HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Sunday, November 25, 2007

MANTICORE and MIDNIGHT EAGLE reviews coming this week...

I just wanted to let you people know that I do plan on updating the site again sometime this week. I've had the discs for a few days, but Thanksgiving weekend, y'know?

Friday, November 23, 2007

HKCFN will Return Full Steam on December 16th!

I've just been entering the last week of my classes and starting of my finals at Seton Hall Law and the last will be December 15th. With that done the website will be kicking back into full stream with tons of reviews (MST3K Vol. 12 and many more) and news (we're going to have some of the exclusive info on the extras for Media Blasters Shaw Brothers releases) and even video game reviews (Small Tip: if you have a Wii buy Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles). I want to thank everyone for bearing through this and to Derek who has helped keep updating the site with new product info as we receive it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Midnight Eagle - In NY and Japan Theatres November 23rd and LA December 7th

Watch the trailer here

Coming out in New York and Japan on November 23rd and expanding to Los Angeles on December 7th is Midnight Eagle, the new Japanese film from Strand Releasing.

Based on the novel by acclaimed writer Tetsuo Takashima (“Intruder”), Izuru Narushima (“Fly, Daddy, Fly”) directs this compelling action thriller set in the snowbound Northern Alps of Japan.

The Ministry of Defense, Ground Self Defense Forces and the Japan Air Self-Defense Forces fully cooperated on this film, which is the first time ever such collaboration has occurred in the history of Japanese film.

A top secret American forces strategic bomber known as “Midnight Eagle” suddenly vanishes in the Northern Alps. Its payload is a specialized nuclear warhead. If it were to explode, the entire nation of Japan would be hurled into an unprecedented calamity. Prime Minister Takafumi Watarase convenes an emergency meeting of the Security Council of Japan. An elite squad from the Self-Defense Force able to operate in severe mountains conditions is formed, and heads off to try and recover the fuselage.

As former war photographer Yuji Nishizaki spends time in the mountains taking pictures of the skies, he is startled by gunfire, and notices the freshly spilled blood of soldiers on the snow. Aware that his country is under attack, Nishizaki seizes his camera and heads for the battlefield.

Nishizaki, his high school friend, the newspaper journalist Shinichiro Ochiai, and Major Akihiko Saeki of the Self-Defense Forces, find themselves In the midst of a terrible blizzard as they are desperately heading towards Midnight Eagle. Back in Tokyo, Keiko, Nishizaki’s sister in law who works as a magazine reporter, contacts an agent who might shed light on an accident she has become privy to. The agent reveals to her the situation going on in the Northern Alps.

With only two and a half hours remaining until the specialized warhead is to explode, will Keiko save Nishizaki, Ochiai and Saeki, and bring to a halt the crisis, which could change the fate of Japan?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Image Entertainment presents the DVD release of Alien Siege

An advanced race of aliens descends upon Earth with a single goal - the blood of eight million humans to save their own dying planet. The aliens have planted a doomsday device over the North Pole, and if the Earth doesn't supply enough victims, they'll activate it and destroy the planet. However, if the Earth does comply, the device will become a power supply capable of meeting all of its needs for the next 300 years. Every country in the world must surrender some citizens, and the United States begins a lottery system. Anyone unlucky enough to be chosen is dead within 24 hours, rendered into liquid, which is then sent back to the alien world. One scientist, Steven Chase, whose daughter is chosen for the lottery, decides to fight rather than surrender his only child. Suddenly he must race against time to find the aliens' weakness as
the invaders decide to abandon their agreement and simply harvest humans at will, leaving death and destruction in their wake.

Official site
Buy the DVD at

Red Sun and FYE/Transworld Back Together Again to Screw up Legit Shaws!

Yep, and he's even using a new fake company.

This isn't old Red Sun covers and cases. There are new covers for this 4 in 1 sets (as you can see from the pics they look nothing like the old ones and look legit almost). They make no mention of Red Sun. The company listed is Ying Yang with a logo even! I don't think FYE thinks these are Red Sun discs. They are in 4 packs themed by actors, Ti Lung, Lo Lieh, Chen Kuan Tai, in films by and larged OWNED by Media Blasters and Dragon Dynasty (Ten Tigers, The Master, Heroes Two, The Master, Blood Brothers, Chinese Boxer, Aka Hammers Gods and Fist of the White Lotus). The Dragon Dynasty titles were confirmed by us recently via research done at the US copyright office.

It seems like an attempt to dump old discs in new sets before legit discs from Media Blasters and more titles from Dragon Dynasty start appearing. FYE is fully stocking these with SKUS and such.FYE Is blowing out the old Red Sun on the back ones. These new sets retail for 24.99 , but seem to be on sale for 19.99.

Here are some samples as you can see there is no way to know they are Red Sun for the common shopper might otherwise ignore it. The worst part is as mentioned that most of these titles belong to Media Blaster and Dragon Dynasty. These is an obvious attempt to dump product and at the same time kill the legit releases, ensuring the survival of Red Sun.

If your sick of this crap. Please call Transworld's CFO. I doubt he would like consumers calling him about his company selling bootlegs. Trust me I think it will work. :)

Contact Us
For corporate or financial information or questions, please contact:

John J. Sullivan
Executive Vice President, Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer
Ph: 518-452-1242


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Image Entertainment presents MANTICORE on DVD

Image Entertainment presents the Sci-Fi Essentials DVD release of Manticore in stores now! In support of the release of Manticore I have DVDs for review and giveaway, and assets (fact sheet and photos) below. Let me know if you feature Manticore on HK and CULT FILM NEWS.

In war-torn Iraq, rugged Army soldiers learn that the battles they face every day have only been a warm-up to the unspeakable terror awaiting them. Dispatched to find a missing news crew, the squad finds itself facing an ancient, evil, a mythical clawed-and-winged beast known as the Manticore, now unleashed by villainous opponents to keep the land under their control.

Starring Robert Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager), Jeff Fahey (Grindhouse), Chase Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project), this gritty, powerhouse collision of brutal combat and monster-packed action will thrill you with every explosive minute!

Buy the DVD at

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Magnolia Pictures Acquires TIMECRIMES (Spanish time travel movie) - Theatrical Release in 2008

Winner of “Best Feature” Prize at Fantastic Fest 2007

Editor's note: I originally called this a Mexican movie, but it is indeed Spanish. The mistake was engendered when I thought the guy in the poster looked like un luchador, and when I saw that the director's name was NACHO. Plus, I assumed Spanish meant Spanish-language. I am, quite obviously, a racist and xenophobic American who couldn't find Spain on a labeled map. But seriously, when was the last time Spain made a decent movie? If they ate dinner earlier than 10 pm, maybe they would find more time in the day to get some decent work done!

TIMECRIMES is the feature film debut from Nacho Vigalongo, who is already an accomplished director of short films—his 2003 short, 7:35 IN THE MORNING, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short. A self professed avid science fiction reader, Vigalongo was inspired to tell the story of a man who travels back in time and runs into himself, setting into motion a disastrous chain of unforeseeable consequences. Though the film’s aesthetic hearkens back to classic American crime films the story is closer in spirit to the science fiction of Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem. A wickedly funny, jigsaw puzzle of a film, TIMECRIMES has excellent potential for an English language remake, and multiple parties are already pursuing the rights.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia’s Senior Vice President Tom Quinn, Director of Acquisitions Dori Begley, and Head of Business Affairs, Jason Janego, along with producer Eduardo Carneros. Magnolia will release the film theatrically in 2008.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ten Tigers of Kwantung Review

Ten Tigers of Kwantung Review by Ian Friedman

What happens when you mix all the Venoms (even Wei Pai), Ti Lung, Fu Sheng, Ku Feng, Johnny Wang? Well, you get an amazing asskicking experience. Ten Tigers of Kwantung is as much a tribute to the career of Cheng Cheh as Shanghai 13 and perhaps even more because it was a Shaws film, whilst Shanghai 13 was an independent production. This film contains actors from the early period of Cheng Cheh’s Shaw career, the Venoms, and even the so-called Baby Venom’s. Ten Tigers of Kwantung is a portrait of Cheng Cheh’s work in a broad brush stroke.

The film is certainly uneven to an extent similar to Heaven and Hell and the fact that this project like Heaven and Hell was clearly two different pictures merged into one. The film has often been criticized for a use of flashbacks to help connect the two separate projects, but I feel that it is fairly easy to understand in the version I saw (which was the re-mastered Region 3 version put out by IVL) and if you go in knowing this its not really that bad. The films features some great fights, both in terms of how they are choreographed and the match of the combatants. Its very interesting getting to see Ti Lung fighting along with the Venoms. A wide variety of weapons are on display in this film including a giant mermaid statue (which is deadly as hell)! The plot deals with the attempts of the Qing (headed up by Johnny Wang) to catch a Ming rebel (played by the always great Ku Feng) and the consequences of their attempts. The film has one of the two most crazy lead villain deaths ever. They may not be the goriest or bloodiest, but they are ones that will make you jaw drop and really will catch you by surprise. The story is quite brisk and enjoyable and you won’t find yourself fast forward or bored. While there is a lack of character development, one should treat this as a pure action film as opposed to a more character based work by Cheng Cheh. Still that doesn’t mean either film type isn’t great! The final two ending images of the cast really are a testament to the legacy and greatness of what Cheng Cheh achieved at the Shaws. Ten Tigers of Kwantung is highly recommend for its start and action power.

The DVD put out by IVL is pretty good barring some sloppy conversion problems (they is going to be remedied quite soon by Media Blasters) and a pissy 5.1 remix full of lame surround sounds and new effects (a mono version of the track free of these additions should be available on the VCD version). The good new is that fans will be able to see this film in Region 1 via Media Blasters. This version will contain mono sound, and a remastered English dub and more than likely some great extras. This is why I strongly caution people to avoid junk releases by PanMedia. The elements used to source there English dub mostly comes from old VHS tapes, even when synced to newer video. If fans really can’t wait to hear a dubbed version they are advised to trade for copies of it. In fact most PanMedia releases come from fan re-dubs. There is really no reason not to seek a trade at Kung Fu Cinema’s forums and save the money for legit releases. You can get the legit R3 via HK FLIX at this link


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ever wonder what WB owns from Golden Harvest? Wonder no more!

Enjoy. Interesting about some of the Young and Dangerous titles.

Start Over

This list contains titles in document V3529D232

Document title: 02:00 AM & 192 other titles; films.

The complete document is: V3529 D232 P1-4

List of titles:

001 02:00 AM.

002 24 hours ghost story.

003 A Chinese legend.

004 A roof with a view.

005 A terracotta warrior.

006 The age of miracles : a.k.a. Four season, Mr. Troublesome

007 Always be the winner.

008 And now you're dead : a.k.a. Enter the eagles

009 The avenger.

010 Awakening.

011 Banana spirit.

012 Basic impulse.

013 Best of best.

014 Best of the best.

015 Big bullet.

016 The big score.

017 Blade of fury.

018 The blade.

019 Blind romance.

020 Blood reincarnation.

021 Blue train of romance.

022 The boxers adventure.

023 Bruce Lee's secret.

024 Butterfly lovers : a.k.a. The lovers.

025 Champion operations.

026 Chase a thousand miles.

027 Christ of Nanjing.

028 The crane.

029 The criminal hunter.

030 Cross road.

031 The day that doesn't exist.

032 Days of being dumb.

033 Deadly gold : a.k.a. Golden cop.

034 Devil killer.

035 Disco fever.

036 Doctor Mack.

037 Dog Ann's revenge.

038 Don't give a damn.

039 Downtown torpedoes.

040 Dragon fight.

041 Dream of the red chamber.

042 Drunken master II.

043 The Edler master.

044 Encounter of spooky kind II.

045 The enigma of love.

046 Enter the fat dragon.

047 Escape to hell : a.k.a. Never say regret.

048 The escape.

049 Extreme crisis.

050 Fascinating affair.

051 Feel 100%.

052 Feel 100%, once more.

053 Final option.

054 First strike : a.k.a. Story of CIA, police story IV.

055 The first time.

056 Force nightmare.

057 The funny vampire.

058 Ghost busting.

059 The girl named Iron Phoenix.

060 Girls unbutton : a.k.a. Goodtime girls.

061 Green green meadow.

062 Growing up.

063 Happy heaven.

064 Happy hour.

065 Haunted karaoke.

066 He ain't heavy, he's my father.

067 Heaven can't wait.

068 Her fatal ways IV.

069 Her judgement day.

070 He's a woman, she's a man.

071 Hold you tight.

072 The Holy Robe of Shaolin Temple.

073 How deep is your love? : a.k.a Big neon lights.

074 I'm your birthday cake.

075 The imp.

076 The imperial princess : a.k.a. The imperious princess.

077 The imprudent Iron Phoenix.

078 Incredible kung fu mission : a.k.a. Fighting kung fu students.

079 Into the fire.

080 I've got you, Babe.

081 Kitchen.

082 Kung fu from the north.

083 Last song in Paris.

084 Latino encounter : a.k.a. Run.

085 Legal innocence.

086 The legend of an erotic movie star.

087 License to steal.

088 Love in the time of twilight.

089 Love of the swindler : a.k.a. The lovers.

090 Lover's tear.

091 Mafia vs. ninja.

092 Masked justice : a.k.a. Midnight angel.

093 Mean street story.

094 Mirage.

095 Money maker.

096 Morning goodbye.

097 Mr. Nice Guy.

098 Mr. Vampire 1992.

099 My neighbours are phantoms.

100 Old soldier never dies.

101 Once a cop : a.k.a. Project S.

102 Once in a life-time : a.k.a. Marriage is a life--long affair.

103 Once upon a time in China IV.

104 Once upon a time in China V.

105 One step ahead : a.k.a. A champion player.

106 Our neighbour detective.

107 Pantyhose hero.

108 Pedicab driver.

109 The peeping Tom : a.k.a. Deadly target.

110 Portland Street blues.

111 The rapist.

112 Red zone.

113 A rescue from Hades.

114 The returning.

115 Rumble in the Bronx.

116 Satyr monks.

117 Secret love.

118 Sex and Zen III.

119 Shaolin ex monk.

120 Shaolin Temple against Lama.

121 Shaolin vs. ninja.

122 Slickers vs. killers.

123 Spider woman.

124 Spike Drink Gang.

125 Spirit of love : a.k.a. Dial "H" for Hell.

126 Spirit returns.

127 The star.

128 Street angel.

129 Street car named Desire.

130 Street of casual love.

131 Street of fury.

132 Summer snow.

133 The sweet smell of the death.

134 Sword of many loves.

135 Take me.

136 Task force.

137 Teardrop pearl : a.k.a. The teardrop pearl of Halong.

138 The third full moon.

139 Those were the days.

140 Thou shalt not swear.

141 Thunderbolt.

142 Till death do us laugh.

143 Till death do us part.

144 To money with love.

145 Tom, Dick & Hairy.

146 Tongdang Wansui.

147 Too many ways to be no. 1.

148 Tops detective too.

149 Trilogy of love : a.k.a. Trilogy of lust.

150 True love.

151 Twenty something.

152 Twinkle, twinkle lucky star.

153 The tycoon.

154 The umbrella story : a.k.a. Heirs.

155 The undaunted.

156 War of the underworld.

157 The wedding days.

158 Whatever will be, will be.

159 Who am I?

160 Wind beneath the wings : a.k.a. Sky is limit.

161 Wizard's curse.

162 Wonders of the ancient capital.

163 World of lies.

164 The wrath of silence.

165 Yesterday you, yesterday me.

166 Yesterday you, yesterday me....yesterday.

167 You can't tell him.

168 Young and dangerous.

169 Young and dangerous 2.

170 Young and dangerous 4.

171 Young and dangerous 5.

End of titles list for document V3529D232

HKCFN Exclusive: New Dragon Dynasty Titles Revealed! ALL SHAW TITLES LISTED

This was done through my research at the Copyright office at

I'll give the Doc List for people who want to check my work.

This list contains titles in document V3542D743

Document title: Skinny tiger, fatty dragon & 4 other titles; motion pictures.

The complete document is: V3542 D743 P1-3

List of titles:

001 Skinny tiger, fatty dragon.

002 The dragon from Russia.

003 Victim.

004 PTU.

005 Full alert.

This list contains titles in document V3531D535

Document title: Come drink with me (not remake) & 51 other titles.

The complete document is: V3531 D535 P1-7

List of titles:

001 Come drink with me (not remake) Director, Hu King-Chuan.

002 Shaolin temple. Director, Chang Cheh.

003 The 36th chamber of Shaolin. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

004 Killer clans. Director, Chu Yuan.

005 Disciples of the 36th chamber. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

006 One-armed swordsman. Director, Chang Cheh.

007 Vengeance. Director, Chang Cheh.

008 The flying guillotine. Director, Ho Meng-hua.

009 Mad monkey kung fu. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

010 The eight diagram pole fighter. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

011 Executioners from Shaolin. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

012 Five Shaolin masters. Director, Chang Cheh.

013 My young auntie. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

014 Shaolin mantis. Director, Liu Chia-ling.

015 Flying guillotine 2. Directors, Cheng Kang & Hua Shan.

016 Golden swallow. Director, Chang Cheh.

017 Return to the 36th chamber. Director, Liu Chia-ling.

018 Crazy Shaolin disciples. Director, Yau Ka-hung.

019 Return of the one-armed swordsman. Director, Chang Cheh.

020 New one-armed swordsman. Director, Chang Cheh.

021 The chinese boxer. Director, Wang Yu.

022 Crippled avengers. Director, Chang Cheh.

023 The Shaolin avengers. Director, Chang Cheh.

024 Martial arts of Shaolin. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

025 King boxer. Director, Chang Chang-ho.

026 Clan of the white lotus. Director, Lo Lieh.

027 The avenging eagle (not remake) Director, Sun Chung.

028 The invincible fist. Director, Chang Cheh.

029 Blood Brothers. Director, Chang Cheh.

030 Behind the yellow line. Director, Taylor Wong.

031 The five venoms. Director, Chang Cheh.

032 Painted faces. Director, Alex Law.

033 Love in a fallen city. Director, Ann Hui.

034 The anonymous heroes. Director, Chang Cheh.

035 Buddha's palm. Director, Taylor Wong.

036 Heroes of the East. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

037 The boxer from Shantung. Director, Chang Cheh.

038 Monkey kung fu. Director, John Lo Mar.

039 Boxer rebellion. Director, Chang Cheh.

040 Dirty Ho. Director, Liu Chia-liang.

041 Look out, officer! Director, Liu Shih-yu.

042 The mad monk. Director, Johnnie To.

043 The angry guest. Director, Chang Cheh.

044 7-man army. Director, Chang Cheh.

045 The flying dagger. Director, Chang Cheh.

046 The savage five. Director, Chang Cheh.

047 Justice, my foot. Director, Johnnie To.

048 Hero. Director, Corey Yuen.

049 Out of the dark. Director, Jeff Lau.

050 Starry is the night. Director, Ann Hui.

051 The kung-fu instructor. Director, Sun Chung.

052 Man of iron. Directors, Chang Cheh & Pao Hsueh-ti.


HKCFN Classics: A Multimedia Overview of Chang Cheh's Career

Note: This was one of the of first articles to appear on the website and such was not read by the vast majority of our current readers. I hope people will enjoy this reprint of our look at Chang Cheh's career.

Thanks to Jessica for reading this over.

Typically when we think of Chang Cheh, we often think of his Shaolin Temple series of films from the mid to late 1970s. The truth is that Chang Cheh had an extremely diverse career marked with many unique periods through his time as a director both in and out of the Shaw Brothers. His career can be divided into four different major periods with a common theme of always trying to further Chinese cinema and the careers of those he worked with. It should be noted these delineations are not always a clean break from the previous one. Often, a film from the previous era would still come out even after a new point in Chang Cheh’s career had begun. Still we can still get a general idea of the path of Chang Cheh’s directorial career. I would like to thank Linn Haynes for his help with this article. Also big thanks to Venoms Chamber and his amazing youtube channel (venomchamber), dvdsaenz and Frankylau.

The first period of Chang Cheh’s career was Jimmy Wang Yu Swordplay Films. These films are what helped lead to Chang Cheh becoming the blockbuster director that we remember of him today. Chang Cheh was the original “millionaire director,” in that his films would gross over 1 million Hong Kong dollars at the local box office alone. This arc of his career often dealt with anti-hero leads, usually played by Jimmy Wang Yu, who were rebelling against the authorities of the time. These films started with The Magnificent Trio and lasted until Return of the One-Armed Swordsman in 1969 but was done by 1968 with Golden Swallow. These films marked a total departure from the Cantonese black-and-white Wong-Fei Hong films which often taught forgiveness and Confucian virtues with very little violence. Cheng Cheh’s films, in contrast, were filled with both bright color and stark violence. Chang Cheh singlehandedly brought the Chinese kung fu film into the modern age with these Jimmy Wang Yu starring, Japanese and American influenced films.

The Magnificent Trio (1966)

The Assassin (1967)

The second period was the Iron Triangle era. The Iron Triangle was a term used to describe the combined power of director Chang Cheh along with stars Ti Lung and David Chiang. This would form one of the most productive and beloved periods in Chang Cheh’s career, possible only rivaled by his Venoms period. This themes shown in these films include the nature of brotherhood and loyalty. These films were often a huge hit at the box office, combining the name talent of the two actors with the technical prowess of Cheng Cheh. The theme of heroic bloodshed (a man fighting in defense of one’s values or brother) would begin to take a prominent role in these films. If this term sounds familiar it is because director John Woo featured many of these similar themes in his own films. It should not be a surprise that John Woo was an Assistant Director on many of Cheng Cheh’s films. As we will learn, Cheng Cheh was always a man looking to teach the newer generation and allow them to learn the techniques of cinema. Films such as Vengeance unleashed a whole new level of violence onto the unsuspecting audiences of Hong Kong. While some were repelled by this new more realistic style of on-screen violence, most audiences loved it. The trailers for Vengeance and Have Sword, Will Travel are testaments to his draw at the box office (as they heavily play up his participation). These films show a further maturation of Cheng Cheh’s style into what was called the “Shaws House Style” that many directors would hope to emulate in their own films. This period would begin with 1969’s Have Sword, Will Travel until The Blood Brothers in 1973, which was soon followed by the foundation of Cheng’s Film Company in Taiwan. The first production of this company was Heroes Two in 1974.

Have Sword, Will Travel (1969)

Vengeance (1970)

The third period in Chang Cheh’s filmography could be called his Taiwanese period. This time in his career was when Chang Cheh relocated to Taiwan to form Cheng’s Film Co. Cheng's Film Co. was really an operation funded by the Shaw Brothers to allow them to use monies stuck in Taiwan that could not leave the country due to government regulations regarding film production. Still, Chang Cheh had a degree of autonomy that he normally would not have under the Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong. One example of this would be on Marco Polo when Carter Wong had a small staring role. Wong had been reported as saying that he wanted the chance to work with Chang Cheh, but did not want to sign a standard Shaw contract. This allowed him the opportunity to work with Cheng Cheh outside of the studio system These films, while still often having Ti Lung or David Chiang (or both), marked the development of future Shaw legends such as Chen Kuan Tai, Alexander Fu Sheng, Johhny Wang, Leung Kar-Yan, Chi Kuan-Chi, and even a young Gordon Liu. In a sense, this period would lead to the development of the leading men for the remainder of the Shaw Brothers studios. This period marked the beginning of the Shaolin cycle of films. Their success led to the large number of Shaolin-themed films by other companies that have long been a favorite of fans, who in turn have Chang Cheh to thank for them. With these films, beginning with Heroes Two (and its mini-documentary that precedes it: Three Hung Fist), there was a new focus on authentic martial arts and artists. Chen Kuan Tai was a Monkey style kung fu champion before he started working at the Shaw Brothers. This period was also defined by the works of his epic productions, noted for featuring Richard Harrison and stories such as Seven Man Army, Boxer Rebellion, and Marco Polo among others. This period in his career lasted from Heroes Two in 1974 to the end of Cheng’s Film Co with Magnificent Wanders (although Naval Commandos and the troubles between David Chiang and Ti Lung on set in many ways marked the end of this period).

Three Hung Fist (aka Three Hung Style) (1974)

Heroes Two (1974)

Shaolin Martial Arts (1974)

Seven Man Army (1976)

New Shaolin Boxers (1976)

The next period in Cheng Cheh’s career is perhaps his most beloved by many and possibly can be summed up in one small, yet immortal phrase, ”Poison Clan Rocks the World!” Yes, this period can be called the Venoms era. This time, Chang Cheh was looking for new stars to further his hopes of remaining dynamic and fresh while passing on his teachings to a new generation, and at the same time entertaining his audiences. This team of actors set the world aflame with their amazing action skills and highly entertaining plots and characters. This era alone has had a huge influence on American rap groups, such as the Wu-Tang Clan and many others. Phillip Kwok, Lu Feng, Lo Meng, Sun Chien, and Chiang Sheng began together in the landmark film Five Deadly Venoms in 1978 and began one of the most well-remembered teams of martial artists the world has even known! Though some in Hong Kong have viewed this period as marking the beginning of the downfall of Cheng Cheh in terms of budget and “quality,” nothing can be further from the truth as these films unleashed a new level of martial arts talents and exciting stories. The films ranged from tales of revenge and honor in Flag of Iron and Crippled Avengers to mystery and suspense in Masked Avengers, Kid with the Golden Arm and Five Deadly Venoms. For many people, these films represented the golden age of the Shaw Brothers. This period started in 1978 with Five Deadly Venoms and ended with 1982’s House of Traps, which, aside from 1983’s The Weird Man, was his final picture for the Shaw Brothers.

Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

Crippled Avengers (1978)

Kid with the Golden Arm (1979)

Sword Stained with Royal Blood (1981)

The final period of Cheng Cheh’s career could be called the Baby Venoms era. This period was marked by the end of Cheng Cheh’s active career, but in many ways should not be viewed as a sad event. Several of the people who trained under Cheng Cheh began to have very fruitful careers. John Woo and Wu-Ma have stayed busy since their early work with Cheng Cheh and Philip Kwok remains an in-demand action chorographer. Ti Lung, Jimmy Wang Yu, David Chiang brought up by Chang Cheh at the Shaws along with other co-stars are regarded as legends. This thanks to their work with Cheng Cheh. The Baby Venoms were an attempt by Cheng Cheh to find and promote new stars continuing what he had done in the past. This period started with Attack of the Joyful Goddess in 1983 and concluded with 1990’s Hidden Hero. The career of Cheng Cheh ended as he started trying to further Chinese cinema and his actors. Many of the Baby Venom films were remakes of his older films. He hoped to bring his stars the same success as previous Shaw Brother films. Sadly, Baby Venom films did not achieve worldwide success financially, but often feature exciting martial arts talent. They still have a cult following and the Baby Venoms still find work through the success of working with Chang Cheh, often appearing on TV and film, such as Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle. Cheng Cheh’s stature only grew over time, receiving acclaim from those whom he influenced directly to fans worldwide who watch his pictures (from musical arts, directors, and actors). Cheng Cheh was even granted a lifetime achievement award by the Hong Kong Film Association in 2001. He passed away in 2002 after making nearly 90 films. Even though he has passed away, his legacy will always be remembered with the release of re-mastered Shaw Brothers films that started shortly before his death. Now a new generation of fans can enjoy and learn from these films—just as the master himself would have hoped.

Note: Baby Venoms footage is sometimes hard to find, but it will be added in the next few days, as I have to transfer it myself. For now, please enjoy this trailer for Just Heroes produced by many of his former stars and crew to help finance his retirement. Chang Cheh (along with editing a Chinese version himself that sadly has still not appeared on home video) donated all of the profits to the study and teaching of film. This stayed true to his goal of teaching and helping the next generation of filmmakers that was always part of his moral character. Cheng Cheh remains a model example of a good person for future directors, actors, and even just fans.

Just Heroes (1989)