"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Bolo Yeung’

Tiger Claws II / Tiger Claws III

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

TIGER CLAWS II (1996) starts with part I’s Tiger Claw kung fu serial killer Chong (Bolo Yeung) in jail, and ends with him on another astral plane. During that same period the quality of the movie takes a similar journey, going from very promising to something else entirely.

Chong is sitting cross-legged on the floor of his cell when a shithead cop comes in and asks “Who’s the gorilla?” Hearing that Chong has just finished a 9 month psych evaluation and will plead insanity tomorrow, the cop (who didn’t even know who the guy was) insists “He’s not crazy!” and goes into the cell to “teach him some manners” by hitting him with a club and yelling at him.

(I do totally believe this part actually.)

Chong sits and meditates, ignoring him at first, then casually taking the club from him. Unfortunately he doesn’t do anything with it.

Meanwhile our boy Tarek (Jalal Merhi) is busting a gloriously-ponytailed arms dealer named Victor (Evan Lurie, DOUBLE IMPACT, MARTIAL LAW II, AMERICAN KICKBOXER 2). There are fiery explosions, he gets his man, but his partner dies, and while he’s distracted some guys in a white van free Victor. (read the rest of this shit…)

Tiger Claws

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

TIGER CLAWS (1991) is the second film starring the Canadian Dragon (I made that name up) Jalal Merhi. After filming BLACK PEARL, a.k.a. FEARLESS TIGER, he brought along some of his cast and writer J. Stephen Maunder, hooked up with Shapiro-Glickenhaus, and kicked off Film One Productions, which produced 19 movies between 1991 and 2015, almost all of them starring or directed by Merhi.

For this first film, crucially, they hired Canadian TV director Kelly Makin, making his feature film debut. He would soon make a bigger mark directing filmed segments for The Kids in the Hall, and later their movie BRAIN CANDY. I’m guessing he’s the reason TIGER CLAWS has more wit and style than many comparable DTV action movies of the era (including this film’s sequels).

Even more crucially, Merhi was able to co-star with Cynthia Rothrock. She’d already made her mark in Hong Kong with YES, MADAM!, etc., and in the west with NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER 2, CHINA O’BRIEN I and II, the first MARTIAL LAW and even FAST GETAWAY, so I hope he realized how lucky he was to share the lead with her. (read the rest of this shit…)

Breathing Fire

Friday, April 1st, 2022

“Listen, Annie’s parents were killed for a piece of plastic pizza. I want you guys to just stay home and not get hurt.”


If you’re like me, you’re very excited for Michelle Yeoh’s new movie EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, which is in a platform release right now in the U.S. (I’m gonna see it tomorrow, some cities are getting it next Friday). And if you know about that movie you may also know it co-stars Ke Huy Quan, formerly known as Jonathan Ke Quan. He’s a superstar to anyone who was a kid in the ’80s, because he played Short Round in INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and Data in THE GOONIES. But after that he worked more sporadically than he wanted. He’s American, born in Vietnam, but he did a few movies in Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong, while his most prominent Hollywood roles were a season of Head of the Class and a small part in ENCINO MAN.

He left the business in the early 2000s, but the success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS inspired him to try again, and right away he got to play Michelle Yeoh’s husband! Good for him. His return inspired me to finally check out a movie I’d been curious about for years, BREATHING FIRE (1991), because it’s his only previous English language martial arts movie, and very much the kind of chintzy low budget b-movie I enjoy. Atrocious dialogue and acting, convoluted-to-nonsensical story, but lots of laughs, training montages and pretty cool Hong Kong style fights. A fun time. To give you an idea, the DVD I rented was a double feature with a dubbed Bruce Li vehicle called EDGE OF FURY, and the cover pretends like Bolo Yeung (who plays one of the bad guys and is credited as “Bolo Young”) is the star. (read the rest of this shit…)

Double Impact (30th Anniversary Review)

Monday, August 9th, 2021

“All right, you want some real action, tough guys? Let’s do it.”

August 9, 1991

While the summer was dominated by the expensive studio action spectacles TERMINATOR 2 and POINT BREAK, there were plenty of solid action movies made with a little less money and a different type of star power. Case in point: Jean-Claude Van Damme was in the process of rising from the new Cannon Films guy to household name. By this point he had starred in BLOODSPORT, CYBORG, KICKBOXER, LIONHEART and DEATH WARRANT. The latter two had been his largest, with budgets of about $6 million each. This one jumped up to $15 million.

It was worth paying more for this gimmick: Van Damme plays twins. Originally conceived as an adaptation Alexandre Dumas’ The Corsican Brothers, it’s a story about brothers separated at six months old and reuniting at 25 to avenge the murder of their parents. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Boxer’s Omen

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

tn_boxersomenTHE BOXER’S OMEN is one of these movies I’ve had recommended to me for years but for some reason never listened. I guess everybody just talked about how FUCKIN CRAZY it was, and I like FUCKIN CRAZY but sometimes a man needs more. For example (HERESY ALERT this paragraph) I couldn’t get into that beloved Japanese freakout available from Criterion, HOUSE or HAUSU. It is indeed unique and goofy and graphically fun, but feature length? I think that’s the ultimate example of a movie that if I stumbled across it on TV at 2 am and had never heard of it it would seem like the greatest achievement in the history of cinema, but when I intentionally sit down to watch it as a real movie I have a hard time getting through it.

Maybe that’s what I was worried BOXER’S OMEN would be. Then I was looking at the box and it said Bolo Yeung was in it so of course I rented it. Why didn’t you say so?
(read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Fearless Tiger

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

tn_fearlesstigertn_Super-KumiteRound 2, Bout 1: Team Bolo vs. The Women

Jalal Merhi (who we previously saw in the similarly animal-titled TALONS OF THE EAGLE) stars as Lyle Camille, a dorky Canadian martial artist who chooses to go into business instead of pursuing life as a true warrior. He’s just graduated with his MBA, he’s engaged to get married to Ashley (model Monika Schnarre) and his dad (Jamie Farr!) got him a job as VP at his credit card company. This moment of achievement and potential could set him up to get the Goose-in-TOP-GUN treatment, the ol’ one-last-job-before-I-retire curse. Instead it’s his brother Lance (Laurent Hazout, whose only other role is “Interzone Boy” in NAKED LUNCH) who bites it, overdosing on a new opium-based “more addictive than crack” drug called “fish food” or “nirvana” (often pronounced “ner-VAN-uh.”) (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Bloodfight

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

tn_bloodfightROUND 1, FIRST BOUT, BLOODSPORT SEQUELS VS. TEAM BOLO

aka FINAL FIGHT

“Stop him! You mustn’t let him keep practicing martial arts! Please! Please! Ryu is not a fighter. He’s a warm and caring person!”

BLOODFIGHT is from Japanese director Shuji Goto (FIGHTING BLACK KINGS) and star Yasuaki Kurata (HEROES OF THE EAST, EASTERN CONDORS, FIST OF LEGEND) but it’s a Hong Kong production featuring Bolo Yeung and Simon Yam. I rented it on a triple feature called Great Martial Arts Movies, and it had a warning about the picture quality not being up to modern standards, so I expected the worst. But other than being cropped it looked fine.

I also thought it might be dubbed, and there’s not any dialogue for the first ten minutes or more, so I was in suspense. Turns out it’s one of the rare Hong Kong movies that was actually filmed in English. Some of the actors sound like they’re just repeating it phonetically, so it’s hard to understand some of it. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Clones of Bruce Lee

Friday, May 28th, 2010

tn_clonesofbruceleeTHE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE is based on the true story of actor and martial artist Bruce Lee (b. 1940) and his unexpected death in 1973. It does take some dramatic liberties, for example they say he died of a heart attack (in reality it was a brain problem, specifically a cerebral edema) and also an agency called the Special Bureau of Investigation takes blood samples from his body and uses it to make three clones of him and use them as secret agents (in real life they only made two, and one of them came out lumpy so they couldn’t use it).

The SBI plan is not flawless. For one thing, the clones don’t automatically know how to fight. Bolo Yeung has to train them. They never explain who Bolo is playing, so I gotta assume he’s playing himself, a former co-star of Bruce Lee, training the lab-grown cellular matter of his dead colleague. It makes you wonder, too – was Bolo a spy this whole time? Was he sizing up Bruce on the set of ENTER THE DRAGON? Did he consider Van Damme clone material when he was doing BLOODSPORT? Does he ever get jealous that he’s not the one they want to clone? I mean he seems worthy of cloning to me. There aren’t many guys like Bolo, other than that guy in DRUNKEN MASTER that I thought was Bolo but it turned out it was some other guy. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bloodsport

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Okay, now that J.C.V.D. has polished Van Damme’s plaque in the action hero hall of fame I can’t keep running from the inevitable, it’s time to go back and watch those early Van Damme pictures I’ve always ignored. I’ve already seen NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER, his first major role, so I’ll start with BLOODSPORT, his first starring vehicle.

BLOODSPORT is from Cannon, and it’s very much in the vein (get it, vein, BLOODSPORT) as other Cannon chopsocky pictures like AMERICAN NINJA and ENTER THE NINJA, or other ’80s chopsocky movies like THE PERFECT WEAPON. These are stories of goofy white dudes mentored by Asians to take on ancient traditions and become great warriors. They lack charisma, presence and acting ability but are good at martial arts (or at faking them in the case of Michael Dudikoff). (read the rest of this shit…)

Enter the Dragon

Friday, June 24th, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: ENTER THE DRAGON is a classic and it’s mainly because of Bruce Lee’s performance. More on this story as it develops.

Okay maybe that’s old news. He’d been trying for years to become a superstar in the US (he only went back to hong kong after being dissed one too many times by the white man). So it was a big deal for him to have his big american co-production. And in the movie he has so much screen presence that they had to build a special type of camera to film him, after going through six different regular cameras that broke because of his power.

Actually that’s complete bullshit, I just made that up. That woulda been cool though. Anyway anything you need to know about why Bruce Lee is such an icon is in this movie: the arrogant persona (his character is actually kind of a dick), the perfect physique, the powerful moves, the cool nunchucks, the occasional philosophy, the greatest theme song of all time (thank you Lalo Schifrin). But everybody knows that. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know if I talk about that. So let’s give some credit to the rest of the movie. For example, co-star John Saxon. (read the rest of this shit…)