The San Diego Comic Con Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza has been great every year, but this 15th anniversary year was even more special, because it was great for several new reasons.
It was the first time I had definitely scheduled guest stars — six rather than the one or two I have previously presented – and, for the first time, an independently-made American film was the hands-down hit of the show … which tells you both how bad the Chinese kungfu films are getting as well as how well U.S. fans/filmmakers have learned the classics’ lessons.
So, before I tell you what I showed at this year’s edition (and let you know where you can get them), I just want to thank everyone on stage, backstage, and in the audience for your enthusiasm and support. The appreciation, even gratitude, you showed me then, and, especially, in the days following, was both humbling and head-swelling.
I started by introducing filmmakers/comedians Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini. You can, and should, get all their info/stuff (and soon mine as well) at http://comedyfilmnerds.com/.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I introduced my next guest, the great James Lew, via a film reel he created specifically for the Extravaganza. But you have to check out this alternate clip on youtube that I might like even more!
To follow all things James Lew, and his collaborator Mark Grove (who James then introduced, along with a coming attraction trailer for their film Tengu: The Immortal Blade), go to http://www.asgardentertainment.com/
Then it was clip time. First up, Champions of the Deep, novice filmmaker Baxter Churchville’s (great name wot?) labor of love. It’s scheduled for an August release, but you can get all the info at their website.
Next came my buddy Jan Lucanus and his cool Justice For Hire crew. They wrapped up their guest appearance by announcing production of a JFH feature film. You can find all you need to know at their site, here:
Shinobi Girl was next, the new “original content” (we’ve got to come up with a suitable nickname for this medium … O.C. is too similar to the TV show … O-con sounds like a convention … Rigtent?!) series my friends (and booth hosts) Media Blasters is producing. Check it out at:
Then came The Stunt People. I’ve been friendly with Eric Jacobus and his crew for years now, and would showcase their previous direct-to-DVD action films in Extravaganzas past.
But not last year. Last year, Eric offered me fight scenes from their latest release and I, in my wisdom (cough choke ahem), passed, feeling that they were not up to their previous standard.
Eric has gone on record about how he felt following this slap/shock/bucketo’coldwater, but I’m truly delighted to report that it seemed to have a positive effect. Because this year he offered me three scenes from Death Grip — the latest magnum opus he has written, directed, edited, and starred in.
To keep the event moving I wanted to choose one. But they were all so good, and worked so well together — juxtaposing comedy, drama, action, laughs, cheers, shrieks, and ewwws — that I showed all three.
They were, without question, the revelation of the show, and the first clip, the infamous automatic-toilet-with-the-broken-eye sequence, was the talk of the con.
Keep up with Eric and his team at http://thestuntpeople.com/ … and to quote my traditional Inside Kung-Fu magazine sign-off, tell ‘em I sent you.
I could only follow Eric’s triumph with the standard operating joy of this year’s best kung fu film clips. First up, Peter Chen’s Wu Xia, now edited and re-titled Dragon by The Weinstein Company in preparation for its U.S. release. But if you’d like to score the original in its parallel import, go to:
Then, as I wait for The Sword Identity to be released (see my July Martial Arts in Media column elsewhere on this website for a full review), I was pleased to present scenes from the best kung fu film of the last few years, Gallants – released in America in an uncut, unretitled DVD by the good folk at Media Blasters. For the best price, go here:
Then came my increasingly annual Extravaganza section: stupid money movies. China has so much movie-making cash, but also so many censoring Government bureaucrats, that releasing great films of any kind is an increasingly difficult chore.
So while great filmmakers beg off, the schlockmeisters rush in, resulting in stupid money movies, stupider money movies, and stupidest money movies. This year I introduced an additional category: crazy stupid money movies – the king of which is City Under Siege, a loony, albeit star-studded, attempt to Asianize X-Men, but with a seriously addled attitude.
Check it out at http://www.funimation.com/city-under-siege or buy it at http://www.amazon.com/City-Under-Siege-Blu-ray-Combo/dp/B005NQSA4O/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1342479588&sr=1-1&keywords=City+Under+Siege
Finally, I wrapped up the rollicking calvacade with the emperor of crazy stupider money movies, the heroic chivalry genre satire Just Call Me Nobody, which takes a lunatic, action-packed chop’n’kick at such swordplay superhero fantasies as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
No one bought this flick for American distribution, so getting your hands on it is a little more difficult than usual, but give this link a try:
Or get a taste of it here:
Wow, time sure flies when I’m having fun. That wrapped up the Extravaganza’s full three hours for 2012. Here’s hoping for an even more fun, funnier, more exciting, more inspiring, and more awesome Extravaganza next time!