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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Tao of Ric: True Lies & A Fistful of Meyerisms Part 2



"I, personally tried to get that movie onto American television and was turned down personally by Run Run that time I had written my first book...and I was being sent all over the world to troubleshoot this kind of thing because nobody else in America knew anything about these films, really, outside of something, like say ENTER THE DRAGON." *--Meyers referring to OPIUM & THE KUNG FU MASTER (1984) and his exhaustive efforts to inform us stupid Americans who didn't know just what in the hell these crazy Asian movies were till he educated us despite how popular they were in the 1970s.

The above statement also alludes to a noticeable animosity towards Sir Run Run Shaw that spans numerous DVD commentaries. If you have listened to many of Meyers' commentary tracks, you'll notice an alarming trend; he frequently speaks condescendingly of Shaw, while at the same time claiming to love his movies. Judging by his tone and his near constant back patting, it isn't hard to surmise that Meyers spits his venom because Shaw rebuked his book peddling, which is featured in this ongoing series with a few chapters highlighting 'Shaw vs. Meyers'. Ric would also like to convince us all that he was kung fu's champion who told Fu's faithful followers what we should like and what we shouldn't like whether he's actually telling the truth, or not. Below you'll see a page from the US press kit for SACRED KNIVES OF VENGEANCE (1971) aka THE KILLER that discusses kung, I'm sorry, kung fu means 'Hard Work'. It's not fighting, nor martial arts. Below, this first page of the SKOV press kit discusses how 'Hard Work' is sweeping the world in popularity B.M. (Before Meyers).

Before we continue, let's take a look at the things Meyers has done prior to using a verbal Lohan Style on the kung fu genre that has ruptured and interminably irritated the martial arts film fan base. Granted, it's so difficult to take anything the man says seriously at this point, we should get his other accomplishments out of the way which may help in grasping the rationale behind how he continues to be a lightning rod for movie and DVD companies where this genre is concerned.

He's worked on numerous comics, novels and toiled in various capacity on assorted magazines including brief tenures with Fangoria and Famous Monsters of Filmland; he enjoyed a lengthy life with a column in Inside Kung Fu Magazine and a more fitting home nestled within the pages of supermarket tabloid shit such as Weekly World News (which made a minor cult icon out of Bat Boy although Ric seems to have had no input into this bit of pop culture fakery; see accompanying image) and glossy toilet paper like Asian Cult Cinema. He's apparently been involved with World Northal back when they handled the Shaw Brothers movies, worked for Ocean Shores, Tai Seng and also briefly at Celestial Pictures where he designed a flood of confusing DVD synopsis' that either tell you nothing about the movie at all, or contain made up information that alludes to a totally different movie than what you're actually getting.

The single most amazing thing about Ric's credentials is that for a man who has had more than a few bonafide connections with the genre, you'd think he'd be able to recognize the damn faces of the actors...among other things. Instead, Meyers has made a career out of mistaking one actor for another seemingly at random; and that's one of his many magnificent martial arts movie Kung Faux Pas.


"That's another thing I enjoyed doing in my book, that I tell the entire history of China before I start talking about the movies so you understand the historical and cultural and societal context in which these movies take place." *--Meyers, ever the narcissist, not only feels compelled to educate us on Asia's cinema that he says we apparently know nothing about, he also gives us a history lesson all at the same time.

One element of truth that seems to be moderately accurate about Ric Meyers is that he loves kung fu movies as much as a child loves assorted candies. But that's about it. A kid knows a candy bar tastes good, but doesn't know the process that goes into making one of them. Hell, most of us don't know what goes into a candy bar to make them taste as good as they do. We don't care. We just want to eat them. And that's probably why Ric doesn't give a damn when it comes to spreading accurate information; because the average, and or casual fan won't give a damn, either. Still, it's extremely infuriating to those who know better and are made to feel like they're stupid, or have their intelligence insulted by a walking 'Piss Take'. We're not talking about a few errors here and there, we're talking about a monolithic amount of mis-information.

For example, he's yet to officially hone up to some, or all the useless, nonsensical crap he's foisted onto a dozen or more DVDs. Hilariously, he attributes his cataclysmic number of fuck ups on a Gordon Liu (or as he likes to call him, Gordon Lu-wee; like Louie) triple-decker of DVD commentaries to exhaustion from doing three of them back to back! I would be interested in knowing just how being tired correlates to making claims that Warner's THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (1975) was made with Gordon Liu in mind for the lead role. What makes this bizarre proclamation so outlandish is that Liu wasn't even a star in Hong Kong yet. He had only just debuted in a supporting role the previous year in Chang Cheh's SHAOLIN MARTIAL ARTS (1974)! Liu didn't even attain fame till 1978 with Lau Kar Leung's (or, as Meyers calls him, Low Kar Lee-Ung) THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN! Meyers' bewildering connection no doubt lies (haha, lies, see what I did there?) in the bald-headedness of both Yul Brynner and Gordon Liu.

However, Liu didn't shave his head till a few years later just prior to shooting his iconic portrayal of Shaolin monk, San Te in the aforementioned 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN. Furthermore, why in the hell would a major American studio bankroll an unknown who isn't even 'a known' in his own country? Meyers repeats this bogus assertion on multiple DVDs as he does so much of his other fables when he isn't reading a long list of IMDB (or HKMDB) credits; some of which don't even feature the actor or actress he is discussing.

Questioned in interviews as to why so many people hate him, the man just shrugs his shoulders in confusion. I surmise that with Meyers in as lofty a position as he's in, why should any casual fans bother to question his spewings or doubt them for that matter? The sad fact is that this is how his special brand of mis-information began, and this is how it continues to spread.


NUMBERS 36-65!

36. "In fact, after Fu Sheng took on the name Alexander Fu Sheng and Liu Chia Hui took on the name Gordon Lu-wee, they, uh, put out an edict saying anyone who takes on an American name will be fired." *--Wait for it...--"In fact, the Shaw Brothers were so adamant about their, uh, actors and their directors not becoming famous and powerful...that when they started to become famous and powerful anyways because they made such wonderful movies, the Shaw Brothers simply closed down their moviemaking units." *--Ric repeats this at least five more times on other commentaries with some variances. For the record, Fu Sheng's English name appeared only on the international prints of the films as early as 1977. Liu's began appearing on the CHINESE credits in 1981.

37. Has referred to Sun Chung as the "David Lean of Hong Kong" when he isn't referring to King Hu as the "David Lean of Hong Kong".

38. Meyers makes an assumption on the SHAOLIN DRUNK MONK (1982) commentary that producers force their actors to have eye surgery and if they didn't, than that denotes a movie made on a shoestring budget. You can't make this shit Myers' case, I guess you can!

39. To quote a learned source of Japanese history and cinema, Ric Meyers "knows as much about Japanese history as I know about Justin Bieber."

40. Ric Meyers actually made the remark that Ti Lung beating out Chow Yun Fat for a Best Actor Award for A BETTER TOMORROW (1986) was disgusting. This was stated on the abominable, and incredibly asinine INHERITOR OF KUNG FU commentary.

41. "Just say nice things about me." *

42. Refers to Lo Lieh getting his first big starring role in Chang Cheh's THE INVISIBLE FIST from 1969. I don't think anyone has seen that one, but Lo Lieh did have a lead role in Cheh's THE INVINCIBLE FIST from that year.

43. Ric fancies himself an historian on Chinese history, yet can't tell the difference between a Kwan Dao and a sword on the NINJA IN THE DEADLY TRAP (1984) commentary.

44. Meyers does his patented IMDB shuffle with Shih Szu's movie credits and after he mentions her star turn in the Shaw--Taiwan lensed THE CHAMPION (1973), he then proceeds to list that films international title, SHANGHAI LIL AND THE SUN LUCK KID as if it's a totally different movie.

45. Claims all but one of the venoms films featured the three main opera trained guys--Chiang Sheng, Lu Feng and Kuo Chui; that one film being the Lu Feng-less ODE TO GALLANTRY (1982). It's actually two, the other being the Kuo Chui-less TWO CHAMPIONS OF SHAOLIN (1980). As popular as the venoms are, as much as TWO CHAMPIONS got frequent airplay, and as much of a devout fan as Meyers makes himself out to be, this is kindergarten level kung fu-ology. What happens next is even funnier.

46. Minutes later (I can't remember the commentary track; they all run together where he's involved), Ric reads entire sections verbatim from an Eastern Heroes magazine interview with Kuo Chui that contradicts his fumbled statement above. Apparently, his memory is as reliable as his babblings and editorials. As you so famously told Frank Djeng, "you're confusing the listener", Ric.

47. Ric was one of the masterminds behind a weekend convention for Lo Mang to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in Philidelphia, PA. The date was August 5th. The date was later changed to August 25th...but none of the geniuses behind the event bothered to change the date on the website. Also, there was at least two dozen people that decided against going when they learned that Ric Meyers was involved.

48. "This is from INVINCIBLE DRAGON, another movie where Chiang Sheng dies." *--What the hell is this INVINCIBLE DRAGON, Ric?

49. States that Ti Lung's first Best Actor award was for A BETTER TOMORROW from 1986, regardless of his award winning performance in THE BLOOD BROTHERS (1973) and also winning an Outstanding Actor Award at the 25th Annual Asian Film Festival for AVENGING EAGLE (1978).

50. Meyers fails to identify Tsai Hung in INHERITOR OF KUNG FU (1981); the actor from numerous Shaw Brothers productions mostly as a villain such as one of Meyers' favorites, FIVE MASTERS OF DEATH aka FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS (1974).

51. Neither Meyers nor Samuels can name the actor Kwan Young Moon (from the infamous INHERITOR OF KUNG FU commentary) alias Chuan Yung-wen; instead, Samuels, who at least knows some of the man's actual background, refers to him under his fan circle name, 'The Mad Korean'.

52. Chiang Tao is not from Malaysia, Ric. He's from Taiwan. In case you're reading this, he joined the studio (along with six other Taiwanese imports) in February of 1972.

53. Meyers can't even recognize Pearl Cheung Ling for gods sake.

54. Meyers claims Ti Lung starred in a Chang Cheh movie entitled 8 MAN ARMY, a film that doesn't exist. You'd figure he confuses it with SEVEN MAN ARMY (1976), but when reading off his "notes", Meyers mentions both films. The mostly useless Encyclopedia of Martial Arts Movies, a book Ric contributed to, also lists the imaginary 8 MAN ARMY.

55. Meyers changes up his statement that the Shaw library of films were destroyed in a fire by stating in 2001 that they simply dissolved. A year later Celestial Pictures began releasing the Shaw library, remastered, restored and in widescreen to DVD through IVL in Hong Kong. Two months prior to their release, Ric stated one last time that the films were gone forever. When they began coming out, Ric then insinuated he predicted this and proceeded to take credit for the films coming out!

56. According to Ric Meyers, Shaw Brothers only did three co-productions. Not counting the numerous co-productions with Korea and Japan, the international co-pro's include the obviously more than three THE STRANGER & THE GUNFIGHTER (1974), THIS TIME I'LL MAKE YOU RICH (1974), LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES (1974), SHATTER (1974), SUPERMEN AGAINST THE ORIENT (1974), VIRGINS OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1974), AMAZONS & SUPERMEN (1975), CLEOPATRA JONES & THE CASINO OF GOLD (1975), CANNONBALL! (1976) and METEOR (1979). Shaw also had a financial interest in 1982s BLADE RUNNER.

57. Ric Meyers claims the HK-Korean co-production, SHAOLIN DRUNKEN MONK (1982) is a mainland Chinese movie.

58. Gordon Lu-wee was not in DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN (1975), Ric.

59. At one time, Ric reportedly argued that KING BOXER (1972) was not the same film as FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH (1972).

60. "I'm just gonna continue to do what I do..." *

61. Ric confirms in a recent interview that his new book, FILMS OF FURY is 100% him and the movie version of his book, not so much. So that means the movie will be predominantly accurate, then.

62. On the same interview, Meyers says he decided not to produce and direct the FILMS OF FURY movie/documentary, but wishes now he had. Minutes later, he states he was replaced as director by two guys named Andy.

63. "Had I directed the movie, it would have been my approach, and, you know... ...which...I...which is KNOWLEDGEABLE. In other words, I've had 30 years of study of both kung fu and kung fu movies." *--If you've read this far, the links in the chains of irony are duly tested with this single quote. Meyers discussing his upcoming documentary, FILMS OF FURY.

64. "They have limited knowledge of what kung fu is and what kung fu isn't. But then everybody has that. Even KUNG FU PANDA 2 (2010)...the sequel to KUNG FU PANDA (2008), ignored my lessons and...and defined kung fu as something that it's simply not...which is fighting and martial arts. Kung fu is NOT FIGHTING AND MARTIAL ARTS." *--The walking contradiction that is the author of FILMS OF FURY (I'm sick of using his name at this point) talks down about the directors that replaced him on the documentary of his book. Do you see a trend here from the Shaw's refusing his book to this?

65. Kung Fu King, Ric, wait, kung fu is not fighting and martial arts! As he puts it, it's strictly hard work. Hard Work King, Ric Meyers says that both Andy's made the FILMS OF FURY movie for themselves because the subject is all new to them. He then goes on to say that his vision would be the "this is NOT new to me" version. He then playfully exacerbates the situation by stating how wrong everybody else is and how right he happens to be. Yet again, this shit is too rich. You can hear King Klunker say it in this interview right HERE.



Mighty Peking Man said...

Great article! This pretty much clears a lot of things up for me; even though I've been aware of him being "America's leading expert on the Asian action film", I have been totally uneducated about all these Ric antics - until now. It's good to know that someone (other than in forums) has finally did something about it by putting it in stone. =D Great job. looking forward to part 3.

venoms5 said...

Thanks so much, Mighty Peking Man! Your handle is one of my favorite Shaw Brothers movies, by the way.

There will be seven parts to this article altogether, so there's lots more where this came from! I hope you find those of equal interest!

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