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Zen Kwando Strikes in Paris and other John Liu movies


Tantheman
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John Liu was one of the first old skool actors I got in to, I remember staying off school to watch Incredible Kung Fu Mission, classic!

I've got nearly all his films now, and Zen Kwando was one which I hadn't been able to find. Thanks to Bigrogie I traded for it, and watched it the other day.

I have to say I think its got some of the best onscreen fighting I've ever seen, especially the end fight with Roger Paschy. It's so vicious, full of skill and speed. I can't believe John Liu didn't choreograph more films, I think the choreography in this film is up there with Secret Rivals and Snuff Bottle Connection. What do you guys think of the film?

Also what about the other movies he made eg. Dragon Blood? I think it has to be said they are pretty dire apart from the amazing action. Unintentionally funny too!

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Morgoth Bauglir

I like how in Dragon Blood all the white guys have guns, but nobody can pull their gun out before John Liu starts kicking them. It got so repetitious that I couldn't help but laugh. I haven't seen Zen KwanDo, but I've seen the fights on youtube countless times. I need to get a copy of it some time.

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I like how in Dragon Blood all the white guys have guns, but nobody can pull their gun out before John Liu starts kicking them. It got so repetitious that I couldn't help but laugh...

XD!!

That reminds me of those old Barnaby Jones TV episodes where, everytime BJ pulls his gun, the baddies would fire, he'd duck, they'd miss, and he'd fire back and nail them! LOL!

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ive been looking for zen kwan do for quite some time. you know, at first i really didn't like john liu, but when i found out he was a student of Flash Legs Tan, i gave him another shot. he grew on me. the next one (besides ZKD) im going to get is struggle through death. Now i know alot of people don't like that movie (i also read the review on here and another site saying to save my money), however, quite o few of the older KF movie fans that come in always ask for it, so i usually try to get what people want. Four people in the last 3 months asked, and of the four, two told me stories about paying 2 bux downtown to see it on a double bill. from what the old timers tell me, chicago had some great theaters that showed alot of kf movies, but had to be shut down due to gangs (?). we need something like that now.

Tantheman, im certain you have seen it. what is your take on struggle through death?

and dragon's blood was a major downer. got it on a double billed dvd with shanghai joe. now the sequel to shanghai joe is something else ive been looking for

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ive been looking for zen kwan do for quite some time. you know, at first i really didn't like john liu, but when i found out he was a student of Flash Legs Tan, i gave him another shot. he grew on me. the next one (besides ZKD) im going to get is struggle through death. Now i know alot of people don't like that movie (i also read the review on here and another site saying to save my money), however, quite o few of the older KF movie fans that come in always ask for it, so i usually try to get what people want. Four people in the last 3 months asked, and of the four, two told me stories about paying 2 bux downtown to see it on a double bill. from what the old timers tell me, chicago had some great theaters that showed alot of kf movies, but had to be shut down due to gangs (?). we need something like that now.

Tantheman, im certain you have seen it. what is your take on struggle through death?

and dragon's blood was a major downer. got it on a double billed dvd with shanghai joe. now the sequel to shanghai joe is something else ive been looking for

Actually That's another one I've not seen, mainly due to its bad press, like you! That one and Invincible Kung fu Trio are the two I've yet to see. Trio has had some of the worst reviews I've ever heard for any Kung Fu film. I've seen a few of the fights from Struggle through death, they look okay. I would defintiely seek out Zen Kwando if I were you though, it's worth it like I said! Are you trading? If so give me a PM, I'm really getting in to trading, could do one with you for Zen Kwando. Same goes for you Morgoth.

Yeah Shanghai Joe is great, got the same double bill as you. Didn't know there was a sequel! You know where to get it?

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Actually That's another one I've not seen, mainly due to its bad press, like you! That one and Invincible Kung fu Trio are the two I've yet to see. Trio has had some of the worst reviews I've ever heard for any Kung Fu film. I've seen a few of the fights from Struggle through death, they look okay. I would defintiely seek out Zen Kwando if I were you though, it's worth it like I said! Are you trading? If so give me a PM, I'm really getting in to trading, could do one with you for Zen Kwando. Same goes for you Morgoth.

Yeah Shanghai Joe is great, got the same double bill as you. Didn't know there was a sequel! You know where to get it?

its called the return of shanghai joe, and again stars klaus kinski, howevr this time as a different character. i have yet to own or see this one. anything spaghetti western oriented is ok in my book

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I'm a huge John Liu fan, one of the few on this forum. Struggle through Death was ok but not his best work. I appreciate character building but this movie just took way to long to get going. When it did it was decent at best.

I enjoy most of his work with the exception of Invincible Kung Fu Trio, which he just had a minor role and was sloppy as I couldn't believe!

My favorite of John Liu is Showdown of Master Warriors (Death Duel of Kung Fu). One of my all time favorite classics. Sharp choreography with a great cast (Don Wang Tao, Eagle Han Ying and a beautiful lady), simple story, nice scenery and plenty of fights.

Other favorites are Dragon on Fire, Assignment to Kill (New South Hand Blows/Northern Kicks), Zen Kwan Do Strikes in Paris aka Avenging Ninja (fights only), Made in China (Ninja in the Claws of CIA; Kung Fu Emanuelle) (fights only), Invincible Armour, Secret Rivals, Secret Rivals 2, Snuff Bottle Connection, Renegade Monk (Shaolin Ex-Monk), Fighting Ace (Master Of Death; Kid's Ace In The Hole), Two Great Cavaliers, Mars Villa, Instant Kung Fu Man (fights), like I said most of his films. XD

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I became a fan of his after watching Death Duel of Kung Fu, damn that movie was sick. I saw Fighting Ace recently, was better than i expected. The fight/training bit with Kwan Young-moon was incredible (but too short)

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I loved the move in Fighting Ace where Liu holds his leg in an axe kick position and kills a guy who tries to sneak attack from behind.

I did like Liu's final fight scene against Dragon Shek in Trinity Goes East. Liu may have been older but he still was able to do some decent kicking.

My all-time favorite of his films though is Mar's Villa. Loved his fight against Stephen Tung Wei where they were practically went kick for kick and then his fights against Philip Ko were great plus the storyline was pretty decent for a kung fu film IMO.

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Yeah I think Fighting Ace is undderated. Pretty good end fight, love that crash zoom out from the acrobatic move at the end! I love Mar's Villa, again one of the first I saw. The Tung Wai fight is a bit short, but sweet. Tung Wai is so cool in it though! I can't chooe between the Phillip Ko fight in that and the Dragon, the Hero, for me they are both so good.

My fave at the moment has to be Invincible Armour. Again huge thanks to Bigrogie, I got the widescreen remastered version from a trade. It is a joy to behold. The plot is so tight, the atmosphere is suitably spaghetti western like, you get John Liu, Hwang Jang Lee AND Phillip Ko! And that end fight is so well executed and cool in concept

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GOLDEN DRAGON YIN-YANG

I was on HKMDB studying Godfrey Ho and I saw this film, which I have never heard of the clip with Phillip Ko and John Liu looks and is awesome.

 

And Godfrey Ho stars in this.

 

Any comments?

 

565f20f0cdf87_DragonBlood1982-1-b.thumb.

 

 

 

 

Reviewed by: Frank Lakatos
Date: 02/08/2006
Summary: Another crazy John Liu production!

 

Dragon's Blood(1982) is John Liu's last independant project, shot in Mexico. This movie is as crazy as his other independant productions, mixing camels, a Mexican desert, cowboys, and Philip Ko in Manchurian attire. John liu gets blinded by some French treasure hunters, who are after a golden dragon pendant, that belonged to Liu's brother or teacher, is lost and stolen. Liu plays Zatoichi for the remainder of the movie, doing blind kickfighting, while his real life wife helps Liu train. The movie is a western, but there wasn't enough of a budget to hire Mexicans and bullets, but when will you ever see a Manchurian Philip Ko take on and disarm cowboys with kung fu, and a duel between Liu in Ko in a Mexican desert full of cactuses? Of John liu's independant Zen Kwun Do productions, this is one of the most well choreographed of them, simply because Philip Ko was around to play the villain. Liu's acting is solid, but the budget just couldn't support the talent. This is Liu's most demanding production, shooting a kung fu movie is a desert, with the lowest of budgets, in the most difficult of conditions, and through his effective acting and Ko's presence, really makes this movie fun to watch. Philip Ko is in top form, even in the diffuclt conditions this movie was shot in, as his kung fu is powerful and very well choreographed. John Liu's fights with a degree of power and emotions never seen before in any of his movies, as Liu was possibly motivated by the difficult shooting conditions. 0.5 for the movie, 3.5 for the choreography.

 

 

 

 

龍血
Dragon Blood (1982)

 
Alias: Dragon's Blood
Country: Taiwan
Genre: Martial Arts 
 
Director
 John Liu Chung-Liang
 
Script
 John Liu Chung-Liang
 
Action Director
 John Liu Chung-Liang
 
Producer
 John Liu Chung-Liang
 
DragonBlood+1982-1-t.jpg
 
Cast
 John Liu Chung-Liang...Liu
 Phillip Ko Fei...Ko Fei Hung
 Roger Paschy...Paschy
 Cyrielle Claire...Pauline
 Guy Ignace  
 Godfrey Ho Jeung-Keung  
 
Production Company
 John Liu's (H. K.) Film Corp.
 
Cinematographer
 Yau Kei (2)
 
Sound Recordist
 Kwong Wu
 
Editor
 Cheung Kwok-Kuen (1)
 
Assistant Director
 Godfrey Ho Jeung-Keung
 
Composer
 Stanley Chow Fook-Leung
 
Assistant Action Director
 

Phillip Ko Fei

 

GD Y-Y

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John Liu in Paris 2/6 , zzzzz boring , his gf gets kidnapped

Liu in Mexico 3/6 , more like Liu on Tenerife lol.......takes places mex-US border , baddies after golden dragon broche , they blind him. Fight scenes are nothing special.

Its too bad , i really wanted to like these films :/

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Cognoscente
On 6/14/2009 at 5:25 PM, Tantheman said:

I have to say I think its got some of the best onscreen fighting I've ever seen, especially the end fight with Roger Paschy. It's so vicious, full of skill and speed. I can't believe John Liu didn't choreograph more films, I think the choreography in this film is up there with Secret Rivals and Snuff Bottle Connection.

It's too bad that Roger Paschy didn't bring along John to choreograph Gwendoline (1984) starring Tawny Kitaen. Instead, Roger was the choreographer and it really makes the movie come off like a poor man's version of a HK movie, especially when you consider that there are Chinese people amongst the cast.

Roger looks like Pomson Shi.

10379920_266369506884039_8772847738295666242_o.jpg

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did this get a remaster yet? a guilty pleasure of mine. i have a decent letterboxed print maybe spanish TV i think been years since i watched it.

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I watched Ninja in the Claws of the CIA (1981) - aka Kung Fu Emanuelle - today. That was one bizarre little vanity project. The CIA helps a Russian scientist defect, who agrees to help them train super-soldiers with a hypnosis technique that'll render regular soldiers impervious to pain and sexual longing. The scientist is killed by double agents, so the CIA employs John Liu (played by John Liu), a Zen Kwun Do master (much like the real one!!!!) who has mastered an ancient Chinese art of self-hypnosis. By "employ" I mean they blackmail him into becoming a martial arts instructor for their recruits. He eventually drops out of the project with his new girlfriend, a CIA computer analyst. The CIA kill her and John Liu flees to Paris, where he tries to start a new life. When the CIA shows up there and the bodies pile up, the hunted will soon become the hunter.

So, John Liu is playing a glorified version of himself (look for a magazine cover touting his fight with Chuck Norris when the CIA brass discuss his character). People who don't like his one-legged kicking style will not be swayed into John Liu fandom with this film. People who already like it will be fine with the action. Roger Paschy and Casanova Wong are on hand to provide some more robust screen action: their sparring match is arguably the highlight of the film. The big showdown between Liu and Roger Paschy is unintentionally funny, as they meet at a ceramics store, just so they can break dozens of pots when the fists and feet start flying.

 The version I saw showed numerous signs of having been cut. There is some salaciousness on display, the showstopper being where the CIA honeypot agent goes down on John while he's performing a kata in order to test the strength of his self-hypnosis(!!!) We've heard of dry-humping, but have you ever heard of dry-blowing? That's this scene. He also gets a long sex scene with his second girlfriend, although its shot and edited to avoid outright nudity.

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Do you know, is there any actual evidence of John Liu  having ever actually had a match with Chuck Norris? My understanding is that Chuck's last tournament match was in 1970 against Al Dacascos (despite Chuck & his publicists' oft repeated claims that he "held the title until he retired in 1974")? Is there any actual photographic evidence that would verify that Chuck ever participated in any kind of tournament with (or even met!) John Liu?

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14 hours ago, Bruce said:

Do you know, is there any actual evidence of John Liu  having ever actually had a match with Chuck Norris? My understanding is that Chuck's last tournament match was in 1970 against Al Dacascos (despite Chuck & his publicists' oft repeated claims that he "held the title until he retired in 1974")? Is there any actual photographic evidence that would verify that Chuck ever participated in any kind of tournament with (or even met!) John Liu?

This article (in Greek) suggests that they did have an exhibition match of sorts in 1976: 

 https://nasosmartialarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/john-liu-vs-chuck-norris.html

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Ninja In The Claws Of The CIA

John Liu is recruited against his will to train CIA soldiers in a new technique involving martial arts and hypnosis. He eventually escapes and pursued by agents we visit France,Mexico and Spain amongst other places. I'm a John Liu fan but this is pretty crap, he should've stuck to his Taiwanese kung fu epics. Casanova Wong is here ,playing a brainwashed baddie/goodie. The print i watched from Cinemageddon ran just under 85 minutes, and had a few inserts in spanish language with english subs,assume to make it uncut. I hope the coming New York Ninja is better than this one.

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NoKUNGFUforYU
On 9/6/2021 at 7:28 AM, DrNgor said:

This article (in Greek) suggests that they did have an exhibition match of sorts in 1976: 

 https://nasosmartialarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/john-liu-vs-chuck-norris.html

Chuck was very, very defensive of his reputation, especially when full contact came about and he didn't make the transition. Guys that he had fought jumped in. Chuck probably would have gotten his ass kicked. Some of these point guys won matches by getting hit in the face, laid out and the other guy getting disqualified (Pat Johnson, Chuck's buddy claimed victory over Joe Lewis, but when people looked up the tournament, Pat won by losing in a real match). Chuck tried to sue GH when they released Game of Death as his career was getting started and he didn't want to have everyone remember his biggest break had been playing Bruce Lee's punching bag. Chuck and a lot of those other LA guys like Ed Parker were trying to get famous through Karate, which is OK I guess, but all seems silly now that we have MMA, Muay Thai, Sanda, and Kyokushin you can watch with knockouts. Hell, even Tae Kwon Do has knockouts. Sorry for the sour post, but some of these LA guys really irk me in retrospect.

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Chuck tried to sue Golden Harvest because they were promoting GAME OF DEATH with his name on the poster and he turned down a role in the Clouse version(presumably the part Bob Wall played).  Something must have been worked out financially since Chuck later worked with Game of Death producer and exec Andre Morgan on WALKER TEXAS RANGER.  When Chuck was hitting it big in the 70s with GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK, none of us(kids) knew he was in RETURN OF THE DRAGON.  ROTD was sort of a post-kung fu boom afterthought on the drive-in/fleapit circuit.  It wasn't released here in the US until 1975 and was often paired with TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE.  Chuck's movies were promoted on him being a world karate champion and sort of a Bronson style hero, they were not linked to his appearance in a Bruce Lee movie or pretending he'd been a kickboxer.  And kickboxing was not a very successful sport back then.  Its peak was probably in 1983-84 when the PKA was the #1 show on ESPN.  Even then, PKA Full Contact Karate did not draw large crowds, but packed small town civic centers, similar to how regional pro wrestling promotions drew house shows.  I know, because I attended a PKA card in 1984.  Filled the event center, but it was not a big event center. If you look back at the crowd numbers listed in the magazines of the time, it's kind of surprising how low the draw was.  Too bad, because as a spectator, it was preferable to MMA.

Edited by dionbrother
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NoKUNGFUforYU
Just now, dionbrother said:

Chuck tried to sue Golden Harvest because they were promoting GAME OF DEATH with his name on the poster and he turned down a role in the Clouse version(presumably the part Bob Wall played).  Something must have been worked out financially since Chuck later worked with Game of Death producer and exec Andre Morgan on WALKER TEXAS RANGER.  When Chuck was hitting it big in the 70s with GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK, none of us(kids) knew he was in RETURN OF THE DRAGON.  ROTD was sort of a post-kung fu boom afterthought on the drive-in/fleapit circuit.  It wasn't released here in the US until 1975 and was often paired with TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE.  Chuck's movies were promoted on him being a world karate champion and sort of a Bronson style hero, they were not linked to his appearance in a Bruce Lee movie or pretending he'd been a kickboxer.  And kickboxing was not a very successful sport back then.  Its peak was probably in 1983-84 when the PKA was the #1 show on ESPN.  Even then, PKA Full Contact Karate did not draw large crowds, but packed small town civic centers, similar to how regional pro wrestling promotions drew house shows.  I know, because I attended a PKA card in 1984.  Filled the event center, but it was not a big event center. If you look back at the crowd numbers listed in the magazines of the time, it's kind of surprising how low the draw was.  Too bad, because as a spectator, it was preferable to MMA.

I guess that depends on the region you were in. I lived in the SF Bay Area in the 1970's and we were well aware of Chuck being in Return of the Dragon. There was a huge martial arts community there and a lot of local karate teachers that wound up doing stunts in The Yellow Faced Tiger and Chinatown Capers. Chuck had been trying to become famous for years before even Bruce Lee movies were around, dragging some kid on the Flip Wilson show that was his little black belt and showing a bunch of silly self defense moves. There was a line around the block at 10 AM on a school day to see Return of the Dragon in Oakland CA back then, and yes, it wasn't full of white people (except me!) but it was packed and did very well. Anyone that read karate magazines saw that Chuck had a relationship with Bruce Lee. You are correct, full contact was not as popular as it should have been, but considering point karate almost never was on TV, it was at least on Wide World of Sports as well as Benny's fights on Howard Hanson's sports show as I recall. Martial Arts, with the exception of BJJ and mall TKD schools has pretty much died down in the Bay Area. Karate and Tae Kwon Do are now seen as sort of kid's stuff, while Jiu Jitsu has taken off, though it seems to attract a lot of fascist types, such as Renzo Gracie and newly released convict Ralph Gracie, who has a penchant for sucker punching. Kano would be spinning in his grave......

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NoKUNGFUforYU

BTW, Way of the Dragon's box office so far has been $130,000,000. Good Guys Wear Black $18,000,000. A Force of One did a little better, grossing $20,000,000. Both had to be four walled, as no studios wanted either film. Do a Google search. While the theaters that Bruce Lee's movies played in would sometimes be in the "hood", they were full. Game of Death, with 20 minutes of Bruce Lee, and some really bad acting (about Chuck Norris level acting) still made $58,000,000, which would probably equal all of the box office of Chuck's first 4 or 5 films.

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Bruce Lee movies were a bigger deal in markets like the Bay Area(got pals who grew up there the same time you did).  But the rest of country it was more of a cult fleapit thing.  They had popular, annual runs, but it was not the fanatical following you'd find in the Bay Area or New York.  WAY OF THE DRAGON's box office grosses are likely totaled from its entire theatrical run until the mid-80s, when Columbia would pair it on a double feature with GAME OF DEATH.  They picked it up when Bryanston went out of business(and to prison). Plus adding in the international grosses.  $18-20 million are excellent takes for an independent film in the 70s.  In today's money, GOOD GUYS would have taken in $75 million when you adjust that gross for inflation.  Studios weren't doing chop sockey in the late 70s.  Norris brought it back and Hollywood paid attention to the money his films made for American Cinema, so he garnered better deals with Avco-Embassy, Columbia and MGM while American Cinema went bankrupt over CHARLIE CHAN & THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN, FORCE FIVE and BEATLEMANIA(and that studio was built off Chuck's efforts).  Chuck tried to be famous because Steve McQueen told him he should do movies(I guess we can blame McQueen for Chuck and Bruce in some ways).  Plus he was teaching celebrities and I'm sure they told him it would be a breeze to give acting a try.  If Donny and Marie Osmond or Bob Barker tell you go for it, you gonna tell them they're crazy?  Anyway, it worked out well for Chuck since he's likely the biggest financial success story in martial arts movie history, thanks to his tv series.  He was also the secret money man for the Machados opening BJJ schools in the US a couple of decades back, but that's another story for another time(it involves the Gracies screwing him over).

Interesting thing about GOOD GUYS when I watched it for the first time in some 40 years, it was basically a PARALLAX VIEW type of thriller except with a few Tang Soo Do fights.  And damn I actually enjoyed it and Chuck wasn't too bad in the acting department.  Dunno why he got so awful for a lot of the later movies.  I think his acting teacher Jonathan Harris(Dr. Smith from Lost In Space) was coaching him on the set.  Just speculating, though.  Wish he'd never signed a deal with Cannon Films.  That was the end of his movie stardom.

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