36th Chamber 7/10

Dateline America – For the 125,000 folks at the annual San Diego Comic Con – America’s preeminent pop culture event – the big kung-fu revelation was about how Go Well USA, a distributor best known for their educational, fitness, instructional, documentaries, animation, music performance, and Broadway show DVDs, was not just putting their toes in the Asian action waters, but their entire leg … in some cases, their entire hacked off, dissected leg. This is, after all, a company that has recently released what they’re calling their “Hyper Violence Collection.”
The HVC are a bunch of Japanese films masterminded by the kinky creators behind such beloved cult DVDs as Tokyo Gore Police. They range from Geisha Assassin (a non-stop fight fest helmed by Go Ohara, who directed the action in Death Trance), Hard Revenge Milly (featuring Miki Mizuno as a woman who has an ax to grind … in someone’s face) and the truly demented Samurai Princess (Kenjo Kaji’s frenzied fantasia of a blood-gouting alternate history where murderous mechanical dolls take on kinky kunoichi), which is so gratuitously graphic I couldn’t even show a scene at my 12th Annual San Diego Comic Con Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza … as much as I wanted to.
But what I could show was Go Well USA’s latest acquisition: Ip Man and Ip Man 2, the award-winning, box-office blockbusters about the world’s most famous Wing Chun teacher. These were the movies that truly elevated Donnie Yen’s career into his present position as Chinese cinema’s “king of kung-fu films,” and Go Well USA was delighted to snag the North American rights to the franchise.
“Ip Man is an amazing story,” said Well Go President of Home Entertainment, Doris Pfardrescher, “and the film has had such a phenomenal response overseas from critics and audiences alike that I am so proud to be able to bring it to the American audience. This acquisition is a big move forward for Well Go USA, especially as the popularity of Asian cinema continues to grow in North America.”
Ip Man was released on DVD July 27th in a regular edition, deluxe edition, and on Blu-ray. Well Go plans on a releasing Ip Man 2 theatrically in early 2011. They have also set their sights on Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, Donnie’s ultimate homage to his idol – you know, the one who starred in the original Fist of Fury (a.k.a. The Chinese Connection).
As you may remember, the character of Chen Zhen was the student of venerable master Huo Yuan-jia, who died after taking revenge for his sifu’s death at the hands of poisoning Japanese. But in Jet Li’s remake, Fist of Legend, the Chen Zhen character survives to keep fighting for truth, justice, and the Chinese way (ironically, Jet also played the poisoned master in Fearless).
Well, LOTF:TROCZ, takes up seven years after that left off, with a disguised Zhen plotting to eradicate more evil Japanese … only this time dressed exactly like a certain chauffeur for a certain American superhero whose name rhymes with “Breen More Net.” It promises to be a wild ride. Look for it soon, and keep current with all Go Well’s great work at
Dateline Asia – At last year’s Kung Fu Extravaganza, Ian Powers was just one of the surprise guest stars, and, as much as he wanted to attend again this year, he was simply too busy. He reports:
“I’m currently working on a Chinese/American 3D animated film. I’m creating a whole new kind of kung-fu for it based on Tai Chi, Mantis and a few co-esoteric Chinese styles. It’s great fun in a super creative environment and I’m loving it.
“At the same time, I’m doing a film right now called Choy Lee Fut which is about … guess what. It’s a modern day story starring Sammo Hung, Yuen Wah (the landlord in Kung Fu Hustle), and Bruce Leung (who was the villain in Kung Fu Hustle and stars in Gallants, a great new film with old school kung fu stars). The action director is Sam Wong, formerly of the Jackie Chan stunt team.
“This year I had two films come out: Treasure Hunter with Jay Chow (Green Hornet’s new Kato), and Future X Cops with Andy Lau. I had great fight scenes with both of them — the one with Andy was especially fun … I played a cybernetic mantis assassin.
“I’m telling you, kung fu movie fans are going to be in for a great year in 2011 and 2012. The films that are coming up are going to put Chinese film back to the glory days. Let your readers know that great things are coming!”
Little wonder, with great guys like Ian working on them. And, naturally, we’ll keep you informed right here.