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jueves, 29 de diciembre de 2011

Thunder Kids 2: Wonderful Mission accomplished!

IFD as we have stated in previous posts was always opened to all kind of markets. IFD offered classic kung fu movies from Korea when Snake in the eagle's shadow & Drunken Master made Jackie Chan a superstar. At that time Joseph Lai & Tomas Tang brought us a good bunch of similar products throught Asso Asia, then the ninja boom came followed by Kickboxer movies & even animation films were bought in korea to put them in the international markets. So, if if the taiwanese production company TOMSOM was also selling their KUNG FU KIDS series internationally, IFD tried that subgenre as well with the Thunder Kids saga that was retitled Thunder Ninja kids in Usa where the Ninja craze lasted longer than in other countries.

But IFD didn't" betray" its ways of working so Joseph Lai bought a bunch of korean movies were some local Kung Fu kids starred their adventures against evil people, ninjas or just they were trying to get or protect a treasure & they added to the original film some new shots starred by the gweilohs we had previouly seen in the ninja, war, moder day thrillers. So Jonathan Isgar, Mike Abbott, Wayne Archer, Grant Walpole and other regulars changed their oufits & they became into a mix of ninja-kickboxers-soldiers in the middle of nowhere interacting with the people from the other movie.

Thunder Kids 2: Wonderful mission was distributed on tape using a fancy art cover work where we could see Cho Ha Foo & the chubby boy, two of the original taiwese kung fu kids from Tomson films then they also added a ninja in background just to make us think we could find them as well just as IFD tried to do.

But since I am a curious guy, I tried my best to find out what korean movie Joseph Lai used as source movie to design his own Thunder ninja kids 2: wonderful mission. I have to admit that after months of search in the KMDB I didn't get a single hint & one good day while I was checking the wonderful website VINTAGE NINJA, I found this pic & my search got finished.

Thunder Ninja Kids 2: Wonderful Mission was done using a korean movie titled IL CHI MAE. THE FLYING BOX. It seems IL JI MAE was a folk korean character in the tradition of Robin Hood or simialar heroes. After checking KMDB I found out there are many films based on this character, if you are interested on the character just type IlJimae in the KMDB browser to check how many productions that used that name have been produced.

Here again, I ask for help: If anyone knows how to get a copy of the original korean movie used by Joseph Lai to create Thunder Ninja Kids 2 Wonderful Mission, I would be highly appreacited.

Are they ninjas??? Are they kickboxers??? it doesn't matter at all: they are the Thunder kids!

sábado, 24 de diciembre de 2011

Arthur Garret: from main roles at Filmark to tiny cameos at IFD..or viceversa

Cannibal Mercenaries is probably one of the most popular movies among fans of Asian weird movies. It is well known that Cannibal mercenaries is a thai movie directed by T Chalong woh also directed many other cult movies in Thailand that were widely distributed in international video markets. Today, thanks to people like my good friends Fred " NinjaDixon", Jack Jensen & Andrew Leavold, we have been able to guess many details about these movies & specially Cannibal Mercenaries...but....

...but...what can we say about the re-edited version Tomas Tang's Filmark International distributed around the world under the new title of THE JAGUAR PROJECT? Well, we have read countless reviews, infinite opinions, different viewpoints from fans but no one have ever talked about the people who worked on the new scenes of The Jaguar Project, so, here we go...

It is curious Tomas Tang kept the original director's name in the new edition of Cannibal Mercenaries when he used to offer us new invented title credits for every people involved on his productions. Althought, in order to keep the "traditions" alive, he changed all the names of the actors from the original source movie and some from the new scenes.

The new scenes tell us a new plot about three treasure hunters who are extremely weakly linked to the original story..And one of those hunters is our man: Arthur Garret.

Arthur Garret always played nice characters in the movies he appeared, even he played a ruthless treasure hunter in The Jaguar Project, he was always gentle enough to answer back to his evil boss or protect his friends.
He formed a regular trio along with Alan English & Paul John Stanners in some Filmark movies such as The Shootout, Mad moves, The Undercovers or Rage Betrayed among others.

The trio played, as stated above, in many modern day thrillers at Filmark when Tomas Tang decided the ninja boom was dead. But those movies were exactly like the previous ninja films. They just changed customes & weapons and the ubicous Donald Kong & ex-venom Sun Chien continued offering their fight choreographies as usual.
Arthur Garret left Filmark & join to the IFD along his buddies Alan English who worked with him & Mike Abbott on IFD war movie Aerolite Force 3: Sky High Mission directed by Philip Ko & Choreaographed by Tsui Po Wah.

Paul John Stanners continued his movie career in Hong Kong without Arthur Garret & Alan English & he joined forces to Brent Gilbert & other IFD actors in the War City saga & other productions outside IFD. Arthur Garret also appeared in other IFD productions such as LA CONNECTION or ADVENT COMMANDO 7: GUNS TO HEAVEN along Mike Abbott & Edowan Bersma.

martes, 20 de diciembre de 2011

Vampire Raiders Ninja Queen Uncovered!

Tomas Tang developed his commercial style under Joseph Lai's shadow but he got to own his own distinctive trademark with his ninja movies. While IFD ninja fight were short, direct ,fast and quite dinamic, Filmark ninja fight were longer, slower more like an average kung fu movie. Another difference amnog IFD & Filmark was the later one used Hong Kong movies as well as othert asian films as source movies meanwhile IFD never used a previously released HK movie for its cinematic experiments. This can be checked watching Ninja Phantom Hero Usa that used a HK film titled Struggle for leader as source movie or another Filmark movies like Clash of the ninjas, Bionic ninja among others...

Vampire Raiders Ninja Queen "directed" by Bruce Lambert was another case of a Filmark movie whose main body belongs to a previously released Hong Kong movie starred by big stars such as Deborah ( Nicholas Tse's mother), Chiang Kam, Ho Pak Kwong and even the teenager idol Agnes Chan.
Tomas Tang boghut the rights of a 1984 film titled MIXED UP, hired some of cast used on it & then he shot new scenes with them and even shot ninja scenes with Barbara Grant & Louis Roth.

German DVD cover of Vampire raiders ninja queen offering the comedy point of the movie

MIXED UP was originally directed in 1984 by Chow Chun-Gaai who also was producer & scripter but he never directed another movie. It is supposed the movie is a comedy involving ghosts & young people facing them. It tells the story of 3 telephone operators in a hotel that is ruled by ghostly people.
Tomas Tang used this premise to create a new plot with ninjas & vampires who want to control the hotel industry in Hong Kong.

The Spanish VHS cover was a bit scarier & it has Big Trouble in Little China flavour

This was my very first Filmark movie & I enjoyed it a lot. I rented many times & I liked so much that I eventually bought the original tape to the video rental that owned it. I felt in love with both Barbara Grant & Agnes Chan Mei Ling. Later I guessed Agnes Chan was a very popular singer back in the 70's and erly 80's in Hong Kong & Japan.

The Dutch VHS cover was similar to the spanish one but the red ninja became into a sexy girl

But what it surprised me more was the fact of Deborah, wife of Patrick Tse & mother of Nicholas Tse was also playing this vampire comedy & whose character role was quite silly. While Agnes Chan was credited with her real english name, Deborah was credited as Deborah Tao by Tomas Tang.

The Greek art cover was the less interesting of both but it also has its charm!

Vampire Raiders ninja Queen was my first contact with Tomas's Tang Filmark but Mixed Up was the last movie Agnes Chan Mei Ling played until she decided to come back to the movies in 1997 starring in Mabel Cheung's arty The Soong Sisters to dissapear again.

Vampire Raiders ninja Queen is most remembered by IFD / Filmark fans by the scene played by Barbara Grant in the beach fighting two horny chinese vampires.

Vampire raiders ninja queen final fight where actors from the original movie eventually meet the actors from the new shots

For further information about Mixed Up, please check HKMDB by clicking here.

sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2011

Deborah Grant: Scriptwriter for Ringo Lam & Actress for Tomas Tang

The very first time I saw Deborah Grant on screen was in 1988 when I rented Vampire raiders ninja queen, one of the first ninja movies I had ever seen from Filmark & I enjoyed it toooooo much!. As usual in Tomas Tang's productions, the cast names was a mess of fake pseudonyms and even well-known actors were credited under different names, so I found myself totally clueless about any kind of information about this woman.

Vampire Raiders Ninja Queen was starred by Louis Roth as the main villain & other popular faces from HK cinema such as Ho Pak Kwong, To siu Ming or the chubby actor from Jackie Chan's Drunken Master or Snake in the eagle's shadow, Chiang Kam among others.

Then, it happened I got to watch another Filmark ninja movie where she was again the main actress. The movie was Ninja: Shadow Killer, Tiger Force (aka The Shadow Killers) where she played a very similar role like in Vampire raiders ninja queen. This movie was even a bit erotic since Deborah offered us an erotic ninja spell & we can appreciate his breasts while Vampire raiders ninja queen gave us a bizarre scene in a beach starring two horny chinese vampires & a "bikini-ed" Deborah.

Ninja: The shadow Killers Tiger Force (aka The Shadow Killers) inlcuded an all star cast of Filmark gweilohs. The main villain was played by Wayne Archer under the pseudonym of Daniel Greene & I was able to spot Danny Raisebeck & even Edowan Bersma in supporting roles. Deborah Grant was credited as Cora Bentley in her second title at Filmark.

Till now, I haven't found anymore Filmark movies starred by Deborah Grant, I ignore if she played more roles at Tomas Tang's Filmark. So, once again, any kind of help about Mrs Grant Filmography at Filmark or IFD would be highly appreciated.

B ut, But, But...even if Deborah Grant only played those 2 ninja movies for Filmark, we were lucky enough to find her in some other Hong Kong movies in supporting roles or just tiny cameos, but she was bright enough to take my attention when I saw her on the screen. So, she played a gweiloh swindler along Bruce Fontaine in Blacky Ko's action comedy starred by Chow Sing Chi & Jacky Cheung Curry & Pepper.

First we saw them in a fast food restaurant managed by John Sham Kin Fung trying to change fake US dollars into HK dollars. After Chow Sing Chi & Jacky Cheung realiced they have been cheaten by them, they have a fought in TST promenade near the Clock Tower and the Star Ferry.

When I thought I would never meet Deborah again because her short career just offered 2 movies at Filmark & a very small role in a rising Chow Sing Chi movie...not too much if we compare the movies other gweilohs did for IFD, Filmark or other HK movies. But I was wrong again...

While I was doing my research to complete Mike Abbott's Filmography, I got Hong Kong Gigolo & I also got extremely surprised when I saw Deborah Grant appears in the first minutes of the film!!!! She was there, I had seen her in 3 previous films but I still didn't know her name or anything about this woman. Then she was even in Aces go Places V. Since it seemed she was haunting me appearing in several movies I was watching at the time, I pushed myself to find out who was this blonde fighting babe.

I asked Mike about her but he didn't remember too much about this movie, he just remembered he played a stripper, a role he had to play again in Wong Jing's The Big Score. Then I asked to Edowan Bersma & he told me, he could not remember her name but he told me something interesting: she was Louis Roth's girlfriend. This information was later confirmed by Mike Leeder & I found out Deborah Grant was the co-scripter of Ringo Lam's Undeclared War, another HK movie played by a lot of IFD / Filmark regular gweiloh actors including her boyfriend Louis Roth.

Then I went to HKMD & I checked the movies Deborah Grant played & I found out she is wrongly credited in Curry & Pepper as Sophia Crawford, while she is correctly credited under her real name in Aces Go Places V.

jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2011

The Hunt for the Devil Boxer is over!!

When the ninja craze started to fade out at the begining of the 90's, IFD looked for new products & they offered us kickboxer films ( Van Damme's shadow was so big back then), Vietnam movies ( trying to continue the success of Platoon, Born on July 4th...etc), modern day action thrillers and they even went beyond looking for a new market: children.

The kung fu kids movies & their imitations were huge popular in Europe, well, at least they were inmense popular & demanded in Spain. It was very easy to find those movies everywhere, at every video rental shop and even they were broadcasted in some local tv stations.

Kung Fu kids meet Mr Vampire 2 on IFD

So, IFD brought to us the THUNDER KIDS saga . But Joseph Lai never left his style & trademark no no...he continued buying korean movies & re-editing them for the international markets. And here THUNDER NINJA KIDS 3; HUNT FOR THE DEVIL BOXER enters.

IFD pressbook

Joseph Lai wanted to join in one movie all the genres ( or sub-genres) he had been working on previously, so he thought that mixing of vampires, ninjas, kickboxers, gweiloh actors and kids he could get a "salad" with all the ingredients to be sold everywhere. Then he got this unknown korean movie starred by a girl & a group of child vampires...

Original korean tape bought by IFD to create the 3rd instalment of his Thunder kids saga

...and he added some new fotage directed by Alton Cheung that includes well-known gweiloh actors like Mark Houghton or Sophia Crawford hidden under the pseudonym of Sophia Warhol....uh? Warhol?Yes, it is a perfect name to fit this collage.

If I am a kickboxer, why am I killing ninjas in a forest?- Mark Houghton thinks

Then while the original korean movie has its vampire children adventures, Mark Houghton meanwhile spends his time in the "IFD forest" fighting ninjas & kickboxers in some interesting fighting scenes choreographed by the great Ridley Tsui Po Wah who also plays a supporting role.

Thunder Kids saga became into Thunder ninja kids in some territories such as Usa where the ninja craze boom lasted more than in Europe. Anyway the title was totally suitable since we found ninjas in kickboxer outfits or just directly ninjas in every installment of the saga.

US DVD cover

If you enjoyed the taiwanese original kung fu kids, you surely will find quite interesting this korean rapprochement to the subgenre because, apart from you will find everything you can see in an average kung fu kids movie, this one includes vampires & everything you may expect from an IFD explotation product.

oh, I almost forget..any help to translate the original korean movie used for this Thunder Ninja Kids: Hunt for the devil boxer will be highly appreciated.

PS.- My good friend Domingo López has just tipped me the original korean movie title used to create Thunder kids 3: Hunt for the devil boxer is a 1989 production titled The Aliens and Kong Kong Kang-si (Woegyein-Gwa kon).
For further information you may check this link at KMDB.

martes, 13 de diciembre de 2011

Patrick FrBezar: From Evil Ninja to Evil Gweiloh...and even Lawyer!

Frbezar???? How the hell can we pronounce Frbezar??? What means this word? I ceartenly don't have answers to this questions or others related to whatever is Frbezar or its origin. I only know that Frbezar is the surname of one of those westerner actors who got their chance working as actors in Hong Kong thanks to producers like Joseph Lai & Tomas...among others.

Patrick Frbezar was just another nameless face who had been seen in countless IFD & FILMARK movies along with other well-known faces & actors such as Mike Abbott or Pierre Kirby but like Abbott & Kirby, Patrick Frbezar went from mere extra or supporting roles to main actor in both IFD & Filmark movies...and viceversa!

While he worked for IFD he played the main villain of General Karpov in Philip Ko's Aerolite force 2: The untouchable glory ( aka Ninja untouchables, aka American eagle). But he was also credited as a main villain " alas" General Karpov in Aerolite force: The Brave Platoon, the first entry on the Aerolite force saga.
He also played a supporting role as a henchman in Thunder of the Gigantic Serpent and other modern day thrillers from IFD.

At the end of his days at IFD he played main & supporting roles in some ninja movies such as Ninja of the Magnificence or just a tiny cameo in Full Metal Ninja.

Once his works at IFD were becoming smaller & smaller, he moved to Filmark where he played main roles as villains in some of the most popular ninja movies from Tomas Tang's factory such as the bad-ninjas-wear-orange Twinkle Ninja Fantasy ( aka Ninja Fantasy) where he plays an evil ninja who wants to control the drug market in South East Asia & besides his horrible orange ninja outfit, he owns such powers such as he can become into a battling fish!!!!

Patrick Frbezar continued his days at Filmark starring in supporing roles in some movies such as Ninja Force of Assassins where his supporting role is more important in the plot than some of the other main actors. He plays Boss Kolm' right hand who is replaced by a new & dinamic newcomer. Mr frbezar's character will use his jealousness to destroy his rival at the same time he fights the good guy!

As many actors at IFD & Filmark did, Mr Patrick Frbezar worked for big names & on big productions as extras at the same time they got their big roles for Joseph Lai & Tomas Tang. So we spotted Mr Frbezar as an extra playing a lawyer in Sammo Hung's great Dragons Forever.

Jackie Chan should have liked Patrick Frbezar's presence & he hired him for a small cameo but with sentences in his mouth in Project A part 2, where Patrick Frbezar played a British officer.

Then finally ( I say finally because I haven't seen him in more movies) he got another small cameo part in Tiger on the beat where Mr Frbezar along Wayne Archer is brave enough to kidnap Chow Yun Fat's sister before he dissapear from the movie not to be seen anymore!!!

Indeed, Patrick Frbezar played in many many movies & his name was never credited or if it was we only saw it on IFD less known productions because as usual he was never credited under his real name on Filmark films & he was just ignored in bigger productions. He had potential to star villains & main roles. It is a pity he never got enough credit to see him playing big roles in Hong Kong movies!