Kung Fu Fridays in July 2013

Tomorrow night, Johnnie To's Vengeance is on tap, but here's what going to be presented at our weekly Kung Fu cabal all through July. Just a couple of days ago, my favorite kung fu director of all time, Lau Kar-Leung, passed away at age 74, and I already had one of his films programmed. If I hadn't, I'd have had to make a change. I've seen more than half of the films he's directed, plus several others he either choreographed or acted in (or both), and it would be true to say his Heroes of the East is what started this whole Kung Fu Fridays tradition that has now lasted more than three years. You probably would know him best as the guy who directed "Legend of Drunken Master" (in reality, Drunken Master II). The gold standard in martial arts sequences, you can immediately spot his work by counting the number of moves before the camera cuts away. If it routinely reaches 14 or 16, it's probably a Lau Kar-Leung film. His last screen credit was 2005's awesome Seven Swords. He'll be missed. I'm only thankful there are still many movies of his I've yet to discover. But anyway... July's crop of Asian films...

Shaolin Intruders - "Shaolin Temple becomes suspect when several clan leaders are robbed and killed by the deadly Shaolin Palm technique." Sounds like a Shaw Brothers movie to me! It's directed by Tang Chia, an early collaborator of Lau Kar-Leung's and a pretty good action choreographer in his own right. I have fond memories of his Opium and the Kung Fu Master.

Tai Chi Zero - Depending on who you ask, this steampunk spectacular is either cool or awesome. Let's give it a look-see. I hear it kind of lacks in resolution, but that's because a sequel is in the making. I was sold at "from the creators of Ip Man and Detective Dee".

In Case You Missed It Marathon - I won't lie. Sometimes I watch these movies alone. It wasn't unusual in the early days, and still happens from time to time. When I know in advance, I try to program something I think people won't like, but sometimes my friends miss out big. Here's their chance to see what they missed. On Friday: Supercop (what might have been Police Story 3 with Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh). On Saturday, the real marathon begins with Lau Kar-Leung's My Young Auntie (starring his "brother" Gordon Liu and his sometime wife Kara Hui), John Woo's Hard-Boiled (with Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung and this month's poster star Kwok Choi), Kill Zone (with Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung) and Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (so I can finally make myself "flip" the massive DVD package).

City on Fire - We finish the month with another Chow Yun-Fat gunplay film, this one an early collaboration with Ringo Lam, before Ringo became a hack who worked with Jean-Claude Van Damme a lot. The title is a good representation of my apartment in the summer too. Maybe I should go get some kind of air conditioning unit...

Obviously, if you're in the KFF Klub, I'll be seeing you there. If not, don't worry, I'll tell all on the following Sunday so you can decide if you want to see the flick for yourself or not. It's Full Serve here at the SBG.



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