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Kung Fu: One of The Great T.V. Series of All Time

Kung Fu: One of The Great T.V. Series of All Time

Kung Fu starring the late David Carradine

Given the recent and unusual circumstances surrounding David Carradine’s death, I thought it only appropriate to let some time pass between his untimely demise and reviewing his trademark character Kwai Chang Kaine in one of the greatest T.V. series ever made: Kung Fu.

Kung Fu lore has it that Bruce Lee originally conceived of the idea for the show and had wanted it to feature Lee as the star.  Carradine, however, pulls it off and would be known for the rest of his life as Kaine.  Kaine, an orphan who was raised by Shaolin monks, was forced to flee China after killing the emperor’s nephew in retaliation for the murder of his kung fu master Po (played by Keye Luke).  Constantly on the run from bounty hunters and assassins from China, Kaine wanders the American West in search of his half-brother Danny.  His conscience forces him to fight injustice wherever he encounters it, fueled by flashbacks of training during which his master famously referred to him as “Grasshopper.” Also dispensing wisdom is the head monk Master Kahn (played by Phillip Ahn).  This show has a very mystical quality and when combined with the eerie music of Jim Helms, that mystic quality is even more fully fleshed-out.

It’s detestable that anyone who hasn’t seen the show often lumps it in with the group of old, campy television shows like “The A-Team” or “Charlie’s Angels” or others similar shows of that ilk. To those Philistines I would like to say that any given, hour-long episode of “Kung Fu” probably contained only about 45 to 60 seconds of actual action–if not less even less. The fact is, David Carradine was as good a leading man and true actor as any TV drama has ever featured.

Caine was a true iconoclast (in the best sense of the word) within the world of mainstream network television–a complete reversal of nearly every American screen hero who came before.  He was not just peaceful–but passive and serene.  As Caine described it–“Kung Fu” was an “anti-revenge television show”–an astonishing premise for a show given the norm of the day.

It certainly could be argued that T.V. was just as much of a wasteland in the ’70s as it is today, but I long for the day when we will be able to view something as good as this again on broadcast television.

As Martin Scorsese (who gave Carradine’s eulogy) said, and with whom I completely agree, “We’re going to miss you Kawai Chang Kaine.”

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

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Kung-Fu the Legend Continues (1993-1997). What the Hell?

We here at JPFmovies previously reviewed “Kung Fu” the 1970’s cult classic which branded David Carradine as Kwai-Chain-Kane the Asian priest wandering the old west.  Decades later Kung Fu the Legend Continues (1993-1997) was aired also starring Carradine.  So let’s take a look at the Kung-Fu reboot “Kung -Fu he Legend Continues.”

We here at JPFmovies (in case you didn’t notice) are big fans of the 1970’s T.V. series Kung-Fu (1972-1975) starring a young David Carradine, Keye Luke, Philip An and an assortment of guest stars including Jody Foster and Harrison Ford.  However, 1975 was not the end of Kung Fu as Warner Bros. tried a few times to bring it back.  First was Kung Fu: The Movie, a made-for-TV special that aired on CBS in 1986, with Carradine as Caine, and co-starring Brandon Lee (yes, that Brandon Lee) as his heretofore unknown son.  That was followed in 1989 by another TV movie, again on CBS, entitled Kung Fu: The Next Generation, set in the present day and again starring Lee, but this time as Johnny Caine, the great-grandson of Carradine’s Caine (who doesn’t appear).

Kung Fu: The Next Generation didn’t go anywhere past the pilot stage, but four years later, Warner Bros. tried again for syndication, this time bringing Carradine back as well as preserving the contemporary setting.  As a result, in 1993, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was born, made in Toronto, Canada, it was truly a strange conglomeration of various plot devices/and ideas.  The show’s premise had Carradine again playing Kwai Chang Caine, this time the grandson of the original Caine, who tries to keep the old ways of the Shaolin alive — all the while solving crimes with his police detective son Peter (Chris Potter, also the voice of Gambit on Fox’s X-Men, appearing in Silk Stalkings and Queer as Folk) and a motley assortment of supporting characters.

Throughout the show, Caine dispenses aphorisms like “I am Caine, I will help you” while his son gushed clichés like, “I’m a cop! That’s who I am, that’s what I do!”  Not sure what demographic they were going for with this series.  The show used the slow-motion martial arts device that the original Kung Fu pioneered as well as the truly tired cop stories and low budget production values, while Toronto as an obvious stand in for San Francisco to reduce costs.  That said, The Legend Continues made it 88 episodes after 4 seasons and was not canceled due to low ratings but the studio Prime-Time Entertainment Network, simply going out of business.

We here at JPFmovies believe that is why the enigmatic Legend Continues series remains off most people’s radar.  The bastard child of the original Kung Fu and the tired cop themed shows that have plagued our airwaves for decades.  Most of the writing was done by Michael Sloan, the show’s producer, who obviously found many of the scripts on the internet or via outright copyright infringement of other media.  Some of the lines are so contrived that you wonder what they were thinking.  If you don’t believe us just take a look at the clips we’ve provided.

Here is the problem JPFmovies has.  We are Kung Fu junkies so we are having a really hard time complaining about the show since it stars David Carradine as Caine—albeit a distant character altogether.  On the other hand, if it were any other show we would have come down pretty hard on it.  You see our dilemma?

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 

A Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) a Movie that is as funny as Kentucky Fried Chicken is Delicious.

Anyone who has seen So I Married and Axe Murder remembers the father’s claim that Colonel Sanders put some mysterious chemicals in his chicken “so that you crave it fort-nightly.”  I could not agree more nor could agree more that A Kentucky Fried Movies is dollar for dollar one of the funniest movies even made (the film had a total budget of $650,000 and made millions).

A Kentucky Fried Movie consists of largely unconnected sketches that parody various film and TV genres.  The movie’s longest segment (and main feature) satirized an early, yet classic, kung-fu film: Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon; its title, A Fistful of Yen, refers to A Fistful of Dollars.  Parodies of disaster films (That’s Armageddon), blaxplotation (Cleopatra Schwartz) and softcore porn/women-in-prison films (Catholic High School Girls in Trouble) are presented as “Coming Attraction” trailers to the martial arts classic.  Many other sketches spoof TV commercials and programs, news broadcasts, and classroom educational films.  The city of Detroit and its high crime rate are a running gag portraying the city as a literal Hell-on-Earth; in “A Fistful of Yen,” the evil drug lord orders a captured CIA agent to be sent to Detroit, and the agent screams and begs to be killed or castrated instead of that.

“The popcorn you’re eating has been pissed in…film at eleven.”

—Kentucky Fried Movie’s TV anchor

What does this movie really mean to me?  Simple.  At some point in the early 1980’s, the clamps went down on American Studios and they lost their balls.  The American movie system began to bow to special interests and censor itself away from nudity, confrontation, and anything else that might slightly offend anyone.  Films that would have been seen as ‘for adults’ in the pre-ratings-happy 1970’s were suddenly not acceptable for release in the 1980’s, as studio executives clamored for the baby market and shied away from anything that might get mommy writing a letter to a sponsor.

Then came the 1990’s, where the studios claim that they’d reversed the trend, with “outlandish” comedians like Adam Sandler, Martin Lawrence and anyone else who ever lugged a cable on Saturday Night Live.  Oh how Sandler’s wacky Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore re-captured the truly satirical and gritty humor of Animal House or a Kentucky Fried movie—anyone comparing the two genres of films who would say these movies are in the same league is nothing short of a fool.  For those of us lucky enough to know what real guerilla comedy was all about, recall the outrageous humor that the Zuckers gave us back when there may have been rules, but no one paid attention or nobody cared, are now we are tortured with crap like The Waterboy and Deuce Bigelow that are somewhere along the level of animal shit on the comedic evolutionary scale.  Then, with 2000, came the evolution of a new, lower life form: Tom Green.  Fellow readers, we’re going backwards, and if you want to see the standard that we were at back when comedy that was pure, offensive and was freely given to those looking to take it, then The Kentucky Fried Movie is for you.  Whether you have to stay up late to watch it or get the DVD I suggest you do it, you will not waste 90 minutes of your life whereas watching “Deuce Bigelow” or “Beverly Hills Ninja” you will.

That is what I think anyways.  Your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Movie Reviews

 

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Revenge of the Nerds (1984).

I went to a Sci-Fi “Con” and the movie Revenge of the Nerds (1984) came to mind starring, among others, a young Anthony Edwards, Ted McGinley and Robert Carradine.

I went to Wiscon (a feminist Sci-Fi convention) over the Memorial Day weekend and then it came to me: Revenge of the Nerds all the way back to 1984!  I was not even in high school when this masterpiece came out but it made me laugh pretty hard especially given my sci-fi surroundings.

For those of you who may not have seem this film, or at least may have forgotten about it, Revenge of the Nerds really is a classic 1980’s film: “undeniably lowbrow but surprisingly sly, Revenge of the Nerds has enough big laughs to qualify as a minor classic in the slobs-vs. snobs subgenre” according to Rotten Tomatoes.  And a minor classic it is.

The film starts with Edwards and Carradine (both nerds) going to the fictional Atoms College.  They are kicked out of the freshmen dorms by the Alpha Betas, a fraternity composed primarily of football team members, after the Alphas carelessly burn down their own frat house.  Dean Ulich sets up the freshmen in temporary quarters in the school’s gymnasium, but allows them to rush the fraternities to alleviate their housing situation. Lewis, Gilbert, and other nerds fail to gain fraternity membership, but are able to rent and completely renovate a rundown two-story campus house.

However, the nerds are not left alone by the “jocks” who continue to haze them to the point of destroying their newly renovated residence.  Being the last straw, predictably, causes a showdown wherein nerd-Edwards makes a moving speech about nerd oppression turning the crows of listeners to their side and the Dean then orders the jock-Alpha Betas to repair the nerds’ house while allowing the nerds to stay in the Alpha Beta’s house until the repairs are completed with the dean stating “you’re jocks, go live in the gym.” The film ends with the nerds and alumni celebrating their victory, as rock band Queen’s power ballad “We Are the Champions” plays over the scene.

A word about some of the key actors mentioned above, of course Robert Carradine being the youngest son of Kung Fu Legend David Carradine playing the nerd-fraternity president and Anthony Edwards who would later go on to co-star in the hit Top Gun and then star in the TV series ER for many years.  Perhaps the most interesting actor Ted McGinley was given the name “the patron saint of shark-jumping” by jumptheshark.com founder Jon Hein.  This is a reference to the popular and enduring shows which have featured him in their declining years often to replace a departing regular cast member.  Shark-jumping shows like Happy Days and The Love Boat until he eventually go to Married With Children where he replaced one of the main characters but the show went on for another 6-7 years due in part to McGinley’s new character.

If you like John Hughes films you’ll like Revenge of the Nerds.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in Movie Reviews

 

Page 2 of Our Movie Index For Your Reading Pleasure.

Here is out list of links continued to our other reviews for you to enjoy.

Now To NHK’s Musashi Part 2.

Movies 3&4 of the 5 Part Series–Musashi Birth of the 2 Sword Style and Musashi Miyamoto 4: Duel at Ichijoji Temple.

Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955) a/k/a Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijôji no kettô.

Musashi-NHK’s 2003 49 Episode Series Part 1.

Zen & Sword and Showdown at Hannyazaka–been having some Internet problems lately.

Installment 1 Musashi the Early Years

We interrupt this Musashi series to bring you SS’s maiden review: Keeping up with the Joneses

Introduction to our Series about Musashi

Well since Silver is unsure and Dangerous doesn’t know . . . Here we go.

If there was one man in Japan who deserved a six-post series of reviews, who would it be?

Our third and final salute to Rip Torn: HBO’s Flashpoint (1984)

Next in our Rip Torn Series: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)—If Torn was not in this, you would be wise to dodge the film.

Rip Torn, Richard (“Shaft”) Roundtree, Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds in “City Heat” (1984) or City Heat—better turn on the air conditioning to watch this one.

I’ve decided we need another tribute–a trifecta of flidecided we need another tribute–a trifecta of flicks with Rip Torn!

Harakiri (1962) or How I learned to love the bamboo sword.

 Here is our third and final installment of our tribute to Burt Reynolds: “Malone” (1987).

Dangerous paid tribute on her site to Japan in light of the natural disasters. So I hereby interrupt this Burt Reynolds tribute to do the same. Ichikawa Raizo stars in the Japanese classic “The Third Shadow” (1963)—you had better turn on the lights.

 Sharkey’s Machine: Who could have guessed that the father from “Family Affair” could play a vice-cop?

How can one properly review Smokey and the Bandit? I’m not sure but let’s try.

What’s Next? I’ll tell you (sort of)

  You asked for it & here it is–The Inside Job.

Battle of Los Angeles: Dr. H: I Watched the Movie and Lived to Tell the Tale

   It’s 1992 and it’s also the year of Glengarry Glen Ross.

  Samurai Fiction: The Original Kill Bill—Sorry Quentin Tarantino The Cat’s Out The Bag.

Heathers: One of the Only 1980’s Non-John Hughes Teen Movies.

Turk 182 Was Number 96!

Turk 182 or “Zimmerman Flew and Tyler Knew!” Also one of the only movies Kim Cattral keeps her clothes on.

 Bottle Rocket (1996)—A Movie of Débuts.

Here is one I’ll bet many of you have not seen: FM (1978)

Punishment Park—A “Mock-Documentary” that Easily Passes for a Real Documentary.

Since Polanski Has Generated So Much Activity . . . Let’s Look At The Ninth Gate (1999)

The Power of Basics: Bonnie Reviews Shaolin Monks in The Wheel of Life

JPF Looks At One Of The Greats: Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.

Dr. H Takes A Look At The Brando Classic: On The Waterfront.

Yes We Look At Another Peter Sellers Masterpiece: The Party (1968)

The Return of the King in Viva Las Vegas!

 Detective Dee—The latest “wuxia” movie recommended by our woman from the land down under.

 Here is a series that is may be lost but not forgotten: The Tick

Our Woman From Down Under Looks at “Valiant Ones.”

 I can’t believe it took me this long to review a Pink Panther movie.

Ridley Scott’s: Robin Hood (2010) Not Blackhawk Down but not bad either.

Dr. H Calls in Wall Street–Money Never Sleeps

Passenger 57—Get passage out of the theater for this one.

That is right, another Gene Wilder & Richard Pryor Classic: Stir Crazy (1980)

Ah the 1970’s When the Ladies Still Drank Hard Liquor—Silver Streak (1976)

Tai Chi Master [太極張三豐] (1993) By Silver

Wild Things (1998) I like it not because it could be considered “racy,” but because Bill Murray and Robert Wagner are outrageous in this film.

Final Look At the B-Movies: Four Brothers.

Dangerous Takes A Look At: Magic Blade (1976) Shaw Brothers Classic.

What Some Guys Won’t do for a Little Action.

Our First “B” Movie Review: The Substitute II-Schools Out.

Let’s get back to some “B” Movies and by “B” I don’t mean Blockbusters.

 JPF Asks Why Don’t We Take a Look at Barton Fink?

 Dr. H and JP Look at “Operation Petticoat” what we dub as Humor In Uniform:

Jude Finestra Finally Looks At Bladerunner!

Let’s Take a Trip Back to the 1980s: Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

King Rat—A Movie Not Based On A Lie Like The Bridge Over the River Kwai.

 Some More Support Why Black Hawk Down is the Greatest War Movie Ever.

 I Have Not Written About Some Garbarge In A While: Thunderbirds

 The Business of Movie Theaters–Helps to Explain the Crap

 The Big Lebowski–Big Fun

JPF On Joe.

Judgment At Nuremberg

At Dr. H’s Request: Fight Club

Zatoichi The Fugitive: Better Late Than Never.

Office Space: Mike Judge’s Master Piece. (1999)

Kevin Costner–The Postman–Refuse and Return to Sender.

Dr. H & JP Collaborate Again on Walking Tall (1973) the Original—Not That 2004 Garbage.

We take a look at Once Upon A Time In China

Mike C Comes in With Some Thoughts on Red Cliff.

Harlem Nights: Smell the Rose Not the Dung

The Black Hawk Down Experience.

The Pentagon Wars—A Dark Comedy Worthy of Watching and Worthy of Two Clips.

JPF Examines the Classic: Dazed & Confused

 J.P. Reviews “The King” in Spinout (1966).

The Confessor–I can’t believe I am confessing that I watched this movie.

Dr. H & JP Collaborate Again on “Looking for Mr. Goodbar.”

Kung Fu: One of The Great T.V. Series of All Time

The Final Installment of Our Oliver Platt Tribute: Frost/Nixon

Let’s Talk About Double Indemnity (1944).

  Dr. H & J.P. Collaborate On Idiocracy.

Liberty Stand Still No. 2 of 3 in the Oliver Platt Tribute

Lake Placid–Oh Oliver I am sure this looked good on paper but . . .

Guest Reviewer Dr. H Takes A Hard Look at Shutter Island.

I know what the third Oliver Platt movie tribute will be: Frost/Nixon.

  Bravo 20–A Sleeping Rose.

Reviewer at Large Bonnie J Takes a Fresh Look at Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Baian The Assassin–The Review.

The Divine Weapon–Not a Bad Flick

Battle of Wits a.k.a Mozi Warrior. Watch it.

Armored–Believe it or not it is actually worse than 12 Rounds.

     Law Abiding Citizen

 Heavenly Mission–Hong Kong Triads, A Great Lawyer and the Bad Guys Win!

     Crank Yankers–Some Dung Some Roses.

Bad Lieutenant—The Original Not That New Crap

If you really feel the need to watch some crap then 12 Rounds is for you.

This Movie is like an old friend–”Real Men” Jim Belushi and John Ritter.

Well Since We Are Discussing T.V. That Still Should Be In Production . . .

Yes-Minister & Yes-Prime Minister Are British Shows That Should Still Be In Production.

Whenever a Cuban Revolution Occurs Take Advantage of it and Make a Movie.

I Can’t Believe They Put “Miami Vice” On This Movie.

The Zero Effect–Out of the Dung Heap and Into the Rose Garden.

The Hurt Locker–Not Crap Not A Rose.

A Little Woo Goes a Long Way: Red Cliff Parts 1 & 2.

 

Dr. H—long time contributor to JPFMovies makes his Revised Oscar predictions!

Dr. H—long time contributor to JPFMovies makes his Revised Oscar predictions!

Ok we’ve all been waiting for Dr. H. to release his revised picks for this year’s Oscars so here they are.  Please note that the revisions are due to transcription errors on behalf of the JPFmovies staff.

Best Movie:

Will Win:         “The Artist”

Should Win:    “The Artist”

Dark Horse:     “Hugo”

Strangely, after ruling the airwaves for more than three months, the Descendants fizzled out yielding all ground to the “Artist” and never recovered.  Some attribute this shift in power to the “Harvey Weinstein” factor.  JPFmovies feels it is the feel good factor working its chorus for the “Artist.”

Best Director:

Will Win:         “The Artist” (Michel Hazanavicius).

Should Win:    “Tree of Life” (Terrence Malick).

Dark Horse:     “Hugo” (Martin Scorsese).

Terrence Malick creates this little-seen masterpiece but the smart money is still on the “Artist.”

Best Actor:

Will Win:         George Clooney

Should Win:    George Clooney

George Clooney will win his 2nd Oscar.  A different role with the understated, repressed emotions played with nobility and panache.  The Oscar voters will love to vote this performance in.

Brad Pitt and Jean Dujardin were plainly unlucky to run into Clooney’s year.

Best Actress:

Will Win:         Viola Davis (The Help).

Should Win:    Viola Davis

Dark Horse:     Meryl Streep

The last time Streep won her Oscars was for her performances in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie’s Choice (1982), in which she gave a heart-wrenching portrayal of an inmate mother in a Nazi death camp.  Those Oscars were won when most Academy voters were still in high school.  Since Kramer vs Kramer and Sophie’s Choice, Streep has been nominated numerous times but no awards.  The only problem is that her impersonation of the “Iron Lady” Margret Thatcher is just that—an impersonation and Mrs. Thatcher does not have the same charisma she did in the 1980’s.  Unfortunately, JPFmovies does not see the pendulum swinging her way, which is too bad because Streep is probably the best living actress today.

Best Supporting Actor:

Will Win:         Christopher Plummer (Beginners).

Should Win:    Christopher Plummer.

Dark Horse:     “Jonah Hill.”

Jonah Hill did do a great job as the whiz kid totally against type casting.  But Plummer battles cancer and comes out of the closet two totally politically correct topics that raise hell of they were ignored.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Will and Should Win: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon for the “Descendants.”

Dark Horse:     “Moneyball.”

Best Original Screenplay:

Should and will win “Midnight in Paris.”

Dark Horse  “The Artist.”

Best Foreign Film:

Will and should Win “A Separation” (Iran).

Dark Horse  “Footnote” (Israel).

Best Animated Feature Film:

Will and Should Win—“Rango.”

Dark Horse “Kung Fu Panda  2.”

Best Original Score:

Will Win “The Muppets.”

Best Cinematography:

Will Win and Should Win “Tree of Life.”

Art Direction:

Will Win Should Win—“Hugo.”

Dark Horse “Harry Potter.”

Best Documentary:

Will Win To “Hell and Back Again”— From his embed with US Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris.

Dark Horse –“Undefeated” A documentary on an underdog football team who look to reverse their fortunes with Coach Bill Courtney.

Best Short Documentary:

Will Win “Saving Face” (Pakistan).  Every year hundreds of people — mostly women — are attacked with acid in Pakistan this short documentary follows several of these survivors.

Dark Horse “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.”  Survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan’s recent tsunami find the courage to revive and rebuild as cherry blossom season begins.

Best Makeup:

Will Win:  “Iron Lady” (Streep as Thatcher).

Dark Horse:  Albert Nobbs (Glen Close as a man)

Best Editing:

Will Win “Moneyball.”

Dark Horse “The Artist.”

Best Costume:

Will Win “Hugo.”

Dark Horse “Jane Eyre.”

Best Original Music Score:

Will Win “War Horse.”

Dark Horse “The Artist.”

Best Sound Editing:

Will Win “War Horse.”

Dark Horse “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Best Sound Mixing:

Will Win “Transformers Dark of the Moon.”

Best Visual Effects:

Will Win “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

Dark Horse “Hugo.”

We’ll see how Dr. H. does this year.  It will be tough for him to beat last year.  Good luck Dr. H we’ll see you in a couple of weeks.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Movie Reviews

 

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