Ask almost any stunt professional who practices martial arts where their inspiration came from to take up the craft, and nine times out of ten, they will give you the same answer most fans of the genre will give you when you ask them who their favorite star is: Bruce Lee. As clichè as it sounds, it actually makes sense, particularly since the late Jeet Kune Do founder became the very center of the movement behind the growing popularity of the Hong Kong action genre with the 1973 hit, Enter The Dragon; It was ultmately a film that led to great prospects for many actors and stuntmen who have worked under him in some capacity, specifically one of today’s living legends of cinematic action, Sammo Hung.
Hung has worked on HUNDREDS of movies in his life, so there is no way you can be a martial arts cinema fan and not have ever heard of him. Honing in to all of his natural talents engineered and maintained in his younger years as a Peking opera performer, Hung remains one of the reasons why the 70’s and 80’s were such a memorable era for the film industry, with classics like The Prodigal Son, Enter The Fat Dragon, Millionaires’ Express, Winners And Sinners and so many more. As for myself, however, the very first time I was introduced to the heavy-set action star was at a time when DVDs were just picking up steam and I didn’t own a DVD player, so I was still renting VHS tapes (Google it, newbies). One such tape I rented regularly was a copy of Hung’s 1983 ensemble action comedy hit, Wheels On Meals, featuring two other of Hong Kong’s leading auteurs of action, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao.
Hands down, the film contains one of the best fight sequences to date, headlining a spectacular final fight between Chan and champion kickboxer Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. With a scene like this, exemplifying such a sheer display of power, rhythm, timing, athleticism and screenfighting charisma, it is no wonder that today’s stuntmen look up to Hung and his longstanding work. As re-iterated time and again, indepenent filmmaker, stuntman and LBP Stunts founding member Emmanuel Manzanares is just one in a handful of aspiring filmmakers using classic scenes like this as a standard to live up to when working on your own craft as a fight designer. And this week, he’s back with a new practice fight clip now available on his YouTube channel inspired by fellow LBP members Brendon Huor and Mickey Facchinello.
It’s worth noting that the latter two have performed in several of these videos together over the years, including one in 2011 paying tribute to Hung’s 1989 hit, Pedicab Driver
under fellow indie filmmaker Vlad Rimburg. So it seems pretty fitting for Huor
to want to revisit familiar territory with this piece. “This was actually all Mickey’s idea for doing this, and she was the one who came to me with everything and pushed to make it happen.”
. “She wanted to challenge herself in attempting to portray a specific style of movement, and also wanted to do complicated choreography in a style she is not normally used to doing. So it was really just her and Brendon that pushed to make this work the way it did with me behind the camera.
It’s not a formula all indie filmmakers use, but it does prove to be a useful tool for developing rudimentary skills needed when trying to understand how to shoot action and what techniques to include in your choreography. It’s why guys filmmakers like Hung and Chan became the trendsetters they still are, and if you’re considering stepping into the fray with your own vision for action, you’d best do your homework, especially if you want me to write a good review. *wink*
Check out Manzanares‘s latest experimental love letter to classic action in the video below, and subscribe to the channel as well!
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