Saturday, February 11, 2006
wow! I have all my limbs and can't do a quarter of what these guys do...
I just got two new additions to my poster collection and have been meaning to pop them up, when up pops a new entry on the WFMU blog to compliment my recent acquistions...
In the mid-nineties I went to NYC and managed to see the last gasp of one of the meccas of kung fu cinema, 42nd Street. Most of the cinemas where closed and had strange artsy fartsy poetry on the marquees, but there were still video shops filled with bootlegs of various grade. The guys in the shops could talk up these films like carny barkers, "You want chess boxing? How about this dope pole fight? You seen Silver Fox yet?"
My tastes are pretty specific so I walked away with a a chinese language camcorder dupe of THE BASTARD SWORDSMAN and a true gem, taped off of a Japanese laser disc(?) ... the Taiwanese cult oddity THE CRIPPLED MASTERS.
Don't get this one mixed up with Chang Cheh's CRIPPLED AVENGERS, which, while fun, pales to the mondo shock of seeing two people with real disabilities whup ass with their kung fu skills! And add into the mix, their teacher, a yoga master who can contort his body into small shapes and hide in narrow baskets! Watching the stars of the film, Sam Chung-Chuen and Thomas Hong Chio-Ming, you can't help but feel like a miserable couch potato as the flip and kick, eventually teaming up as a whirling dervish of martial arts mayhem. Above is an insane German edition poster for MASTERS.
I haven't been able to dig up more information on the film's stars (actually, I don't even know which is which!), but they did go on to do three other films, TWO CRIPPLED HEROES, FIGHTING LIFE and RAIDERS OF SHAOLIN TEMPLE.
Last night I watched a rather heady academic doc on lurid revenge films from Taiwan called TAIWAN BLACK MOVIES that reflects on the social realism of titles like "LADY AVENGER and GIRL WITH A GUN (both of which I have posters and lobbycards for so expect them posted in the future) and lo and behold, one of the directors interviewed was Chester Wong Chung-gwong, the man behind FIGHTING LIFE as well as MY LIFE IS ON THE LINE (which was screened in the Kung Fu Fridays series to great success in January). To see a great clip from FIGHTING LIFE, visit the entry by freeform DJ Brian Turner on the WFMU blog. Does anyone have more info on these two "gifted" actors?
For more information on CRIPPLED MASTERS visit these links:
Stomp Tokyo review (also with the Shaw Brothers CRIPPLED AVENGERS)
Bad Movies.org review (with sound .wav files of clips and a video clip!)
Progressive Boink review
5 Minutes To Live - "Priority Seating: A Brief Overview of the Crippled Kung Fu Film"
Below is the original Taiwan release poster for THE CRIPPLED MASTERS aka THE CRIPPLED HEAVEN (!?)