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lunes, 25 de junio de 2012

A couple of updates of previous entries

The last entry of this blog was about the Taiwanese gagster movie used by IFD to create Ninja Knight Thunder Fox. A pic of such movie was provided by HKMDB editor Teddy Wong & today I got an email from him where he adds the title of such movie & its HKMDB flle. So, we are happy to announce Ninja Knight ThunderFox was made using A FIERCE LADY as main body.

 Fierce Lady is a great post-taiwan black movie shot inthe middle 80's.

 There isn't too much information about the film's cast & crew yet but we are working on it. The director of this film  Lai Man Sing directed some other gangster movies that still are on IFD's catalog such as Legal Killer or a great Taiwan Black movie titled Coming With a Gun. I was lucky enough to get an original VCD copy of Coming With a Gun while I was in Hong Kong in 1999.

Coming with a Gun, another of those "supposely lost" Taiwan Black Movies was released on VCD in Hong Kong at the late 90's.

In the other hand, Teddy Wong has also uploaded to HKMDB a poster of Mixed Up the Hong Kong movie ddirected by Chow Chun Gaai in 1984 starring a lot of popular faces from HK film industry that later was bought by Tomas Tang and re-edited using some of the original cast like Ho Pak Kwong  & gweilohs like Louis Roth, his girlfriend Deborah Grant & John Masters in new shots that became Vampire Raiders Ninja Queen.
 A really hard to find Hong Kong film...Mixed Up.

I look for a copy of Fierce Lady & Mixed Up desperately...if anyone knows how & where to get them, any kind of information will be highly appreciated.

One more time, Thanks a Lot to Teddy Wong & its great work at HKMDB

sábado, 23 de junio de 2012

Taiwan Black Movies at IFD & Filmark (Part 10): Ninja Knight Thunder Fox uncovered!!!

I have a special feeling for Ninja Knight Thunder Fox for several reasons. When I first found it in my video rental shop I got in love with the Spanish art cover. When I rented it I got a love-hate relationship with the film itself since not too many ninjas appeared in the movie but Mike Abbott's charisma got my heart!...later in 2008, when I first contacted Mike Abbott, he told me this movie was his 3rd work for IFD & the first one he did after Richard Harrison left IFD &Hong Kong when they finished the back to back shooting of Hitman the Cobra & Ninja Operation 7: Royal Warriors ( aka Hands of death), the very last movie Richard Harrison did for Joseph Lai.

Spanish VHS cover. How could I resist to rent a film with such art cover??? I simply love it!!!

Ninja Knight Thunderfox was the first episode of a saga directed by several directors such Godfrey Ho, Philip Ko and some newcomers to Lai's factory. Ninja Knight saga had suffered several changes on their titles depending on the country and the only link between all the episodes was Mike Abbott who always played the main villain in the 4 movies included in the saga. Mike Abbott is to Ninja Knight movies what Shek Kin was to the old Wong Fei Hung movies starred Kwan Tak Hing.

Since his first role at IFD Mike Abbott always got the most importat place at IFD pressbook & art covers...His name was placed before the main good guy & his pics were also bigger!..

Ninja Knight ThunderFox was done using a taiwanese gangster movie from the middle 80's that still used the same ingredients of the "classic" Taiwan Black movies produced just few years back. We can tell the movie used to design Ninja Knight ThunderFox is a neo-.taiwan black movie or just call it a post-taiwan black movie done when the subgenre was over but keeping the atmosphere & topics from those productions.

 Mike Abbott, Marko Ritchie & Peter Cressall

If you got the chance to see Ninja Knight ThunderFox you will notice the original taiwanese movie is full of unscrupulous gangsters played by ugly actors who seems real gangsters!!!!, then we have regular actors who spent the previous years doing gangster movies, usually repeating their roles movie after movie. So, we find here familiar faces like Lu I Chan, Mike Tien Ming ( Tin Ming) or  Lee Miu Chan whose movies were released internationally by IFD &Filmark. 
 For years, I have been looking for this ultraviolent taiwanese movie but in vain, I didn't have a clue about the title, I just knew some names of the original actors but it was not too much help. Then in 1997, my good friend Domingo López, one of the few real experts on Asian Cinema in Spain, launched his seminal book Made in Hong Kong where he reviewed many IFD & Filmark movies.

IFD new Pressbook for Ninja Knight is cool, but I still prefer the original artwork by Eagle Leung used in the Spanish VHS cover.

On his review of Ninja Knight Thunderfox, Domingo suggested that the original taiwanese movie used by Ho & Lai may be a 1982 production directed by Hui Sing Yue titled The Red Rattlesnake. It was indeed a good hint since some of the taiwanese cast of Ninja Knight Thunderfox also appeared in this film. But it wasn't the one used by IFD.
Original Poster of The Red RattleSnake displayed on HKMDB.

But today, I have finally found the film used by IFD to design Ninja Knight ThunderFox. Checking both art covers, we see Domingo's suspects were clearly in the right direction since both movies shows a very similar girl with similar suits plus many of the same cast are in both movies...

Original Taiwanese art cover of the film used by IFD to design Ninja Knight Thunderfox. An English translation of the chinese title would be highly appreciated.

The only problems now is to translate the original chinese title into English or guess if this film got any international english title...ah, I forgot...another problem is to get a copy of it. I guessed which movie was used bought by Joseph Lai but the real challenge now is to get a copy of it & check if the original print also contains the same level of violence & sex as the ones showed in the re-edited version of IFD's Ninja Knight Thunderfox.

Special Thanks to Teddy Wong, editor of HKMDB for sharing the original taiwanese covers!

jueves, 21 de junio de 2012

Taiwan Black Movies at IFD & Filmark ( Part 9): Devil's Dynamite uncovered

Filmark was always at IFD's shadow, offering the same kind of products but at cheaper production values and of course cheaper prices. Althought if you are able to check a Filmark movie on its original widescreen format, the movie becomes into a totally different experience...
Spanish VHS cover of Devil's Dynamite.

 Filmark most well-known movies were indeed the "Robovampire Trilogy" formed by Robovampire, Counter Destroyer & Devil's Dynamite. The trilogy was starred by a kind of cheapo robocop who fights against drug dealers, ninjas, ghosts, vampires and every kind of enemy you may imagine...Robovampire & Counter Destroyer used Thai films as main source but for any unknown reason the last chapter Devil's Dynamite got as main body a taiwanese movie full of gangsters, casinos, Elsa Yeung & other regular taiwanse actors who made a lot of Taiwan black movies during those years and even Angela Mao or Sun Yuen.

 Hello, I am Robocop's poor cousin...but

 I Fight against ninjas

 I mean I fight against bloody ninjas

 I fight against vampires

I mean I fight against bloody vampires

 And of course, I fight against bloody ninja-vampires!!!!

The Devil's Dynamite used a 1981 taiwanese production titled The Giant of Casino directed by Joe Chan Jun Leung who had previously directed some taiwanese gangsters films and of course kung fu movies.Joe Chan Jun Leung will be always in my heart as the director in 1991 of  Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins, the very best & craziest manga in motion picture about Toriyama's characters.


A bit of sexy girls on pants or swimsuits

 Raw Violence

 Very very very raw bloody violence

 And gangsters...were the basic ingredients of an average Taiwan Black Movie

 The Giant of the Casino was distributed overseas by Many Films Co. Ltd on its original cut years before Filmark bought it & re-edited with new shots as Devil's Dynamite.

Spain was one of those countries with enough small video companies that bought it on its original taiwanese cut & released on video a couple of times under the title of La Ciudad de la Venganza (A city of Vengeance), so any clue about its original titled, The giant of Casino, dissapeared in the video releases & it made its identification a bit harder.

 Spanish VHS of The Giant of Casino ( aka A City of Vengeance)

The new scenes weren't starred by gweiloh actors as usual on IFD & Filmark films but by Jack Sun ( Aka Suen Kwok Ming) as the Robot-hero and a group of chinese actors that I haven't been able to identify. The only gweiloh in the movie whom I haven't identied neither plays a ridiculous gang boss who wants to controls the casinos & the drug market using chinese vampires...

It is funny to remember Jack Sun played the evil Taoist master in Robovampire and then he played the hero in the last movie about this Filmark Superhero. Devil's Dynamite also has a Taoist master who is controlled by the evil gweiloh who used traditional Vodoo techniques...
As you can see Devil's Dynamite offers whatever ingredient you may mention or wish for a film!!!!!

 And being honest, I found much funnier & even better film the cut & paste movie designed by Filmark rather than the original cut of Giant of Casino that is no more than a boring movie about gang wars to control gambling dens.

sábado, 16 de junio de 2012

Taiwan Black Movies at IFD & Filmark (part 8): Phoenix The Raider

Althought June is a month that makes me lazier due to the high temperatures in South Spain area, here we go again with another Taiwanese black movie used & distributed by IFD during the video boom in Spain. At that time it seemed IFD catalog was endless.

IFD & Filmark released some of the most obscure taiwanese gangster movies on video, but sometimes they also brought us some with better known stars who also got a career in Hong Kong whose movies enjoyed better distribution. One of that movies was Phoenix The Raider.

IFD creative unit was also a bit lazy about choosing names or titles, when they found an interesting one they used countless time like the Thunderbolt or  Phoenix. Do you remember Phoenix the ninja? the girl in Ninja Dragon was also named Phoenix...Curiously these two words have always been used on Taiwanese movies titles or characters.

Well, Phoenix the Raider was starred by Elsa Yeung & later superstar Brigitte Lin who was named as Venus Lin in most of her movies distributed by IFD like Golden Queen's Commando or its sequel Pink Force Commando also starred by Elsa Yeung and other future HK movie starlettes. By the way...Briggite Lin also starred a taiwanese movie titled Burn Phoenix burn in 1982. This coincidence should have been used by IFD guys and re-name Briggite Phoenix Lin instead Venus...

Spanish VHS cover

Once again, we guess Phoenix The Raider was the IFD international title given to a taiwanese gangster movie originally titled The Deadly Angels, a 1982 movie co-directed by Ulysses Au Yeung-Jun a veterane director & Leung Sau-Geun an actor who starred some movies along Lin & Yeung and then he tried to be director on this film but the experience  was too much for him since he never directed anything else.

original taiwanese poster displayed at HKMDB.  

The deadly angels was starred by some regular Taiwan black actors such as Eagle Lee, O Chung Hung or Heung Wan Pang  and even we find a young Charles Heung today the powerful head China star in an early role as an inspector before he became the bodyguard of Mr Ko Chun The God Of Gamblers himself!!!