Friday B-Movie Pick: The Octagon

The Octagon

Going way, way, back to 1980 for this Chuck Norris classic. In this movie, he takes on his brother, played by Tadashi Yamshita (OK, one of them was clearly adopted), who went over to the “Dark Side” and set up a Ninja training camp for mercenaries. Norris, who is busy training for his next big fight, doesn’t want to get involved, but does anyway. Many the Ninja fall to his deadly, Ninjia killing inside crescent kicks. Of course there is the big brother on brother fight to the death, and plenty of gun fu as well.

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Friday B-Movie Pick: Films of Fury

Films of Fury

A fun trip down memory lane for martial arts film fans. The animated narrator is a video store clerk with an extensive knowledge of martial arts films. Sounds familiar? He sorta looks like Quentin too. He touches on many of the classics, including several previous B-Movie picks Heroes of the East,  My Young Auntie and Lone Wolf McQuade. Some gun-fu classics are mentioned, mostly by director John Woo, which is an often neglicted sub-genere. He does go into some of the modern American films by Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal, but leaves out any reference to Van Damme. Fire up the popcorn and check it out! See what films you think are missing, and make a list of the ones you now have to see.

Friday B-Movie Archive

Jim Kelly, R.I.P.

I just found out that Jim Kelly died yesterday of cancer in San Diego.

Jim Kelly, best known for his role as Williams in Enter the Dragon, was a martial arts instructor before he started doing movies.  He also had a successful career as a tennis pro after his film career.

I own some of his other movies, including Black Belt Jones and Black Samurai.  Excellent martial artist, a much better actor than his B-Movie career gave him credit for, and from what I hear, a gentleman to his last breath.

Originally posted at my Shaolin Kempo blog

Friday B-Movie Pick: Kill Zone

Kill Zone

A tale of bloody revenge staring Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung. A group of cops get tired of a mob boss (Hung) walking despite their best legal efforts to take him down. So they step outside the law. Great fight scenes by Donnie Yen, including the final battle with Sammo Hung. Hung is still quite spry despite his age and size. The fight between him and Yen was like watching a bear battle a leopard. A really bad ass bear in this case, with really fast paws.

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Friday B-Movie Pick: My Young Auntie

My Young Auntie

Going with another 1970s era Shaw Brothers Kung Fu classic. My Young Auntie is the story of a young martial arts student who marries her dying Master, at his request, in order to keep his fortune out of the hands of his evil younger brother. She delivers the will and deeds to her new nephew, who happens to have a son about her age. He is going to college in Hong Kong and returns in time to join in the fun. Interesting mix of East meets West, with the college students’ love of all things western (fancy dress, dancing, music, European saber fencing,…) being introduced to the new Auntie, who is a bit old fashioned. This gives the film conflict on two levels. The first being between the Third (and only surviving) Uncle and the rest of the family over the deceased Master’s fortune, and the second being the culture clash between old fashioned, yet young, second aunt, and her great nephew (who is about the same age as her) and his college friends. It’s the Shaw Brothers, so the fight sequences are great. This film also has singing, dancing and more than its share of humor.

Friday B-Movie Pick Archive

Friday B-Movie Pick: Heroes of the East

Heroes of the East

It’s Chinese Gung Fu squaring off with Japanese martial arts in this 1970s Shaw Brothers martial arts classic! This film stars Gordon Liu and group of actual Japanese martial arts masters recruited for this film. The fights are a real treat to watch. Three Section Staff vs. Nunchuka & Tonfa. Katana vs. Gim Sword. Sai vs. Butterfly Swords. Spear vs. Spear. Karate vs. Chinese Drunken God style Gung fu. Judo vs. Chin Na. How does this come about? Well, a young Chinese martial arts student has an arranged marriage with a young Japanese girl who is also skilled in her countries martial arts, including Ninjitsu! The fun continues from there.

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Friday B-Movie Pick: Haywire

Haywire

Steven Soderbergh directed this film built around Muy Thai and MMA fighter Gina Carano. So ya, the fight scenes kick ass. Otherwise this a pretty boiler plate spy thriller will some suprising A List actors. Michael Fassbender, Ewan MacGregor, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas. Ya, that is a lot of star power, but it’s Carano kicking ass and not bothering to take names that really make this film.

Friday B-Movie Archive