August 21, 1992 |
Brandon Lee has the appropriate first name and cheekbones to guarantee him a spot on one of those Fox-TV shows starring a bunch of way-cool guys and gals brooding about life in the 1990s. He also has the appropriate last name to guarantee him a movie deal, plying the same martial-arts action genre pioneered by his late father, the kung fu god Bruce Lee. Rapid Fire, the younger Lee's first starring role, is a more-than- serviceable slam-fest in which Lee gets to show off his jeet-kun-do techniques, his fluent Cantonese and his muscly torso.
June 8, 1991 |
They keep punching 'em out, like a factory punches out semis. Or, more to the point, motorcycles. We're talking about the new breed of action movie stars. The rough, tough and, most significantly, reasonably priced musclemen who've been beating bad guys in formulaic features over the last couple of years. The new action-adventure stars such as Brian Bosworth, Jean-Claude van Damme, Jeff Speakman and Brandon Lee are the direct descendants of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, two generations removed from Bruce Lee and Clint Eastwood, and the current species in an evolutionary process that began with silent swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks and the Saturday matinee cowboy heroes.
March 24, 1991 |
It's easy to lose count of the movies inspired by Bram Stoker's Dracula - a genre that proves you can't keep a bad man down. The next transfusion will come from no less than Francis Ford Coppola. Michael Corleone may finally have met the bullet with his name on it in The Godfather Part III, but Count Dracula will live on in Coppola's Dracula. The screenplay is by James Hook, and the coveted title role has yet to be cast. (Al Pacino looked suitably pale and tormented as Corleone, and he showed that he's a whiz with makeup in his hilarious turn as Big Boy in Dick Tracy.
April 15, 1990 |
Walt Disney Studios has attracted a lot of favorable publicity since announcing in February that it would no longer permit its films to be shown in theaters running commercials. The edict was a liberating blow for moviegoers. But since we live in a society saturated with advertising, the ban raised a question: How hostile are audiences inured to small-screen commercials toward more of the same on the big screen? The answer is, very. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of the Disney Studio, called a news conference in Hollywood last week to announce the results of an independent poll he had commissioned.
December 20, 1989 |
As one of this country's leading teachers of krav maga, Alan Feldman would like the little-known Israeli martial art to become household words, as familiar to Americans as karate or kung fu. Then maybe the smart-alecky questions would stop. "I've heard everything thinkable about krav maga," Feldman said with a wry smile. "I've been asked, 'What do you do, hit them with a matzo ball?' " Krav maga, Hebrew for contact combat, is relatively new, invented by its 79-year-old master, Imi Lichtenfeld, to train Israeli soldiers.
November 26, 1989 |
On a wall in Norman Constantine's room hangs a poster of Bruce Lee, that powerful character from the old martial arts movies. It seems only fitting. After all, Norm Constantine was always a pretty powerful character himself. For two years a decade ago, the handsome, 6-foot karate black belt reigned as the colorful Nittany Lion mascot at Pennsylvania State University. Off the field, his tireless array of activities instructing, coaching and bringing cheer to disabled people would make the President's schedule look leisurely.
November 12, 1989 |
Some physically talented people will be performing to help the physically disabled on Saturday, when the North American Wing Chun Association (NAWCA) presents a martial arts event to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. The event will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Esby Gymnasium at Glassboro State College, Route 322 in Glassboro. Wing chun is a form of martial arts that, like most Oriental forms of self- defense, is based on the art of kung fu, said Philip Holder of Bridgeton.
November 7, 1989 |
It's easy to get the impression that martial arts - judo, karate, tae kwan do - come entirely from the Far East. There are, however, exceptions. A demonstration of one, Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense system, was held recently at the Franklin Mills mall in Northeast Philadelphia. A geographer might point out that Israel technically is in Asia. That's true, but it's still a long way from Bruce Lee's one-time hangouts. Of course, so is Philadelphia.
February 3, 1989 |
In movie terms, we think of Hong Kong - if we think of it at all in movie terms - as the home of the late and inimitable Bruce Lee and as the capital of kung fu. The defiantly zany Peking Opera Blues suggests that it's also the capital of kung foolery. Directed by Tsui Hark at a frenzied allegro molto tempo and with a flair for action that would put many a big-name Hollywood filmmaker to shame, Peking Opera Blues answers a question that I must admit had not occurred to me before.
December 22, 1988 |
When it comes to major video releases, 'tis not the season to be jolly. What you'll find in your video stocking in these final days before Christmas is a pair of cinematic lumps of coal. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER (1988) (Media) $89.95. 94 minutes. Robert Englund, Rodney Eastman, Tuesday Knight, Ken Sagoes. Once upon a time, Freddy Krueger could scare the wits out of people, but on this go-round, he seems intent on boring them to death. Over the years and sequels, Freddy has become such a pop-culture juggernaut that he can now take his audience for granted, shrouded in the thinnest of plots, minimizing the special effects that made the first and third Elm Street movies so effective and letting him toss off what passes in America for wit. Dorothy Parker he ain't.