The 18th Annual San Diego Comic Con Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza is a wrap, and was awesome sauce – thanks to you, my co-hosts, Well Go USA, and all the filmmakers who made the eye-bulging, jaw-dropping clips we showed.
So, as is the relatively new tradition, here’s a run down of what we showed (and where you can get/see them)!
First up was the Comic Con premiere of the trailer for Ear Buds: The Podcasting Documentary, written and directed by my co-hosts, Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini, the Comedy Film Nerds. For more on that ground-breaking film, go here: https://www.facebook.com/earbudsthemovie
Then came another Comic Con premiere: the king of YouTube kung-fu Eric Jacobus’ sequel to Rope-A-Dope — the hit of the 16th and 17th Extravaganzas. It rocked the joint, and you can easily see it (or see it again) on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5VSi7YNr4Y). Sadly Eric couldn’t be with us, because he was in Beijing training a Chinese pop star how to look good in a boxing movie.
Next, I was able to compare and contrast old skool versus modern China, as well as celebrate the remarkably prodigious work of “Eastern sword-slinging cliffhanger” maker Chu Yuan, as well as the incredibly versatile “choreographer’s choreographer” Tang Chia. Get this “no double cross or trap door left unsprung” hoot here: http://www.wellgousa.com/swordsman-and-enchantress.
Showing how things have changed (as well as how things have stayed the same), was a clip from Tsui Hark’s (Once Upon a Time in China) latest – the stirring gun-cannon-tank-grenade-fu tale of an intrepid band of People’s Liberation Army men taking on a heinous drug lord on the wind-and-snow-swept title precipice. Get it now: http://www.wellgousa.com/the-taking-of-tiger-mountain.
Following that, we needed a little trip around Asia. First stop, Korea, and a mesmerizing tale of the Japanese occupation, and the earthy, honorable, profane man who risked it all to halt the sadistic injustice. Co-host Graham Elwood wanted his own copy immediately. Well, Graham, and everybody, here you go: http://www.wellgousa.com/kundo.
Speaking of Japan, we went there cinematically next, with a wild clip from the first part of a live action trilogy, adapted from a justifiably famed manga and anime. If you have an all-region Blu-ray DVD player, a lot of money, and can understand Japanese, go here: http://www.amazon.com/Rurouni-Kenshin-Trilogy-Blu-ray-Takeru/dp/B00TYN7IGI. Otherwise, have a good time scouring YouTube.
Our final stop before returning to China was in Thailand, where life is cheap, staggeringly resilient, and a chicken bone can become a weapon of mass destruction. This final film by the late, lamented master of muy overkill Panna Rittikrai (Ong Bak) shook the room with its lunatic, delightfully ludicrous, mayhem. You may regret it, but you’ll never forget it: http://www.wellgousa.com/vengeance-of-an-assassin.
After that, we needed a brutal breather, and this misguided reboot of Wong Fei Hong did the trick. Although a Confucian healer in more than a hundred films starring Kwan Tak-hing, Jackie Chan, Gordon Liu, Jet Li, and others, someone got the bright idea to turn him into Bruce Wayne – a tormented, anger, muscle, fist, and revenge-driven wacko with the looks of a pop star and serious daddy issues. Still, it made for a pounding fight scene, featuring the legendary Sammo Hung. You can relive the glory in its trailer, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IR0PeODjUk.
And speaking of tormented, anger, muscle, fist, and revenge-driven wackos, we next checked out Donnie Yen’s award-winning choreography in the fierce finale of what was once known as Kung Fu Jungle — an homage to Hong Kong kung fu cinema with amazing cameo guest stars and a roster of noted action choreographers (strange then, that the only really advanced action was in the Donnie scenes). You can decide for yourself here: http://www.wellgousa.com/kung-fu-killer.
Finally, we came to the best, purest, elevated kung fu of the evening from (who else?), Jackie Chan. Although his epic new film features loads of battle fu, he manages to slip in one awesome, accurate, fun, and fast fight scene that encapsulates the highest form of kung-fu: to make your enemy your friend. YouTube has the trailer, making of videos, and more, for the epic that is scheduled to be released in America by Lionsgate on September 4th.
And there you have it. If you want more, keep in mind that I was also hoping to show sequences from Brotherhood of Blades (http://www.wellgousa.com/brotherhood-of-blades), and even The Four: Final Battle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Uv_S_FEDk), but ran out of time.
Here’s hoping that won’t be a problem at a 19th Annual SDCC KFExtravaganza. If you were there and loved it, let the Comic Con know! If you missed it and want to have another chance to see it, let the Comic Con know. If you were there and hated it, I’m truly sorry … and beware of men bearing Thai chicken bones!