw master Director!


Wu Jing going Ape Shit!

Wu Jing going Ape Shit!

Drunken Monkey is a period piece Kung Fu flick depicting the 1930’s era in China. The film was released in 2003 which was directed by Lau Kar Leung, one of the legends of the Shaw Brother studio orchestrators of the past. He directed such classics such as the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Legendary Weapons of China, 8 diagram Pole fighter, & Shaolin Mantis. Some of you new schoolers might have recognized his work in Drunken Master II with Jackie Chan in the 90’s. Drunken Monkey stars Lau Kar Leung, Gordon Liu(real life adopted brother of Lau kar Leung), & Wu Jing(classmate of Jet Li). This movie was marked as a throwback to a classic period piece Kung Fu movie of the past, which I partially agree with. The film is about a proprietor of a respected delivery company played by Lau Kar Leung who discovers his younger brother addicted to opium. Lau Kar Leung, a master of his art of the Drunken Monkey Fist was then ambushed & ousted by the brother & other evil constituents in order to take over the business & thrive in the opium industry. Lau Kar Leung was left for dead, presumed drowned, but the old Shaw Master somehow survives the ordeal & takes refuge with an adopted daughter. The story starts to materialize when 2 youngsters in search of a teacher happens upon the Drunken Monkey master. Wu Jing’s character finally meets this famed teacher & the rest is history. The detective, played by Gordon Liu pops up in the story when he discovers that his righteous hero & friend, Lau Kar Leung is still alive. The evil empire soon discovers this & the game is on. The master killer, Wu Jing, Shaw Master director, & the daughter soon find themselves in a rumble with the Opium gang! I won’t tell you the conclusion to this because you martians should appreciate the film for yourselves! Mr. C gives the movie 6 out of 10 ‘Shiao Baos’-‘Steamed Roast Pork Buns’ . The quirkyness & comedic stuff in the beginning of the flick was least desirable for me, but the Kung fu action is top notch! Lau Kar Leung showed a life like Monkey Fist, with rolling, & acrobatics to boot. The fighting spirit & choreography was off the meat rack! We all know that the acrobatics of Lau Kar Leung in the movie was done by a stunt double, but the fighting choregraphy was done by no other. With the addition of great martial artists in the film like Wu Jing & Gordon Liu, it’s no wonder the kung fu movements were transferred to the screen like eye candy with such ease! My only other dislike of the film was that the film speed seemed to be increased in the fight scenes. This really bothers the heck out of me! If you have the horses,talent,& spirit of such actors such as the master killer, Wu Jing, & Lau Kar Leung, why do you need to increase the frames per second? The throwback kung fu action is being delivered by seasoned veterans, why ruin it by making it more unrealistic with advancing the frames. May buddha bless you, Donnie Yen does the same shit! The Yen man has extraordinary skills in all 3 elements of HK cinema with his marksmanship in kung fu, directing, & acting. For buddha sakes, you don’t need to speed up the frames & use so much wire fu if you have the stallions already in your stable! Just a rant, y’all! Check out ‘Drunken Monkey’ at your nearest bootleg enclave! The 3 actors in this film should say it all!
–Mr. C (6 out of 10 steamed roast pork buns!)

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