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domingo, 27 de mayo de 2012

Taiwan Black Movies at IFD & Filmark (part 7): Ninja Commandments

When the ninja craze was at its peak in the video markets, Joseph Lai & Tomas Tang needed a lot of raw stuff to created their ninja movies. The market was so hungry that they seldom have time to get new titles at the different video markets, so the solution was to re-use some movies that they previously bought & released on their original cut.
Ninja Commandments Spanish VHS

 Original taiwanese VCD of Ma! Don't Die on my back.

The ninja films starred Richard Harrison were the lucky ones because at the time they were shot, 1985-86, IFD still had several taiwanese movies on their vaults that were never released in the west previously & they were the ones used in films like Ninja Commandments, Ninja Showdown, Ninja Dragon and even several episodes of the Ninja Operation saga.

Ninja Commandments was supposely directed by Joseph Lai in 1987...well, at least this is what we can see on the credits but since Richard Harrison parted away from IFD at the end of 1986 after he is second teamed with Mike Abbott in Ninja Operation 7: Royal Warriors shot in November 1986 ( Mike Abbott kindly provided this information), we believe Ninja Commandments was very probably shot at some time in 1986 before November & of course it wasn't directed by Joseph Lai but by Godfrey Ho or some of his assistants.

Ninja Commandments was done using a 1981 taiwanese drama starred by Elsa Yeung &  O Chung Hung titled Ma! Don't Die on my back directed by Chen Yun Quan who has no more directional credits. Ulysses Au Yeung whose black movies were quite well considered was credited as Planning in Ma! Don't die on my back.

Ma! Don't die on  my back was not the average revenge drama used to be shown in taiwanese black movies but an intense, existentialist drama where the characters are ill-fated from the very first begining. There is no hope for them. Elsa Yeung proved she was also a very good dramatic actress besides an action star. Not to mention Tattoer Ma Sha & Lee Siu Fei who became regular actors in many taiwanese black movies are also on this one.

Ninja Commandments is remembered as one of the worse ninja movies from IFD. Probably a movie like Ma! Don't Die on my back doesn't suit at all those ninja interludes starred by Harrison & his pals. What the hell are doing the ninjas in the middle of rural drama???...We should ask to Godfrey & Joseph since I don't have the answer!

sábado, 19 de mayo de 2012

Taiwan Black Movies at IFD / Filmark (part 6): Kill Butterfly Kill

May is a very busy month for spanish people. we have to prepare the yearly Tax declaration & we have to pay a lot different taxes. This month, my younger brother also got married so all these matters have kept me away from the need to say that since NINJA THE MISSION FORCE series has ended its first season, I have down the rythm of the entries. Anyway this site is about IFD / Filmark movies not my personal troubles so here we are again with another Taiwanese Black movie used & distributed by Joseph Lai during the early 80's in Spain & other countries. 

Is it a kung fu movie? Is it a horror movie? is a taiwanese black movie hidden behind a shocking VHS cover
 Kill Butterfly Kill was another gangster /drama movie distributed in Spain as an kung fu actioner by IFD. We have to say the spanish distributors also helped to create that false hope adding fake synopsis or false promotion lines. Obviously when you played the tape & you didn't found any kung fu ( or the fights displayed weren't exactly what you expect from a kung fu movie) you felt cheaten...but if you were ( as I am) an open-minded person who loves to be presented by unexpected surprises, Kill Butterfly Kill became into a guilty pleasure full of raw violence.

When you see this title credits you feel something special is coming...and it is not a kung fu movie!!!
  Kill Butterfly Kill is a taiwanese version of Abel Ferrara's Ms 45 where a woman is viciously raped & she developes a hungry feeling of vengeance towards the people who humiliated her adding some subplots & gangsters " a la taiwanese" style. The director of Kill Butterfly kill goes beyong Ferrara & he also makes us feel dirty while watching the movie.

Tattoer Ma Sha can't imagine how much IFD promoted him outside Taiwan!!!
 Kill Butterfly Kill was starred by Taiwan's Black movies' superstars  Tattoer Ma Sha and Champ Wang Goon Hung & Juliet Chan Lai Wan who was also the main star iin IFD famous Scorpion Thunderbolt & the star in Who Knows About Me? , the taiwese movie distributed by IFD in Spain on its original taiwanese cut as Guns to Heaven. We can't forget that later, Guns to heaven became into Advent Commando 7: Guns to heaven just adding new shots starring Mike Abbott & Edowan Bersma and other ifd regular gweiloh actors around 1987/88.

a movie that contains this kind of scenes can't be a bad movie!!!

As it happens to Guns to Heaven, Kill Butterfly Kill was later re-edited by director Charles Lee Chiu adding to the original taiwanese film new scenes starred again by Mike Abbott & other regular western actors. The new "movie" was then retitled by IFD as Advent Commando 4: Kill Butterfly Kill.  We were not so lucky in Spain & we never got this new edition released in our video markets. Anyway, I have no information at all if this Advent Commando 4: Kill Butterfly Kill was ever released in any seems it had the same fate as Guns to heaven.
Mike Abbott as the villain & Mark Miller as the hero became the new stars of this re-edited version of Kill Butterfly Kill while the original credits dissapeared!.

Kill Butterfly Kill was the IFD title for a taiwanese film titled I Want To Be A Good Person  a 1982 production directed by Chui Yuk Lung who also directed Who Knows About Me? & other films that were bought & distributed by IFD. This fact proves that IFD used to buy movie packages from the same producers as it happened with the Korean / Thai / Filipino films.

sábado, 5 de mayo de 2012

Grease Gun Brothers, the filipino actioner used by IFD on The Fighter The Winner on YouTube

If you are quite enough curious to see & enjoy the original movies IFD used to re-edit on its project, you surely will enjoy to watch Grease Gun Brothers, the movie that "inspired" IFD The Fighter The Winner ( aka Champion Fighter).

A good soul has uploaded to Youtube in several cuts. Not the best way to enjoy it but until we can get a better release is more than enough.

Credits for Grease Gun Brothers: Starring Dante Varona, Bembol Rocco, Rey Malonzo, Roy Flores, Roi Vinzon, Mark Gil, Michael De Mesa, Kristel Romero, Melissa Mendez, Ernie Ortega, Arnold Gamboa, Renato Del Prado, Ernie David, Rommel Valdez, Fred Moro, Pong Pong, Jun Santos, Greg Gavino, Fred Esplana, Danny Rojo and Rene Jose / Directed by TONY Y. REYES

viernes, 4 de mayo de 2012

IFD The Fighter the Winner Uncovered: The original filipino movie!!!

The Filipino B Film Fans group in Facebook, and specially Andrew Leavold & Simon Santos are giving me too much work these days!!!! Another filipino action movie used by Joseph Lai's IFD has been finally uncovered. Andrew & I have been changing information for years, even before I started this site, we both tried fo identify every filipino film bought by IFD & Filmark. We got some small success during the past years but as I say above those days all the researchings are being over the top!

 When the Ninja craze was passing, IFD realized they had to adapt to the new trend at the time: The kickboxing movies. Jean Claude Van Damme opened the season for these "ring movies" & IFD had to feed the video markets that were hungry of those kind of films but as usual, IFD continued loyal to its style: They owned the rights of previosly bought movies & then a new bunch of stuntmen working as directors ( Paul wong, Ridley Tsui, Altong Cheung) shot new scenes changing the Sha Tin forests for an indoor wharehouse where the placed a ring.

So,  since IFD owned the copyrights of a filipino actioner titled Grease Gun Brothers directed & starring Rey Malonzo ( one of the finest filipino Bruce Lee clones) in 1985, Altong Cheung shot new scenes with Wayne Archer & a group of newcomers to IFD to create an interesting but a bit uninspired kickboxing flick. This time the filipino movie was quite superior to the new added sequences. In some territories, as it happened with the ninja films, The Fighter the Champion was released with a different title. In this case Champion fighter.

The Fighter The Winner also offered a new element never seen before in an IFD film. IFD films used to end their flicks with a very big THE END words in a red background. IFD is famous (or unfamous) for its rough endings, just remember the endings of Ninja the Protector, Ninja Knight Thunder fox or Rage of the Ninja....

The Fighter The Winner offered a real movie ending titles where you can read at last the people behind the production!!! Indeed Joseph Lai tried to put more love on his products offering a more meticulous presentation.

Have you notice the name of the Wrestling Technical advisor? Kam Po Hung!!!!! Samo Hung working for IFD??????It is not probable & nor provable but who knows???!!!!

But backing to the filipino movie,  in Andrew Leavold's words: GREASE GUN BROTHERS (1985). The Sanchez clan (Dante Varona, Rey Malonzo and Bembol Roco), a family of local Robin Hoods who protect their Tondo neighbourhood from local gangs, attempt to go legit. Local racketeers the Corsican Brothers (real-life brothers Mark Gil and Michael de Mesa, and Roi Vinzon) muscle in on their turf, igniting a gang war and ending in an all-out bloodbath. Pinoy crime dramas don't get more realistic or dangerous - the old gun-in-bullet hole torture trick on Rommel Valdez, for instance, and there's a gruelling double rape-murder by the Gil brothers that's a little too close for comfort. Recommended.

jueves, 3 de mayo de 2012

Filmark's Ninja: Warriors from beyond uncovered: The original Filipino movie!

Two new & interesting fan groups have been born in Facebook in the last 2 weeks,  FILIPINO B FILM FANS & IFD FILMARK IDENTITY CRISIS. If you enjoy asian B & Z grade, you should visit or join them since they are great sources of information & many people who worked on those movies are active members oon them, so there isn't a better place to learn about the most interesting, funny & bizarre films from Asia.

Thanks to these groups, we have been able to identify another filipino movie used by Tomas Tang & the crew of Filmark International to "design" their Ninja: Warriors From Beyond ( aka Black Panther) directed by Tommy Cheng Kei Ying & starred by Danny Raisebeck credited as Joff Houston, the pseudonym Filmark used to credit Jonathan Isgar.

Ninja Warriors from beyond  opening was shot from Yau Tong's Devils Peak offering us a nice view of Lei Yei Mun harbour.

Tomas Tang bought a filipino actioner titled Maestro Bandido shot in 1983 by Rey Malonzo, as usual people at Filmark re-edited & redubbed it and they added new scenes directed by Tommy Cheng Kei Ying to create a new ninja adventure.

Tommy Cheng, the director of Ninja Warriors from Beyond also played an extra along other Filmark crew in a scene shot in Yau Tong's Devils Peak in Ninja Warriors from beyond.

In words of Andrew Leavold, Ninja Warriors from beyond is "The most absurd and disjointed of all Hong Kong ninja cut-and-paste efforts, this time from Tomas Tang's company Filmark, using the bulk of Rey Malonzo's Maestro Bandido (dir. Malonzo, 1983). American "White Ninja" Mark is given the task of smoking out Black Ninja traning camp on the Thai border using invisible cloaks, magic swords, and doppelgangers from another dimension! His local, non-ninja contact Vergara (Malonzo, poorly spliced into on-screen "conversations" with Mark) is also tracking down the ninja boss Marshall (Ramon D'Salva) while avenging his wife's rape at the hands of Marshall's son . Blood, guts, exploding huts, and the ever-present goons Romy Diaz, George Estregan as a bent cop, Fred Param, Angel Confiado and Steve Alcarado".

Danny Raisebeck the uncredited star of Ninja Warriors from beyond played several ninja movies at Filmark. He was always the hero, but when he worked for IFD, he used to play villain roles. IFD used to credit him with his real name.
 It is a pity original filipino source movie Maestro Bandido is not avaliable on domestic formats because it is a quite raw & violent film as most of the ones directed by Rey Malonzo. If you don't own a copy of Ninja Warriors from beyond, you may enjoy some cuts of the film in youtube.


And remember, don't be cheaten anymore: Godfrey Ho had nothing to do with this film or Filmark. Tommy Cheng, Donald Kong Do ( aka Chiang Tao) & ex-venom Sun Chien were the responsible people behind most of  the guilty pleasure of Filmark Ninja / Action / war movies.

miércoles, 2 de mayo de 2012

War City 3: The Extreme Project Uncovered: Original Filipino Movie!!

War City was an IFD 5 movies saga that tried to emulate the modern day actioners that were being produced in Hong Kong in the middle 80's. We ccould say IFD War City saga was a kind of cheapo Ultraforce ( aka In the line of duty) version where gunplay mixes kung fu in a perfect way.
Philip Ko directed the first 3 episodes of this saga.  The common nexus of these 3 movies were, apart from the director Ko, the gweiloh actors who starred them : Mike Abbott as the villain & Brent Gilbert as the hero Jack Kelly who must destroy Abbott in different adventures. Well, we also find a BIG difference among the three first episodes: War City: Die or Win & War City 2: Red Heat conspiracy used korean movies as source while War City 3: The extreme project ( and the following episodes, as well) used Filipino actioners directed by great pinoy action directors.

War City 3: The Extreme Project was the last episode of War City saga directed by Philip Ko & starred by Mike Abbott.
In this case War City 3: The Extreme Project was done using a 1981 filipino production titled DEADLY BROTHERS, directed by Jun Gallardo and starred by filipino superstar Rudy Fernandez among other well known filipino actors. As always, Philip Ko shot new scenes with Mike Abbott & Brent Gilbert & mixed them into the original film, creating a very interesting product that offers very good action scenes from both directors Ko & Gallardo.

Andrew Leavold, webmaster of the superb site Bamboo Gods & Bionic boys & Simon Santos webmaster of Video 48 kindly help me to identify this filipino production bought by IFD & re-edited by Philip Ko. But that's not all, someone uploaded the original film to Youtube cut in several parts. So we can enjoy this fantastic film on its original version & running time.

martes, 1 de mayo de 2012

IFD Ninja Squad Uncovered: The original Filipino movie

IFD bought a package of Filipino movies that re-edited, re-dubbed & used in several cut & paste movies. Some of them were used for IFD War movies, others on their Kickboxing films and of course a couple of them were left to create some Ninja flicks.

Godfrey Ho was the one in charge to "work" with Hatulan Si...Totoy Angustia, an action drama starred, produced & directed by Rey Malonzo in 1981.

 Godfrey Ho shot around 1986 some new shots starring Richard Harrison as Malonzo's character ninja master & added it to the original film. This was the origin of NINJA SQUAD. Now, someone has uploaded the original filpino film to YouTube cut into several parts. Here we bring you all of them in order you can enjoy the original source movie that made Ninja Squad possible.

If you like Ninja Squad, you will love Hatulan si...Totoy Angustia.

Hatulan Si...Totoy Angustia was starring  by Rey Malonzo, Marrianne Dela Riva, E.R. Ejercito, Melissa Mendez, George Estregan, Max Alvarado, Dick Israel, Don Pepot, Jose Vergara, Roco Montalban, Steve Alcarado, Fred Moro and Naty Santiago

Thanks to Teddy Wong, editor of HKMDB for the tip to identify this film!