THE TAO OF RIC: TRUE LIES & A FISTFUL OF MEYERISMS PART 1
"BULLSHIT, OR NOT?"
This is an article about author and all around bullshitter, Ric Meyers (or Richard S. Meyers). This piece is a document of his monumentally high number of screw ups and imaginary information he has devised since first "educating" us all on Chinese martial arts cinema back in the mid 1980s. It's so huge, it can't be contained in a single post. Since fans apparently forgot about the 1970s and nobody else seems to know what they are, this bespectacled Pied Piper came along and has been indoctrinating us since the mid 1980s. He's won awards for his works in fiction and continues to spread fiction and nonsense even to this day. Aside from that, he has won awards for his writing in other fields and has also been a consultant of sorts on a few television shows. All of this and more is discussed below. Whether you're a fan or not, this article is of importance in how an individual at the right place and time, with the right connections, can make a mockery of a genre he claims to love, spread lies, make startlingly racist remarks, regurgitate a flurry of falsehoods without batting an eye and manage to play host to the absolute worst DVD commentaries of all time. And that's not counting a long string of stories he perpetuated against Sir Run Run Shaw on said commentaries all because Shaw didn't want his book (he also displays this same resentment in the debacle involving his recent book and documentary). And through all this, Meyers still manages to hold onto his mantle as a leading authority on martial arts movies. Nobody's perfect, but irresponsibility of this magnitude is both frustrating and laughable in the extreme. Each article comes complete with a list of Meyerisms (about 30 or so per post) from a jam packed list of over 200 various utterances of bullshit taken from assorted interviews, commentary tracks and excerpts from his own books from the 80s up to today.
NOTE: Sources are specified where they apply. All quotes in bold and italics are denoted with an '*' and are verbatim straight from the horse's ass.
"That little thing on that guys forehead by the way is a band aid. That's an ancient Chinese band aid. That's what those things are. For years I didn't know what those were. I thought they were...just some sort of special sign of an idiot." *
Labeled everything from "America's leading expert on the Asian action film" and the "Dean of kung fu film journalists", Ric Meyers has spread more lies and misinformation than Donnie Yen has done shirtless photo spreads. Both he and his former co-conspirator, Thomas Weisser, have done a lot of damage by spreading a seemingly neverending stream of mendacity and made up information regarding, but not limited to, the martial arts film genre. Weisser was the clown prince of perfidy behind the rag mag that was, and is the now defunct Asian Cult Cinema magazine (where fabricated film reviews and fake fan letters were the norm) where Rollickin' Ric was at first a guest writer before becoming a regular contributor with his 'Ric and Infamous' column. Ric was also briefly affiliated with the porn industry, a subject frequently featured in ACC magazine. He starred in, and allegedly directed two such "movies"--one entitled KIDNAPPED GIRLS AGENCY (see photo above ) and the mysterious MIA sequel, KGA 2: WOMEN IN TROUBLE.
Here's the verbatim description of that latter obscure 'Boobs & Bondage' sequel from a promotional publication That's Ric above surrounded by girls with guns--48pp., including covers. Bondage and sadomasochism magazine, illustrated throughout with b/w and color photographs. Photo-story with text, based on the HOM video. Mostly female (and male) domination of women; includes electrodes attached to breasts, nipple clamps, teasing with feathers, and a lot of rope, leather restraints, ball gags, etc. Starring Michelle Bauer (aka Kim Bittner), Carol Davies, Debra Lee, Heidi Reisner, Raven Catanzarro, and Ric Meyers.
NINJA IN RIC'S DEADLY CRAP
"I would send them letters asking to educate them..." *--Meyers referring to sending letters to critics such as Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert to teach them about Chinese cinema.
Since one half of this Gruesome Twosome has seemingly fell off the map, Ric Meyers continues to enjoy a prosperous career as the 'Go To For Fu' guy on his Bodhidharma-like journey to spread his patented brand of Faux Fu knowledge. Seeming innocent enough with his Shaolin Abbott beard and sporting an endless array of Hawaiian T Shirts that would give Bruce Le a run for his tank top wearin' money, Meyers continues to over-zealously spread the gospel of untruth. It's one thing to make a mistake here and there, but when you have spent over 30 years spewing an incredible amount of false information and mountains of mendacious minutiae, your credibility is going to be challenged at some point. There comes a time in your professional life when you get better at your job and mistakes become less prominent. Not in Meyers' case. He seemingly doesn't give a shit. Either that, or he's forgotten he no longer works for Weekly World News. How many years does it take before you can tell the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin for crying out loud?! It's been well over 30 years for him and he still doesn't know the difference!
With his questionable credentials and fatuous attitude, the man has acquired a great deal of hatred from the kung fu movie community over the years. None of this, however, has seemingly damaged his ability to garner steady work with which to spread more wild accusations and bewildering blanket statements. Some of his most recent examples of sensationalist nonsense are the following classics from a youtube interview he did with a blog run by The Insatiable Critic, "...after he died [Bruce Lee], the company, Shaw Brothers Studio, that put out the really high quality films, they didn't allow their films to leave China." * Okay, first off, any Canto comedic village idiot worth his salt knows the Shaw Brothers movies never left CHINA, but they did leave HONG KONG since that's where the Shaw Studio was based. Ric knows they played outside HK, too, so why he makes this comment is mind-numbingly retarded. He also says all we got were the Bruce clone movies....???? He also makes a similar statement on one of his many useless audio commentaries that it was Bruceploitation that ruined the market in America.
Another weird example of inflating the news are his comments in this same interview that the Chinese government issued a decree excoriating their own filmmaking industry for not having made KUNG FU PANDA (2008) before the United States. Actually, China embraced the film. Those questioning how such a film rife with Chinese culture could be successfully mounted by outsiders were answered with how ordinary the subject matter is as it's generally in every classic Chinese story. This one just happened to be animated. Also, many in Asia are as absorbed in westernized cinema as the cult of Asian cinema fans are here. There was a degree of protestation regarding the film, but it wasn't from the government; it was from an eccentric artist named Zhao Bandi who has a bizarre, possibly unhealthy panda fetish which emanates from his peculiar style of artwork. This seems to be yet another case of Ric's patented use of creative license.
It's incredible the man has made it this far, but why should any of this seriously hinder his career when he's acquired such a stature by reputable outlets who don't know any better? The man has never failed to incur feelings of laughter, astonishment and anger (sometimes all three at once) from the things that come out of his mouth. These days, Meyers fancies himself some sort of philosophical wayfarer much like Kwai Chang Caine from KUNG FU. He even claims to have studied Tai Chi for the last several years in his mission to find the right teacher! He now also proclaims ever so vigorously that kung fu is NOT FIGHTING AND MARTIAL ARTS. It's HARD WORK. Okay. While the term 'kung fu' can apply to any particular skill done well, the martial arts most assuredly applies here despite what this wisdomical ego-maniac may believe. I should reiterate that I don't hate the man, as I don't know him personally. I hate his seemingly unwitting lack of respect and cavalier attitude towards the genre and those who are sincerely interested in the various aspects that went into the making of the films. He claims to love these movies, but his nonchalant demeanor and utterance of blatant lies and repeatedly massive blunders displays contempt for both the movies and their fans whether intended or not.
"I used to show [SUPER NINJAS] at science fiction conventions all over America when I was just beginning to alert people to how great kung fu movies were....back in the mid 80s." *
Sadly, in Ric's case, he continues to make the same mistakes, covers the same myths he's perpetuated for decades and has yet to be widely called out on his fantasies save for the dedicated few found on various internet message boards. These are just movies after all, but spreading a slew of false information is no different than going to school and being taught history from a book that's predominantly made up. The man used to write for Weekly World News for gods sake; the single most outrageous trash tabloid on Earth. If you're not familiar with Weekly World News, take a gander at the image to the right. Meyers essentially took the outrageousness he parlayed there and applied it to his unapologetically mythical brand of martial arts movie "journalism". Judging by some of his remarks, Ric Meyers thinks little of his staunchest critics (that means the KUNG FU F...I mean the HARD WORK FANS). He has even stated rather insolently for those critics to "Do your homework". Meyers would like you to believe he does his, but it seems his dog constantly eats it resulting in his amalgamation of fact and fiction. I do find it difficult to fathom that Meyers believes the incredible things he says. These include his claims that certain actors and directors have died when they're very much alive such as his proclamation that Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar Leung for you Canto heads out there) had died. He even said this in front of a crowd at a screening of one of his movies! Either way, it only reaffirms a total lack of respect towards the genre and its followers.
It's near impossible to label somebody an expert on the kung fu genre, anyways. There are too many movies, too many actors, too many aka's and too much information to keep up with to know everything. My hat is off to anyone who does, as I imagine you will have a place among the elders of the 35th Chamber. Yet Meyers seems to have learned little and continues to cover and expand on the same level of "National Enquirer" styled joke journalism he's been spreading throughout his career. Meyers, ever the "Fake Kung Fu Master", has maintained his place atop the highest precipice within his own made up martial world that has gotten him undeserved notoriety "for all he's done for martial arts cinema". He's even managed to be inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame "for his contributions to the genre". It's a travesty that a man coined a "leading authority" on martial arts movies, hired to do numerous commentary tracks, can't recognize certain well known actors or actresses, or simply covers up his ignorance by labeling them with some random name!
YOU'VE BEEN RIC-ROLLED! 200+ GREAT RIC MEYERS MOMENTS!
While Rollickin' Ric can make up a randomly pointless list of films in his new book that he considers the 100 Greatest Kung Fu Movies--even though many of those films aren't kung fu movies at all--Ric says the REAL meaning of kung fu is "hard work". It can be construed as any activity done well, but when you say "kung fu", 99.9% of fans are going to expect movies where fists, feet and people fly through the air with relative ease. Astonishingly, such films as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952), BAD BOYS 2 (2003) and BROKEN ARROW (1996) make his list. And that's not including such kung fu-less HK crime actioners like THE KILLER (1989), BULLET IN THE HEAD (1990) and HARD BOILED (1992). I guess if you can shoot a gun that never runs out of bullets, that qualifies as hard work; ditto for dancing in a downpour with pneumonia. This is a random, and virtual mountain of Meyers mistakes, bizarre bits of made up jargon and ironic instances of classic Ric Meyers verbage. This hefty sampling of Ric's trademarked brand of Kung Phooey knowledge isn't a definitive list of Meyerisms, mind you, but it's more than enough to shed light on a guy who has attained a criminal amount of notoriety that should instead be a multi-decade spanning degree of infamy.
1. Ric Meyers stated in a recent interview regarding his straight to DVD movie, FILMS OF FURY--which was supposed to have originally been made up of interviews with kung fu movie stars--that the questions asked in all previous interviews with HK film actors were ignorant (martialedge.com interview).
2. Meyers makes the absolutely stupid statement on the FISTS & GUTS (1979) commentary track that fullscreen befits the kung fu action better than widescreen. On later classless commentaries, Ric seemingly forgets saying this as he repeatedly champions widescreen.
3. On the SHAOLIN DRUNK MONK (1982) commentary during the climactic fight, Meyers goes on about fighting styles this and fighting styles that till he mentions the "Three Internal Arts...Tai Chi, Hsing I...and uuuhhh...and they're, uh, represented by...the way the fingers are used." *--I think Pa Kua Chang is the third you're seeking, Ric.
4. "I am not, as the IMDB does, going to refer to him as Chia-Liang Liu...not when I know him as Liu Chia-liang. That is also the Cantonese version of his name. His name to Mandarin speakers is Lau Kar-leung, but I know him best by his Cantonese name, so that's the one I'm using." *--Wow, this great little blunder is on page 11 in the INTRODUCTION of his 2011 book! Ric is confused again. Liu Chia Liang is the MANDARIN, not the CANTONESE pronunciation of Lau's name. Lau is Canto. Liu is Mando. Okay-o?
5. Ric has stated that RETURN OF THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN (1969) is a movie Ti Lung did with David Chiang. Jimmy Wang Yu, that films star, would be pissed.
6. Claimed on the NINJA IN THE DEADLY TRAP commentary track that Chang Cheh's FIVE ELEMENT NINJAS (1982) and Kuo Chui's NINJA IN THE DEADLY TRAP (1984) were made at the same time, in competition with one another despite 5EN beginning production during the latter part of 1981 and all the venoms were still at Shaw Brothers at the time.
7. In the same breath, Ric stated 5EN was being filmed back at Shaw's on much more beautiful locations despite the fact that at least 99% of the film is shot on interior studio sets.
8. Ric Meyers starred in a porn movie entitled KIDNAPPED GIRLS AGENCY (1985) wherein he assaults people with not only his bespectacled, monkey-like frame, but also a huge dildo.
9. According to Ric Meyers, Liu Chia Liang had died...he was wrong.
10. According to Ric Meyers, Wang Yu had died...nah, he's still kickin'.
11. According to Ric Meyers, Wang Lung Wei had died...yep, still walkin' around.
12. When the news broke that Celestial Pictures were spending over a billion dollars remastering some 800 movies, Meyers made the claim he was somehow surreptitiously responsible for the films finally emerging despite his frequent remarks that the Shaw library was either being held hostage, destroyed in a fire, or dissolved. Take your pick, or for you FIVE VENOMS fans, Pick your poison!
13. Stated kung fu movies never had scripts. So exactly what the hell was I Kuang doing all that time?
14. "Read my book." *--actually, it has a much better use as a paper weight.
15. On the commentary for INHERITOR OF KUNG FU (1981), easily the worst audio commentary of all time, Meyers states the film ended the directing career of popular villain actor, Chen Hung Lieh. However, the film on the DVD is THE HEROIC ONE, retitled INHERITOR OF KUNG FU by Ocean Shores when it was released to video tape in the early 80s. It is not directed by Chen, but by Pao Hsueh Li. Yet Meyers repeatedly, and erroneously makes jokes about how this awful movie ended Chen's HK film career even though it's not his movie. If he had simply read the credits, or done his homework, this wouldn't have happened. This is but one fuck up here that results in this commentary getting its own section in this article.
16. Speaking of Chen Hung Lieh, Meyers claims that LIFE OF A NINJA (1983) ended his acting career despite the man working well into the new millennium.
17. Ric claimed Lu Feng retired after SHANGHAI 13 (1984) even though he worked in television and an occasional movie appearance at least up to the late 90s.
18. "Most of the action in American movies, for a hundred years, has been essentially nonsense. No one who was a real fighter is going to do a roundhouse punch. They’re just not going to do it. And that’s the stock in trade; even in the latest James Bond movies, he’s still doing roundhouse punches! They don’t make sense, from a professional fighting standpoint." *--Meyers in a 2011 interview with craveonline.com. So a one armed Wang Yu walking on the ceiling makes sense? No one is going to walk on the fucking ceiling in a real fight, Ric.
19. "...they don’t do guns properly, they don’t do car crashes properly, it’s all kind of fantasy." *--Meyers again in a 2011 interview with craveonline.com detailing why Americans can't shoot or blow shit up properly.
20. On the NEW LEGEND OF SHAOLIN (1994) commentary, Myers accuses Frank Djeng of making stuff up when he mentions THE AVENGING QUARTET (1993), a film Ric had obviously not heard of. Meyers then desperately tries to save face by further accusing Djeng of confusing the listener with his additional, and accurate information!
21. States on the back of the DVD cover for Chu Yuan's FULL MOON SCIMITAR (1978) that Erh Tung Sheng's character becomes obsessed with sword supremacy and goes on a selfish rampage of violence and sex. None of this is in the actual movie.
22. On the NINJA IN THE DEADLY TRAP commentary, Ric repeatedly refers to some imaginary venom movie called INVINCIBLE DRAGON.
23. "The Shaw Brothers simply did not want their stars to become famous elsewhere or else they were afraid they would ask for more money, more power and more influence." *--Not true. The Shaw stars were famous all around the world particularly in European countries where they often would go to promote their films. Both Lo Lieh and David Chiang were given opportunities to shine on the international circuit. The international market was vital to Shaw's continued success right up to their closing the studio in the mid 80s; which leads into number 28 below. This above comment is oft repeated by Ric and slightly altered from one commentary to the next.
24. Ric has met Donnie Yen, Stephen Chow, Sammo Hung, Tsui Hark and Sho Kosugi "many times", just to name a few. He lets us know this almost as many times as his many "accomplishments".
25. Claims that Liu Chia Liang, while choreographing SHAOLIN AVENGERS (1976), discovered Kuo Chui. Only Liu Chia Liang did not choreograph SHAOLIN AVENGERS. He was back at Shaw Brothers directing his own movies at that time.
26. Meyers has stated that Chang Cheh made movies in Taiwan because he liked the country. Actually, he made movies there because Shaw's had monetary assets that could not be extracted so Cheh was sent there to make movies with those funds.
27. "This was actually fairly authentic." *--Too bad the same can't be said about the bulk of your kung fu movie ramblings, Ric.
28. Ric claims that the reason Shaw Brothers shut down their filmmaking arm was because he suddenly discovered that his stable of stars have become too popular overseas. This regardless of all the Caucasian attention the studio attracted from the early 70s onwards; including the huge success of FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH and many other movies prior to the films finding additional success on the small screen for more than a decade.
29. He also claims that Shaw would fire any actor who took on an English name...despite the names David Chiang, Alexander Fu Sheng, Gordon Liu and even art director Johnson Tsao being featured on the CHINESE CREDITS of the films as well as the export versions. He later changed this to AFTER Fu's and Liu's taking an English name that Shaw would show you the door should anybody follow suit.
30. ANGEL WITH THE IRON FISTS (1967) is not a kung fu movie, Ric. It might help if you actually watched it.
31. Multiple times Meyers made the statement that Shaw Brothers were making upwards of five movies a week!
32. Ric claims prolific actor and action choreographer Chien Yueh Sheng (director, writer and actor of LION VS. LION among dozens of others) is somehow one of the Yuen Clan.
33. "I've done an enormous amount of research..." *--You have? This is news. On what?
34. On the LIFE OF A NINJA (1983) commentary, Ric talks about a previous author of the Warner Books NINJA MASTER series doing absolutely zero research before Meyers himself began writing novels in the series under the pseudonym of Wade Barker, under which he wrote 12 such novels.
35. Stated Lu Feng's first good guy role was in NINJA IN THE DEADLY TRAP (1984) totally forgetting his hero turns in INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN (1978), THE DAREDEVILS (1979) and LEGEND OF THE FOX (1980).
THE SAGA CONTINUES IN PART 2!!!