The Urban Action Showcase and Expo (UASE) is proud to present the East Coast Premiere of the new documentary about the origins and influence of Hong Kong action movies, Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks, on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at the AMC Empire 25 Times Square and followed by a live panel featuring Michael Jai White, Cynthia “Lady Dragon” Rothrock, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Robert Samuels, Ron “The Black Dragon” Van Clief, Warrington Hudlin, and Ric Meyers moderated by the documentary’s writer Grady Hendrix.
From the producer of Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films comes this feature length documentary about how Hong Kong sparked a cinematic revolution, and how its movies about young people standing up to a corrupt system and fighting against overwhelming odds for a better life, inspired musicians, filmmakers, dancers, and martial artists first in New York City, and then around the world, from Paris, to Uganda and beyond.
Since its origins in Hong Kong’s turbulent 60s, martial arts movies have had more on their mind than people beating each other up. The modern martial arts movie appeared in 1967, when Hong Kong was caught in the grip of a year-long series of strikes and riots. In a time of chaos and unrest, the film, One-Armed Swordsman, channeled the rage of a whole generation of young people. Swordsman’s success unleashed a wave of films about young people standing up to authority with bare knuckles, lightning kicks, and jaw-dropping stunts – and a new cinematic vocabulary was born.
In the USA these films came in hot, fast, and crudely-dubbed – hitting the notorious grindhouse cinemas on 42nd Street in New York City where they ignited a firestorm of interest from black and Latino audiences hungry for stories starring non-white heroes taking down The Man. But the Kung Fu craze really went into overdrive with Bruce Lee, who died before Enter the Dragon turned him into a global superstar.
These movies inspired hip hop musicians and b-boys from RZA to Fab 5 Freddy and Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón, as well as a generation of direct-to-VHS martial arts stars like Cynthia Rothrock and Don “The Dragon” Wilson. In the 90s, Hong Kong filmmakers were imported to bring their magic to Hollywood blockbusters like The Matrix, which sparked an arms race among film producers to get top tier Hong Kong talent signed to their films. Today, whether it’s breakdancing, hip hop, or parkour, we live in a world where this influence is evident everywhere from music, to movies, to television and beyond. Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks is an action-packed story that captures the origins of these movies in Hong Kong and their invasion of Hollywood, celebrating the infectious energy that continues to inspire filmmakers around the world.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion about the origins and impact of martial arts movies that will be moderated by Grady Hendrix, the screenwriter of Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks, and will include:
- Michael Jai White – actor & martial artist (Spawn, Black Dynamite)
- Cynthia Rothrock – the first female American martial arts star (Yes, Madam, China O’Brien)
- Don Wilson – World Kickboxing Champion and Action Star (Ring of Fire, Black Belt, Blood Fist)
- Ron Van Clief – the legendary “Black Dragon”, an actor and karate champion
- Robert Samuels – stuntman and martial artist, (Made in China Town, Gambling Ghost)
- Warrington Hudlin – director, producer (House Party, Boomerang, Iron Ring)
- Ric Meyers – writer (Films of Fury)
Passes available here: www.urbanactionshowcase.com/eventpasses.html