Tuesday, April 30, 2024

JACKIE CHAN HITS 70

 

This month marks the 70th birthday of Hong Kong Cinema Superstar JACKIE CHAN! And to honor this special occasion, EASTERN HEROES Magazine is publishing a Special Edition all about 'you know who'. And I was honored to be tasked with creating a special cover for this issue.

RUSH HOUR director, Brett Ratner, is interviewed so his image on the cover was a prerequisite. Something from DRUNKEN MASTER 2 was another request. Otherwise I was left to do pretty much whatever. 

I figured a collage of the birthday boy throughout the years in front of, and behind the camera, was the most obvious direction. (I'm aware these types of commercial projects are not the place for risk-taking, experimental design). Jackie's wife, Joan Lin Feng-jiao, makes an appearance along with Chan's Chinese Drama School chums Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. The man that took Jackie under his wing, Golden Harvest studio head, Raymond Chow, raises his glass in celebration. Bruce Lee makes an appearance as his shadow loomed large over Jackie's early career, and of course Chan died for him in films while working as a lowly stuntman.

And so we remember where it all started, a little cowboy Jackie...stands poised to begin his accent. When he naively and fortuitosly signed up for a ten-year stint under the harsh tutelage of Master Yu Jim-yuen and began his upward spiral into the iconic stratosphere.

It's a rather busy image. For an even more full life. Happy Birthday Mr. Jackie Chan. Thanks for the thrills, the laughs and even a few tears. Seventy years. What a ride.

By the way Jackie, I know slowing down for you is only jumping off one exploading rooftop per day. But you'already left fans with a lifetime of breathtaking entertainment.

You've have earned a break.

If you ever choose to slowdown.

It's okay. We'll completely understand. 


But, like some perpetual motion machine, Jackie seems like he's riding an inertia comet. 
And we're just lucky enough to witness the splendor. 
God speed.


Sunday, April 28, 2024

Mystery Solved


Another 'old skool' kung fu flick gets the grundgey, 'vintage-look' treatment. This piece for Joseph Kuo's fan-favorite THE MYSTERY OF CHESS BOXING was commissioned for the inlay cover of a Blu-ray release of a transfer of the only known surviving print. Not a negative transfer, but a banged-up 35mm fourty-year-old release print. So naturally the art is lovingly worn to match it's contents. 

The composition depicts the martial art 'players' strategically posing, sparring, and battling across the quadrants of a Xiangqi (Chinese chess) board. The limted color pallate takes it's cues from the game itself. The title spans the "river", with chess pieces in violent motion, mimicing the fighters above, and adding a little visual depth. 

I added folded damage to the art, not knowing that this would also be used as art for an included folded poster. Life imitates art I guess.  


Jackie Chan turns, what?, SEVENTY??? Yep. Already? That's next time...


Monday, April 15, 2024

PEKING OPERA BLUES

Simply irresistible. No, they are not backup dancers from a 80's Robert Palmer video, but three of the leading queens of 80s Hong Kong cinema. And they starred together in my favorite film, PEKING OPERA BLUES. (I've thoroughly covered my fandom here.)

If you are lucky enough to be anywhere near the Los Angeles, California area then you're in for a special treat. It's getting a RARE ONE-OFF screening at the legendary Nu Art Theatre on April 20th for an early matinee courtesy of the Hong Kong Cinema Secret Society. In fact this is the first public screening of a new DCP presentation with improved English subtitles (courtesy of my wife and I) and some other restoration. The film's long-unseen opening text and epilogue have been restored as well. We've got a ringing endorsement from Tsui Hark who, sadly, can't make the trip from Hong Kong. But he sends his blessings... along with a selfie. (I spy OUATIC in the background.

I was invited to introduce the film but after some ping-ponging of the theatres available schedule, it settled on a date where I have a conflict and cannot attend. No worries. Introductions will be capably conducted by your gracious host, Felix. There will be limited-edition free posters and/or flyers for attendies as well as a slideshow of rare photos and music from the film. You won't even miss me.

A period action film with political undertones. A female empowerment statement featuring gender-swapped intrigue. A comedy farce interwoven with Chinese culture and history. A colorful spectacle of art and drama in a time of bureaucratic upheaval. An acrobatic extravaganza featuring three of the most beautiful women to grace the silver screen. Something for everyone. Oh, and it's fun too. Come celebrate this landmark of HK cinema at it's free-wheeling finest as it was meant to be experienced. BIG and with a crowd.


The special event is FREE but tickets are required and are going fast.
CLICK HERE or scan the QR CODE.


BE THERE.
OR FOREVER WISH YOU WERE.

   
 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Send in the CLONES


Welcome back for another increasingly random blog post.

This is a commissioned piece done for the cover of a publication. Since it focused on actors imitating Bruce Lee's appearance and martial arts movements (commonly refered to as "Bruceploitation") in the wake of his untimely passing, I tried to mimic the style of those cheaply painted film posters of the era. Complete with folds and sun damage.  

The four actors, professionally known as, (clockwise) Dragon Lee, Bruce Li, Bruce Leung, Bruce Le, are seen flexing in the looming shadow of Master Bruce. Set against a swirling sunset. The monlythic text, another retro design element, reflects the GAME OF DEATH jumpsuit styling, along with another silhouette of Lee from his statue, posing along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong. Woooooah Hi-Yaah!

The clones may have faded, but Bruce Lee's "shadow" still looms large in the pop culture zeitgeist long after his sunset.         


Beware the "Xiangqi of Death". That's the game we'll play. Next time.


Sunday, December 31, 2023

STRIKE While the Fist is Hot

 

Angela Mao returns to the silver screen with 1973's WHEN TAEKWONDO STRIKES. My art for this package takes it's cue from the visual theme I established for a previous double feature of her films. Whereas the main characters were rendered in gray tones for the cover and in-color for the interior booklet of that release, this time I reversed that approach and put more color on the cover. 

The layering of characters, splattering of paint, and the angled, dimensional title text gives it some depth, without implying the film is presented in 3D. 

For the booklet the focus is shifted to Jhoon Rhee. I grew up near his dojo in Washington D.C., so his television commercials with that famous music and "NOBODY BAHDAHS ME, EDAH" slogan was ingrained in my impressionable brain from childhood. It's unfortunate he didn't do more films. But at least this one is getting an HD re-release.  


And for fun, to close out the year, here's some Chrismas card art I did for martial artists Karen Campbell and Cynthia Rothrock. HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody. May your blessings continue.


Catch you on the flip side.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Welcome to the Cult


I did this art for the Blu-ray packaging of Wong Jong's 1993 wuxia flick, KUNG FU CULT MASTER, starring Jet Li perhaps at the peak of his popularity. The first or a proposed two-parter, it's filled with fast-paced, high-flying wire-fu action and the requisite amount of double crosses. Who's on who's side? Well, the cover gives you a hint if you get confused. Heroes on top, villians down below. 

There was some marketing at the time of this release that accidently, and hilariously, mis-titled the film KUNG FU COLT MASTER. I remember the Hong Kong VCD was notrious in this regard. Now THAT'S a movie I'd like to see. The story of a horse who practices martial arts. Somebody get Roger Corman on the phone.

The film is jam-packed with characters, and quite a few big stars, so I felt the cover should reflect that element. Jet needed to loam large in his typical, stoic, offensive/defensive (come at me bro) pose. His name large across the top. While the art style and font choice coveyed the period, fantasy-action aspect of the film, so popular with local audiences at the time. Add some saturated colors to make it pop off a neutral background and bake for 20 minutes to a light orange.


Mao strikes back. Next time.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Urban Action Showcase


I designed this piece for the cover of a publication which showcased black actors/martial artists who flourished in the kung fu/martial arts action film craze that Bruce Lee helped kick off in the early 1970s. In fact, three of them (Jim Kelly, Donnie Williams and Steve Muhammad) appeared in ENTER THE DRAGON which celebrated it's 50th anniversary this year. 

Sammo Hung's protégé, Robert Samuels (DON'T GIVE A DAMN), and Taimak (THE LAST DARGON) round out the composition, along with the 'Little Dragon' himself watching over them.

For fun, I gave it a slight 1970s feel, with "racetrack" borders in green and orange. And I further aged it with some distressing as it was to be used for a limited edition t-shirt as well.


Next time, we send in the clones. Or maybe not. We shall see.