KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 48: Jude Poyer

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“In the UK, stunt people generally are still regarded as grunts, which is a real shame. In Hong Kong, they are seen as filmmakers.”

On his very first day working on a Hong Kong action film set, Jude Poyer saw someone rushed to hospital when a stunt went badly wrong. Instead of seeing this as a bad omen, Jude – who had relocated to Hong Kong at the age of 18 to follow his dreams of working in martial arts movies – stayed in Hong Kong, where he would be based for the next eight years, working with some of the …

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The Guy with Secret Kung Fu (1981)

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Law Chi follows up 1978’s The Invincible Kung Fu Trio with another run-out for Shaolin revolutionaries Hung Hei-kwan (Meng Fei) and Fong Sai-yuk (Li Chung-chien), with both leads reprising their roles only in a more supernatural setting. The Ming dynasty patriots fend off the full force of the Dragon gang, led by a kung fu madame (Sally Chen) firing poisonous darts from her sword, and a black-magic monk based in a fiery dungeon who possesses the mind of the rotund Cheng Fu-hung to carry out his killings. The boys spend the entire film fighting people and are not particularly secretive …

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KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 47: Chris Collins

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“Not only do I get to be a part of the Ip Man franchise, but I’m also part of the S.P.L. franchise. In terms of straight-up Hong Kong action, these two franchises are the biggest and best of what we have to offer.”

When ex-US Marine and martial arts instructor Chris Collins took his Wing Chun pupils to see the film Ip Man 3 in 2015, he joked that he would be appearing in the next film in the Ip Man series – if another sequel was ever made. Fast-forward several months and Chris is sitting in front of director Wilson Yip, who …

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Anna (2019)

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Confused spy film from writer-director Luc Besson which owes a huge debt to Atomic Blonde, devised as a showcase for Russian model Sasha Luss who makes her starring-role debut following an appearance in Besson’s earlier Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. As secret agent Anna operating in Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union, Luss gets to wear many guises, not to mention costumes and hairstyles. She starts as an orphaned drug addict sporting a look of bedraggled ‘heroin chic’ before being picked up by Luke Evans to join a Russian intelligence agency where she is trained …

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Dark Phoenix (2019)

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This empty spectacle marks an underwhelming end to 20th Century Fox’s association with the X-Men film franchise, following Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of the company in 2019. For all its CGI-laden thrashing and crashing, the film lacks the heart, humour and excitement of previous instalments, and feels more like a contractual obligation than an attempt to move the franchise forward. Its more female-centric storyline could be viewed as new territory for these films, but in a culture where Marvel’s Avengers movies and Disney’s Star Wars and live-action retellings of its classic fairy tales have already helped to pave the way for greater …

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We Die Young (2019)

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A 14-year-old boy, Lucas (Elijah Rodriguez), acts as a drug runner for the head honcho of a Hispanic drug cartel operating out of Washington D.C. – a mere 20-minute ride from the greatest seat of power in the land, but seemingly oblivious to the horrors going on in its own backyard. Gang life is robbing kids of their innocence, so when his younger brother is admitted into baseball camp, Lucas does everything he can to get the boy out of trouble. Slightly tangential to this is the character of Daniel (Van Damme), a mute war veteran with PTSD who is …

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Paradox (2017)

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Glossy, sobering action film with a strong central performance from Louis Koo, who picked up Best Actor at the Golden Horse Awards for his efforts. It’s a Chinese Taken with Koo playing a single dad policeman whose daughter is nabbed while visiting a friend in Thailand. He buddies up with Wu Yue to investigate, who gets his own subplot involving his pregnant wife and police chief father-in-law, who is also involved in another subplot about the upcoming mayoral elections and a governmental aide who is trafficking organs through his gangster connections who also seems to be involved in the sex …

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Shadow (2018)

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Shadow (2018)

Zhang Yimou’s return to the wuxia film is also a massive return to form; a delicate, deceptive and deadly tale of warring states which seemed to sneak onto streaming services without much fanfare, in stark contrast to the reception received for the co-produced Chinese-American flop, The Great Wall, which featured Matt Damon fighting a swarm of giant lizards. There is not a single CGI monster in sight in this film – thank god – but there is plenty of what fans of Zhang Yimou’s breakout wuxia successes like Hero and House of Flying Daggers will find more familiar; plotting and subterfuge, romance …

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KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 46: Jason Tobin

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“To work on a really good TV show in a fantastic role – and, on top of that, to have crossed paths with Bruce Lee [and] play some small role in his legacy – is an absolute dream come true.”

As a lifelong fan of Bruce Lee, the chance to play a starring role in HBO’s Warrior TV series – based on a story by the late kung fu movie star and executive produced by his daughter, Shannon Lee – was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And he relishes every scene in his role as Young Jun; the entitled, violent, and arrogant heir to Chinatown’s Hop …

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Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks (2019)

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Fast-paced, star-studded and thorough account of the global reach of kung fu cinema. This Australian documentary looks mostly at the genre’s influence in the west, using the rise of Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong in the 1960s as its starting point; a time of broiling political and youthful unrest which found a certain kinship in the hippy protestations of Hollywood’s counterculture. Using a virus analogy, the trend is shown spreading from the New York grind-house into African-American communities, 1970s blaxploitation films, hip-hop and breakdancing. In France, Sebastien Foucan explains how Jackie Chan‘s stunts influenced free-running and later its more stylistic …

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