Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Tao of Ric: True Lies & A Fistful of Meyerisms: Part 7



"He just doesn't seem to have any idea...if...he needs somebody like a Fred Astaire to tell'em, ya gotta show the whole body. When you're doing a kung fu movie, the beauty of it is you get to show everything." *--Ric thinking he's referring to director Chen Hung Lieh for INHERITOR OF KUNG FU (1977), but it's actually prolific cinematographer and director Pao Hsueh Li's movie bearing the same title from 1981.

Up to this point, you may remember a few allusions here and there towards this INHERITOR OF KUNG FU movie spread out over this article and in the accompanying Meyerisms list. What's the big deal about this movie, you ask? Well, absolutely nothing, but the accompanying commentary is. This last chapter is all about that single movie and why this particular audio commentary is the single most useless and laughable excuse of audible cinematic journalism you will ever hear in your DVD lovin' lifetime.

On another commentary track for MYSTERY OF CHESSBOXING (bearing the onscreen title of NINJA CHECKMATE), Ric Meyers and Bobby Samuels, apparently cognizant of the large number of upset fans regarding their mostly useless play by play, asks for constructive criticism from said fans. That's totally understandable and all, but when you do an audio commentary for THE WRONG MOVIE, the potential for losing credibility is enormous, and Meyers has proven to be a better running gag than a kung fu movie enthusiast; a FACT he proves ten fold with this here INHERITOR OF KUNG FU (1981) commentary. He's great at being an enthusiast on himself and all he's done over the course of his "career", but lousy when detailing a subject he's had over 30 years to get the hang of.

Anyways, this particular commentary is without doubt, the worst of all time partially because the film these two are discussing is not from the actual individual they credit with directing it. Not only that, but both Meyers and Samuels (Samuels seem more like he's just going along with Ric than anything else) repeatedly throw jabs at who they think was the director of the film. Had either Meyers or Samuels bothered to pay attention to the credits, they would know who the director was. What exactly were they doing the whole time? The purpose of an AC is to give the listener pertinent information about the fucking movie they're watching. But if the geniuses spoutin' off into the microphone aren't watching, or don't even know Jack Shit about the movie, what the hell is the point, then?!?!?! Granted, Bobby Samuels actually has some legit credentials with his involvement in the HK film industry, but his participation on some of these releases is lacking to say the least. He divulges some interesting info on some of the discs, although it's still baffling that he sits there and goes along with Meyers the bulk of the time on these things. Possibly he just wanted to watch the movies and occasionally nod his head in aggreance in a bid to keep Meyers' ego sufficiently stroked. Still, he is far more knowledgeable from the standpoint of someone having actually been a part of the action than the man coined the "leading authority". Anyway, back to INHERITOR.

There are two films that bear this title, one from actor turned director Chen Hung Lieh released in 1977, and the other from former cinematographer turned director Pao Hsueh Li released in 1981. They are "watching" the latter. I guess it's easy to fuck that up since both guys have a word that sounds like "Lee" in their names. Pao's film is actually titled THE HEROIC ONE, but, for whatever reason, was retitled for its Ocean Shores release on videotape. The film itself is a peculiar one as it's choppily edited and all over the place rendering it near impossible to decipher as to what it's about aside from the search for a kung fu manuscript. There's a reason why the film is as confounding and frustrating as it is, but it's nowhere near the mess as that of the beyond idiotic commentary track that's been provided for your amusement. The following information was relayed to me by an actor/martial artist who was in the film.

The director, Pao Hsueh Li, signed Ti Lung to do one film, the shooting of which, was to be partially done in Japan. With the schedule going on longer than expected, the esteemed actor discovered this single movie was now going to be two movies. Basically, Ti Lung was getting paid one time, but for what was eventually going to be two films. According to Anglo actor-martial artist John Ladalski (who shows up during the finale), Pao didn't have the finances to pay Ti Lung for the second feature, but agreed to do so after the film was released. Figuring that since the director was being deceptive about the shooting of the second movie, Ti lung decided to leave the production when enough footage was shot for the first picture.

Image from HKMDB

This would explain why shots of Ti Lung battling Kwan Young Moon are featured prominently on the promotional spread for the second picture, HERO AT THE BORDER REGION (1981) as seen above. The second film was never finished and was likely padded out with portions of THE HEROIC ONE which would explain why it's so choppy. Either way, the film stinks, but never approaches the massive level of suckage that is Ric Meyers' commentary.

The DVD box further adds insult to injury by listing it as Chen Hung Lieh's version (a more traditional fist and kick movie while Pao's film is a swordplay picture); this coming from Tai Seng, the company that proclaimed, "We know kung fu!" With these older, less important films, why should even a modicum of accuracy or investigative research come into play? Who will care, right? Regardless of the historical significance of ANY subject, if it is as lazily discussed and promoted as this worthless attempt at an audio commentary is, then we are doing ANY topic of even the most minor of cultural, social, historical, or cinematic significance a gross disservice. While we're on the subject, it should be noted that the Tai Seng DVDs are nothing more than the Ocean Shores VHS tapes transferred to disc. Only one film from OS was ever released in widescreen that I am aware of and that's Lee Tso Nam's EAGLE'S CLAW (1977), which is also out on Tai Seng's Martial Arts Theater label.


"He's [I Kuang] supposedly the writer of this movie, but I have no idea how true that is..." *--Read the fucking credits, Ric!!!

Getting back to the INHERITOR OF KUNG FU commentary track, Meyers babbles on making insulting comments towards Chen Hung Lieh's lack of directorial skills when it's actually somebody else's movie! He also states I Kuang is the writer. Well, he is, but on Chen's film, not Pao's film, the one on the damn DVD! Jin Shu Mei (who co-scripted THE HEROES from 1980 with I Kuang and happens to be married to director Pao) is the writer for Pao's picture and Meyers would have known that had he paid fucking attention to the opening credits! To compound things, neither Meyers nor Samuels knows who Kwan Young Moon is (aside from his fan handle as 'The Mad Korean'). Samuels at least knows some of his actual, FACTUAL background information.

Astonishingly, Meyers doesn't even know who Pearl Cheung is, an actress most famous for WOLF DEVIL WOMAN (1981) and two loosely related follow ups and other films such as MY BLADE, MY LIFE (1982). Adding to this nonsense that extends beyond the shiny disc space housing the shitty INHERITOR OF KUNG FU and its even shittier play by play, Meyers states on the KUNG FU EMPEROR (1981) commentary that it's "quite possible" Pao directed INHERITOR OF KUNG FU! He says this with the utmost of conviction as if he has suddenly transformed into the kung fu version of Sherlock Holmes. He goes on to deduce why he believes Pao, the director of KUNG FU EMPEROR, also directed INHERITOR OF KUNG FU, but isn't quite sure! GO BACK AND READ THE FUCKING CREDITS, RIC!!!

Adding further fuel to this nonsensical fire, Meyers occasionally refers back to the INHERITOR film and his imbecilic presumption of Chen Hung Lieh's participation. With this single joke ass DVD commentary, whose stench extends to other waste of disc space, Ric Meyers proves without a shadow of a doubt the only martial art he is proficient in is the art of Clueless Kung Fu.


Both Meyers and Samuels reaffirm us on the INHERITOR OF KUNG FU commentary that Ti Lung had to have done this movie as a favor. Actually, Ti Lung had requested permission to freelance outside of Shaw Studio in mid 1978 for the potential lucrative benefits offered. As the actor told Saturday Weekly in June of '78, "Many Shaw contract players have been granted permission to freelance once a year. I hope I will be given the same treatment." He was, and in September of 1979, Ti Lung, along with Shih Szu , flew to Taiwan for a two week stay to headline a movie together. The actor was also working on five films at Shaw Brothers during this time, too. This was Ti Lung's first time freelancing in his then eleven year career. He also did a few other independent movies around this time such as THE HEROES (1980), THE REVENGER (1980) and KUNG FU EMPEROR (1981), all with Shih Szu and the latter two with his wife, Amy Tao.


This last list of Ric-Rolled Meyerisms contains some of the man's nuttiest, insane, arrogant, and ill-informed utterances yet!

NUMBERS 195-230!

195. "The Chinese government put out an official decree, uh, reprimanding its own cinema for not doing it first." *--Meyers twisting the truth yet again in reference to the Chinese not making KUNG FU PANDA (2008) first. You can read more about it in Part 1. What he didn't tell you was that several big name Chinese directors were covertly assassinated by the Flying Guillotine squad for not beating the Americans to the punch. That's what REALLY happened.

196. "I know lots about ninja...this is remarkably accurate." *--This statement contains several words you'd never associate with Ric Meyers--"I know lots about..." and "remarkably accurate".

197. In a boldly ironic statement on the LIFE OF A NINJA (1983) commentary, Meyers says that the reason Warner Books hired him to take over the series was because "they already knew about my reputation with martial arts movies and Asian films..." *--They say ignorance is bliss.

198. "When somebody says 'I'm a ninja', you're pretty well guaranteed they're not." *--Prick Meyers gets offensive when uttering insulting comments towards real life ninjitsu master, Stephen K. Hayes. On the LIFE OF A NINJA commentary track, he goes on for a few minutes denouncing how Hayes couldn't possibly be a ninja regardless of the fact that the man studied in Japan for at least five years prior to writing several books on the subject as well as being the bodyguard of the Dalai Lama. I think it's a safe bet Hayes doesn't walk on walls, nor scurry feverishly underground accompanied by ridiculous sound effects. Yet again, Meyers is a storyteller who enjoys confusing history with fantasy. When you say you're a martial arts movie expert, Ric, we're pretty well guaranteed YOU'RE NOT.

199. Moments later on the same commentary, Meyers can't remember what Sumo wrestling is, then jokingly implies how embarrassed he is claiming this is the first time he's made such a mistake(!!!) and that he is now going to have to burn all copies of LIFE OF A NINJA because of his Alzheimer's moment. Burn all your commentaries, Ric...BURN THEM ALL.

200. Chen Kuan Tai did not make a "great splash" in Chang Cheh's VENGEANCE! (1970), Ric. He was simply a background performer, nothing more.

201. Chang Cheh did not direct KING GAMBLER (1976), you idiot. That was a Cheng Kang movie.

202. "But after the closing of the, uh, Shaw Brothers studio film units in about, 19, uh, 85 [Chen Kuan Tai] was forced to take, um, uh, parts in movies like AMBITIOUS KUNG FU GIRL (1982) and uuuummm...(laughs)...GANGMASTER (1982)..." *--Those WERE Shaw movies and made before they closed their doors you giggling idiot. The LIFE OF A NINJA kook commentary strikes again! In another commentary from around this time, Ric proudly stated that GANGMASTER was one of the best Shaw movies. Go figure.

203. Yet again...Jeez, this is getting tiresome...Meyers incorrectly names an actor this time on the LIFE OF A NINJA commentary. He goes to his "reliable" IMDB list of credits for the actors and when he gets to Chen Hung Lieh (refer to the INHERITOR OF KUNG FU debacle discussed at top; Meyers treds that ground here, too, yet again!), he mistakes Tin Man Chung for Chen Hung Lieh, despite Meyers going on and on about the actor and his films. You'd think that if Meyers were familiar with him, he'd know what the man looks like by now.

204. Meyers claimed that Billy Chong, who enjoyed a brief HK kung fu career, got fat and owned a billiards parlor in Hong Kong after his star faded, but actually he returned to his Indonesian homeland where he continued his career and reportedly married a beauty queen.

205. Ric says that Ti Lung became an established, major superstar after appearing in the SENTIMENTAL SWORDSMAN series. Ti Lung was a major box office attraction well before then and had already went solo in a number of films before doing the SENTIMENTAL SWORDSMAN movies.

206. "Most of the Shaw Brothers movies, I believe, are fairly well lost forever. It's a terrible, terrible shame." *--Well, Ric, you would be fairly well wrong on that, too.

207. On the FISTS & GUTS (1979) commentary Meyers states that because of the use of a meticulously constructed straw hut, that the filmmakers obviously had a bit more money at their disposal than the average independently produced movie. You're kidding, right? I guess the straw was definitely not 'Made In Taiwan'.

208. "The Master Killer may be familiar to people who have seen THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR...This wonderful movie, THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (1975), which was clearly designed for Liu Chia Hui was taken away and given to Yul Brynner." *--Meyers repeats this same load of bull on multiple commentaries, so I will repeat it here, too, for like the third or fourth time. Gordon Liu was just a supporting player in Hong Kong in 1975, so the likelihood of him getting a lead role in a US production was about as likely as Ric Meyers being taken seriously by Asian cinema circles possessing even the most rudimentary of knowledge.

209. Slick Ric even goes so far as to say that Lo Lieh reclaimed audiences attention with his BLACK MAGIC in 1975; a movie in which Lo Lieh just had a supporting role. The main stars were Ti Lung and Ku Feng.

210. Lo Lieh was not a mad doctor in HUMAN LANTERNS (1982), Ric.

211. HUMAN LANTERNS is also not a slasher film, you fucking moron.

212. It's BAMBOO HOUSE OF DOLLS (1973), not BAMBOO HOUSE OF DEATH, Ric. Do I have any Aleve left?

213. On the DEATH RING (1984) commentary, Meyers again, for like the fifth or sixth time, runs down Run Run Shaw making the bogus claim that they stopped making movies because his actors and filmmakers were getting too famous and were making demands on him for more money and better working conditions. Meyers insinuates that Shaw closed his doors to keep from "paying these supposedly ungrateful people, so he simply shut down his film units." *--Shaw is never gonna look at that book now, haha!

214. Meyers rambles off a slew of errors back to back on the DEATH RING (1984) commentary. He claims Chang Cheh closed down his Shaw affiliated-Taiwan based Chang's Company (not to be confused with his later, solo Chang Ho company) because of the failure of several costume epics. Who's costume epics? Chang was sent there to make movies with Shaw capital that couldn't be taken out of Taiwan. The shooting of FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS used up much of the funds due to poor weather conditions. Anyway, Meyers proceeds to babble that Cheh returned to Shaw's in 1975. It was actually 1977 when he returned full time. He then, inexplicably and rather confusingly attributes Chang Cheh's HEROES TWO (1973) as a Sammo Hung film. HUH?!?!?!?!? He must mean WARRIORS TWO which wasn't even a Shaw picture and was made in 1978.

215. "It's very rare that everybody died in the FIVE DEADLY VENOMS movies although there were occasionally movies like THE DAREDEVILS (1979) where all the characters died, but usually Philip Kwok made it to the fade-out to say something about the folly of men." *--Um, there wasn't an actual venoms movie where they all died, Ric. Both Chiang Sheng and Lu Feng SURVIVED in THE DAREDEVILS; the latter actor, Lu Feng, the one you said ALWAYS plays the villain, was a good guy. He was also a good guy in INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN and BRAVE ARCHER 1-3 to name a few; part 3 of that series being an official venom film. That enlightening piece of misinformation is on the DEATH RING (1984) commentary track. As much as he drools over the venoms, you'd figure he'd be able to get this right, at least.

216. Damn, come on, Ric. Only four of the venoms were in TWO CHAMPIONS OF SHAOLIN (1980). They all didn't return for MASKED AVENGERS (1981), either. Only three of the original group are accounted for. HOUSE OF TRAPS (1982) was not the last film to feature all five of the venoms. Lo Mang is not in it. The last would be BRAVE ARCHER 3 (1981). This is easy shit, Ric. You shouldn't be mucking this kind of thing up!

217. "Black Belt Theater, which was created by World Northal, was trying to break into television, and they loved the idea of me going into a book which would educate their viewers as well as their buyers." *--The notion of Meyers "educating" anybody on any subject is a scary thought.

218. Crave Online Interviewer: Lau Kar-leung, is that how you pronounce it…?

Ric Meyers: Low Kar-Lee-Ung, yeah.

Me: Make him stop.

219. "Sammo’s the king of homophobia, xenophobia and macho chauvinism." *--Meanwhile Ric Meyers is still the reigning king of Mythomania, Prevaricative Babble-Boasting and Absolutely Fabulist ( interview; Sept. 2011).

220. Not only was Ric the master of mendaciousness when it came to commentaries and spreading the Faux Fu word, he also added his special brand of WTF? to a number of DVD covers when Celestial became his next victim by allowing him to design the synopsis' for anywhere between 300 and 400 DVD boxes. His number fluctuates, so just know he fucked up there, too. On the CHINATOWN KID DVD box, Meyers states Chang Cheh used stock footage of San Francisco in his movie. I guess the city had stock shots of Fu Sheng walkin' the streets and hoppin' aboard the street trolley's too.

221. On the same DVD box, Meyers states Fu Sheng's character "defeats each venom while succumbing to the seductive powers of sex symbol Shirley Yu only to learn that heroism leads to nihilistic desecration." *--Fu Sheng doesn't defeat each venom: Sun Chien is a good guy here, Kuo Chui "defeats" Lo Mang and both Lu Feng and Chiang Sheng have "blink an you'll miss'em" roles. The last part of that statement is another confusing case of Ric tossing big words around without rhyme or reason.

222. For the synopsis on the back of the IVL Hong Kong DVD for BRAVE ARCHER, Meyers says that Chang Cheh "...uses this Martial Arts World phantasmagorical to test future superstars Kara Hui Ying-hung...." *--Hui Ying-hung is barely in this movie and fails her test here only to pass with flying colors by the time Liu Chia Liang put her through a crash course in kung fu with flicks like MY YOUNG AUNTIE (1981) and LADY IS THE BOSS (1983).

223. On the back of the NEW SHAOLIN BOXERS Hong Kong DVD, Meyers refers to Fu Sheng finally getting his own showcase as opposed to being part of the protagonists in Chang Cheh's "trilogy" of SHAOLIN MARTIAL ARTS (1974), 5 SHAOLIN MASTERS (1974) and DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN (1975). Meyers, for whatever reason, leaves out HEROES TWO (1973) and MEN FROM THE MONASTERY (1974). Also, DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN isn't actually a Shaolin movie and while Chi Kuan Chun is in it, it's predominantly Fu's movie and also Chang Cheh's biggest HK box office hit.

224. I don't recall FLAG OF IRON being filled with "don't-blink-or-you-will-miss-something" gags, Ric. Maybe you mean the unusually short fight scenes? I've seen the film many times and haven't noticed anything any different aside from the fact that the editors could've shaved off about 15 minutes and it pales in comparison to the film it's a remake of--Chang's own THE DUEL (1971).

225. Meyers says this at the tail end of his MASKED AVENGERS synopsis: "Only three fearless fighters dare investigate, leading to mass murder and magnificent martial arts." *--Just who in the hell are the three fearless fighters? It's a group of them!

226. Ric's brilliance at making shit up is utilized yet again with his description for LEGEND OF THE BAT (1978). The last sentence reads, "The movie is also a significant milestone in the amount of female flesh revealed onscreen." *--Ooookayyyy. There's a scene where a few naked girls are fished out of the water, but we barely get a look at them, and I'm not sure how a few seconds of bare skin accounts for a milestone. Apparently, Meyers hadn't actually watched any of Li Han Hsiang's erotic pictures. But then, he doesn't seem to watch the movies he claims he's seen, either.

227. "I want to help make an authentic kung fu videogame." *--I think you've helped enough just in your spreading the counterfeit kung fu info. ( interview; Sept. 2011)

228. Meyers was replaced as director of his own movie, FILMS OF FURY, by two guys named Andy.

229. Ric considers KUNG FU PANDA 2 (2011) a failure. He also was disenchanted to discover that his "straightforward rules of kung fu" he gave to the director were ignored and discarded. I'd like to shake her hand. However, he praises the KUNG FU PANDA TV series since, not surprisingly, he was allegedly a "Creative Consultant" on it.

230. And finally, I figure it's fitting to close on this classic Meyerism from the KUNG FU MASTER (1994) audio commentary that also had Bobby Samuels and Frank Djeng picking up Ric's slack. At one point, Ric goes on and on about some director named Lau Ka Yung who's done a lot of films for Shaw Brothers which were, at the time (again, according to Err Meyers) being held hostage by the studio. We'll pick it up here....

Bobby Samuels: Now do you mean Lau Kar YUNG or Lau Kar LEUNG?

Ric Meyers: (Silence)


Ric: (Silence)

Bobby: Who are you talking about?!

Ric: What's the difference?!

Is that classic shit, or what?! This article isn't necessarily a condemnation of Ric Meyers; well, it is, but mostly, it's simply addressing a problem that still persists from a guy who takes an enormous amount of pride in having "started it all", and it was already started before he began making shit up, mixing and matching actors and actresses, royally fucking up basic kung fu iconography and generally making a mockery of the martial arts film genre. To use your own phrase, "You Don't Know Fu!"
If ever there were tall tales to be told, Ric was the teller. If nothing else, I've given Err Ric (see what I did there?) a lot of information for his next book. This article could of been longer, but I think you guys have suffered, and been tortured enough.


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