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  • Writer's pictureChris Toepker

#CoffeeFu Listings, April 2021

We're getting organized for Year Two of #CoffeeFu! Here's the movies we'll be featuring and a few reasons you should join in our virtual matinee.

What's a "virtual matinee? Easy as 1, 2, 3...

  1. cue up the free online movie,

  2. watch it,

  3. send your comments out using the #CoffeeFu hashtag!

Still not sure what it is and why we're doing it? Well, read on True Believer!

For April, 2021 features a leading light of the genre and biz: Jimmy Wang Yu (王羽)

  • One Armed Swordsman (April 4)

  • Chinese Boxer (April 11)

  • The Sword (April 18)

  • Wu Xia (April 25)

Mr. Wang's career spans the golden age, and renaissance of action and kung fu films, stretching from 1965 all the way to 2013. He's acted in over 80 films, has 10 Director credits, plus 13 as Producer. As if that wasn't enough, he has over a dozen other credits including Writer, Martial Arts Director, Presenter and Planner.

A mainland native, born in the closing years of World War II in Jiangsu, China. While a schoolboy in Shanghai, he excelled in swimming, which continued when we went to Hong Kong in 1960 at the age of 16. In Hong Kong he also excelled at horsemanship and car racing, as well as picking up karate and t'ai chi, all paving his way into the action scene. He tested for Shaw Bros films in 1963 and had his breakthrough in 1966 with "Tiger Boy." He's been nominated many times for the Asian film "golden horse" awards, winning the lifetime achievement award in 2019. Additionally, in 1991 he helped establish the "China Cross-straight Film Association" (中國兩岸影藝協會 a.k.a. "Two Worlds of Chinese Films" organization)

His major films hardly need any introduction, and we're going to check those out.

Let's also look at some of his other chops, like writing and producing! We'll wrap up with a role that bridged that magical golden era with our modern renaissance.

獨臂刀 (1967) One-Armed Swordsman

Virtually Matineeing: April 4

Stars Jimmy Wang Yu, with Martial Arts Direction by the venerable Lau, Kar-Leung and Tong Kai (two super stars of the Shaw Bros. studios). This was the Hong Kong film to break through HK$1,000,000 and made Mr. Wang a star and spawned two sequels.

Also stars Lisa Chiao Chiao (焦姣, another decade-spanning star of 1963 ~ 2016) and Tien Feng (田豐, who spanned even earlier decades of 1949 ~ 2004; including Bruce Lee's hit "Fist of Fury" (精武門)).

龍虎鬥 (1970) The Chinese Boxer

Virtually Matineeing: April 11

Written, Directed and Starring Jimmy Wang Yu. Tong Kai again provides martial arts direction. This film broke the mold of more melodramatic, fantasy-based (i.e. 武俠"wu xia" or "martial hero"), and focuses more on the action itself. Box office took in over HK$2,000,000, another huge success. Therefore, in many ways then, it laid the foundation for successes like "Fist of Fury" and echoes even in modern action films. #CoffeeFu featured the sequel "Return of the Chinese Boxer" - check it out!

Also stars Lo Lieh (羅烈, star of over 225 films!) and Wang Ping (汪萍, who switched from delicate "save me" girl to kung fu heroine the year after this film, with"The Golden Seal"(1971) and "Duel for Gold" (1971)).

劍 (1971) The Sword

Virtually Matineeing: April 18

Directed, Martial Arts Direction and stars Jimmy Wang Yu. A more typical plot of obsessive swordsmen, it nevertheless rivals Mr. Wang's work in the more famous "One Armed Swordsman above." However, it's also generally acknowledged to be a better story thanks to Pan Lei (潘壘) coming on as Screenwriter (and Producer!).

Also stars Chen Pei-Ling (陳佩玲) and Wang Lai (王萊, appeared in over 230 films!)

武術 (2011) Wu Xia

Virtually Matineeing: April 25

Action Director and Starring Donnie Yen Ji-dan (甄子丹) Jimmy Wang Yu appears as The Master and thereby helps bridge the early days of Hong Kong films and it's modern renaissance.

Funny enough, modern films don't break the "goes by many names" trend. Called "Wu Xia," "Dragon," and "Swordsmen" depending on where you saw it!

Also stars Kaneshiro Takeshi (金城武, but don't be fooled by the spelling of the name, he is from Taiwan!) and Tang Wei (湯唯, famous for "Lust, Caution" and the resulting commotion with the PRC authorities, but continues to do great work!)

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