The User’s Guide to ‘Hong Kong Godfather’

The world is filled with all kinds of cool stuff about Wang Lung Wei’s 1985 magnum opus “尖東梟雄 / Hong Kong Godfather”.  I think this film is one of the best things on earth so I decided to gather up most of my odds and ends and throw them into one big unsightly heap arrange them into one big online collection.  Hopefully you will enjoy some of the things I have included on this page and if you want to add anything cool and useful, please contact me.

Following are many, many links for DVD info, production and cast info, reviews, articles and images.  At the bottom of the post you will find a transcription of an interview for my “Hong Kong Godfather” podcast with martial artist Wayne Archer, and some of his final fight behind-the-scenes photographs.  Following that are links to fun Facebook pages, projects from “Hong Kong Godfather” enthusiasts and a video of the uncut final fight scene.

Get comfortable, re-braid that rat tail, set your perm rollers to “turbo-poodle” and let’s rock!

 

East Tsim Heroes
Original Movie Poster – “East Tsim Heroes”

 

The ultimate dvd version:  In 2010, Funimation re-released Celestial’s uncut, Cantonese-dubbed, re-mastered film.  If you have the shitty Mandarin-dubbed edited version then you’re missing Wang Lung Wei’s choppy choppy in its full glory.  The Funimation version is absolutely worth the buy.  No, I don’t get a sales commission.  Here is a technical review of the DVD.

I wish the Funimation DVD cover looked as cool as this Shaw DVD:

Hong Kong Godfather 1985 - greatest triad movie of all time - dvd cover
THE GREATEST TRIAD MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

You can find this Shaw cover and a bunch of screen caps here.  My favorite part of this webpage (and all the other webpages exactly like it) is that the director is listed thus:  “Lung Wei Wang….as Wong Lung Wei”.  That is really baffling and heartwarming.

“Hong Kong Godfather” film information is on HKMDB, HKCinemagic and that imdb thing. Google has conflated it with the 1991 Andy Lau movie of the same name.  You can help fix this by clicking the feedback button, selecting the DVD cover, and pushing WRONG over and over until your fingers fall off.  Righting wrongs like this is one of the only ways I can feel important.

Norman Chu Tsui Siu Keung Hong Kong Godfather
FIX IT NOW!!
…and also check out the cool splatter-protection googles behind Norman here.
‘Hong Kong Godfather’ – where fashion collides with function!

Let me know if Google fixes their entry.

I wrote a review for HKCinemagic in 2010.  Cool Ass Cinema’s review is here;  Hong Kong Film Net’s is here;  Jean Lukitsh’s is here;  Stefano Monteforte’s is here.

In 2012, under the generous wing of Podcast on Fire, I made a “Hong Kong Godfather” podcast episode with Amber Skowronski .  Links to everything I mention in the podcast are included somewhere in this unsightly heap post.

Tsui Siu Keung - Pomson Shi - Hong Kong Godfather
If you’ve seen the movie, you know this is one of the raddest moments ever.

On this website I have a “Hong Kong Godfather” photo album that contains the coolest lobby cards on earth.  Yeaaah.

Frank Djeng (Tai Seng Entertainment; NYAFF Cantonese translator; frequent guest-commentator-who-really-should-have-been-the-host for Ric Meyers on numerous Tai Seng DVDs) recorded the “Learn Movie Cantonese” segment on the podcast.  If you have any questions about his lesson on the word ‘大佬’ (daaih6 lou2), you can contact him at  frankdjeng@yahoo.com.  And if you don’t listen to the rest of the podcast, please listen to his lesson (43:00 – 50:00) because I am particularly proud of it.

The artist David Lam drew an awesome illustration of Beardy after listening to the podcast lesson.

Beardy - Leung Kar Yan - Dai Lou Ah - Hong Kong Godfather podcast - David Lam - artistMr. Lam apparently did not post his image online so this is, to my knowledge, the only website on which it appears.  I post it here for posterity.  You can find much more of David Lam’s cool Hong Kong cinema art here and here.    

The source for my pre-Shaw mini-bio of Wang Lung Wei on the podcast is in the first article in this album. The article might be from the Linn Haynes Memorial Collection  on the Shaolin Chamber 36 website but I honestly don’t remember.  If you know the origin of the article, please let me know!

Johnny Walker - Siu Fung - Hong Kong Godfather
Johnnie Wakka is awesome.
If anybody has info on this actor, let me know!

 

The Funimation version has no credits:  If you’re an uber-nerd like me, you freak out because the credits do not appear on the Celestial remaster.  Never fear;  you can see the film’s original opening credits here:

Big thanks to Sam Shimada for finding the video for me.  The original closing credits can be seen here:

Sam is also a big fan of “Hong Kong Godfather” and he made a fun video tour of the Wing On Gong Si shopping mall where the final fight was filmed.  I don’t understand Japanese so I just pray he is talking about the film like he promised me.  Sam also has a very cool Asian cinema blog with tons of good HK cinema stuff.

Mister Muttonchop - Ken Boyle Hong Kong Godfather
The name’s Ken Boyle, bitches. Remember it.

Steve at Chopsticks On Fire wrote a fun blogpost, Five Things to Love About Hong Kong Godfather.  I then wrote Six Things to Love About Hong Kong Godfather because I’m a copycat.  Steve also wrote an extensive three-part article on The Directorial Work of Wang Lung Wei.  And he’s made a couple awesome tribute videos; here’s one for “Hong Kong Godfather”:

 

Rawk!

 

Below is an interview (edited) conducted via email in April 2012, with stuntman Wayne Archer about his participation in “Hong Kong Godfather” and some cool background information.  This interview is included in my podcast.  Big thanks to Mr. Archer for his generous agreement to be interviewed!

Lau Kar Yan - Wayne Archer - Hong Kong Godfather
Wayne Archer in the final fight scene

His martial arts background:  Initially while I was in the UK, I studied karate, taekwondo and a little wing chun and lau gar, which provided a good foundation.  But my true passion was traditional Chinese kung fu and especially the weapons of Chinese martial arts.  I did not agree with the system of teaching that weapons could not be learnt for many years.  While I was never a great fighter, I truly believe I learnt more watching kung fu movies and practicing what I had seen alone.  I spent many hours on the lawn with my weapons, practicing.  I managed to kill an area of the grass by my constant practice.  I rarely went out, except to my classes.  I guess I would have been classed as a sad loner by most, but I never cared. Entering the HK film industry Hong Kong Godfather was my first film. I got the opportunity when we went to the Hong Kong nightclub “Hollywood East”.  As fans of Hong Kong cinema, we knew this was at that time a popular hangout for the movie stars.  For me, meeting the stars I had seen on screen for so many years was an honor.  We bumped into Tsui Siu Keung there and started talking.  Tsui told Victor Appiah, a friend of mine from London, that they needed Westerners for a new movie so he arranged to go for a casting. I did not intend to cast.  I just wanted to visit the studios because I was a big fan of Shaw’s kung fu movies.  But while I was there, Wang Lung Wei asked me to do a short action sequence with the fight coordinator.  At that time my kicking ability was fairly good, especially in the early days when there was not the influx of Western martial artists that would follow later. I think they were quite pleased with my performance and offered me the part, which was frankly a shock. We were offered HKD 400.00 per day but frankly, this was irrelevant.  I would have done it for free just to appear with the people from the movies I loved.  Just to be having access to the Shaw Brothers lot was payment enough, as this place was like a Mecca to a fan such as myself.

Wayne Archer Norman Chu-Tsui Siu Keung Hong Kong Godfather 1985
Oh noes, poor Wayne Archer! …killed by Norman.

Filming the final fight scene:  Actual filming was not so long but there was a lot of waiting around.  Most of my time was dealing with assistants and the stunt team.  No real injuries were suffered apart from a few bumps to the head.  The worst was that I had been to the beach the day before and my back was badly sunburnt, so falling down a flight of stairs was not ideal. As is typical of Shaw Brothers, the copious amounts of blood made my suit beyond even the best dry cleaners.As for the film making process, I guess it was pretty standard.  Shaw’s, and especially the triad genre, was pushing the boundaries as far as possible in terms of violent action, which was just routine and expected in those movies.  For any martial artists out there who thinks it’s easy to film fight scenes, it’s not.  I will be the first to admit that most Westerners cannot perform like that even the most inexperienced Hong Kong actors who know little or no martial arts, except for the few notable exceptions who I won’t need to mention, as fans of Hong Kong movies will be well aware who they are.  As for myself, I had a hard time with it, and I know many others did too.  Hence a lot of stunt doubling.  Not so much because they weren’t good martial artists but the timing and fluidity was a real issue.  Many could not come to terms with this, especially myself.  [April 2012]

 

Another interview with Mr. Archer on the Golden Ninja Warrior Chronicles blog.  He also generously allowed me to publish these behind-the-scenes photographs taken by him during filming.  Damn, these photos are awesome.
Hong Kong Godfather behind the scenes 5
Hong Kong Godfather behind the scenes 6
Hong Kong Godfather behind the scenes 2
Hong Kong Godfather behind the scenes 3
Hong Kong Godfather behind the scenes 1
Hong Kong Godfather behind the scenes 4
Hong Kong Godfather behind the scenes 7
A big shout out to my good friend, image archivist Greg Freeman, for helping me access and share the above photos and for putting me in touch with Wayne Archer.  There are some more of these photos in my album.

 

Some magnificent bastards who know about “Hong Kong Godfather”:  Shaw Studios and Venoms expert Tom Fardy is on Facebook;  my bro Brian from Cool Ass Cinema;  Richard Tronsden; Chanbara Spurt‘s Charlie Parker who is also a Heroic Sisterhood guest contributor;  Byron BraunerJohn Shelton and the immortal Ken Brorsson from the Podcast On Fire Network.  Toru Miyata is a Japanese blogger who knows a lot about the film and Hong Kong cinema.

Have fun with Yuen Biao’s FaceLevi BoldockThe Beardy FB Page and The Heroic Sisterhood.

Check out the Hong Kong Godfather podcast when you get time.  Feedback welcome!

And finally, in case you’re at the office or don’t have time to watch the whole movie, here is the uncut final fight scene.  Enjoy!

 

Johnny Wang Lung Wei Hong Kong Godfather
Cheers!

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