QT4: Kung Fu Triple Feature: DRAGON VS SNAKEFIST, DRAGON VS NEEDLES OF DEATH & SNAKE FIST IN EAGLE SHADOW
Published at: Sept. 17, 2000, 8:47 p.m. CST by staff
Now... at long last... I have reached the last super
fantastic night of the Fourth Annual Quentin
Tarantino Film Festival.... And how does the master
programmer figure on winding up this... the best of
his fests thus far?
A KUNG FU TRIPLE BILL
At long last.... I get to watch a triple feature of kung
fu films... with Quentin somewhere in the room....
For fans of Tarantino... for me at least... the Kung Fu
Triple Feature holds a special... sacred place in the
soul of geekdom.
First off... a triple feature of Kung Fu films is
simply... one of the true three answers to the “What is
good in life Conan?” question.
A triple feature of Kung Fu flicks.. well, it has only
one purpose.. to take the viewer to a transcendental
state of glee. A location where you leave the theater
filled with superhuman powers.... Talking in broken
dubbed English with exaggerated lip movements.... It
is where you make fun animal noises and spar with
your friends in the white man poser stance.
Second... for me, the first time I learned Quentin’s
name was when my sister forced me to take her to see
TRUE ROMANCE... and it was at the moment where
Clarence went to the triple feature Sonny Chiba Kung
Fu bill where I first thought... “This is great!”
The Kung Fu film is the pure joy of cinema.
I couldn’t wait.
Quentin took the stage and the theater erupted into
applause... the crowd packed to the sides of the
theater. Literally... the aisles were packed with extra
seats... filled. There were no empty seats... and there
was standing going on.
There was a fire in Quentin’s eye when he stood on
that stage... you could tell... he was ready for this
night. He was saving the best for last. He grabbed
the mike... swung it around briefly, and then went into
an excited rap about how THIS WAS THE NIGHT
HE WAS WAITING FOR.
Quentin’s favorite type of kung fu films are the
animal style flicks... the kung fu where you move like
an animal... and then... Quentin dazzled the audience
with his full grasp of animal style kung fu.
Suddenly the microphone was on the ground...
Quentin assumed the position of a nearly kneeling
man... one arm cocked like an Egyptian... and the
other way above his head with the hand at a pointed
right angle to the arm.... He began swaying to and
fro... as though studying his prey... hissing as his flat
serpentine claws struck out as his invisible opponent
striking them dead. He screams out... SNAKE
He begins to stand like an exhausted man... tired and
stumbling... his neck muscles loose.. head swirling
around like a carousel... as he shuffled to his right
while striking to his left, he suddenly switched
direction in a drunken stupor... the noises escaping
him.. like those of a belching god.... DRUNKEN
STYLE he proclaims...
He crouches down... arms waving above his head as
he waddles back and forth... He scratches an arm pit
and the underside of a leg that juts out, as the fist flies
down upon the head of his invisible opponent... the
entire time he gives the impression of a passive
aggressive Cheetah (Tarzan’s best friend) and as he
begins making simian sounds, you can tell... it’s
He strikes the classic Crane stances... flying
whooping style kicks, arms for balance out to the
side... striking on the way back down.... picking his
transparent opponent apart like a fish in a stagnant
bay. He decrees.... CRANE STYLE...
As he grabs the mike back, the audience erupts into
applause.... Watching Quentin go about the classic
animal style martial arts... making all the appropriate
noises.. and fighting in a precise facsimile and studied
fervor of a Kung Fu Flick Fan....
Quentin is already in a gleeful state.
He tells us that the film we were about to see was
called DRAGON VS SNAKEFIST, but... it’s real
title is SNAKE IN THE MONKEY’S SHADOW... In
the seventies... everybody was throwing DRAGON in
the titles of Kung Fu films because of ENTER THE
Now... I can’t tell you much about this film. Not
because I don’t want to... but in a credit style... I just
do not know the names. It stars John Cheung and was
directed by Sum Cheung. According to IMDB... this
movie is available on Video..... BUY IT NOW!
I’m serious... Go and take the money out of your
wallet and buy this fucking movie now. When it
arrives... don’t watch it. Gather together 3 of your
friends (at least) put on your two favorite kung fu
flicks and then put this thing on third.... IT WILL
KICK YOU IN THE NOSE AND LEAVE YOU
BLEEDING WITH A BLOOD RED SMILE.
By the time you get to... what you will get... ah fuck
it... the last hour is simply some of the best balletic
animal style kung fu you’ll ever see. Each fighter
stays in their style, and fights... you will see one scene
that I guarantee will keep you shitting bricks for a
week afterwards. This movie should be a treasure in
every kung fu fans’ collection.
This is a pure jewel. At least 5 times during the
movie, the film’s soundtrack didn’t exist to my ears
because of the applause in the room... and as this film
moves it begins to pick up a momentum that... is just
stunning... The movie thrilled the audience.... sending
them into an orgiastic gleeful lobby state where
EVERYONE was bearing a crescent moon of shining
Quentin hit the lobby... and was making the tours
soaking up the buzz...
When we returned to the theater.... and he hit the
stage... Quentin brought me to tears.
“You know, I get asked in interviews... ‘Quentin, why
do you do this festival every year?’ And that
reaction... that charge you just gave me while
watching this movie... That’s why. I’ve seen that last
film 3 times at home... with one or two others. And
ya know... at home with friends, it seems like a pretty
good movie, but you can sometimes fool yourself into
thinking something is great in close company... but
can go on to see it fall flat in front of an audience.
Well... what just happened... that feeling I just got
from watching this movie with you... That’s rare... If
I’m lucky... I’ll get that just once a year.... The last
time was at THE MATRIX. You could just feel the
audience completely hand themselves over to that
movie. And it became something bigger than the
theater. And you just gave me that feeling for the
first time in a year and a half. That was a great
screening... one of the very best I’ve experienced...
and that was all you folks reacting to this great film
and just being here and feeling that... that’s what film
is about... it’s about going on a journey with a whole
audience and just going with it. Thank you. Thank
Now... You all know me, I get... decidedly weepy
eyed at a flag being raised and such.... But Quentin
was quite emotionally charged... you could see it on
his face... this wasn’t Quentin being cool... or being
on show.... This was the movie fan that loves the
theatrical experience talking... and if you are a movie
fan.... then you know this feeling.
Next weekend, you’ll get a chance to see EXORCIST
on the big screen for the first time... many of you.
When you see that film.... whoever you go with..
however you see it... You’ll realize... THIS IS HOW
I’M SUPPOSED TO SEE IT... and for Quentin... on
this print... THIS WAS HOW YOU WERE
SUPPOSED TO WATCH THIS FILM... and it was a
perfect experience for all involved.
Next up... Quentin introduced DRAGON VS
NEEDLES OF DEATH.
“This is a completely different style of kung fu film.
Where that last one is grace and style and
movement... this one is brutal. When somebody gets
hit you go...” And Quentin made an OOMPH sound
while buckling his entire body, “...and it hurts ya
This film was shocking and entertaining on entirely
different levels... The fight scenes seemed to last
days, and cover continents and time periods without
so much as a blink.
The story is basically that of two best friends in love
with the same girl... pitted against one another by
circumstance (which is wildly improbable, but
entertaining all the same), however before they can
fight and settle their histories... they must first destroy
a common enemy and save their mutual damsel in
One guy is an expert martial artist.... the other can
throw nails with pin (ha ha) point accuracy and
When the guy begins unleashing his nails onto other
folks... I was just delighted... and so was the
audience... It was so.... how can I say this.... so,
Super-heroesque... I suppose.
The film was fun... but just not the perfection of the
earlier film. This isn’t bad... just not ‘ONE OF THE
BEST KUNG FU FILMS I’VE EVER SEEN’ if ya
get my point.
Now next was an extended break where Quentin
announced and worked through the awards process
for the fest.... Hopefully Moriarty will report on that,
as I wasn’t taking notes during the nomination and
But next up... Quentin was introducing his
immaculate print of SNAKE FIST IN EAGLE
That’s right... the Jackie Chan film to begin the
coming of the Jackie Chan we know and love... The
comedic adventurer that should in noway win... but
somehow... against all odds... manages to pull it off.
First off, the director of the film is Woo-Ping Yuen....
the same man responsible for the fights in THE
MATRIX and the upcoming CROUCHING TIGER
HIDDEN DRAGON. The one commonality of
Woo-Ping’s work is AMAZING FIGHT SCENES.
Here... he had young Jackie Chan, who saw this as his
last chance... Jackie was a has been in Hong Kong
kung fu... his movies all bombed... he wasn’t pulling
in audiences.... and this was the first comedic kung fu
flick out there.
This is... simply one of the great kung fu films... both
for history of the genre as well as just pure
entertainment and fight choreography and... the
humorous aspects are great.
Woo-Ping’s father... Siu Tien Yuen is a marvel to
behold as the old grand master kung fu beggar in
hiding. His martial arts are a thing of awe in the
film... He seems all at once powerful and fragile...
humored by the world around him.
Jackie Chan.... going from complete numbskull
clumsy oaf to... well, basically jedi knight asskicker
beyond words... I have to say was a complete and thorough delight, you can see the birth of every Jackie character he's played since... right here in this film... the origin of it all.
When you see his Snakefist mixed with Kitty fu....
you’ll die a happy death... It’s a thing of bliss. I’ve
seen this film on video... but on the big screen it’s just
fantastic.... on the big screen with a packed
This night was electrified. And for all the weariness
you would expect at the end of a 10 day film
festival... I felt complete and total relaxation. I
wanted more... and technically... I’ve gotten just that.
The day immediately following the QT fest was filled
with 4 movies in theaters... followed by the next day’s
course of 3.
Quentin’s film fests are the recharge for my film geek
batteries. Some of you had noticed my ‘lack of
perkiness’ with the last 3 (prior to the ALMOST
FAMOUS reviews) reviews that I had a seeming...
despondent feel to the reviews... an unusual sense of
doom and foreboding.... Well, that’s because those
movies had ZERO energy... no life or vitality.
These films that Quentin shows... these are not BAD
movies... they are simply movies that were never
seen... Go through the fests’ coverage... luck the titles
up at IMDB... in lots of cases... you will find no user
comments, no external reviews, no voting, no
Leonard Maltin summary.... these are movies that
simply... HAVE NOT BEEN SEEN.... or written
They were great plays performed off broadway to a
house of 5.
If one of these reviews gets you out to see these
films... get out there... track them down... Search
E-Bay.... look in the newsgroups and in newspapers
like BIG REEL. They are all worth a look.
Enjoy the hunt, and until next year’s fest and from
this the final night of QT QUATTRO... I say...