Posts tagged "Connie Chan Po-Chu"

The White-Bone Sword Part 2 (Review)


The White-Bone Sword (Part 2)

aka 白骨陰陽劍(下集) aka The Yin Yang Blade aka Ingentious Swords, Part Two aka Bai gu yin yang jian, xia ji
White-boned Sword
1962HKMDB Link
Written by Sze-To On
Directed by Ling Yun

Dancing with the Trees never took off like Dancing with the Stars did…

The magic of The White-boned Sword continues with Part 2, which features slightly less monsters but slightly more martial intrigue. Which means the entry is less friendly for watching without subtitles. There is some nice sword fights, nice animated martial effects, and the return of the Tree Spirit. But there is also a bunch of people arguing, a pointless martial tournament, and weird pipe fighting that sounds cool but gets old really quick. A disappointing second entry, but the next two parts give us some more monsters so I’ll take this brief break in the fun.
White-boned Sword

Wong Tin-ho (Walter Tso Tat-wah) – Helping Luk Fong-fei and Black Girl train along with Wu Sheung-fung, but is drawn into more sword-related martial intrigue. Doesn’t really do much amazing stuff in this entry.
Wu Sheung-fung (Yu So Chow) – Still helping Wong Tin-ho train Luk Fong-fei and Black Girl, she proves her martial superiority early in this entry, and even tricks some of the dumbest villains in martial history.
Luk Fong-fei (Connie Chan Po-chu) – Daughter of a murdered family and training to get revenge, while also being a rebellious teen who sneaks out to do more martial arts stuff. Like teens do.
Pak Ha-mui aka Black Girl (Yip Wai-Ngai) – Daughter of a murdered mother and possessor of magic swords. She also is easily offended when you blame her for people being killed. She’s so over being part of a franchise and being responsible for magic swords
Vampire Lady (Kong Bo-Lin) – Vampire Lady is back in domino form. This is probably her weakest appearance in the series, but she makes up for it in the other entries.
Tree Spirit (Himself) – He’s dead but he’s back, because you can’t kill a spirit. Or at least a spirit that is connected to the sword via magic and it can summon him to fight evil.
Ghost Mother (Kam Ying-Lin) – The nefarious Ghost Mother returns, now teamed up with a new group of baddies who don’t give her any respect. She’s graduated from being the big bad to being the person killed by worse villains just to show how evil they are. At one point the synopsis calls her Blue Flower Ghostly Mother so that’s probably her full, legal name for you trivia buffs out there!
Pipe Guy (Chow Gat) – Part of a pipe-based martial sect who briefly orchestrates posession of the White-boned Swords before his group is easily tricked out of them. That must not be tobacco they are smoking in those pipes!
Sek Kin 2.0 (Sek Kin) – I never figured out what his character name was, but Sek Kin 2.0 keeps up the tradition and dies just like his identical twin brother did in Part 1. He works with the Five Element Taoists in a sword-snatching scheme that backfires because they are the villains and not the heroes in the story, you see. His name might be Three-hand Lohan Mak Tin-lung, which is a cool name but as I couldn’t prove it was him, it will go unassigned until I use it in a story I write years form now…
Old Devilish Eccentric (Ling Mung) – A mad wondering monk who is good and trains Black Girl after she runs off after fighting with Luk Fong-fei. The world needs more crazy martial guys who wander around and live in trees, so I support him 100%!

White-boned Sword
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 12, 2017 at 8:07 am

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The White-Bone Sword Part 1 (Review)


The White-Bone Sword (Part 1)

aka 白骨陰陽劍(上集) aka White-Boned Sword (Part 1) aka The Yin Yang Blade aka Ingentious Swords, Part One aka Bai Gu Yin Yang Jian, Shang Ji
White-Boned Sword
1962HKMDB Link
Written by Sze-To On
Directed by Ling Yun

White-Boned Sword
Break out the vintage machine because we’ve got some classic Cantonese fantasy wuxia for your entertainment. The White-Bone Sword dates from 1962, and is a four-part epic that features plenty of kung fu battles, along with lots of animated martial effects and three wonderful monsters to add to our Field Guide to Cantonese Fantasy Monsters and Creatures!

The White-Bone Sword (which also goes by a lot of names such as The Yin Yang Blade and Ingentious Swords, “Ingentious” isn’t even a real word so someone done goofed up the translation machine! The Chinese title 白骨陰陽劍 has “white bone” in the name so we’re going with The White-Bone Sword as the “real” English title) is based on a serial novel by Luk Yu featured in the newspaper Wah Sing Pao. I am guessing the story has the same name in the paper, but that wasn’t explicitly stated, so don’t take that as gospel. We’re going to call the sword the White-Bone Sword, but don’t be too shocked if a stray White-Boned Sword or two slips in.

The White-Bone Sword was the inaugural film series from Longway Movie Enterprise production company, which would make about six or seven other films before disappearing. It’s directed by Ling Yun (who would go on to direct the excellent Buddha’s Palm films!) and the scripts are by Sze-To On, who wrote over 250 Hong Kong movies and if you’re even a moderate fan of Hong Kong cinema you will have seen something he wrote. Basically, this is a great creative pedigree that helped produce an above average fantasy flick series that has some cool monsters and effects even as it suffers from some of the conventions of the day, such as a slower pace and weird filler spots. As usual with these rarities, there are no English subtitles, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!
White-Boned Sword

Wong Tin-ho (Walter Tso Tat-wah) – Martial arts hero selected by his sifu to track down the White-Bone Sword along with Wu Sheung-fung. Ends up saving Luk Fong-fei and Black Girl again and again.
Wu Sheung-fung (Yu So Chow) – Martial arts heroine selected by her sifu to track down the White-Bone Sword along with Wong Tin-ho. Ends up saving Luk Fong-fei and Black Girl again and again.
Luk Fong-fei (Connie Chan Po-chu) – Daughter of a nice local dignitary until he’s murdered and their house is torched by Ghost Mother and her gang. Flees with Black Girl and her servant with the gang in pursuit until Wong Tin-ho and Wu Sheung-fung begin saving them.
Pak Ha-mui aka Black Girl (Yip Wai-Ngai) – Her mother Pak Ching-wah has a secret knife that can kill the Tree Spirit that guards the White-Bone Sword, but luckily she hid it by giving it to her daughter. Pak Ching-wah was murdered along with Luk Fong-fei’s father by the Ghost Mother gang, and Black Girl seeks revenge. Yip Wai-Ngai is sometimes called Yip Wai-yee.
Vampire Lady (Kong Bo-Lin) – Though we don’t know her real name, Vampire Lady was ubiquitous in the series and often saves the day after our heroes get in trouble bumbling into villains. She commands an army of hopping vampires with flag commands.
Tree Spirit (Himself) – A spirit who controls the weather, has a magic sword stuck in its body, and is outfitted with mouth sparklers!
Ghost Mother (Kam Ying-Lin) – A woman who uses a skull prop as a conduit to magical powers. She is the boss of Monk of Black Wind and Cheng Hang.
Monk of Black Wind and Cheng Hang (Sek Kin and Ho King-Fan) – One of them is played by Sek Kin, and the other is Ho King-Fan I don’t know which one is which, but as Monk of Black Wind has the cooler name and Sek Kin is the cooler guy, I’m assigning the roles that way. Both of them are thugs who work for Ghost Mother.
Animated Skeleton (Himself) – Ghost Mother sends this animated skeleton to attack the heroes. It can shoot animated flames from its mouth. Totally not a prop guy off camera waving a skeleton around on a string.

White-Boned Sword
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 5, 2017 at 8:53 am

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The Swords of Tien Shan (Review)


The Swords of Tien Shan

aka 天山龍鳳劍 aka Tian shan long feng jian aka 神劍女瘋俠 aka The Magic Sword and the Eccentric Lady Knight aka Shen Jian Nu Feng Xia

1961
Written and directed by Wong Fung

Mysterious super swords cause a whole heap of problems in The Swords of Tien Shan. This Cantonese wuxia flick is believed to be a coproduction of two different companies, each producing one part of the two-part feature film. According to reports, part 1 was produced by Hoo King Motion Picture Co., while part 2 is credited to Lap Tat Film Co. Wong Fung (How The Ape Girl Stole The Lotus Lamp, The Blonde Hair Monster, and Golden Skeleton) wrote and directed both parts, so this looks like just a unique way of crediting a coproduction. The two films were later edited down into a single film and retitled The Magic Sword and the Eccentric Lady Knight (神劍女瘋俠), which is the version I am reviewing as the original two films are unavailable (and might be lost?)

The editing of two films into one does cause a bit of a problem, because the flow of the film is now even more disjointed, and at times characters wander off for reasons not explained, or are introduced as already established people. This is complicated because there are already so many characters, and because this is an older Cantonese wuxia flick, the pacing is already a lot more casual than a modern film. The disjointedness hurts the film, but it doesn’t mean it’s awful, it just becomes a weirder wuxia epic. It also focuses on different actors than the story of the original films, downplaying and almost eliminating several major characters. Instead, the film focuses mainly on Josephine and Sek Kin, with a lot of Connie thrown in (though at least one major Connie Chan scene is MIA)

The important thing to remember is there is a guy in a gorilla costume! This is important, because that makes The Swrods of Tian Shan TarsTarkas.NET’s entry into the new MOSS conspiracy, Hairy Beasts! MOSS is the Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit, and is a collection of all the cool cats with cool websites/podcasts/shows who review and watch and read all sorts of crazy stuff. Check out other Hairy Beasts entries at the above link, including houseinrlyeh taking on Bigfoot, TeleportCity vs Red Riding Hood, and Monster Island Report and TheCulturalGutter discussing hairy beasts!

The gorilla costume looks like it is the same one used in How the Ape Girl Stole the Lotus Lamp, though this film was made first and the gorilla Yin-yin is a semi-major character here. I would theorize that the gorilla costume was made for this film, but I would not be surprised at all to see it show up in other earlier films, either.

Being a Cantonese wuxia flick from the 1960s, some of the familiar stars are here. Young Josephine Siao and Connie Chan are running around (Connie playing a boy once again!) Sek Kin is a former villain, Lau Hark-suen is a weirdo, Sai Gwa-Pau and Mui Yan are “comic relief”, and Simon Yuen Siu-Tin is an eccentric kung fu master and teacher. Because of how things were carved up as the two films were merged, I’ll add in some missing portions quoted directly from the HKFA synopsis. But there will be some gaps where things make little sense. And since this film is pretty darn rare, the film synopsis will be detailed detailed detailed.

Kam Ming-chu (Josephine Siao Fong-Fong) – Female Kam sibling who is a student of Kei Sun-kung, before her brother is killed and she is driven crazy by Snake Fruit thanks to getting involved in the Swords of Tien Shan mess.
Kam Siu-long (Connie Chan Po-Chu) – Male Kam sibling (yep, Connie Chan is playing a boy again!) who is killed when the Swords of Tien Shan mess is dropped on his rooftop. Eventually risen from the dead in a non-zombie form. Oddly enough, the Kam parents disappear from the film after his funeral and neither sibling bother to look them up later or even let them know Kam Siu-long is alive again.
Kei Sun-kung (Sek Kin) – Sifu of the Kam siblings who is a former bandit, and might not be as former as you think. He has one weakness: being behind him!
To Sam-tin (Lau Hak-Suen) – An eccentric witchdoctor who has been driven insane via ingesting Snake Fruit. He’s sane enough to try to steal the Swords of Tien Shan when they surface. Lau Hak-Suen was an actor who appeared in 488 films from 1934 until 1983 (his death). Towards the end of his career his output slowed down and he tried his hand at directing a few times. His quote “Ladies, please drink up for it’s only sugar water” lives on in the internet today.
Fatty Disciple (Mui Yan) – To Sam-tin’s larger bumbling assistant who spends most of the film doing goofy things.
Scrawny Disciple (Sai Gwa-Pau) – To Sam-tin’s scrawny bumbling assistant who also spends most of the film doing goofy things. Can act like a cat.
Iron Arhat (Simon Yuen Siu-Tin) – Monk who lives in a cave meditating all day, when he isn’t wandering around in graveyards reviving dead children. Is the most powerful person in the film, thus he doesn’t do much of anything.
Yin-yin (???) – Awesome gorilla who lives with Iron Arhat and screams an all too human scream. Likes to do good deeds.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

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The Blonde Hair Monster (Review)


The Blonde Hair Monster

aka 黃毛怪人 aka Yellow Giant

1962
Written and Directed by Wong Fung

The Blonde Hair Monster is a story from the pulp series Wong Ang the Flying Heroine Bandit. These tales originated in 1940’s Shanghai from intelligence worker Siu Ping (aka Xiao Ping), who used his stories to speak out against the social and economic injustices of the time, creating a hero to fight for the people. Siu Ping fled to Hong Kong as the Chinese Civil War intensified and the Communists declared victory. The Wong Ang character spoke to the citizens of Hong Kong just as she had to the citizens of Shanghai, and became big sellers in the 1950s. Wong Ang is a play on the word for Oriole, and thus is known as Oriole in several title translations.

Wong Ang fits the profile of the virtuous female fighter character. While not being a nuxia (swordswoman), she is set in modern day and works with modern tools to take on modern problems. The rich and the powerful who think they can get away with crimes meet their matches, and the innocent and forgotten find the justice they need in their lives.

Wong Ang’s popularity made it a natural that she would appear on the screen, with the first entries appearing in 1957 or 1958. The first known film was Shaw’s Oriole, the Heroine (also known as Miss Nightingale, the Flying Fencer), which starred Pearl Au Kar-wai as Wong Ang and Fanny Fan and Chiang Feng as her sidekicks. There is some uncertainty to the exact release date. Beginning in 1959, Yu So-Chow played her in a series of films, four featuring veteran female action star Wu Lizhu and Yam Yin as her two sidekicks. 1959 gave us How Oriole the Heroine Solved the Case of the Three Dead Bodies and How Oriole the Heroine Caught the Murderer. 1960 was the Year of the Oriole with four films: House No. 13, Apartment Murder, Miss Cranery Vs. the Flying Tigers, and The Story of Wong-Un the Heroine. The Breakthrough was released in 1961. The Blonde Hair Monster is the last of the Yu So-Chow Wong Ang films (and the last Wong Ang film period, unless you count Michele Yeoh’s Silverhawk!), though by now the focus had begun to shift to Connie Chan, who plays one of her sidekicks. Thanks to DurianDave from SoftFilm for his work compiling the list of films above.

My favorite part of Blonde Hair Monster is how the vcd is missing an entire reel of the film! Luckily for me, I tracked down a guy on YouTube who uploaded the middle chunk of a TVB broadcast of the film for some reason, and that middle chunk has the missing reel! That’s also why some of the screencaps look different. TarsTarkas.NET goes the extra mile to give you the review you deserve, because we care, when we’re not being lazy! What is even more weird is the TVB broadcast is also missing pieces that the vcd had. So I’ve put together an extended edition of The Blonde Hair Monster that just might be the most complete copy of the film in the world. And yet there still is no title card…

Because this film is obscure as frak and I had to composite it together, this review will be detailed and long. So, sorry if you aren’t into that sort of thing, but bully if you are! And for more, much more on the Jane Bond films that this is a prototype of, listen to the Jane Bond Infernal Brains Podcast!

Wong Ngan (Yu So-Chau) – The champion of the people and solver of mysteries. Wong Ngan the Oriole fights for justice, and for just being there when stuff goes down. She and her girls will solve any mystery that comes along and won’t take any crap while doing so, though Wong Ngan is more likely to dispense with the villains with a polite smile than her sidekicks.
Heung Ngan (Connie Chan Po-Chu) – Wong Ngan’s younger sidekick, who is sassy and tough, and not afraid to fight a gigantic yellow-haired monster on occasion. Or a lady in a skeleton costume. Or a jerk homeowner keeping her from having a banana. The film is well aware Connie Chan will be the cat’s meow in another year or two, and makes sure to keep her on screen.
Wu Nga (Chan Hiu-Kau) – Wong Ngan’s other sidekick, who wears a K on her jacket (for Krazy!) She’s more reserved than Heung Ngan, but isn’t afraid to kick some butt if need be.
Inspector To (Walter Tso Tat-Wah) – Walter Tso shows up as his Inspector character that he played from time to time when not starring in a period piece. It’s a good thing Inspector To let these women wander around and solve his case for him, because he’s wrong on just about everything until Wong Nang politely explains what happened.
Cheung Yan-Lei (Sek Kin) – The framed younger brother of Cheung Yan-Chuen who spent years in jail and recently escaped. He’s plotting revenge, but a jerk like Cheung Yan-Chuen has so many enemies Yan-Lei is going to have to get in line.
Cheung Yan-Chuen (Ling Mung) – The evil brother who framed his brother for murder and screwed over a lot of people in his life. A list of his enemies would just be a copy of the phone book (Cheung Yan-Chuen wouldn’t be there, as he’d have an unlisted telephone number just to be away from everyone else!) Learns why you should never turn your back on your enemies, especially the ones with knives.
Cheung Kai-Ting (Cheung Ying-Tsoi) – Son of Cheung Yan-Chuen who now has to deal with his idiot father’s enemies coming to cause problems. You think you have dad problems.
Yau Tin Lung (Lam Liu-Ngok) – The servent to Cheung Yan-Chuen who is listed here because she’s a major character with a secret. And just ignore the fact there is a mystery character who is obviously female…
Sifu (Lok Gung) – A one-eyed sorcerer who helps Cheung Yan-Lei after his escape from jail and just happens to have a giant manservant and an orangutan on hand in his lab. So did Cheung Yan-Lei escape from jail into a pulp novel? You’d be surprised, because this film is based on a pulp novel!
Blonde Hair Monster (Siu Gam) – Was originally Sifu’s servant Mo Mo before a horrible accident and the addition of orangutan blood turned him into the fearful Blonde Hair Monster! Is that blonde hair real? Only his hairdresser knows for sure!
Ghost Lady (It is a mystery!) – Who could this mysterious ghost lady be? And why is she wearing a skeleton head when she is a ghost?


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

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Jane Bond – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 10

The Infernal Brains are back again, this time with a special Guest Brain, duriandave from Softfilm, Soft Tofu Tumblr, and Connie Chan Movie Fan Princess!

durianman

Actual photo of duriandave

Join Tars, Todd, and Dave as we discuss one of our collectively favorite world movie subgenres, Cantonese female focused action films that became known as Jane Bond films! We chat about Connie Chan, Josephine Siao, Suet Nei, So Ching, Fanny Fan, Lily Ho, Chor Yuen, masked heroines, James Bond influences, theater singing, the genesis of the genre, and many films that you’ll be hunting down for the next few years! It’s an infotainment explosion of knowledge that will pack your brain with so many cool facts that they’ll start leaking out your ears and drip on the carpet! The Infernal Brains are not responsible for any carpet cleaning bills.

As usual, we got more listening choices than you can shake an unsubtitled vcd at: downloadable mp3, embedded flash with slideshow, embedded audio player, and iTunes feed link. So many choices, you’ll have to call in your secret evil gang to select them all!

Download the mp3 (right click, save as)

Watch in slideshow form:

Subscribe to the Infernal Brains on YouTube!

Click the graphic for Podcast Feed:

Click here for iTunes Feed

Films Discussed:
Black Rose – Tars Review, Todd Review, Dave Review
Spy With My Face
The Blonde Hair Monster – Dave Review
Lady Black Cat – Tars Review, Dave Review
Lady Black Cat Strikes Again
The Black Killer
The Professionals
Golden Skeleton
Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa – Tars Review, Todd’s series overview
Dark Heroins Muk Lan-Fa Shatters the Black Dragon Gang
Lady in Black Cracks the Gates of Hell
Gold Button
Temptress of 1000 Faces
Angel with Iron Fists
Angel Strikes Again
Wong Ang vs the flying tigers part 1 part 2

Jane Bond overview
More Cantonese Cinema information

Site Links:
Soft Tofu Tumblr
SoftFilm Blog
Connie Chan Movie Fan Princess
The Lucha Diaries
Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!

Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Dara Singh
Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng
Infernal Brains Podcast – 08 – Worst Podcast Ever
The Mummies of Guanajuato – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 09

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

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Connie Chan/Lady Black Cat Strikes Back album

DurianDave at the often driving me crazy blog SoftFilm has upped some mp3s from the album Lady Black Cat Strikes Back featuring Connie Chan singing. This is the sequel (although the characters are unrelated, IIRC) to the original Lady Black Cat, reviewed here at TarsTarkas.NET to prove our jawesomeness. It’s like awesome, only with an extra letter because simple awesomeness cannot contain it all.

So DurianDave uploaded four tracks, including the new title track, which is the Haak Yeh Maau song sung to the tune of Ghostriders in the Sky! It is spectacularly amazing, and you haven’t heard Johnny Cash until you’ve heard him as a Chinese lady dressed as a cat. Tars Tarkas says check it out and fire up your iPod!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 7, 2010 at 11:39 am

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