Director Luis San Juan Story/Screenplay Jun
Cast Ramon Zamora, Vina Moreno, Jane Laurel, Amanda Suarez, Ben Perez, Soraya, Vic Gaza, Tange, Balot, Pabo, Pepot, Golay, Penggot, Menggay, Joann Griffith, Rudy Evangelista, Larry Esguerra, Jess Santos, SOS Daredevils, Monina Rojo, Menchie Palma [other sources list Mandy Bustamante]
Director/Producer Luis San Juan Story/Screenplay Jun San Juan Music Pablo Vergara Cinematography Fermin Pagsisthan
Cast Ramon Zamora, Jane Laurel, Menchie Palma, Tange, Mandy Bustamante, Pancho Pelagio, Menggay, Pepot, Penggot, Golay, Rudy Evangelista, Val Iglesia, Annie Crisostimo, William Mely, Tony Wang, Art Velasco, Mauricio, Bobby Blason, Leo Curay, Roland Falcis, Jun Velasco, Jay Grama, MM Stuntmen, SOS Daredevils, Louie Florentino, Gilbert Brown, Linda Yu, Rosa Luna, Linda Castro
Director Dan Inocencio Screenplay Mauro Cabuhat Editor Jett Espiritu Music Doming
Cast Ramon Zamora, Paquito Diaz, Marites Revilla, Cristina Reyes
Director Jun Gallardo Story/Screenplay Ka Ikong Producer Jun Dominguez Music Tito Sotto Cinematography Jojo Sangco
Cast Ramon Zamora, Jeanne Young, Elfe Brandeis, Eddie Garcia, Panchito Alba, Max Alvarado, Michael Murray, Ike Fernando, Rayvann
1973 – Pasiklab Brothers (Luis
Director Luis San Juan Screenplay Jun San Juan Cinematography Z. Corpuz Music Pablo Vergara
Cast Ramon Zamora, Balot, Tange, Pepot, Golay, Pugak, Penggot, Teroy de Guzman
1973 - Cobra At Lawin (Lords)
Director Danilo Cabreira Screenplay Humilde “Meek” Roxas
Cast Ramon Zamora, Vic Vargas, Rosanna Ortiz, Eva Reyes
1973 - Fist To Face (ESA)
[release date 23rd May 1973]
Director Charlie Ordonez Screenplay J. Tirazona Cinematography Joe Tutanes Music Geyju
Cast Roberto Gonzalez, Bentot, Pugak, Jerry Pons, Ngongo, Tintoy
1973 – The Blood Hero (Mirick)
[release date 22nd October 1973, rereleased 18th April 1975; HK export title “Bloody Hero”]
Directors Chik Yiu Cheung, Danny Ochoa Script Zackey Chan Ngai-Wai Producer Choi Chan-Diy Executive Producer Jesse Chua Associate Producer Raul Bagatsing Fight Instructors Poon Yiu Kwan, Tito Aquino, Ernie Ortega Cameraman Leung Kai Tak Makeup Artist Soledad Mauricio Stills Rogers, Remigio Young Propsman Leoncio Mariano Layout/Titles Franz Bejec Cameraman Ho Huk Wai Production Coordinator Rosita Yu Assistant Directors To Man, Angel Labra Production Managers Poon Yiu-Kwan, Michael Fung Kin-Kuen Presenter Tai Kam
Cast Meng Fei, Romy Mallari, Unicorn Chan, Christina Reyes, Dick Israel, Anna Marie Chen [sometimes listed as “Chan”], Ernie Ortega, Tito Aquino, Ruben Ramos, Mandy Bustamante, Jose Diamson, Gonzalo Salvo, Geraldine, George Ting [IMDB also lists Bruce Le; HKMDB lists Poon Yiu-Kwan, Lee Hang, Pomson Shi, Amelie, Luo Ming, Koo Si-Ting]
After a shipment of arms is robbed by masked ambushers in swimming trunks, local gang leader Mr. Simon (Ruben Ramos) suspects the residents of Hoi Si village, and orders his second-in-command (Ernie Ortega) to have his men tear it apart. Ramos comes up with a better plan, though, and plots to get influence over village chief Fong Tai Wen through his wastrel drunkard son Fong Tai Yuen (former child star Unicorn Chan). Playing on his laziness, vanity and avarice, Yuen agrees to get the lease to his father's land signed over to the local mob so they can grow their own opium crops there.
New arrivals to the village Han Wei (a heavily-disguised Dick Israel) and his daughter Susan are attacked by mob goons, and farm workers the Fong brothers (kung fu superstar Meng Fei and former romantic movie idol Romy Mallari) run to the rescue. Han Wei claims to be from the north (where "the Japs have taken over now") and looking for relatives. After discussing the possibility of a Japanese invasion in the south, Fong Tai Wen allows Susan and Han Wei to stay on his farm.
Yuen pitches the idea of turning the family business into an opium farm to his father, who unsurprisingly isn't keen on the idea. Later, the Fongs return home from working on the farm to find goons searching the house for the title deeds, and when Meng Fei finds that Han Wei and Susan were conveniently absent at the time, begins to suspect that they have something to do with it. Yuen is then persuaded to steal his father's lease, but he's stopped by Wei Han before he can get away. Confronted by his father, Yuen runs away, only to return the next day with a gang of mob goons who kidnap, and subsequently torture, Han Wei.
Still suspicious of Susan, Meng Fei follows her to a secret hideout in the woods, and after a brief scuffle with some of her compatriots, Susan confesses that Han Wei is neither her father, nor an old man looking for relatives. He is in fact the leader of a group of patriotic rebels, the ones responsible for the hijacking at the start of the film. They're trying to prevent the exchange of guns for opium between the mob and the Japanese, who are trying to establish a nest of collaborators in the south prior to an invasion.
That night, while Yuen is out laughing and drinking and whoring up a storm with the boys, he agrees to become Mr. Simon's adopted son. Meanwhile, the other Fong brothers, Susan and the patriots sneak ninja-style into Mr. Simon's house and rescue Han Wei. Mr. Simon and his goons rush to the scene to prevent them getting away, and a big running battle ensures. The good guys split up to increase their chances of escaping, and although they put up a great fight, Romy and Susan are captured. Han Wei, wounded and exhausted, almost gets away, but Yuen catches up with him, and they fight. In the struggle, Han Wei falls down a steep rocky cliff.
One of the patriots, placed in the gang as a spy, overhears Mr. Simon and his second-in-command come up with a plan to murder old Mr. Fong. He's caught snooping and tries to run away, but he's caught and stabbed by goons. One of the bar girls witnesses the murder, and the spy stays alive just long enough to tell her Mr. Simons's plot. She tries to tell Yuen, and although sceptical, he returns home just in time to see his father die of a stab wound. Meng Fei castigates him: "You selfish swine. You've got no honour! You're no longer my brother," etc., etc.
Meanwhile, Mr. Simon's gang escalate their campaign of skullduggery in the village, beating up innocent people, stealing the title deeds to their land, and all manner of distasteful malarkey. Yuen watches on, not exactly happy with the situation, but not exactly getting up off his arse to do anything about it, either. Then a couple of goons go to old Mr. Fong's wake, demand his property, and deface his funeral picture. Yuen returns home to see the vandalism (I'd almost swear he calls Meng Fei's character 'Roger' at this point, but it's buried under Claudia Cardinale's theme from 'Once Upon a Time in the West', so I can't be sure), but his brother sends him away. After restoring his father's picture to the appropriate place, Yuen walks away, appropriately humbled by the rebuke, and determined to atone for his sins.
'The Blood Hero' is a good solid basher, with plenty of conflict both moral and physical, engaging leads, a minimum of tedious exposition, and plenty of people kicking one another. Unlike many similar kung fu movies, it neither loses focus on its main plotline, nor bogs the narrative down with extraneous characters thrown in to pad the running time to feature length. Meng Fei ('Prodigal Boxer', 'Clutch of Power') and former Pinoy teen sensation Romy Mallari (who appears in such schmaltzy-sounding films as 'My Pledge of Love', 'I Love You Honey', 'From The Bottom of My Heart', 'I Do Love You', etc.) make a good team, and are persuasive and sympathetic as the decent, hard-working, filial sons opposed to the immoral selfishness of their prodigal brother. Unicorn Chan, best known as Bruce Lee's co-star in a number of Cantonese dramas as a child, and for exploiting that relationship after Lee's death by splicing secretly filmed footage of Lee into 'The Unicorn Palm', gives a decent performance as the corrupt, conflicted brother, and if he doesn't quite pull it off all the time, it's usually a decent effort.
The fight scenes are good and plentiful. Shot and edited with tremendous energy, everyone comes off well in the hands of action directors Tito Aquino, Ernie Ortega and Poon Yiu Kwan (one of the action directors of King Hu's genre-bending classic 'A Touch of Zen', who pulls triple duty as action director, production manager, and onscreen goon). All of the individual fights are of a consistently high quality, and it's particularly impressive to see Romy Mallari, not someone who seems to have had much experience with kung fu movies, kicking and punching his way through waves of goons with just as much verve and style as the rest of the cast. Dick Israel is also called upon to pull off some pretty tricky combinations in the final fight sequence, and does so with surprising aplomb. One of the highlights of the film, though, is when our remaining heroes face off against a small army of nunchaku-whipping goons, and Unicorn Chan makes an unusually impressive stand against them with the three-sectioned staff.
It's been said many times that a hero is only as good as his nemesis, and if Meng Fei et al come across as convincingly heroic in this film, at least some of the thanks is due to Ruben Ramos and Ernie Ortega. Not only are they thoroughly villainous, they're actually distinct, well-defined characters. Ernie Ortega as the right-hand man (unnamed, like most of the main characters) is a cunning, intelligent, smooth-talking, laid-back kind of villain, who practically coos the virtue of money and the worthlessness of hard work into Unicorn Chan's ear. Ruben Ramos's Mr. Simon, on the other hand, is, frankly, a crybaby. Most of his dialogue consists of bitter complaints about how badly things are going for him and how none of it is his fault. He does, however, get to show off his wicked knife skills (also glimpsed all-too-briefly in 'The Revenge of the Lady Fighter') in the final conflict.
Despite a few gaping plot holes, characters who disappear and re-appear, and a lack of enthusiasm in the dubbing booth, 'The Blood Hero' is skillfully made, well-paced, and entertaining from beginning to end, and is, at the very least, well worth 89 minutes and 47 seconds of anybody's time, although anyone hoping to spot Bruce Le anywhere in the cast will be disappointed, as he never makes an appearance.
Director Jun Gallardo Story/Screenplay Ka Ikong Producer Jun Dominguez Cinematography R.M. David Music Tito Sotto Fight Director Ramon Zamora
Cast Ramon Zamora, Evangeline Pascual, Eddie Garcia, Panchito Alba. Roldan Aquino, Max Alvarado, Mayra Morena, Evalyn Forster, Edna Diaz, John Plater, Mark Anthony, Julian
Director Nilo Saez Story/Screenplay Marvin P. Panganiban Producer Jun Dominguez Music Tito Sotto Cinematography Ben Lobo
Cast Ramon Zamora, Evangeline Pasquale, Charlie Davao, Edna Diaz, Renato Robles, Roldan Aquino, Subas Herrero, Rommel Alcala, Vic Diaz, Randy Robledo, Cisco Oliver, Jeff Marshall, Bob Mount, Mark Le Buse, Nigel Hogge, Lloyd Nelson
Director/Writer Celso Ad. Castillo Screenplay Mike Relon Makiling Music Tito Sotto
Cast Ramon Zamora, Lotis Key, Leila Hermosa, Paquito Diaz, Tsing Tong Tsai, Roldan Aquino, Danny Rojo, Michael Murray, Ernie Ortega, Joaquin Fajardo, Ruben Ramos, Sancho Tesalona, Joe Cunanan, Steve Alcarado, Leon Pajaron, Jun Santos, Cris Buddha Cruz, Dagul Se, Joe Kelly, Johnny Ramirez, Danny Riel, Groovy Ver, Doming Reyes, Armando Mangaring, Rod Francisco, Edna Diaz, Charina Alonzo, Perry Santos, Rhonna Mercado, Lilian Cruz, Ben Perez
1974 – Murder In The Orient (Ilocandia Productions Inc)
[Philippines release date 15th March 1974, original title "Manila Gold"]
Director /Writer Manuel G. Songo Story Idea Anthony Reyes Executive Producer Cirilo M. Quilala
Cast Ron Marchini, Leo Fong, Eva Reyes, Leila Hermosa, Danny Rojo, Raymond, Jim Delon, Gil Guerrero, Mary Diaz, Robert Talabis, Rodolfo 'Boy' Garcia, Jose Villa Franca, Mario Escudero, Bien Juan, Josephine (Diane), Edgar Garcia, Baldo Maro, Ben Manalo, Boy Caoili, Alex Reyes, Jing Caparras, Ben Romano, Jay Grama, Marlene Sison, Flor Antonio, Mely Antonio, Baby Gallardo, Jimmy Ariel, Gregg Rosero, Mil Arca, PMP Commandos, SOS Daredevils
Director Jose “Pepe” Wenceslao Story/Screenplay Mike Relon Makiling Music Ernani Cuenco Cinematography Fortunato B. Bernardo, Oscar Querijero
Cast Ramon Zamora, Gina Pareno, Marissa Delgado, Dencio Padilla, Subas Herrero, Aline Samson, Lita Vasquez, Tsing Tong Tsai, Roldan Aquino, Ruel Vernal, Robert Talby, Joe Garcia, Ernie Ortega, Tony Carrion, Robert Miller, Fred Param, Tony Uy, SOS Daredevils, Linda Castro, Aster Auditor, Pansy Reyes
[released in Hong Kong as “Xia Nan Yang” and internationally as “Tough Guy”; also released in Germany as “Bruce Lee - Sein Tödliches Erbe”, in France as “Le Héros Du Kung-Fu” and in Greece as “O Avros Drakos Epistrefei”]
Director/Story/Screenplay “Tommy Loo Chung”/Tony Liu Jun-Guk [listed on the IMDB as Chin-Ku Lu] Producers Joseph E. Estrada, Yeo Ban Yee Associate Producer Antonio Go Executive Producer Emilio Ejercito Assistant Executive Producer Jesus M. Ejercito Assistant Directors? Mar D’Guzman Cruz, Diego Cagahastian Cinematography Albert Young Production Manager Philip Coo Unit Manager Fredy Conde Music L. Chow Schedule Master Jun Abarra Props/Effects Jesse Sto. Domingo? Makeup Ip Yat Hing, Remy Andrade English Translation Frankie Deocariza Assistant Camera Chang Hai, Boni Calsado Art/Layouts Ed Santos
Cast Jason Pai Piao (Tai-Lin), “Ronnie”/Ron Van Clief (black boxer), George Estregan [listed on the US poster as Jorge Estraga] (Filipino boxer), Nancy Veronica (Ching Kwei), Thompson Kao Kang (Chi-Fu-Shi), Subas Herrero ( The American's advisor), Mon Hu, Chen Liu [sometimes listed as Chan Lau], Bella Flores, Ruel Vernal (Siao-Mao), Philip Coo, Michael Boffrey, Mary Q. Dy, Cris Cruz, Avel Morado, Romy Nario, Arturo Moran, Tony Kwok Sze [sometimes listed as Tong Kwok-Si], Sauro Cotoco, Blanco Santos, Dy Tong, Mrs Go Ang Se, Renato Chan, Pamela Marsden (brothel owner) [hkmdb.com also lists Lau Hok-Nin, Tony Liu Jun-Guk and Yue Tau-Wan]
Ed Demko’s review on the Bloodtype Online website:
The second film in out exploitation double feature here is the kung fu flick “Black Dragon”. The film is about a young man named Tai-Lin who is a simple plantation worker. When his brother returns from the Phillippines after finding great wealth after being there. Tai-Lin’s then asks his brother for money so that he can go to the Phillippines to make a life for himself. After giving him the money Tai-Lin makes his way there and finds it much different than what was expected. Opium addicts roam the streets and the only place to work is on the docks and after getting a job there, Tai-Lin is promoted to being one of the guards that protect the docks after getting into a scuffle with them and kicking some serious ass. At the same time there is a group of fighters coming to the dock to fight and take over, which would have been possible until Tai-Lin was there. But why are they attacking the boats in the first place? Are they simply robbers looking for money or is does it end up that Tai-Lin finds their reasoning to be quite the cause himself? Either way it ends up a family affair that Tai-Lin has no choice to take part in and show that he’s the supreme fighter in the country.
Very much like the first film on this double feature, the title “Black Dragon” has very little to do with it. Ron Van Chief actually plays the “black boxer” character although he’s billed on the poster as the lead actor. In reality though the lead in the film is Jason Pay Pia playing the character of Tai-Lin. Although it is misleading I have to say that it doesn’t hurt the movie whatsoever. It’s a solid kung fu flick with a really good story that I think that anyone that’s a fan of kung fu flicks will enjoy.
[release date 26th April 1974, a Hong Kong-Filipino co-production, export “Devil Woman”, Cantonese title listed on IMDB as “Mo Neuih”; also released as “Kung-Fu Aux Philippines” (France), “Serpientes Asesinas vs Kung Fu” (Mexico) and “Manda vs Kung Fu” (Jamaica)]
Directors Albert Yu, Felix Villar Writer/Producer Jimmy L. Pascual Executive Producer Tommy C. Pascual Cinematography Bon Chic Music Chow Fu Liang Editor Lee Yam Hai Special Effects Michael Fung Makeup Soledad Mauricio Production Supervisor Vic Kwong Assistant Director David “Yau”/Yao Production Manager Ricardo Villamin Wardrobe Supervisor Romano Tablale Setting Mario Carmona Stills Rudy Pisuena Cameraman Frank Leung Fighting Instructors Yuen Ching Wei, Yuen Yan Kwei, To Chow Kwan
Cast Alex Tang Lec (Shu Wen), Rosemarie Gil (Manda), Yukio Someno, Romy “Diax”/Diaz, Johanna García, David Yau, Lito Legaspi, Cherie Gil, Peter Multan, Joe Garcia, Yuen “Yan”/Yang Wei, To Chow “Kwan”/Kwon, Yuen Ching “Kee”/Ke, Robert Chen, Max Rojo
...filmed back to back with...
...filmed back to back with...
1975 – Bruka (Emperor Films)
[release date 18th July 1975; export title “Bruka Queen Of Evil”]
Director Albert Yu Screenplay Jimmy Pascual
Cast Alex Lung, Rosemarie Gil, Etang Discher
[release date 20th May 1974]
Directors Yang Shih Chin, Danny Ochoa Screenplay Yang Shih Chin Cinematography Ho Huk Wai, Remigio Young
1974 – Chaku Master (Luis
[release date 8th June 1974; exported via
Director Luis San Juan Executive Producer Florencia Peralta San Juan Music Pablo Vergara Associate Director Panganiban Marvin B.
Cast Tony Bernard, Connie Angeles, Myra Nagalio, Rey Malonzo, Bruce Ly, Andres V. Genito (?), Joe Cunanan, Gerry Geronimo, Pol Ramos, Oscar Reyes, Sun Matagay, Gina Marie Genito, Milian Cedeno, Lily Duran, Nida Eeisa (?), Aida Marovez, Phredy Salon (?), James Larry Gaines, William Macly Jr, Samuel Sm (?), Ric Bavtista, Vic Colinares, Ricky Manson (?), and introducing Mary Grace De (?), Anthony Johns, Romvic De La Cue (?) Killers Fernando Mejias, Vic Gaza, Edgard Ramos, Doming Reyes, Frank Zarate, Oscar Del Rosario, Val Acasio Stunts Yao Yan Boys, LSJ Boys, PMP Stuntmen, The SOS Daredevils
After mastering the martial arts of China, Thailand and Japan, 'Bruce Lee' (Philippines action star Rey Malonzo, billed as Bruce Ly), returns to his home in the Philippines. Which, as everyone knows, is where Bruce Lee lives. Almost immediately upon arrival, he is waylaid by a carload of jive-talking young toughs (including a youthful Jim Gaines), one of whom demonstrates just how badass he is by eating a razor blade and smashing a bottle over his head. After trouncing them soundly, Bruce is then confronted by a second group of thugs, and although the film doesn't stick with the fight scene for very long and cuts away rather abruptly, we have to assume he wins that fight too, although he then suffers a slight setback when his fancy white suit is spattered with mud by a sexy lady driver.
Meanwhile, some townsfolk get together to discuss a recent spate of hijackings; one helpfully suggests getting Bruce Lee to sort it all out for them, but the notion is met with little enthusiasm. Meanwhile, another group of townsfolk, including Bruce's dad, are having much the same conversation in a different location when Bruce turns up.
We are then whisked to the secret villains' lair. "This place is great. A perfect island hideout. No-one can find us here," the arch-villain helpfully expounds. Surrounded by martial artists, cooling beverages and semi-naked (if somewhat plain) women, he seems exceedingly delighted with himself, the only bee in his bonnet being the nuisance of Bruce Lee, whose elimination he gleefully contemplates. "This will be my masterstroke... my masterpiece!"
Elsewhere, a woman mourns the murder of her son and her two grandsons. Searching the crime scene for clues, a local lawman finds a bag which happens to belong to Bruce. He confronts Bruce with the (incredibly flimsy) evidence and Bruce quite reasonably points out what a lame case they have against him. The scene cuts mid-sentence to Bruce wandering the streets, where he is once again set upon by Nando (finally, a character with a name), who has a grudge against Bruce's family because they ran him out of town. Seems fair. After a (quite decent) streetfight, Bruce notices a familiar car drive by, so he runs towards it, jumps, and flips into the front seat.
The driver of the car is the sexy lady who earlier besmirched his white suit, and once they've parked in an appropriately secluded spot, they start making the love. Before they get very far, a handful of goons drop out of the tree like ripe coconuts, and of course Bruce beats them silly. Undeterred, Bruce and his lady friend resume making the love, and she proceeds to fellate him, their tender act of love intercut with footage of barnyard and zoo animals going about their business. By way of thanks, he then steals her car while she sleeps.
Bruce drives home to find a bunch of dead people in his driveway, including his father and a little boy I assume to be his little brother, although obviously the film never bothers defining any of these relationships very clearly. Bruce vows revenge. "Whoever's done this, I swear. I'll catch up with them. I will make them pay for this!" Before he can go anywhere, though, he is stopped by the local constabulary, who warm him (in baffling accents) not to go out for revenge. Surprisingly, Bruce seems to heed this warning, as he stops for lunch in a local eatery, where Nando is riling up some locals by blaming Bruce for the disappearance of Ricky, a local child recently kidnapped.
Bruce responds to Nando's accusations only with the voice of his mind, which we're privileged to listen to. "If you want me, you'll have to get me. But this is some big mistake." Bruce fights a few of them off, then jumps out the window and runs like nobody's business. To consolidate his new identity as a big fat coward, we then see him tending a fire in the forest at night, when he hears the sound of a child crying. His first response is to hide behind a tree, and he watches as the kidnapped boy Ricky approaches his campfire. We know it's Ricky because we get a sudden spurt of internal monologue to that effect: "This is the boy who was kidnapped, he must have been able to see what happened,that's why he was trying to build up the guts to escape 'cause he knew if he stayed there he knew he was never gonna see his home again." Ricky's freedom is short-lived, though, as he is shot about eight seconds later. Bruce carries him off to get medical treatment, but he's stopped almost immediately by some cops and his old pal Nando.
Jumping to the most obvious conclusion, they assume that Bruce has killed Ricky, and want to take him in. Just as Bruce tells them that Ricky can clear his good name and tell them who the real baddies are, Ricky unhelpfully expires in Nando's arms, and Bruce is arrested and put in jail. He breaks out by faking an injury using a cup of red fluid made by dipping his shirt in a cup of water. Presumably the water turns red because of Ricky's dried blood on his shirt, which is pretty disgusting if you think about it. He steals a kayak and makes off, paddling furiously and vowing to find the real crook and clear his name.
Bruce (calling himself 'Mario' now), tries to get a job on a farm, and impresses his lady employer by fighting off local bullies Linus and Fidel. Fidel seems to have had a sheltered upbringing, as he's stunned into paralysis when Bruce breaks into a kind of strange improvised soft-shoe shuffle. When Fidel breaks out his Arnis sticks, Bruce pulls out his nunchakus, and the BBFC pull out their scissors, cutting the scene short.
While labouring on the farm, he finds out that Linus and Fidel are somehow connected to the gang responsible for all the lawless shenanigans and goings-on, and that Connie, his employer is actually Ricky's sister, and she blames Bruce for Ricky's death. Along come Nando and one of his pals to arrest Bruce. He makes a break for it, and after a short chase overpowers his would-be captors. He then sets out to avenge himself on the bad guys, an endeavour which will require all his knowledge of Chinese, Japanese and Thai fighting skills.
Sometimes it's practically impossible to describe a film. All you can do is report what you think you've just seen, and move on. 'Chaku Master' is one of those films. It's by no means the most bizarre film you'll ever see, but it is one of the most convoluted and weird treatments of an incredibly straightforward story you'll ever witness. The infamous blowjob scene, the bad dialogue, and the bizarre internal monologues are all quite strange enough, but there's also something detatched and confused about Ray Malonzo's performance that adds considerably to the weirdness by making it seem as though he just wandered into the film accidentally and can't quite figure out how to get home. He seems perfectly at ease when he's running or kicking someone, but anything that requires him to stand still or speak seems only to befuddle him hopelessly.
The fighting is scrappy throughout, although the last fifteen minutes or so, when Bruce has to fight against a sumo wrestler, a karate expert, a samurai, etc., feature more imagination and creativity than the preceding bash-em-ups. Malonzo is physically quite adept, with a nice repertoire of neat kick combinations, but the choreography is quite ordinary, and the fight scenes are shot and edited with little in the way of energy or style. It's all very unspectacular for a film that begins with a bold notice that it's dedicated to "all the stars, staff and crew who risked their lives on several occasions to give this film authenticity and realism."
Director Luis San Juan had been directing films for at least 12 years by the time he churned out this bewildering shambles, so you'd think he'd have known better. Some people have proposed the notion that it's a deliberate mess, but I tend to think if a filmmaker of San Juan's skill and experience were to make a deliberately bad film, it would be much more grandiose than this one. The plot is so small-scale, the villains so unambitious, and the scope so narrow, that this could only be reasonably conceived as a gritty action thriller, and hardly the kind of platform that a veteran director with a flair for genre spoofs (Ghenghis Bond: Agent 1-2-3, The Pogy Dozen and Dolpong Scarface, among others) would use for the ultimate grand piss-take. So the inescapable, unfortunate conclusion is that 'Chaku Master' is, in fact, every bit as incompetent a piece of work as it seems, and despite Luis San Juan's considerable experience as a filmmaker, any viewer of this film would be forgiven for thinking that the director had ever seen a film before, much less directed one.
Having said that, there's something almost exhilarating in its madness. I don't really believe in the so-bad-it's-good ethos, and it's generally invoked rather condescendingly by people who think they're too good for genre films, but there really is something about this film that makes it hard to actually dislike. It's not the kind of clumsy naivete you occasionally find in z-grade films, or the endearing amateurishness of a first-time filmmaker, but there is a quality of don't-give-a-shit zaniness inherent in the story from the very start, and it lacks the lazy cynicism of truly bad films. The oddities are too plentiful to enumerate - for instance, we're asked to accept that the main character isn't just a fellow who happens to be called Bruce Lee. He is, for the purposes of this adventure, Bruce Lee himself, who for some reason lives in the boondocks somewhere in the Philippines and doesn't seem to be a famous star of film and TV anymore. Footage of Malonzo travelling between airports has clearly been shot using a hidden camera, the edges of the box it's peeping through clearly visible for several minutes. Then there's the chief goon, who is almost the polar opposite of a classic Bond villain, a doughy, paunchy, badly dressed, complacent egomaniac with his incredibly petty aspirations and assortment of rather bored and matronly female companions. There's also the jumpy cuts and ragged elipses caused by excisions made by the British Board of Film Classification who rendered the title meaningless by snipping all footage of chaku mastery as per their long-standing policy against chain weapons. All things considered, the producers of 'Chaku Master' may have done practically everything wrong, but they've managed to make something memorably goofy and difficult to dislike with any real conviction.
Fred Adelman’s review on the Critcon Online website:
This ridiculous semi-intentionally funny Filippino martial arts actioner should only be viewed in a state of total inebriation. A chap by the name of Bruce Lee (Bruce Ly) returns to his Philippines coastal hometown after being away in China, Thailand and Japan learning different fighting techniques, only to find his town overrun by a bloodthirsty crimelord and his many goons. As soon as Bruce sets foot in town, he is attacked by four men in a car (one guy eats a razor blade and swigs from a bottle of booze to prove how tough he is). After defeating them (and getting his pretty white suit all dirty), he heads to his home where he learns about what has been going on since he has been away. The townspeople are glad he has returned and look on him as their saviour. After the crimelord has his men kill most of Bruce's friends (including a little boy), Bruce goes on the warpath but the crimelord sets him up to take the fall in the shooting death of another young boy. He is arrested and thrown in jail, but escapes after making some fake blood and tricking the jailer into thinking that he's hurt. Bruce must prove his innocence as well as bring down the crimelord. Now using the alias "Mario", Bruce defends a young woman and her father from two thugs named Lui and Fedal. To show her appreciation, the young woman gives him a job on her farm shucking coconuts. Finding out that the young woman is the sister of the boy he is accused of killing, Bruce leaves to end the life of the crimelord. His overseas training comes in handy, as he will have to fight Chinese, Thai and Japanese fighters (including a lengthy fight with a sumo wrestler) in order to get to the crimelord. It all ends on the high seas, as Bruce and a sympathetic cop fight the crimelord and his henchman on a junk. Be prepared for an abrupt ending. I can't begin to describe how utterly delirious this film actually is, but I'll try. There's one scene where Bruce defeats a guy named Nando and he then does a backflip into some chick's moving Mustang. They park underneath a tree and begin to make out when a bunch of bad guys fall out of the tree and fight Bruce. After he defeats them, he goes back to making out with the girl. She begins to give him a blowjob and we see the look of ecstacy on Bruce's face, intercut with scenes of zoo animals eating and licking their food! There's another scene of a young boy getting shot in the chest and when the dying kid asks Bruce if he's going to be OK, he says, "Don't worry, it's only a scratch." The boy then dies. It's quite plain to see that this print comes from
It's really difficult to tell if director/producer Luis San Juan (DOLPHY'S ANGELS - 1980) was trying to make a comedy here (the dubbing makes it seem so, as there were a few moments when I actually laughed out loud at what was being said). The reason why it is so hard to tell is because Filipino productions have no problem mixing slapstick with extreme violence (including the death of children). What's even harder to establish is the year this film was made. Judging from the bell-bottom trousers and disco-style large collar shirts, I want to say anywhere between the years of 1976 - 1980. But, knowing how the Filipinos tend to catch on to American fads later than most other countries, this film could have been made as late as 1984. I did find a 1977 Filipino film titled THEY CALL HIM BRUCE LEE on IMDB that sounds a lot like this film, but the IMDB lists a different director (Francis Posadas). We all know how inaccurate that site can be at times, though, don't we? THE CHAKU MASTER (a kind of ironic title considering what was edited out of it) is grand entertainment, even if it's for all the wrong reasons. Have plenty of alcohol handy. Also starring Tony Bernard, Rey Malonzo (of CLASSIFIED OPERATION and SEARCH FOR VENGEANCE, although I couldn't spot him in the cast) and a brief appearance by Phillipines action stand-by Jim Gaines.
[release date 25th June 1974]
Director Tony Santos Sr Screenplay Henry Cuino Music Carding Cruz Cinematography Baby Cabrales
Cast Tirso Cruz III, Edgar Mortiz, Walter Navarro, Nick Romano, Romeo Miranda, Rudy Fernandez, Jay Ilagan, Coney Reyes, Josephine Garcia, Romy Mallari, Joe Sison, Ben David, Lito Calzado, Arnold Mendoza, Tony Santos Jr, “Chito”/Franco Guerrero, Romy Luartes, Edward Torres, Elizabeth Vaughn, Nanette Lizares, Rowena Madrid, Tessie Aquino, Bernadette Escolar
1974 - Kung-Fu Master (Pacific)
[release date 27th June 1974]
Director Leody M. Diaz Writer Wilfredo D. Nolledo Cinematography R. Herrera Music Carding Cruz
Cast Tony Ferrer, Omar “Boy” Camar, Romy Diaz, Lotis Key, “Chito”/Franco Guerrero
1974 – The Pacific Connection (Nepomuceno Productions Inc)
[release date 14th November 1974, also released as “Stickfighter” and “South Pacific Connection”]
Director/Story/Producer Luis Nepomuceno Screenplay Jacques Ehlen, Cesar Amico, Robert Ursul Cinematography Loreto Isleta Sound Director/Unit Production Manager Wilfred Ruiz Editors Emil Haviv, Eli Haviv, Jacques Ehlen Music Yuri Haviv Art Director Johnny Crisostomo Assistant Director Mario David Script Supervisor Dennis Villaconta Wardrobe Lolita Parfina Makeup Angie Castillo Fencing Consultant Mario Escudero Arnis Consultant Remy Presas Samurai Consultant Hiroshi Tanaka Martial Arts Choreography Chiqui Ocampo
Cast Roland Dantes (Ben), Nancy Kwan (Leni), Guy Madison (Old Man), Alejandro Rey (Governor), Dean Stockwell (Miguel), Cole Mallard (Antonio), Gilbert Roland (Allan), Gloria Sevilla (Maria), Hiroshi Tanaka (Mori), Fred Galang (Ramon), Elizabeth Oropesa (Ligaya), Nonet Lagdameo (Bonggo), Vic Diaz (Tsang), Joaquin Enrique (Kin), Teddy Benavidez (Captain #1), Roberto Saez (First Mate), Mark Le Buse (Captain #2)
Julian Grainger's review from Stefan Jaworzyn (ed.), Shock Xpress #1, London, Titan Books, 1991
Every year a lot of movies are made in the
One film that does sometimes appear in lists of Kwan's work is The Pacific Connection made by Filipino mogul Luis Nepomuceno. It's a martial arts movie set in the mid-19th century and, with its locations and period galleons, must have had a relatively large budget by Filipino standards. Nepomuceno served as director, producer and writer and it was filmed at his own studio complex on the outskirts of
This is an immensely enjoyable movie; Dantes is an expert in arms (combat using sticks) and his skills are used to great effect in several well-choreographed and brutal fight scenes. The film does have its sleazier moments (the Governor's fairly graphic castration as he tries to rape Ben's mother, for example), but unfortunately it is top-heavy with redundant dialogue and the narrative is frustratingly unfocussed and episodic -at one point Ben is sent on a quest to find a magical reed (that will provide him with protection from wounding) yet there was no previous indication of mysticism in the plot. While by no means a classic lost film, it is recommended as a fascinating curio and is a must for all devotees of martial arts on celluloid.
Director “June”/Jun Gallardo Producer/Story Bobby A. Suarez Script Nestor Torres Cameraman Arnold Alvaro Editor Fu Lu Tsing [Sung] In charge of production Bonnie Esguerro Assistant Director Jett Espiritu Layouts Eddie Domer Stills Salanga Studios Setting Gregg Blas Wardrobe Nita Soundman Mer Angulla Special Effects Pier Aguilla Technical Adviser Dick Koo Assistant Cameraman Amado de Guzman Production Manager Manny Esguerez
Cast Ramon Zamora (Chop-Suey), Romeo Rivera , Jennifer Kaur, Eva Linda, Pugak, Patria Plata, Bayani Cassimiro, Ivory Wright, Nick Romano, Arnold Mendoza, Mark Le Buse
[release date 30th March 1975, Hong Kong titles “Fei Hu Shen Tan”, “Da Du Xiao” and “Tiger Force”; released in
Directors Joseph Kong [Hung], Danny Ochoa Writer Joseph Kong [Hung] Producer Wong Cheuk Hon Action Director Yuen Woo
Cast Sing Chen [also listed as Chen Xing], Jeanne Young, Lotis Key, Protacio Dee, Jim Delon, Rodolfo 'Boy' Garcia, Mark LeBuse, Chang Lee, Michael Chan Wai Man [also listed as Chan Wei Ming], Maricel Soriano, “Bruce Chen”/Bruce Tong Yim Chan, Jimmy “Lee”/Lung Fong, Cheung Lik, Yukio Someno, Jimmy Lung Fong, Wong Mei, Sham Chin-Bo, Mung Lai Sha
Depending on which source you read, Tiger Force is either a Japanese or American production. This is a moot point, since the whole megillah takes place in
1975 - Sleeping Dragon (Sultan/Emperor)
[release date 24th April 1975]
Directors Ishmael Bernal, Jimmy Pascual Screenplay O. San Juan Music L.D. San Pedro Cinematography Chris Chang
Cast Raymond Lui, Lotis Key, Eddie Garcia, Charlie Davao, Chan Ling Wai
1975 - Son Of Fung Ku (RVQ Productions)
[release date 4th July 1975]
Director Jose "Pepe" Wenceslao Screenplay Jett C. Espiritu, Bert R. Mendoza Executive Producer Dolphy [as Rodolfo Vera Quizon] Music D. Salustiano Cinematography Manuel Bulotano
Cast Dolphy Jr, Panchito, Leila Hermosa, Coney Reyes, Pugo
1975 - Mababagsik Na Anghel (Ophelia San Juan)
[release date 1st August 1975, export titles "Bamboo Trap" and "The Black Panther Of Shaolin"]
Director/Screenplay Ernesto Ventura Cinematography F. Sacdalan, H. Fallorin Music D'Amarillo
Cast Leo Fong, "Ronnie"/Ron van Clief, Lotis Key, Chanda Romero
1975 - Subok Na Matatag (Cubao Cinema)
[release date 26th December 1975]
Director Butch Bautista
Cast Roberto Gonzalez, Rodel Vaval, Lorna Tolentino
Article from Fighting Stars magazine (April 1976)
1976 - The Enforcer From Death Row (Filmmakers/Koinonia Psi West Productions)
[Philippines release date 9th July 1976, original title "The Outside Man"; also released as “Ninja Assassins”, “The Ninja Enforcer” and “Ninja Nightmare”]
Directors Efren C. Pinon, Marshall M. Borden Producer/Writer Leo Fong
1976 - The System (Metropolitan Films)
[release date 5th October 1976, released in the
Director Efren C. Piñon Writers Jerry O. Tirazona, Leo Fong Editor Edgardo “Boy” Vinarao
Cast Tony Ferrer (Ben Guevara), Leila Hermosa (Sally), Leo Fong (Lin Wang), Charlie Davao (Johnny Duran), Fred Williamson (Jesse Crowder), Carlos Padilla Jr (Captain Reyes), D'Urville Martin (Willie Black), Dick Adair (Anderson), Darnell Garcia (Hector Lopez), Golay, B.T. Anderson, Jose Garcia, Romy Nario, SOS Daredevils
1976 - Shaolin Master (Luis San Juan Productions)
[release date 19th November 1976]
Director Ronaldo San Juan Screenplay Ben Peralta Music C. Rodriguez Cinematography Joe Tutanes
Cast Rey Malonzo, Tange, Suzanne Gonzales, Ingrid Salas
[aka The Dragon, The Lizard; The Dragon, The Lizard and The Boxer]
Directors Lo Ke, Ngai Lai
Cast Ramon Zamora, Delon Tam [sometimes listed as “Tan”], Meng Fei (Wu Ting), Edna Diaz, Tan Tao-Liang, Philip Coo, Stichin Tam, Yiu Lam Chan, Fong Lung, Chui Meng
1977 – Mga Dragon Sa Gubat (RPM)
Director Junn Cabreira Screenplay R.P. Mariano
Cast Ramon Zamora, Harry So, Brenda
[release date 8th July 1977, export title “Bruce And The Golden Chaku”]
Director Ronaldo San Juan Screenplay M. Ramirez Cinematography Joe Tutanes Music C. Rodriguez
Cast Ramon Zamora, Rey Malonzo [listed in export prints as “Bruce Ly”], Evangeline Pascual, Suzanne Gonzales
1978 – Cimarron Duplicado (Luis
Director Ronaldo San Juan Screenplay Manuel Ramirez Cinematography T. Ongleo
Cast Philip Gamboa, Ramon Zamora, Arlene Sison, Mitos del Mundo, Tsing Tong Tsai, Don Pepot
Director Dante "Boy" Pangilinan Screenplay Coran Ridon Caballes Music Anthony Castillano Producer "Twinkle”
Cast Ramon Zamora (Chop-Suey), Weng Weng (Big Time Papa)
Cast Niño Muhlach (Bruce), Ramon Zamora, Rey Malonzo, Philip Gamboa, Anna Marin, Beth Bautista, Larry Esguerra, Fred Esplana, Tange, Omar “Boy” Camar, Ruben Ramos, Ben Datu, Rey Sagum, Carlos Diaz, Rod Francisco, Doming Reyes, Jimmy Reyes, Ernie David
Director Ronaldo P. San Juan Story/Screenplay Manuel Ramirez Music Pablo Vergara Cinematography Joe Tutanes
Cast Ramon Zamora, Val Iglesia, Tsing Tong Tsai, Robert Talvy (Talby?), Don Pepot, Catherine Santos, Angel Confiado, Robert Miller, Pons de Guzman, Carlos Diaz, Romy Santiago, Mel Arca, Doming Reyes, Mando Mangatin, Rod Francisco, SOS Daredevils, Jeriza Zodel (?)
Director Ronaldo P. San Juan Story/Screenplay Manuel Ramirez, Ronaldo P. San Juan Cinematography Joe Tutanes
Cast Ramon Zamora, Rey Malonzo, Paquito Diaz, Val Iglesia, Tsing Tong Tsai, Sarah Gumbao, Gwendolyn Yee, Jasmin, Dinah Dominguez, Robert Lee
Director/Story/Screenplay Artemio Marquez Producer Michael Angelo Bernos Music Angel Cruz Cinematography Ramon Sanchez
Cast Ramon Zamora, Rey Malonzo, Edna Diaz, Rodolfo “Boy” Garcia, Linda Lee, Tintoy, Nieves Manuel, Tsing Tong Tsai, Mitos del Mundo
Director/Story Junn P. Cabreira Music Demet Velasquez Cinematography Joe Tutanes
Cast Ramon Zamora, Rio Locsin, Rey Malonzo, Joma Magistrado, Willie Milan, Dan Lawyer, Ibrahim Muhammed
1978 - Shanghai Joe (GPS)
[release date 17th April 1978]
Director Jett C. Espiritu Screenplay Vic Poblete, D. Roman Cinematography Joe Tutanes Music D. Velasquez
Cast Dante Varona, Rey Malonzo
1978 - Bruce Volcanic Kicks (Cubao Cinema)
[release date 5th November 1978]
Director Pons Orbeta Cinematography Mando Dulag Editor P. Ramos
Cast Ramon Zamora, Rey Malonzo, Tsing Tong Tsai, Ernie Ortega
1978 - The Shadow Of Bruce Lee (Benny Manalo)
[release date 30th November 1978]
Director/Screenplay Ronaldo San Juan Cinematography Rudy Castillo
Cast Robert Lee, Ruben Ramos, Charo Valdez, Robert Miller
Director Junn P. Cabreira Story/Screenplay Manny Ruta Music Demet Velasquez Cinematography Rudy Dino Editor Segundo Ramos
Cast Rudy Fernadez, George Estregan, Ramon Zamora, Dante Varona, Susan Valdez, Veronica Jones, Romy Diaz, Dencio Padilla, Baldo Marro, Carlo Fernando, Larry Esuerra, Avel Morado, Romy Nario, Mel Arca, Romy Blanco, Rod Francisco
c.1979 - Mantis Boxer (Saturn Films?)
[Note: “Mantis Boxer” is the export title of either Deadly Games (Saturn Films, 1979) or Diego Asero (Saturn Films, 1980), both starring Ulysses Tzan and directed by Ronaldo San Juan]
Director Ronaldo P. San Juan Producer Ruben ‘Che’ Guevarra Advisor Jun Molina
Unconfirmed crew (listed on poster, not credits): Story/Screenplay Deo Careza Cinematography Joe Tutanes Editor Joe Solo
Cast "Ulyssess Chan"/Ulysses Tzan (Trigo), Tony Bernal, Dinah Dominguez, Larry Silva, Ruben Ramos (Mr Algado), Robert Talvy, Bong Benitez, Polo Chi, Roland Fulcis, Jaye Fabello, Niele Lee, Jess Bonzo, Angel Confiado, Francisco Cruz, Jun Rivas, Mando Mangarin, Ike Amata, Teddy Vito, Tony Lao, Jack de la Cruz, Rudi Lopez, Jun Matagay
1979 - Ahas Sa Pugad Ng Lawin/“Snake In Eagle’s Nest” (Eldee Films)
Director Nilo Saez Screenplay
Cast Roy Rustan, Elizabeth Oropesa, Laila Dee, Roberto Gonzales, Ramon Zamora, George Estregan
1979 - Bruce The Super Hero (Dragon Films Company)
[also released as “Super Hero” and “Bruce The Superhero”]
Director/Producer/Action Director Bruce Le Executive Producer Dick Randall Writer Fan Poon Supervising Producer Leung-On Cheng Music Lawrence Chan Cinematography Hak-Wai Ho Editor Robert Choi Production Manager Chun-Man Chan Sound Effects Lawrence Chan Dubbing Supervisor Leung-On Cheng Planners Lawrence Chan, Hak-Wai Ho
Cast Bruce Le (Bruce), Lito Lapid (Rocky Robledo), Azenith Briones (Martel), To Kong (Kong), Yang Sze [aka Bolo Yeung] (Bullkiller), “Chai Ching Tao”/Tao Chang (Peter Sze), Mike Cohen (Italian gangster)
[release date 4th February 1979]
Director/Story Junn P. Cabreira Music Demet Velasquez Cinematography Ricardo Remias Editor Segundo Ramos
Cast Nora Aunor, Rey Malonzo, Freddie Yance, Veronica Jones, Soxy Topacio, Romy Diaz
[release date 30th November 1979]
Director Jun Gallardo
Cast Lito Lapid, Anna Marin, Paquito Diaz, Ingrid Salas, Yoyoy Villame, Teroy de Guzman, Jack Lee, Mike Cohen, Tsing Tong Tsai, Arturo “Bomber” Moran, Robert Rivera, Eddie Nicart, Amay Bisaya, Bong Chi, Yvette Christine
[release date 8th December 1979]
Director Reginald King Cinematography Joe Tutanes
Cast Tony Ferrer, Roberto Gonzales, Rey Malonzo, Erin Murphy, Romy Diaz, Tsing Tong Tsai, Don Pepot, Danny Rojo, Val Iglesias, Rey Sagum, Ben Datu, Conrad Woalkees, Larry Esguerra, Steve Alcarado, Danny Zurbano, Rocco Montalban, Paquito Salcedo [Max Alvarado – not listed on poster]
1979 – That Man From
[release date 14th January 1979]
Director/Screenplay Jett C. Espiritu Music D. Velsaquez Cinematography Joe Tutanes
Cast Ramon Zamora, Arturo Moran, Ernie Ortega, Joaquin Fajardo
1979 - The Tiger And The Lady (Rootman)
[release date 25th March 1979]
Director Junn P. Cabreira Screenplay Joe Tutanes Music Demet Velasquez Editor Segundo Ramos
Cast Rey Malonzo, Donna Villa, Romy Diaz, Veronica Jones
1979 - Twin Fists For The Blackmasters (Twin Dragon)
[release date 7th June 1979]
Director/Screenplay "Reginald King"/Rey Malonzo Cinematography Joe Tutanes
Cast Rey Malonzo, Jack Lee, Donna Villa
1979 – Shake Dragon Connection (Cubao Cinema)
[release date 14th June 1979]
Director Ding Pascual Editor Pat Ramos
[release date 19th July 1979]
Cast Rey Malonzo, Philip Gamboa, Donna Villa, Manny Luna, Ike Lozada, Sarah Gumabao, Jack Lee, Veronica Jones, Don Pepot, Richard Olney, Don Gordon, Joe Garcia, Butch Weber, Clem Fernandez, Tony Lao
1979 - Arnis, Karate, Kung Fu (Luis San Juan Productions)
[release date 7th September 1979]
Director Luis San Juan Screenplay M. Panganiban Cinematography J.Q. Monteloyola Editor Rodel Capule
Cast Ramon Zamora, Robert Lee, Tony Bernal
1979 - Final Showdown (JPM)
[release date 12th October 1979]
Director Leonard Pascual
Cast Rey Malonzo, Jacky Lee
1979 - Bionic Dragon (Action)
[release date 26th October 1979]
Director Jose “Pepe” Wenceslao Screenplay Fernando Stanquita Music Ernani Cuenco Cinematography Oscar Querijero
Cast Rudy Genaskey, Boy Fernandez, Dina Rose
1979 – Arnis: The Stick Of Death (M-Kor Productions Inc)
[release date 8th December 1979; also known as “Arnis”, released on Australian VHS as “Sticks Of Death” and on Finnish VHS as “Arnien Tappavat Kädet”]
Director/Story/Screenplay Ave C. Caparas Executive Producers Fred Farquar, Dr Frank Schlercio Jr Associate Producer Rolando Pintoy
Cast Roland Dantes (Johnny Guerrero), Ann Lim (Vicky Lopez), Teody Belarmino (Granpa/Arnis Master), Rusty Santos (Pete Mendoza), Natalie Kazan (Teresa), Cherie Gil (Cherry), Perry Baltazar (Ricky), Mario Montenegro (Don Carlos), Rosemarie Gil (Dona Clara), Anita Linda (Aling Rosa), Chico Ponce Enrile (Captain Adriano), Dr Frank Schlercio Jr (Frank Santini), Frederick Farquar (Moratto), Veronica Jones (Salome), Marilou Ver (Gina), Rodolfe ‘Boy’ Garcia (Benny), Angel Confiado (Lieutenant Mendoza), Renato Robles (Narco Man #1), Tony ‘Blade’ Martinez (Narco Man #2), Joe Cantada (Emcee), Carlos Diaz (Magno), Joe Cunanan (Golem), Rocco Montalban (Basketball Player), Enrique ‘Tintoy’ Ariega (Taho Vendor), Vic Sanchez (Sgt de la Cruz), Richard Olney (Joe), Stanley Johns (Dominic), Joaquin Fajardo (Bong), Avel Morado (Avel), Peping Escucia (Sex Moviegoer) Ricky’s Men Protacio Dee, Renato Del Rado, Romy Nario, Jun Santos, Peping Castor, Jing Caparas, Leo Longalong, Norstor Brillantes Basketball Players Lito Francisco, Leo Conception, Benny May, Mel Arca, Rey Sagum Pachers Max Rojo, Ben Datu, Leon Palaron, Bert Vivar, Chito Baron, Che Lagdamco, Joe Andrade Arnis Players
1980 – The Revenge Of The Lady Fighter (Juver Productions)
Director “Junar”/Jun Aristorenas Story/Screenplay Greg B. Macabenta Cinematography Max dela Pena Editor Nonoy Santillan Assistant Director Dante Javier Production Manager Angel Barcena Makeup Artist Manahan Sister Special Effects Joe Gadores Titles Bert R. Mendoza, Rey H. Samson Laboratory Technicians Geronimo Cabrales, Alex Cabrales Assistant Cameraman Ver Reyes Soundman Moises Suarez Sound Supervision Ben Patajo Assistant Film Editors Romy Salas, Ricardo Crisostomo
Cast Virginia, Rolando Gonzalez, Teroy de Guzman, Ernie Ortega, Rudy Rolloda, Ruben Ramos, Palito, Ariston Bautista, Charlie Mendez, Greg Lansang, Manny Tibayan, Ernie Perez, Tony Villar, Ernie David, Jun Dellosa, Ben Sanchez, Joe Estrada, Doming Reyes, Bernardo Samio, Jun Laynes, Joe Roman, Manuel de Leon, Bernie Bernal, PMP Commandos
Review by Robert Harkin
After a small village is attacked by a gang of vicious bandits, one of the village women, Rosa, is saved by mysterious martial arts master Ming, who offers to teach the men of the village the art of unarmed combat. Initially sceptical, Ming soon persuades them by punching a few of them and tossing them around a little. As they train themselves to fight, however, the bandits are scheming to return to their village and plunder it once more.
Ming gives the men of the village some medallions - symbols of their loyalty, righteousness, and transformation into a fully-trained fighting force - and makes them promise never to use their skills for evil or revenge. And sure enough, when the bandits return, they get a severe beating and run crying back to the chief goon. "We'll kill the men, women and children. They will all pay for this," he vows. Although armed with huge machetes, the bandits are no match for the villagers, and even Palito gets in on a little monkey-style kung fu action. However, the villagers break their vow and, egged on by head villager Nardo, kill off the remaining bandits, despite Ming's protests, with only good-guy Lewel refraining from the bloodshed. "He was an enemy, yes. But he could no longer fight you. He was begging you to spare his life," moralises Rosa.
When the villagers return home that evening, flushed with victory and booze, Nardo attempts to drag Rosa away and have his wicked way with her. After Ming beats up the unruly mob, Nardo sneaks up behind him and stabs him in the back with a machete. Ming dies with a warning on his lips: "This evil thing is just the beginning..."
With Palito looking on and wincing from time to time, Rosa begins training herself to avenge Ming's death, including some King Boxer-style iron palm training, and the classic 'mediating under a waterfall' bit that no martial arts training montage is truly complete without.
Meanwhile, Nardo and his gang invade a house in the woods and relieve it of all its money and valuables; it has an armed guard, so they were probably ill-gotten gains anyway. They then hijack a bus, which seems less justifiable, as it doesn't seem to be full of drug dealers or anything. Clad in black uniforms, they are now known and feared as 'The Black Gang'.
Lewel, who is now a policeman, and Rudy (who I don't remember being in the film before, but the film itself seems to think otherwise, so who am I to argue) meet Rosa and Palito in the woods and get down to some light exposition. It seems that Nardo's gang has recently incorporated some other band of goons, and that Lewel has been charged with the task of tracking them down in Bicol. Rosa offers to come with, but Lewel tells her it's too dangerous. Exposition over.
Lewel and Rudy find members of Nardo's gang in the woods and try to take them in, but they put up a big stinker of a fight, and both Rudy and Lewel are wounded. Rosa shows up in the nick of time, though, and beats Nardo's man into the ground in the film's most exciting and sustained fight scene so far. Just as she's about to deliver the fatal blow, Lewel reminds her that killing goons just isn't cricket, so she makes do with taking his medallion from him.
Rosa then sets about putting an end to Nardo and his criminal shenanigans, making her way, in classic kung fu style, up to the final villain as though climbing on a ladder of severely battered goons...
One interesting thing about this film is that the villains which our heroine is forced to confront are the same people who, in the start, were themselves the helpless victims of rapacious bullies; not exactly standard fare for a martial arts revenge picture, although you can see a similar thing going on in Tyrone Hsu's 'The Assignment'. Nardo's gang even wear the medallions given to them by Ming, highlighted by their black outfits, which seems a deliberate mockery of Ming's values and a twisted inversion of everything he tried to teach them.
The fight scenes aren't as well-conceived or as crisply executed as they are in their Hong Kong counterparts; in the first half of the film, before Rosa joins in the fray, all the fights are big rollicking stuntmen brawls, but they're good fun nevertheless. Once Rosa gets her fu on, however, the fight scenes improve by several hundred percent, as Virginia, an experienced action star, brings not only a practiced athleticism to her fights, but also a kind of intensity bordering sometimes on desperation. Her hunger for revenge is palpable, and her frustration at being denied the satisfaction of killing is quite persuasive.
'Revenge of a Lady Fighter' doesn't seem to be the original title; the Hong Kong distributors, M/S Mirabelle International, have clearly added the red title cards (the first of which reads 'Revenge of Lady Fighter', while the second more accurately reads 'The Revenge of the Lady Fighter') to the title sequence, so it's not clear yet what the original title was. None of the films listed in the available information online seem to match, and the only review I can find is a disapproving little squib in German. Even the year of release is no better than an educated guess. Another curiosity we can probably thank the HK distributors for is that the film opens with a scene that occurs chronologically much later in the film. This is presumably to get the attention of the audience and reassure them that there will, in fact, be a lady fighter somewhere in the film, and that in the course of the running time, she will exact a certain amount of revenge. This counter-intuitive technique of hooking the audience with footage taken from the last third of the film was much loved by Sandy Frank, who distributed a lot of of Toho and Daiei monster films in the sixties and seventies.
Directed by 'Junar' (Jun Aristorenas) and starring his wife Virginia, 'The Revenge of the Lady Fighter' is a thoroughly entertaining film, and a surprisingly obscure one. Despite the arguably regional bursts of humour from Palito (and another comic actor I haven't identified), this is a supremely exportable film which could have played anywhere there was an audience for martial arts revenge films. Incredibly (considering this is the husband-and-wife team behind 'Batwoman and Robin Meet the Queen of the Vampires'), there are no wild leaps of improbability or savage assaults on credulity, there are no eyesores of low production value, and even the dubbing, although heavily accented, is intelligible and rarely silly (although I did smile somewhat when the police chief told Rosa "I am clothing you in the authority of the law"). So it's hard to imagine why even among fans of kung fu films this is a practically unknown film, as it's a solid pleasure to watch.
[release date 25th April 1980]
Director “Reginald King”/Rey Malonzo
Cast Rey Malonzo (Pedrong Palaka), Boy Fernandez, John Chan, Christina Diaz, Don Pepot, Katherine Santos
[Philippines release date 22nd August 1980, original title "Fist Of Vengeance". Onscreen title is "Bruce’s Fist Of Vengeance", sometimes listed as "Bruce Lee’s Fists Of Vengeance"; released on German VHS as “Bruce Le - Faust Der Rache”, on French VHS as “Le Poing Vengeur de Bruce” and “La Vengeance du Ninja”, on Spanish cinema release as "La Gran Venganza de Bruce Le" and on Spanish VHS as “La Venganza de Bruce”]
Director/Supervising Editor Bill James Story/Screenplay Bugsy Dabao, Bill James Producer K.Y. Lim Cinematography Popoy Orense, Vic “Anao”/Anders, Felizardo Bailen Fight Director Bruce Le Music Totoy Nuke Assistant Editor Jaime Solo Production Manager Noli Villar Assistant Director Bugsy Dabao Cameramen Rolly de Rosa, Rey de Leon Stillman Sandy Garcia Makeup Artist Soledad Mauricio Script Secretary Lina Marcaida Transportation Manager Julie Calma Catering Aurora Villarmino Special Effects “Sabu” Gallardo Sound Supervisor Bimbo Chong Sound Effectsman Serafin Dineros Titles Nicdao & Co
Cast Bruce Le (Peter), Jack Lee, Romano Kristoff (Miguel), Manny Luna, Eve Wong, Micci Clark, “Karla”/Carla Reynolds, Ken Watanabe, Raymond Lau, Don Gordon [Bell] (Miguel's henchman), Tony Lao, James Gaines, Russel Jenkins
[NOTE: Bill James was an American-born producer with Bates Alcantara Advertising Agency and was responsible for selling McDonalds and Adidas to the Philippines; he later ventured into filmmaking via Mr Lim]
Review on the “Return Of The Ninjas” website:
‘The Legend of Bruce Lee Lives On’, the tagline on the cover of a certain American release screams. It most certainly does, but sadly not in this film. ‘One of the most thrilling films on the topic Bruce Lee’, the covertext of the German tape release states. That’s a rather shameless exaggeration, I have to say. BRUCE’S FISTS OF VENGEANCE is a hilarious Brucesploitation epic with a great cast (who can’t act if their lives depend on it) and some hair-raising moments of incompetence. Let’s take a look at the stars first. According to the German cover artwork, we have: Bruce Le (Jett Kune Do Master), Jack Lee (Hong Kong Kung Fu Champion 1979), Romano Kristoff (European Tee Kwon Do… what? Neither master nor champion?), Ken Watanabe (Japan Master Samurai), James Gaines (= Jim Gaines, Kare Shukokai Champion), Don Gordon (U. S. Kemo 1st Place Int’l. Championship 1975), and Russell Jenkins (U. S. Air Forces Light Heavyweight Champion). Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Romano Kristoff (DOUBLE EDGE, 1986), Ken Watanabe (NINJA WARRIORS, 1985), Jim Gaines (BLACK FIRE, 1985), Don Gordon (WHEELS OF FIRE, 1985), and Carla Reynolds (RAW FORCE, 1982) appeared in many low budget Filipino action flicks throughout the 1980s, and Bruce Le (CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER, 1980), born as Kin Lung Huang, was one of the most famous Bruce Lee ‘clones’ after Mr. Lee’s untimely death.
So the big question is: can a movie with such a fantastic (in my opinion, anyway) cast really be bad? Oh yes, it most certainly can. From a technical point of view, BRUCE’S FISTS OF VENGEANCE is a disaster. Period. The acting abilities of all involved, the dreary camerawork, the inept editing, the below average score, the uninspired and dull direction, the jaw-dropping errors in continuity… really, this flick is a catastrophe in that respect, and not a small one. Luckily, it is very entertaining too. It kicks off with one of those nice training sequences, where the master (Bruce Le) shows some more-or-less impressive moves that are repeated by his students. In the background, on the wall, there’s a poster of the real Bruce Lee. This poster (or a similar one) makes quite a few appearances in the course of the movie. You can make a drinking game out of this fact. Each time the poster can be seen, you have to empty your glass. Good luck! Bruce Le is perfectly trained and he knows how to fight, but he lacks the charisma that makes Bruce Lee so unforgettable. It doesn’t help that he tries to imitate his model for all he’s worth. Bruce Le is also credited as the fight director, and the (many) fights are certainly the best part of the film. In the middle of the flick a Ninja appears (well, the guy’s dressed like a Ninja), but he is no match for our hero and is dead before you can say “Oh… a Ninja!”. No more Ninjas, but at least a Samurai makes an appearance later. There are a few scenes where people are training with nunchakus and this looks very impressive. Credit where credit’s due. Jim Gaines has a thankless role as a student who is not only beaten up by Jack Lee but also humiliated quite a bit. I could also have done without the brutal cockfights that go on until both cocks lie on the ground motionless.
BRUCE’S FISTS OF VENGEANCE doesn’t take itself too seriously… there are a few humorous moments thrown in for good measure, sometimes during the fights. The German dubbing is even worse than the actors; as impossible as this sounds, it’s true. The girls are nice to look at though. As a motion picture, BRUCE’S FISTS OF VENGEANCE is stunningly bad. However, as a cheap Brucesploitation flick, it serves its purpose and – because of/despite its countless shortcomings – it’s very entertaining and amusing… for all the wrong reasons! I hope that Bruce Lee doesn’t rotate in his grave, but I’m quite sure that his die-hard fans are annoyed black and blue about this particular chop socky flick. Fans of bad movies, however, should love this one. The absolute high (or low) point (depending on one’s view) of this Eastern is the overlong showdown that has to be seen to be believed. Yes, it’s that great. And with great I mean hilarious. “Come on, let’s go home, Peter”, Bruce Le’s girlfriend says in the end, and he replies with “Yes. Kiss me!” The End. I have only seen a handful of Brucesploitation flicks so far, but if all of them are such stupid, laughable rubbish I’ve got to check out more of ‘em.
Director Leonardo “Ding” Pascual Screenplay Naning Estrella Cinematography Pol Cuenco
Cast Rey Malonzo, Jack Lee, Cecille Castillo, Boy Fernandez, Ernie Ortega, Don Pepot, Matimtiman Cruz, Pons de Guzman, Allan Shishir, Jet Sahara
[also released in
Director Joseph Kong Cinematography Gary Ho Editor Segundo Ramos Assistant Director Teddy Chiu
Cast Bruce Le (Wong Chan Lung), Lita Vasquez, Chang Lee, Ruby Anna, Cloyd Robinson, Nona Herrera, Vivian Velasco, Ernie Ortega, Tsing Tong Tsai, Angel Confiado, Ruben Ramos, Jimmy Cruz, Romeo Blanco, Joe Canlas, Ely Refuerzo, Ed Ramos, Bill Feijoo, Nanding Dela Cruz, Paeng Giant, Perry Boy, Peedoy, D’Vultures, SOS Daredevils
[original Filipino title and release date unknown]
Director “Reymond”/Rey Malonzo Music Snafu Rigor Cinematography Ver Dauz Editor Joe Mendoza Sound Effects Editors “Jhun”/Jun Cabrales, Rudy Cabrales Sound Supervisor Rolly Ruta Assistant Editors Rogelio Betez, Bonnie de Guzman
Cast “Reginald King”/Rey Malonzo, Johnny Leoncio, Arthur Simon, Sandra Dee, Sheryl Monario?, Dante Javier