In November 2017 I was invited to the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) to take part in their Asian Bonds program. SGIFF flew me from and back to Manila, put me up for three night in a swanky hotel near the National Museum, while I spoke on a discussion panel about the Filipino James Bonds and showed a five minute trailer reel, and introduced a restored print of Bobby Suarez’s The One-Armed Executioner (1983). The panel went half an hour overtime as all four of us speakers had a lot to say about our respective fields, but no-one seemed to mind, and for me it was well worth the trip. For the remainder of those glorious three days I caught up with friends, attended Cleopatra Wong’s birthday party, and overdosed on vintage Asian spy flicks (Shaw Brothers, Singapore’s Jeffrey Zain etc) before flying back to the chaos of the aborted MOST BEAUTIFUL CREATURES shoot! Sadly Brian Trenchard-Smith was unable to attend his The Man From Hong Kong screening - you were sorely missed, Brian, but the 35mm print never looked better!
|Left to right: Me, Tan See-Kam, Leong Yew, Lee Sang Joon|
|Actor Michael Chua (my co-star in CERTIFIED DEAD) and drinking buddy Shane Gavin|
The film’s richness and popularity as a B-movie classic teeters on Suarez’s wild fusion of recognisable local and global political references with elements from Hong Kong wuxia and kungfu genre films and Hollywood spy chronicles, including archetypal characters like an orientalised mentor figure and bumbling henchmen with witty comebacks. Subjecting its lead through action scenes probably too madcap for today’s production and safety standards, this incredibly fun film works to enter its internationalised hybrid hero with a one-armed mastery of kungfu and guns into the historical canon of agents in service of justice.