ASIAN CULT CINEMA: The Worst Book on Hong Kong Cinema. Ever.

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ASIAN CULT CINEMA: The Worst Book on Hong Kong Cinema. Ever.

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Sep 21, 2005 4:54 am

I used to be a Hong Kong cinema geek with way too much time on my hands. Now I'm a Hong Kong cinema geek with not enough time on my hands to watch all the movies I've amassed over the last couple of years.

When I had the time, however, I slowly came to the conclusion that one of my earliest Hong Kong movie guides was in fact a chronically error-ridden waste of pulp. I couldn't have known any of this when I bought it in 1997, for I was just beginning to take Hong Kong cinema seriously as a topic about which I wanted to learn as much as I could. But as I watched more and more films, and compared them against Weisser's doorstop (and later against better-researched and better-written tomes like Bey Logan's HONG KONG ACTION CINEMA and Stefan Hammond's SEX & ZEN AND A BULLET IN THE HEAD), I found myself actually jotting down Weisser's mistakes in the margins of his book (talk about anal!).

The more I watched, the more I learned, and the more I was able to cross reference names, dates, story information and other pertinent details in my head. And so the margins of ASIAN CULT CINEMA grew darker every day, until I was able to put together this beginner's guide of reasons not to buy this rancid pile of lies which, much to my ongoing frustration, continues to pop up at booksellers to this day, while other, more worthy volumes have been remaindered to used online dealers and outlet stores.

I'm sure this represents only a fraction of the errors contained in this never-once-updated mess, and I can't always qualify my own corrections as it's been a while since I've seen many of these films, however, I DO know this info is at least incorrect in all of these instances. Please feel free to correct me if my "correct" info is no so (as there are many here more well-versed in HK cinema than myself), but remember, I'm not postsing this material to incite nitpicking wars. Personally, I'd love to see what other misinformation people have found in ACC, so if anyone else here has the book and has noticed something odd, feel free to add to the list. Otherwise, I'm sure the following will suffice for now. As you'll soon see, Weisser and his Japanese wife Yuko Mihara Weisser, who's apparently a crackerjack Chinese translator but you'd never know it from this book, don't just limit themselves to misspelt names, incorrect directors or wrong dates: sometimes they just pull plots right out of their asses, which suggests they (or their unnamed contributors) haven't even SEEN some of the films they've reviewed.

I realize, too, that many of these reviews were probably ported over from Weisser's sensitively named fanzine ASIAN TRASH CINEMA, no less sensitively renamed ASIAN CULT CINEMA, which was published at a time when information on Hong Kong Cinema, at least outside of Hong Kong, was scarce, so feel free to argue that point if you must. But alot WAS known by 1997, and yet Weisser saw no reason to go b ack over his notes. Hey, why update that info just because you get a lucrative book deal, when it's so much easier just to cut and paste it all together and get no less a dignitary (an no less dim a bulb when it comes to the subject matter) than Oliver Stone to offer his expert testimony on the cover and in the intro.

Anyways, here we go (and please forgive some of the typos as these were originally typed up in a very short period of time):

Page 11 - ALL ABOUT AH LONG - ending revealed
Page 15 - ANGRY RANGER - Claims "Iwanbeo" Leung (actually Iwanbec) plays the title character. Leung is a woman. The title character is a guy, played by Ben Lam.
Page 16 - ARMOUR OF GOD 2 - Eva Cobo De Garcia spelled as Eva Cobode Gracia
Page 17 - ASHES OF TIME - cinematographer Christopher Doyle called Christopher Boyle
Page 20 - BAMBOO HOUSE OF DOLLS - credits year of release as 1977. Film released in 1973.
PAGE 23 - THE BIG HEAT - �Detective Wong tries desperately to find witnesses who will testify against the big boss, but they are eliminated as quickly as they are discovered.� Only the blackmail victim is killed. There were no other witnesses.
Page 24 - THE BIG SCORE - No plot outline given (tonnes of entries are like this)
Page 26 - BLADE OF FURY - claims Samo Hung plays the �maniacal villain.� He actually has a small cameo role
Page 26 - BLONDE FURY - claims Cynthia Rothrock is �a newspaper reporter who decides to investigate charges againsst a top banker (Chin Siu-ho) when she sees his conviction was trumped up.� WHAAA? Actually, Chin Siu Ho plays an undercover cop posing as an insurance investigator, There is NO BANKER character, and therefore Elizabeth Lee does not play his daughter (as the review claims). She�s actually the daughter of a prosecutor who is brainwashed by the villain.
Page 28 - BLOODSTAINED TRADEWINDS - director Chor Yuen listed as Chu Yuan. This would be forgivable if the man�s name was spelled consistently anywhere else in the book. Claims all the character�s wind up dead at the films conclusion. Actually, only Waise Lee�s character dies.
Page 33 - BULLET FOR HIRE - Lists director as John Cheong. Actual director is Yuen Chun-man. Entire plot synopsis is fabricated!!
Page 34 - BURY ME HIGH - Lists director as Tang Chi Li. Actual director is Tsui Siu-ming. Claims jacky Cheung plays the character of Wisely. Actually, Chin Ka-lok plays this character.
Page 34 - BUTTERFLY & SWORD - claims Tang Chi Li as director. Actual director was Michael Mak (interestingly, packaging for Mei Ah DVD credits Kevin Chu Yen-ping as director, even though he�s not). Claims the film is from the same director as LEGEND OF WISELY and BURY ME HIGH. Both films have different directors, Teddy Robin Kwan the former, Tsui Siu-ming the latter.
Page 37 - THE CAT - misspells director Nam Nai-choi as Lan Nai Kai, the offers no analysis, only brief synopsis.
Page 43 - CITY WAR - review warns �beware of a sugary-sweet ending.� In fact, one main character dies and there is no sugary-sweet ending.
Page 47 - CRYSTAL FORTUNE RUN - admits he give it three stars solely for the presence of Cheung Man, then admits the story and execution �suck.�
Page 48. Compares CURRY AND PEPPER to Lethal Weapon. Hardly.
Page 49 - CYPRUS TIGER. Actual title is CYPRUS TIGERS. Plot description is inaccurate.
Page 50 - DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS. Credits director as �Lan Nai Kai (Ivan Lai).� If review of THE CAT is any indication, he clearly thinks Nam Nai-choi and Ivan Lai Gai-ming are the same person.
Page 52 - DEATH TRIANGLE. Cast and synopsis sound staggeringly similar to A SERIOUS SHOCK: YES MADAM �92. At least he gives �both� films a three-star rating, so he�s consistent.
Page 58 - DR. WAI IN THE SCRIPTURE WITH NO WORDS. Claims Jet Li, Takeshi Kaneshiro and �Charlie (Yeoh) Young� characters fly to the Chinese wilderness in search of inspiration. They do not do this.
Page 63 - DRUGS AREA - incorrect director credit. Not sure of correct director, but Cheng Siu-keung is not him.
Page 64 - DRUNKEN MASTER 3. In slamming the films �disregard for historical accuracy,� the reviewer claims Wong Fei-hung says to a princess �It�s just like seeing a movie.,� then boasts that �clearly movie theatres didn�t exist circa 1900.� Perhaps, perhaps not, but �movies� did exist and people COULD see them (nickel kinescope machines and the like, perhaps even theatres). They may not have been called �movies� yet (I�ll leave that to the experts), but the film is probably safe in assuming Wong Fei-hung was aware of their existence. Also claims the movie has �vehicles from the roaring 20�s and fashions from the 60�s. The only vehicle that comes close on screen is a turn-of-the- century STEAM BUS, and the fashions seem very appropriate for the time.
Page 64 - EAGLE SHOOTING HEROES. Completely misses the point that the movie is an irreverent send-up of the same source material as ASHES OF TIME, using virtually the same cast. Seems offended by �mindless sight gags� and the act the film has �absolutely no regard for continuity.�
Page 67/68 - ESCAPE FROM CORAL COVE - lists director correctly as T. Chang, but is unaware this is long-time producer Terence Chang. Also claims the �Alex� character is played by Bee Lee Tan, when he�s actually played by Alex Fong, billed as Fu Lik.
Page 68 - ESPRIT D�AMOUR - ending revealed.
Page 68 - ETERNAL COMBAT - director credited as Cheng Chang Yip. Actual director is Yip Shing-hong. Claims magician is played by Zheng Ying Lin. Actually played by Lam Ching-ying. Spells Yuen Wah�s name as �Yuen Wak�
Page 69 - EYE FOR AN EYE. Claims Joey Wong hits someone so hard with a baseball bat they go through a window and fall ten stories into a pool. The hit does indeed take place, and the character does indeed fly through a window, but the pool is about 10 FEET below, if that. The biggest paragraph in this review actually talks about various "controversies" surrounding Joey Wong that have nothing to do with the film, including events that wouldn't happen for another FIVE YEARS. Claims Joey Wong is also billed in the film as Wang Zu Xian, which is untrue. English credit for her is Wang Tsu-hsien.
Page 71 - FATAL PASSION - claims Sharla Cheung Man is in the movie. She isn't.
Page 72 - FATAL VACATION - claims �trouble erups when a few mischievous youths wander off and, inadvertently, get caught in the crossfire between Filipino cops and a gang� These characters, however, REJOIN the group, and then EVERYBODY is taken hostage.
Page 73 - FIGHT BACK TO SCHOOL 1-3 - claims the lead actor in the 1987 Hollywood movie HIDING OUT was David Neidorf. Actually, it was Jon Cryer, although this MIGHT have been his character name. Also knocks the movie for being about a cop gong undercover to find the police commissioner�s favourite pistol, completely unaware that this is a comedy setup. Calls director �Wong Ching (Jing)� a �proletarian.� Does he mean populist? Popular? Refers to the Hollywood movie BASIC INSTINCT as BASIC INSTINCTS.
Page 76 - FISTS OF FURY 1991 - Claims Ching Siu-tung as director. I believe this is wrong. Synopsis is incorrect.
Page 77 - FLAMING BROTHERS - Claims Lin Ching Hsia is in the film. She isn�t. Also claims Chow Yun-fat and Alan Tang play brothers. They�re not. They�re friends from the orphanage.
page 78 - FLYING DAGGERS - Lists Ching Siu-tung as a cast member. He was action choreographer, I believe.
Page 82: FULL THROTTLE - breaks down 90�s HK cinema into three categories: kung-fu action films, ultraviolent psychological thrillers andsensitive relationship movies. Leaving out, of course, horror movies, dramas, sci-fi, contemporary action movies, etc, etc, etc.
Page 83: FUTURE COPS: claims �Chun Lee� character is oddly missing in action, perhaps because director Wong Jing was fighting with his �girlfriend/protegee� Chingmy Yau that week. In fact, Miss Yau PLAYS the Chun Lee character (a reasonable facsimile). What film were they watching?
Page 83: GANGLAND ODYSSEY - lists director Charles W.M. Chan. This is actually Raymond Chan Wai-man, who�s also in the film. �Sexy Cheung Man� is not actually in the film, as the reveiwer claims. Also cites this performer as �Cheung Man [Chan Wai Man]� apparently unaware that Chan Wai-man is, umm, a man.
Page 87 - GINSENG KING - lists director as Rotar Ru-tar. Hopefully, they just made this review up, or were the clueless subjects of a very stupid joke.
Page 91- GOLIATHON - four long paragraphs and not a single plot synopsis in sight! They love that Evelyn Kraft, though.
Page 93 - GUNMEN - claims it was made to �capitalize� onm the success of A BETTER TOMORROW, which came out TWO YEARS prior.
Page 93 - GUYS IN GHOST'S HAND - Claims Stanley Wing Siu (which should probably be Stanley Siu Wing) is the director. He's not.
Page 93 - HAPPY GHOST - Claims is was released in 1982. Should be 1984.
Page 93 - HAPPY GHOST 2 - Claims is was released in 1983. Should be 1985.
Page 93 - HAPPY GHOST 3 - Claims is was released in 1984. Should be 1986. Also claims Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam directed the picture, when it was actually Lam, Johnnie To and Raymond Wong.
Page 94: HARD BOILED - Okay, here we go...lists Philip Chan by both correct spelling in cast list, and incorrectly as Philip Chen in the body copy. Talks about �undercover agents who can�t blow their cover� when in fact, there�s only one (Tony Leung). Says the film leaves �cynical questions� like why the gun traffickers hid their contraband in the basement of a hospital and �how the hell did so many weapons get shipped in?� Simple answers for both. Firstly, who�d suspect? (the villain even says the next cache might be hidden under a police station). Secondly, the weapons are smuggled in on guerneys from ambulances through the hospital morgue. Finally, the book claims Philip Chan plays the villain, even though Anthony Wong plays the role.
Page 95: HAUNTED COP SHOP - Calls Ricky Hui "Hui Gon-ying" Acceptable, I suppose, since that's how his Chinese name kinda sounds, but he's called "Ricky Hui" elsewhere in the book. Bigger problem is in the plot description, which claims "vampires have infested a meatpacking plant," when in fact this scene involves excaped inmates from a nearby hospital, not vampires. Also claims the heroes are part of the "Monster Police Squad" but nothing in the movie or the subs suggests they're anythng other than superstitious cops.
Page 96: HE LIVES BY NIGHT - direction credited to Po Chih Leo (should be Po Chih-Leong)
Page 99: HEROIC TRIO - Claims Ching Siu-tung as co-director. He was action director only. Calls EXECUTIONERS, the sequel, HEROIC TRIO 2:EXECUTIONERS. Claims the first film doesn�t make much sense, which it does. Claims in the sequel, Michelle Yeoh spends most of the film selling her fighting ability to the highest bidder, when in factshe�s part of a relief network. Also claims the villain s are �named Evil and a strange Christ-like protege who are using the world problems to create a religious upheaval: in fact, the villain is called Mr. Kim and he kills the �protege� as part of a plan to create a DICTATORSHIP. Also claims Anita Mui has little screen time in the sequel, which is not true. Also claims she rips the head off a rat and drinks its blood when she only squeezes out the blood.
Page 101: HIGH VOLTAGE - Claims credited director is Leung Tung Ni. Actual director is Andrew Kam. Also claims Yu Rong Guang is in the film, which he is not, and which is also why the film did �nothing to further Yu Rong Guang�s popularity.�
Page 101: HIGH RISK - Claims the film only exists as an attack on Jackie Chan, when it�s really a Die Hard knockoff and Jackie Cheung�s character is a caricature of Chan. Also claims Jet Li�s character becomes a vengeful freedom fighter who saves the hostages and makes Cheung�s character look good at the same time. In actuality, the �Frankie� character has to prove himself by fighting a villain in the film�s climax.
Page 102: HOLY WEAPON - Claims the HK divas do their best to keep your attention off the slapstick, when in fact, they participate in most of it.
Page 103: HONG KONG EVA - Ending revealed.
Page 104: HOT HOT AND POM POM - Actual English title is POM POM AND HOT HOT.
Page 106: IN THE LINE OF DUTY 2 - Release date is 1990, not 1987. Calls Hiroshi Fujioka�s character in Part 3 a �Jap cop.� Nice. Also claims the ITLOD series is often confused with the YES MADAM series, which is unlikely as 1985�s YES MADAM is usually considered the first in the ITLOD series (at least by Chinese title).
Page 108: INSPECTOR WEARS A SKIRT. Actual English title is The Inspector Wears Skirts. Also mistakes Stanley Fung Shui-fan for billy Lau in both the cast list and the synopsis for the sequel. Also says the movies are female versions of the PROJECT A movies. Really?
Page 109: ISLAND OF FIRE - Credits Tony Leung Kar Fai�s part to Tony Leung Chiu-Wai,which is probably why the Columbia Tristar DVD packaging says the film stars the same Tony Leung from GORGEOUS. Unreal. Even THEY refererred to this book.
Page 111: THE KILLER - Claims the film originally ran 142 minutes, which is highly arguable. Also claims the plot is close enough to Le Samourai to be a remake rather than an inspiration, which is hardly true.
Page 115-116: THE LAST BLOOD - entirely wrong plot synopsis. not even the same film.
Page 116-117: LEE ROCK - claims there�s an �irritating cliffhander ending that would indicate a part 2 is coming, whether we want it or not.� In reality, the sequel was released in Hong Kong approximately THREE WEEKS after the original. Both were shot together. Apparently, the reviewer couldn�t bother to do any research on this in the intervening SIX YEARS before ACC was printed.
Page 119: LEGEND OF WISELY - credits direction to Tang Chi-Li, instead of Teddy Robin Kwan. Claims Eva Cobo De Gracia plays in the film, which she does not.
Page 127: MAN FROM HONG KONG - Claims the film STONER dates from 1980. It was actually a 1974 release.
Page 130: MIDNIGHT ANGEL - Made in 1990, not 1988. Misidentifies director Chik Ki-yee as as Yee Chik-ki. Claims May Law is in the movie, which she is not. Claims three sisters become vigilantes when a cop boyfriend is murdered by a brutal drug lord. In fact, the character is simply killed in action.
Page 131: MISSION KILL - Probably another title for Mission of Condor, in which case Simon Yam plays the villain, not the �professional hitman.�
Page 139: NAKED KILLER 2: RAPED BY AN ANGEL. Claims Ricky Lau Chang-wei is director, instead of Andrew Lau Wai-keung.
Also claims the film is part of a new wave of roughies called Category III films. Doesn�t this certification pre-date the genre?
Page 140: NEW LEGEND OF SHAOLIN - Jet Li and Tze Miu escort FIVE shaolin monks, not four, as the book claims.
Page 144: ON THE RUN - Director is Alfred Cheung Kin-ting, NOT Corey Yuen. Also claims Pat Ha character (they call the actress Yo Hua for some reason) is betrayed by her gangster employer. She�s actually betrayed by the crooked cops who hired her to kill Yuen Biao�s wife, a narc who was getting too close to their operation AND sleeping with Chief Charlie Chin. Also claims there�re gaping plot holes in the �ludicrous story line,� which isn�t true.
Page 145; ONCE A THIEF - claims the only gunfight is at the conclusion, ignoring earlier battles in the museum and castle. Calls the actor who plays the villain Kent Tsang Kong, instead of Ken. Also claims FOX TV contracted the TV series based on this film, when in fact it was Canada�s Alliance Atlantis who ponied up the dough.
Page 145: ONCE UPON A TIME: HERO IN CHINA - Claims its from Tang Chi Li, the director of BUTTERFLY & SWORD and LEGEND OF WISELY, both of which were directed by other people (See above).
Page 146; ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 4 and 5: Lists Zhao Wen Zhou (Vincent Chiu Man-chek) as �Lao Wen Zhiou� Also calls Rosamund Kwan�s character a �fiery lover� to Jet Li�s Wong Fei-hung in the earlier films in the series. Hardly. Also calls the Wong Fei-hung character �apolitical� which is anything but true! Part 3 of the series doesn�t get a plot synopsis, but is accused of becoming bogged down in �despair and propaganda,� which is hardly true. Also criticises the films for assuming that the viewer already has some detailed knowledge of Chinese history, which is quite likely if you consider the films intended audience was CHINESE. If western audiences don�t know the details, perhaps the films might inspire them to learn more.
Page 150: PASSION 1995. Claims Carol Do Do Cheng has a cameo, but I�ve yet to verify this after a few viewings. Also claims Teresa Mak plays Gucci, a character actually played by Christy Chung.
Page 151: PEACE HOTEL: Lawrence Ng is not in the film. Composer is Cacine Wong, not Cagne Wong.
Page 151: PEACOCK KING: Director is Nam Nai-choi, not Lan Nai Kai. Credits Liu Chi-liang as Liu Chia Hui. Also claims there�re dragons in the film, which there are not. Claims Pauline Wong plays Hell Virgin, a character actually played by Gloria Yip. Pauline plays Witch Raga. Film released in 1989, not 1988.
Page 154: POINT OF NO RETURN. Claims one of the male characters falls in love with his intended victim, which is not true (although the character DOES fall in love).
Page 158: PRISON ON FIRE - Credits incorrectly list Tony Leung Chiu-wai instead of Tony Leung Ka-fai. List actor Victor Hon Kwan as �Hon Kwan� in credits for first film, then has �Victor Hon Kwun� in credits for second film directly underneath.
Page 160: PROJECT S photograph: A classic! Misidentifies Yukari Oshima as Michelle Yeoh!!!!
page 160: THE PROTECTOR - Claims the film has no stunts or martial arts. Hmmmm. Untrue. Also claims the Asian cut has 30+ minutes of new footage, which is untrue. New footage doesn�t total 30 minutes at all, but there IS additional footage, including fights.
Page 161; THE RAID. Credits incorrectly list Tony Leung Chiu-wai in the part played by Tony Leung Ka-fai. This book has probably done more damage to the poor man�s career...
Page 163: RED TO KILL - claims the film is set in a hospital for retarded young patients. it�s actually set in an apartment building with one floor reserved for the mentally handicapped. Also claims the villain is a �wacko doctor� played by Chung Suk-wai. He�s actually a volunteer to the handicapped people played by Ben Ng Ngai-cheung. Chung Suk-wai is actually Lilly Chung Suk-wai, who plays the rapist�s victim. The book credits this role to(Money) Lo Man Yee, who ACTUALLY plays the social worker. Claims the villain surprises everybody at the conclusion by taking a straight razor and slashing his way to infamy. IN WHAT FILM?? This does not happen. In summation, reviewer slags the film, which still gets a thre-star rating(!!)
Page 168: STORY OF RICKY: Director Nam Nai-choi again listed as Lan Nai-kai. At least Weisser�s CONSISTENT in some of his screw-ups.
Page 169: ROBOFORCE (I LOVE MARIA): Credits director �Ben ny Wong Che Keung� (actually David Chung Chi-man) with also helming the cult hit ROBOTRIX, but...
Page 169: ROBOTRIX - in the very next entry, credits the direction of ROBOTRIX to Simon Yun Ching!!!! Actually, the director was Jamie Luk Kim-ming. So both entries are WRONG.
Page 173: RUN, DON�T WALK - calls actor Kent Cheng a �fatty,� which I suppose is true, just not very polite.
Page 174: SAGA OF THE PHOENIX - Combines actresses Pauline Wong and Gloria Yip into �Gloria Yip Wong� in the cast list, even though both are credited in the cast list of PEACOCK KING. Claims the goofy �genie� character is �furry� yet on-screen, he has no hair!!
Page 174: SATIN STEEL - Lists director as Clifton Ko Sum. Actual director is Tony Leung Siu-hung.
Page 175: SAVIOUR OF SOULS - claims movie is set in contemporary Hong Kong, which it is not. I don�t believe it was even FILMED THERE (probably in Canada?)
Page 178: SEVENTH CURSE - credits direction to Lan Dei Tsa, instead of Nam Nai-choi. Credits part played by Chin Siu-ho to Andy Lau. Also claims the Andy/Chin Siu-ho character stumbles across the bizarre ceremony of the Worm tribe. In fact, he GOES TO IT to rescue the girl. Also lists a scene where the witch doctor snatches up the eyball of a dead man and forces it down the throat of Andy/Chin Siu-ho. This does not happen. Also claims the girl cuts off her nipple and feeds it to Andy/Chin Siu-ho. This also does not happen. She actually removes something from within her breast. Claims there are small Alien creatures that burrow into the victim�s chest, when in fact there is only one such creature (besides the �Old Ancestor� beastie). Also claims Chow Yun-fat�s part was an early role, when he�d already made many films by this time. Here his part is just an extended cameo.
page 179: SHANGHAI EXPRESS - Lists this film as Cynthia Rothrock�s HK acting debut, but the book also includes her major appearance in YES MADAM a year earlier. Surely they knew they were wrong on this one!?! Also claims the film is litle more than a number of vignettes tied to the fact that everyone is aboard the maiden run of the Shandhai Express. Clearly they did not watch this film, or they�d know that Sammo Hung diverts the train to his hometown early on to draw its wealthy passengers. The bandits who try to rob the train end up joining everybody else in the town.
Page 181: SKINNY TIGER & FATTY DRAGON - Credits part played by Carrie Ng to someone named Wanda Jessica Yeng.
Page 186: STORY OF A GUN - lists wrong director and cast. Probaly not watched, either, as synopsis seems conveniently brief, like hundreds of other in the book.
Page 187 - THE STRANGE RAPE CASE OF SUNKAM HILLSIDE (aka UNKNOWN MYSTERY), supposedly from 1993. I can't find any evidence that films with either of these titles exist. Claims the film stars Danny Cheung (who?) and Charles Wan (who who??). Synopsis sounds suspiciously like SUBURB MURDER. Director listed as Li Yuen Ching, who only has one director credit in the DB: BLOOD RITUAL from 1989. Perhaps this film will turn up some day, but for now, it's suspect.
Page 189: SWORDSMAN 2 - Rosamund Kwan listed as Jet Li�s sidekick. Actually Michelle Reis. Also cleverly claims that Rosamund could give Amy Yip competiton in the big breast category. Shurely?!
Page 193: THOU SHALT NOT SWEAR. Claims Lau Ching Wan, star of this 1992 film, found fame �a few years later� with C�est La Vie, Mon Cherie, in 1993!!! Also claims director Chin Sing-wei (Wellson Chin) is really alias for director Stanley Siu Wing.
Page 194: THUNDERBOLT: Claims Jackie Chan drove a tank in Rumble in the Bronx. It was a hovercraft. Claimed Lo Wai Kwong (Ken Lo) plays the villain Cougar in Thunderbolt, when the actor is a towering caucasian German guy. Ken does, however, fight Jackie in the Pachinko parlour. Also in this review, calls the motorcycle movie Full Throttle, a �car movie.�
Page 195: TIGER ON BEAT 2 - Claims Ellen Chan �wields a wicked gun.� Where? When? Not in this film.
Page 196: TIME YOU NEED A FRIEND - Misses the point that the old-style comedy duo revamping their show into a slick disco extravaganza was the characters comedic attempt to be hip to a newwer generation. Apparently the viewer was rather offended by this, arguing Martin & Lewis and Cheech & Chong would never do such a thing.
Page 196: TO BE NUMBER ONE - Lists Kent Cheng as Cheng Chak(?!?) Says Ray Lui plays truelife character of Ying Ho. Actually, Lui�s on-screen character is Ng Shing-kwan, and is based on real-life gangster Ng Sik-ho (Limpy Ho). Also claims the film runs 150+ minutes,when it clocks in at 136.
Page 199: TWELVE ANIMALS - They allow the reader to select a review rating from 1 to 4 stars, since they can�t come up with a critical opinion.
Page 199 - TWILIGHT SIREN - Says Ricky Lau is the director. He's not.
Page 200: TWIST - Calls Simon Yam�s perf in this film �refined, confident� like his work in BULLET IN THE HEAD, when the two performance couldn�t be stylistically further apart. Also claims this is Danny Lee�s first solo directorial effort, which I believe was actually 1984�s LAW WITH TWO PHASES, some 11 years prior.
Page 200: UNDECLARED WAR - Claims the movie has NO stunts or gunplay. It has copious amounts of both.
Page 201: UNMATCHABLE MATCH - Claims it�s a cop-buddy movie, which it isn�t. Also says it�s a fizzled �transition� attempt for Stephen Chiau to shed his goofball image, an image he had barely started to cultivate when this movie was made in 1989 (reviewer incorrectly claims it was made in 1992).
Page 202: UNTOLD STORY - Claims actor Parkman Wong made his debut here, when in fact he�d been in films for years, including co-star Danny Lee�s 1984 LAW WITH TWO PHASES.
Page 204: VENDETTA - lists Veronica Yip in the cast. She's not in the film.
Page 207: WEAKNESS OF MAN - quote from the review: "so the wife has an affair with another guy but then finds out he's married to her best friend who's having an affair with her uncle." Not true.
Page 211: WITCH FROM NEPAL - says it was made in 1987, but it was acually made in 1985. Claims Cherie Chung plays the title character, who�s actually played by Emily Chu.
Page 215: ZODIAC KILLERS - Claims this film is supposed to be an action flick, not a love story or a drama Who told him this? Actually, tt�s SUPPOSED to be a love story and a drama.
Last edited by Brian Thibodeau on Thu May 01, 2008 4:05 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby odresel » Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:34 am

I agree, it's full of mistakes...but it was published in 1997 just as the internet was really getting big, and while there may now be constantly updated databases like this one (which I still cannot get into all of, no cast lists, no searches by name...) no one has yet tried to better it in hard print.

Also, Asia Trash Cinema was not only the original title of the magazine (later renamed Asian Cult Cinema) but was also the title of the smaller first and second editions of the book, published in January and September 1994, respectively (these had the painted advertisement for "A Better Tomorrow" on the cover.) 187 pages for a whopping 19.95! In 1994!! The much larger Asian Cult Cinema (324 pages, really a third edition) originally sold for 14.00.
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Re: ASIAN CULT CINEMA: The Worst Book on Hong Kong Cinema. E

Postby Mike Thomason » Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:39 pm

Brian Thibodeau wrote:Page 50 - DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS. Credits director as “Lan Nai Kai (Ivan Lai).” If review of THE CAT is any indication, he clearly thinks Nam Nai-choi and Ivan Lai Gai-ming are the same person.


Actually, Weissner was the guy who clearly thought Ivan Lai Kai Ming, Simon Nam Ngai Choi and Peter Ngor Chi Kwan were ALL the same person! Back in the day, it took me about five minutes to discredit that nonsense -- I emailed a (now long lost) overseas email friend, he scooted Money Lo an email, and I got back an excerpted version of her reply. Having worked with all three at different points in her career, she confirmed that they were all different people. End of BS assumption...

Amazing list! Glad I never bought the book. Doubly glad that, way back when, I also took much of what I read (both online and in print) with a large pinch of salt and did most of my own research off my own back amongst the local Chinese community. That sure set me straight, and put me on the right path, right from the early outset...:)

PS: That credit for GANGLAND ODYSSEY isn't all that far off...you call him "Raymond", based on a handful of credits (though I've only seen it myself once), I call him "Michael" because that's the English name I know him far better by (and have seen more frequently used), but onscreen come the director's credit on said film Chan Wai Man is credited as "Charles W.M. Chan" (but don't ask for visual proof, as I only have the film on VHS and don't have the ability nor materials to do video capture from such an analog medium).
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:26 pm

The time of publication (noted by odresel), in this case, is hardly justification for a great many of the typos and errors and downright WRONG plot synopses in Weisser's book, and besides, you can still buy the thing in some first-run brick & mortar bookstores over here. In his rush to plug a hole in the cinema book market, he simply reprinted warmed-over sludge from the two previous editions (which I had seen via a friend at the time) and the magazine without double checking his facts. And a not insignificant number of the errors I found within the book were discovered within just a few weeks of buying it. But I thought, "Hey, even the Maltin guide has boo-boos" and so I let it slide, but by less than a year later I'd probably noted half of the mistakes in my list. The rest trickled in passively over the years.

It's evident to me that Weisser and his crew didn't (and still don't, if you've seen the magazine) really have much respect for Asian cinema, and for any number of reasons, including but not limited to the sloppy nature of the prose style, the inclusion of supposedly triple X porn titles, the inability to recognize actors from one film to the next and, worst of all, the abundance of synopses that are just plain made up and the glaring fact the Weisser STILL SELLS bootleg DVDs via his Florida-based website of the very films he champions (just check out all the "all regions" Korean and Japanese DVDs at asiancult.com, and the ridiculous prices he's charging).

I'm well aware that harping on this subject some 8 years after the book was published is akin to beating a dead Weisser, as superior material has emerged in those eight years and most of us have long since switched over to it as our point of reference. It just galls me that ACC is often carried by booksellers in favour of volumes by better writers. Even Paul Fonoroff's book would be preferable, for while he doesn't seem to like much about modern Hong Kong cinema, he at least knows what he's writing about.

And I have to concede Mike's point about Michael/Raymond/Charles W.M. Chan Wai-man. The man is very likely credited as Charles C.W. Chan in GANGLAND ODYSSEY. I likely made note of that one very early on and it's been in the list ever since. I believe someone else may have pointed it out as well, but to maintain continuity in this thread, I'll leave it in, since it could also stand as evidence that Weisser simply copies down names without checking the actors/directors against their other works, especially in the case of Chan, who IS billed elsewhere in the book under other names.

Back in the day, it took me about five minutes to discredit that nonsense


This is one of my biggest problems with the ACC book - it becomes more discreditable with every passing year, and yet there it sits on so many bookstore shelves, where well-intentioned newbies could still be subjected to it's eyesplitting faults. By 1997 I had been passively watching Hong Kong films for about 9 years. Supplies were limited in my city, so the early years were filled with so many old dubbed 'n cut versions that the experience could hardly count as serious film scholarship. By the early to mid-90's however, I had much better access to the material and was well on my way, like many others here no doubt, to cataloguing what I'd seen for posterity (and perhaps sharing one day). So by the time Weisser's book came out, I was immediately suspicious, but as I still hadn't seen a lot of the film's he had covered, I couldn't be sure. Obviously, over the course of about two years it became apparent that even I could have written a better book, but I had never had the good (or bad) fortune to have a fanzine as a foundation or a backlog of reviews with which I could approach an ignorant publisher. Weisser's only real advantage was his timing. His interest in the subject probably predated that of many people here, but his treatment of same has always been disingenuous. I mean, "cult" and "trash" cinema? Hardly. Of course, Weisser's obsession with the surface aspects of sex films probably partly justifies his attitude towards Asian cinema in general, at least in his own mind.

Weisser and his pallies also wrote two volumes about Japanese cinema that I'm told (by folks over at Mobius where this list originally appeared before the costly wipeout of their system) are nearly as error-ridden as the ACC book.

I am glad that other, worthier books exist on Hong Kong cinema, as do myriad film and DVD websites as well as the venerable Hong Kong Movie Database, which just gets better and more reliable every year (even though it, too, had it's fair share of errors in its infancy, but at least here there's a concerted effort to fix things).
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Postby mrblue » Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:23 pm

Brian - what an undertaking - trying to list all of the errors in ACC is akin to trying to climb Everest with no shoes.

Even movies that were recent when ACC came out have inaccurate information - like for Rumble in the Bronx, it says something about Jackie and Anita Mui falling in love, but then Jackie starts going after Karyn Cross (whoever she is).

Weisser also ran (or still runs, I'm not sure) Video Search of Miami, which is a grey market (more accurately, bootlegging) outfit which probably did more to hurt HK movies than to promote them with their 4th and 5th generation tapes that made Tai Seng's early tapes look like Criterion releases.

If you want to go into further detail on this, you should go to the Google archive of alt.asian-movies - even back in the infancy of the internet as we known it for HK movies, people were quick to point out ACC's errors and unethical practices.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:44 pm

Weisser also ran (or still runs, I'm not sure) Video Search of Miami, which is a grey market (more accurately, bootlegging) outfit which probably did more to hurt HK movies than to promote them with their 4th and 5th generation tapes that made Tai Seng's early tapes look like Criterion releases.


That's probably the company that became www.asiancult.com. As I mentioned, he's still selling bootlegs, only he's graduated to quality DVD versions. Despite the pro look of the packaging and the quality transfers and extras direct from the originating DVDs, these are the same boots that have flooded the market. There, they sell 5 for $20, while Weisser's selling them for $19.99 to $24.99 EACH, which is usually more than buying them legit! Guess he's greedy enough to prefer a slow dollar over a fast nickel...

Thanks for the heads up about alt.asian.movies. I always figured I wasn't the only one frustrated by Weisser's ass-wiping of Hong Kong cinema. I just didn't have internet access in those early days.
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Postby dlopez » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:03 am

Page 16 - ARMOUR OF GOD 2 - Eva Cob De Gracia spelled as Eva Cobode Gracia

The name of this spanish actress is actually Eva Cobo de GARCIA. But that was when she was married with Tony Cantó, an spanish actor (real name Antonio Garcia).

Page 52 - DEATH TRIANGLE. Cast and synopsis sound staggeringly similar to A SERIOUS SHOCK: YES MADAM ‘92. At least he gives “both” films a three-star rating, so he’s consistent.

These two movies are the same one.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:49 pm

The name of this spanish actress is actually Eva Cobo de GARCIA

Actually, I was aware of this but as I typed up these boo-boos in a very short span of time, my own boo-boos tended to creep in here and there. Mind you, if I was writing a book like Weisser did, these kinds of things wouldn't happen. Interesting backgrounder on Eva. I assume she's no longer married to Mr. Canto/Garcia?


These two movies are the same one.

Which is why I included that mistake. It is funny, however, that there are even inconsistencies between these two entries when, in fact, they're for the same film.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau 3 » Wed Sep 28, 2005 2:55 pm

I've noticed over at Mobius someone discovered that Weisser is writing liner notes for the DVD release of the 70's Japanse exploitation classic ZERO WOMEN: RED HANDCUFFS from Discotek Media which, according to their website (www.discotekmedia.com), "was started by two diehard cult, Asian, and anime film fans with the intent to license and distribute some of the titles that are in desperate need of a good release."

How two "diehard cult, Asian and anime film fans" would stoop to hire Weisser as some kind of "expert" on Asian cinema in light of all the damage he's done with his publications and bootlegging enterprise could possibly be explained if Weisser IS on of those "diehard" fans.

If this is the case, and I strongly suspect it is, and Weisser's trying to go legit after years ripping off both the creators of Asian cinema and the customers at www.asiancult.com by selling $5 boots for $25, then I'm pissed off even more. Weisser's visibility is the only thing he's got going for him, and it's not particularly hard-earned. If he was truly such an expert, any number of other companies specializing in Asian "cult" movies would have contracted him a long time ago. If he's not directly involved in Discotek media, I'll eat my shoe, as they say!

One of their upcoming releases, ROBOKILL BENEATH DISCOCLUB LAYLA actually uses an English title that supposedly can ONLY be found in one of Weisser's books, while the actual title was MIKADROID.

Funny that the Discotek site makes no mention of who it's actual owners or managers are; the "About Us" link simply burbles on about what big fans they are.

I guess what's most frustrating is that in this era of plentiful and accessible resources on Asian film, the knowledge in Weisser's head isn't so special any more, patricularly when one considers how much of it was WRONG in his previous endeavours. There's any number of literate, fan-based "known" and "unknown" experts who could compile and finesse a worthy set of liner notes, but Discotek somehow decides the most worthy candidate is the one person virtually every other company has avoided up until now.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:14 pm

Pay no attention to that "Brian Thibodeau 3" character. I don't like him. He thinks he's me.

But I'm me.

And I have a cool avatar. He doesn't.

I agree wholeheartedly with everything he says, mind you, but I still don't like him.

I think he's after my woman, too...
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:26 pm

double post
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Postby Brian Thibodeau 3 » Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:28 pm

Watch it, pal! I don't particularly like you either.

Remember, I'M the one who was surgically removed at birth and tossed out with the trash. I TOLD you you couldn't keep me locked up in that basket forever, but you wouldn't listen. Losing your woman's gonna be the least of your problems. I think Im typin' to a dead man...a deeeaaaad maaan.




http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083624/



.
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Postby Mike Thomason » Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:05 pm

Anyway, while Brian wrestles with his own tortured psyche, I'll just say that I'm happy that I live where I do and know little of what goes in the US when it comes to the Asian film fan scene. Though I know Weissner's name (as his reputation precedes him...even abroad), from what I read I'd count myself lucky that I never had to entertain him or his prose. It seems everywhere there's a Hong Kong/Asian cinema network, there's people (allegedly) like him that profiteer off of the fans (as well as proffer slim to negligible knowledge to justify their existence).

What particularly disturbs me the most, as someone who lives in a country where piracy of copyrighted material from ANY country is taken rather seriously (irrespective of whether or not private individuals come home from holidays in Indonesia or Thailand with literal suitcases full of pirated DVDs - it's largely for home use in those instances and seldom resold into the commercial marketplace), is the astounding hypocrisy that US bodies exhibit over piracy of their intellectual property...when it appears outwardly that piracy of another country's intellectual property is a God-given right and something that we overseas folk have no right to question! Any way you cut it -- piracy is piracy.

Why is it, that through government intervention, importation or censorship restrictions, it's considered an anathema that Asian countries might harbour underground bootleg networks that make available to their working classes the latest Hollywood blockbuster at an affordable price...yet in a country as large (and arguably as wealthy) as the US, it's not only considered justifiable but also something to be taken for granted that bootleggers make available the product of foreign countries simply because "the distributors aren't servicing the fans"? When it's costing me, as a private individual, less than $5AUD for a back catalogue HK DVD and between $12 and $16AUD for a new release disc (less than one third of a domestic release), albeit legitimate copies, I find it unconscionable to reason that it's all about price and/or availability. If that's what I'm paying, even after factoring in shipping, then I can't begin to imagine how little US fans who go the legit route are paying for the same product.

I know this is straying a little bit off topic...but some of the reasoning I have encountered (pertaining to "justifiable piracy"), in larger and larger quantities across a variety of message forums over the last couple of years beggars belief. I can proudly say that every HK/Thai/Korean/Other Asian DVD and video I have in my collection is 100% legit, and it staggers me, when costs are realistically so low at current exchange rates, that some sectors of "our" cinematic passion-base can hold accountable either poor distribution or price point as justification for promoting and encouraging virulent piracy of film industries that are already suffering financial and identity crises?! The old "I only have a R1 DVD player" argument doesn't cut the mustard anymore -- legitimate fans will go region-free if access to the films they love dictates it to be so (and it's not like region-free DVD players can't be had for a song just about anywhere anymore)!

Yours bewilderly,
Mike :shock:
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Postby Mike Thomason » Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:18 pm

As a brief aside to my "rant"...I am stunned! Of your (Brian) initial compendeum of errors in said "reference book", there's only seven films I haven't seen! I think I spent WAY too much of my time in the early nineties watching Hong Kong movies!!! :oops:
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Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:00 pm

is the astounding hypocrisy that US bodies exhibit over piracy of their intellectual property...when it appears outwardly that piracy of another country's intellectual property is a God-given right and something that we overseas folk have no right to question! Any way you cut it -- piracy is piracy.


An extreme overstatement. I cannot think of a major company who would have this view (though some subsidiaries might). Most major publishers have legitimately obtained the rights for the films (though sometimes creating weaker cut versions or only offering a English only version like Dimension or offering a poor copy of the film like Columbia.)

People who buy bootleg HK films (in the states) for the most part do not know they are buying a non-legitimate film. They see it in a major retailer and assume (incorrectly) that it is legitimate.

Now let's get back to the dross of ASIAN CULT CINEMA (and heck find some inaccuracies in HONG KONG ACTION CINEMA.)
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Postby Mike Thomason » Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:52 am

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:An extreme overstatement. I cannot think of a major company who would have this view (though some subsidiaries might). Most major publishers have legitimately obtained the rights for the films (though sometimes creating weaker cut versions or only offering a English only version like Dimension or offering a poor copy of the film like Columbia.)


Erm...when I said "US bodies", I was talking about film bodies ala the MPAA etc, NOT the major distributors themselves. Every other week, if you read it, there is a cut and pasted news story on the front page of Kung Fu Cult Cinema about the US cracking down on piracy in some OTHER world region than their own -- usually accompanied by quotes from the folk in charge, or lawyers, stating how it's their "American duty" to stamp out the scourge of intellectual property piracy worldwide. None of these reports ever point to the fact that, as you've mentioned below, pirated copies of films are available in MAJOR retailers...or that in numerous independently surveyed assessments the US has the highest rate of intellectual property piracy anywhere in the world...or even the small fact that, a couple of years ago, Stephen Chow's SHAOLIN SOCCER was the most pirated/downloaded film via illegal sources on the internet in the US alone (and that's tremendous loss of revenue for both the Hong Kong production company and the filmmakers involved; like Gordon Chan said in the interview segment on the A-1 DVD, Hong Kong film audiences have increased...only they're NOT paying to see the films anymore, and if there's to be a turnaround in the industry then that industry HAS to stop). It almost seems ironic that, earlier this year, when US authorities broke up a major bootlegging operation in China it turned out to be run by...a team of Americans. :oops: I'm not being "anti-American" (a popular catch-phrase these days), nor am I lumping every American Asian film fan in with those in the wrong -- just putting forward some facts to address the wider picture.

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:People who buy bootleg HK films (in the states) for the most part do not know they are buying a non-legitimate film. They see it in a major retailer and assume (incorrectly) that it is legitimate.


However, the "fans" know these are bootlegs, right? When I persistently read online (largely in US based forums) that the product of distributors like Steeplechase, Crash Cinema, Xenon, Pan Media etc (and the above mentioned "cinema expert", who sells R0 copies of Korean films that are hard-encoded R3 [for a reason] in their own territory, albeit for higher than the price in US$ than they can be purchased online directly in legit versions) are prioritised/indentified as bootlegs, that speaks enough for itself. You go to any US based kung fu forum, and there's bootlegs being traded and/or sold left, right and centre - or pointers towards the best place to download Asian films for FREE. Once again, this whole debate comes down to concerned foreign interests like myself, who don't wish to see their favourite film industry go under through virulent overseas piracy, being told to butt out of questioning the country where a high percentage of the piracy is originating from. :(

As for the comment about "Hong Kong Action Cinema"...I think, as a Brit, Bey Logan has done more selflessly for the promotion of HK cinema than any other genre scribe I could name...even going so far as taking up residence in HK and getting involved in the industry. I think the inaccuracies in his tome would be far less noticeable to the modestly trained eye than the above quoted source. Typical though, an American (whose work can predominantly be labelled "imaginative fiction" in part, erroneous in others, and has been directly involved in the piracy of Asian cinema for his own territory) has been singled out for constructive criticism, so in turn it's now cited that a foreigner who has done nothing but good for the industry he's long championed should be equally roasted (where he's done nothing to warrant such recourse). Shameful... :?
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Sep 29, 2005 4:50 am

As a brief aside to my "rant"...I am stunned! Of your (Brian) initial compendeum of errors in said "reference book", there's only seven films I haven't seen! I think I spent WAY too much of my time in the early nineties watching Hong Kong movies!!!


My list only encompasses about one-eighth of the reviews in Weisser's book, and I've found a few more odds and ends since I originally compiled it. Mind you, if that's what I could find on a casual basis, I'm sure there's a lot more gems awaiting discovery.

Interesting points, gents, on the American approach to stamping out video piracy everywhere but in their own backyard. I have to say I generally shy away from the Crash Cinema and Xenon material just because the packaging alone looks suspect, but I do indeed see a fiar amount of it cluttering the shelves and bargain bins of the American stores every weekend when I cross the border.

There used to be an "Articles" forum here but it looks like the editors have removed it due to lack of interest. The only article that had been active in it in years was one that Ryan Law himself had put there in 1999 on the subject of piracy, which at the time was just in its infancy compared to what it is now. Earlier this year, someone finally responded to the piece, which prompted me to ramble on at great length about the Canadian contribution to the problem, which is immense and completely out of control now. Unfortunately, I can't provide a link to that thread any longer, nor can I remember much of what I said, but suffice it to say that the gist of it was that the Chinese enclaves and malls in Canada's major cities were overrun with bootleggers selling extremely high quality bootlegs of not only Asian cinema, but American and European as well. These weren't your run of the mill DVD-R's stolen by some dude sitting in a theatre hoping no one would stand up while the camera was rolling and ruin his shot. No, these were full-blown single- and dual-layer discs with all the bells and whistles of the originals, and often with the original soundtrack hidden on the disc for good measure (so not only was the movie industry taking it in the shorts, the music industry was, too).

Anyhoo, along comes Sgt. Goofy and The Toronto Keystone cops this past spring to perform a high-profile raid on the merchants at one of Toronto's most famous (and largest and coolest) Chinese Malls. Somewhere in the range of 800,000 illegal discs are seized, with a special emphasis on those Hollywood boots, the media plasters it all over the TV and newspapers, the cops go back to sleep and within a week, for some positively unfathomable reason, the number of video shops in this mall and others have doubled (in ONE week!), the clientele suddenly includes more non-Asians than you could shake a greedy gweilo at, and the American boots, previously stored in tiny boxes under the racks or at the back of the store, are prominently displayed IN FRONT OF the stores. It's kind of like prohibition or the war on drugs. Public spectacles do nothing but INCREASE the black market. But hey, the cops have to be seen looking likke they're taking a bite out of crime, even if they're not.

Anyways, these malls became almost too popular for my tastes. I was there. It was surreal. And kind of frustrating, for the increasing popularity of the boots, and the increase in multi-ethnic traffic only made it harder on the legit places in these malls, forcing some of my regular haunts to ditch DVDs altogether in favour of VCDs, or no digital media at all! Thankfully, if one knows which SOGO or Smart Maple or Broadcast Book & Gift Shop to enter, one can find absolutely amazing deals on tonnes of back catalog MeiAh, Universe and Megastar DVDs stuffed behind the Pucca purses, Kerropi dolls and bags of Japanese candy. And at 3 or 4 for $20, they're not much more expensive than the boots. That's generally where I head first, because there's a lot fewer white people in those places, and seeing so many of them in "my" mall tends to make the places feels a little less "special." Another small chain of stores, which long ago abandoned their large DVD stock, was having a phenomenal sale (which was nearly over, damn it), of VCDs that were HALF-OFF the already long-reduced price of $4.95. Needless to say, I've got a lot of VCDs to watch this winter. Sad to think I have the bloody bootleggers to partly thank...

Meanwhile, in recent weeks, the competition has become so fierce between various bootleggers that the quality of their product has become suspect. A recent visit to "A Big Chinese Mall" revealed a whole new retail beast: about four little shops that took over vacant stores and, rather than put up shelves, a register, or any pretense of business structure, simply covered the floors with cardboard boxes stuffed with hastily burned DVD-R's in clear plastic slimpack DVD cases without sleeves. THESE bootleggers have actually started feeding on their upper-echelon counterparts. To compete, the formerly "first rate" crooks have had to adjust their own production methods to meet not only the lowered price points offered by this new bare-bones competition, but also the increased demand cutting across ethnic lines. The result is a lot of people bringing back discs that won't play, or were shot off a movie screen, or just plain look like eight shades of horse s**t.

I guess what I'm saying here is this: quality will probably be the undoing of many bootleggers, at least up here in the Great White North. The MPAA can whine all it wants. The cops can stage TV-friendly raids all they want. The more THEY do, the bigger the problem gets. However, the bootleggers 'round these parts have already started to cut their own throats as the poor quality of their products is starting to drive many a suburban zombie back to the Blockbusters from whence they originally came, previously having little reason to actually visit Toronto's still-thriving Chinese malls. In this day and age of high-end home theatres and cheap DVD rentals, a dupey looking burn of the latest Hollywood blockbuster means little if the only thing these idiots can get out of it it the bragging rights of telling their co-workers that they just watched a movie at home that's still playing at the local Hexaplex. Nevermind that it looks like absolute s**t...PLUS, once more people begin to recognize the downward slide in quality, coupled with the realization that legit Asian films can still be had for just only the smallest amount more, and once the damned American studios stop pricing their discs so bloody high (especially when they can churn out legit counterparts for the China market, where they sell for less than $5 US EACH in an effort to "combat" piracy, and still make a profit on them), perhaps the bootleggers will begin to wither and die.

Nonetheless, getting back to Weisser, I still can't contain my anger over Discotek using that fraud artiste to pen their liner notes. It's just a matter of time before his connections to the company are known. Fer chrissake, I could have done a better job and I'm far from an expert on Japanese cinema, and hardly a decent writer. But it's all in the research, really, since the hiring of Weisser proves that literary skill is the last requirement on the list of qualifications. Mind you, he's got a couple of defenders over at Mobius who seem willing to look the other way when it comes to his CRIMINAL activities. Guess not everyone's in the loop.

Just a few thoughts. Getting late. I'll share more thoughts tomorrow.
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Postby Mike Thomason » Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:58 am

Nonetheless, getting back to Weisser, I still can't contain my anger over Discotek using that fraud artiste to pen their liner notes. It's just a matter of time before his connections to the company are known. Fer chrissake, I could have done a better job and I'm far from an expert on Japanese cinema, and hardly a decent writer. But it's all in the research, really, since the hiring of Weisser proves that literary skill is the last requirement on the list of qualifications.


Maybe, as you've already suggested, he IS directly involved with these releases? It's not too hard to figure out who some of the other parties might be behind the scenes - check Mobius, DVD Maniacs, Cinema Nocturna and Asian DVD Guide forums for some likely lads pimping around the Discotek Media titles. Before they'd even been really mentioned anywhere, some clown turned up on DVD Maniacs with a single line post (that read something akin to "Check this out! Unreal!" or some such triviality) and a link to the trailers on the Discotek site. Unsurprisingly, exactly the same/similar posts turned up on numerous other cult film forums within days of those intial ones. With "real name" rules on a couple of those forums, I think it won't be too hard to hazard a guess as to who's behind the label. ;)

Mind you, he's got a couple of defenders over at Mobius who seem willing to look the other way when it comes to his CRIMINAL activities. Guess not everyone's in the loop.


Forgive me for being brutally frank, but Mobius is swill compared to what it used to be and not even a shadow of its former self before the hack. Were it not for the infrequently animated topics by a dwindling handful of loyal supporters, there would be nothing worth visiting it for at all. And I say that as an outlawed, and former, member of the forum*. I know the thread you're talking about, as I've kept a close eye on it -- and there's only one individual (a certain longtime supporter of martial arts cinema) posting there who has grounded themselves with factual evidence and inturn is speaking any kind of sense. The comment pertaining to Weissner that he is a "person associated with the country's (Japan) genre output, and is a valid name" accounts for what exactly? He's most certainly NOT a known quantity out here in the rest of the world, and his name by and large means nothing to the majority of overseas devotees of Asian cinema. Or is this just another case of an American genre personage speaking for the whole world again, with little understanding of what lies beyond their coast line? The comment is such a gross generalisation as to be meaningless... :roll:

So, Brian, what are your feelings on Weissner's offshoot magazine, Asian Cult Cinema? I saw a few issues of it some years ago via a local import store, sampled a couple, and swore the magazine off for ever-more thereafter. The self-congratulatory talk-up spiel on each writer that accompanied each article was, IMHO, pompous and over-inflated; and there seemed to be an over-bearing and salacious leaning in the tome towards the exploitation of Asian women that bordered, for me personally, on blatant sexism as well as bore an undercurrent of outmoded colonialism. I'd love to see where some of these guys and their stereotypical viewpoints still stand after China hits its stride and becomes the next superpower (which, whether people like the idea or not, WILL happen...and within most of our lifetimes to boot). Will they look down upon, and still think, the Asian races can be subjugated as they were during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century? I guess only time and history will answer that question...;)

*I harbour no grudge or malice towards the forum for being banned. What I do not like about its current team is the impertinent and condescending manner in which certain individuals therein interject into other forums when discussion of their own comes up, as well as the harrassing fashion in which they impose themselves on others outside of their own community. Forums are, essentially, electronic gossip mills and people discuss other people's opinions, views and shared interests. To blindly rage into someone else's community because people there have dared to offer opinions that conflict with your own (or your forum's community) doesn't encourage them to seek you out and explore yours -- rather, it turns them off and paints the individuals as elitist and conceited, as well as participant in something to be shunned. I've seen a handful of disgraceful outbursts by Mobius members (and a moderator) on other forums I've frequented over the past twelve months or so, and those actions alone have been enough to sour me from giving their forums even the most cursory of visits anymore, where I used to visit them for a read maybe once or twice a week. Online cult film communities are small and incestuous, but if something is being said elsewhere about your own then there is an old saying that it is entirely fitting: "Better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all reasonable doubt"
QED,
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Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Thu Sep 29, 2005 4:40 pm

so in turn it's now cited that a foreigner who has done nothing but good for the industry he's long championed should be equally roasted (where he's done nothing to warrant such recourse). Shameful...


Actually my tone was in mild mockery
and heck find some inaccuracies in HONG KONG ACTION CINEMA
I extremely disagree with your use of "Shameful" since it connotes that I have behaved in an inappropriate manner (SIDE NOTE: I was angry with this response then I had to deal with QA and now I feel better realizing that there are always worse situations like work and trying to explain business logic :-)) I in no way tried to equate the two together, I should have added Ric Meyers (who I also like and yes I like Logan but in no way find him without fault) to the sentence to be more clear. Very few people actually do "nothing but good" so that is an overstatement. You are speaking in absolutes which was the point of my original rebuttal.

I was attacking the tone of
when it appears outwardly that piracy of another country's intellectual property is a God-given right and something that we overseas folk have no right to question!
Criminals are criminals (sounds like a Yogi Berra line) and most know they are criminals. They don't believe it is a God-given right, but they exploit an easy target (since Hollywood is trying to protect its own first.) I also feel that you are confusing Hollywood (and their values) for all of America.

From Brian:
once the damned American studios stop pricing their discs so bloody high

no where near as bad as the music industry here.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Sep 29, 2005 4:43 pm

So, Brian, what are your feelings on Weissner's offshoot magazine, Asian Cult Cinema?


Hooo, boy! Where do I begin?

Actually, your thoughts mirror my own, and believe me, the magazine hasn't changed much over the years. I mean, look at the bloody title for starters. Asian Cult Cinema? Asian cinema has never, in my eyes, been a "cult" phenomena. To the millions of people in Asia who watch it, it's anything but "cult." You'd think by now they'd have at least changed the title to something that might draw in more than just the usual deviates who believe, as does Weisser, that the best Asian cinema involves Japanese women in bondage. At least the title is a step up from its predecessor, Asian TRASH Cinema. How respectful that he thought another continent's cinematic output was just so much fun garbage.

I must admit to owning a few copies dating from the mid-90's, but as I haven't read them in years, they're actually slated for eBay in the months ahead. I might as well try and get something out of them. But they date from a time when, sadly, publications on Asian cinema were scarce in North America. As I mentioned way back in the first or second post, Weisser was it for a lot of us who didn't live in larger cities with devoted fanzines and film festivals. I discovered the Asian Cult magazine about the same time I discovered Video Watchdog, a far, far superior publication with far more reasoned and thoughtful (and thought-provoking reviews and feature stories, including healthy doses of material regarding Asian cinema. Purchases of the latter generally outnumbered purchases of the former, though to be honest, I've got probably less than 10 issues of either, preferring to skim through VW for interesting bits whenever I'm in a bookstore. Fewer mainstream retailers even bother with ACC, so it's been months since I actually saw one. They usually turn up in the underground video stores in Toronto, and a few minutes persusing the pages tells me little has changed.

The emphasis, as it always has been, is on sex. Asian sex. Usually Japanese and invariably involving ropes, degradation and, in some cases, mutilation. The odd thing is, I actually enjoy Pink movies and consider them a culturally valuable, legitmate art form, albeit one particular to their country of origin. But the constant coverage given them in ACC is overdone. And, due to the mediocre quality of the writing, the efforts of Weisser and his crew to legitimize these already legitimate films barely rises above the level of a middling high-school essay. The nudie pictures of Asian starlets, especially those that used to grace the back covers (great reading in a Starbucks!) are not as frequent as they once were, which likely represents Weisser's last-best-panacea in order to acquire mainstream distribution. Which has yet to happen, of course.

Asian Cult Cinema still condescends to much of the cinema it covers, with the expected exception of the Pink films, which generally rate quiet highly and, I strongly suspect, will be part of the Discotek catalogue in the years ahead. Hong Kong cinema, admittedly a thin topic these days, is barely given a notice by the writers. Which is a shame, because Chinese cinema - just like the country itself, as you mention - is on the cusp of bigger things that will reverberate throughout Asia and eventually the west, and one wonders if ACC will be out of the loop when the time comes. I'm sure it's going to take a few years at the rate China moves, but you're right, it's coming. And it should be interesting, to say the least. Funny you mention colonialism, as Weisser's magazine and hong kong movie book feature ever-so-subtle traces of mysogyny and Asian-male-bashing. You sometimes have to dig for it, but when it pops out at you, it certainly a thing that makes you go "hmmm."

Alas, Weisser is luckier than most of those in the business of being a fan. He kept at it when plenty of other (and better) fanzines, folded. In that, he shares Bey Logan's dedication and longevity, just not his honesty. But it can't erase the misinformation he has published over the years or the bootlegs he's selling on that Asian Cult website. While I certainly can't pin all of the errors in my list at the top of this thread on Weisser directly, since the writing style varies enough between reviews to suggest he had contributors, I can hold him responsible overall for letting them past his weak proofreading system. And for making trust his research in those early days. Fortunately, my devotion to Hong Kong cinema was bigger than his, and thus his book became a good notepad...

Weisser has also published three never-updated tomes on Japanese cinema. These, I'm told, are a littered with errors as the Hong Kong book:

JAPANESE CINEMA: THE ESSENTIAL HANDBOOK
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1889288500

JAPANESE CINEMA ENCYCLOPEDIA: THE SEX FILMS
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1889288527

and

JAPANESE CINEMA ENCYCLOPEDIA: HORROR, FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION FILMS, which features another introduction by his good friend (and not yours), the clueless Oliver Stone.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1889288519
The reviews ar Amazon

The reviews speak volumes, especially the bogus one (out of TWO!) for THE SEX FILMS. And if I recall correctly from copies of all three a friend of mine USED to own, the reviews in the third book were ported over verbatim (and errors intact) to the other two books.

I realize that to the uninitiated on these forums - not to mention those outside of North America - it likely sounds like I'm beating some kind of dead horse, but as the various links throughout this thread attest, Thomas Weisser is still very much in business misleading people and ripping them off. And NOW, he's considered enough of an expert to pen liner notes to a DVD that will undoubtedly find its way to a fanbase around the world.

And dig this: Weisser's OTHER infamous company, the legendarily criminal Video Search of Miami, is still in business, hiding behind a misreading of the Berne Act and offering "movies duplicated on VHS or DVD which are otherwise unavailable in the USA." To say nothing of NOT LICENCED for sale in the USA! Quel surprise! Take a look around his emporium and see what Weisser will sell you for the low, low bootleg price of only $20, no matter how recent the movie, no matter the country of origin and regardless of whether above-board companies like Blue Underground, Anchor Bay or Synapse have already released legitimate R1 versions for around the same bloody price! MEANWHILE, he sells legitmate products from those companies and others at another company with which he's associated, Miami Oasis Video. Even

Found this interesting tid bit in the "about us" section ad VSM:
"The Japanese video companies usually transfer the English Language films at a faster speed because the slight variation gives a higher-pitched quality to the voices, which more closely resembles their own style of speaking English"

Now that I did not know! Nor do I think it's true. It's probably another example of the cultural insensitivity the can sometimes be found in Weisser's books.
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Postby Mike Thomason » Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:57 am

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:
so in turn it's now cited that a foreigner who has done nothing but good for the industry he's long championed should be equally roasted (where he's done nothing to warrant such recourse). Shameful...


Actually my tone was in mild mockery
and heck find some inaccuracies in HONG KONG ACTION CINEMA


Thus, maybe a smiley of some variety at the end of the offhand remark might have made your "mild mockery" a little more apparent, no? After all, a non-descript sentence with no emphasis placed upon it anywhere in its body is rather largely open to interpretation (without some kind of clue as to its intent).

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I extremely disagree with your use of "Shameful" since it connotes that I have behaved in an inappropriate manner (SIDE NOTE: I was angry with this response then I had to deal with QA and now I feel better realizing that there are always worse situations like work and trying to explain business logic :-))


Erm, hmmm...to quote yourself "my tone was in mild mockery" ;)

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I in no way tried to equate the two together, I should have added Ric Meyers (who I also like and yes I like Logan but in no way find him without fault) to the sentence to be more clear. Very few people actually do "nothing but good" so that is an overstatement. You are speaking in absolutes which was the point of my original rebuttal.


So, being the author of my original posts you can confidently state that I was "speaking in absolutes" can you? Are you sure you weren't reading my post in absolutes and interpreting it in absolutes to suit yourself, being as it was that my post was bound to incense Americans at some levels because I dared to be critical of certain aspects of their society. The original post in question, in case you missed the point of it, addressed the fact that American officiary bodies are insistent on stamping out intellectual property copyright infringement in just about every world territory except their own.

The Berne Convention has been mentioned here, and for any member that is part of the Union (which the US is, though they [the government] attempted to have portions of the Convention amended to suit the US alone) will know that the act protects the copyright of an author irrespective of where their work originates from. If a work has an author, then it doesn't matter where that author is geographically; his/her work is automatically copyrighted to him/her, and the author retains ownership.

Hmmm, I can see the "nothing but good" remark has ticked you off as well, so I'll revoke that in favour of "Bey Logan has done MORE good in the favour of HK cinema than any other genre-related scribe I can name". No one is without fault, and if any of Logan I'd have to happily acknowledge that he's a terrible screenwriter and would be better to stick with production duties (which seem to be his forte). But that's moot in the scheme of things; I don't recall his name ever being associated with either piracy of the films he has championed forever or monumental blunders in misinformation relating to his field of expertise. I can't at all say the same for the authors you've cited in your post... :?

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I was attacking the tone of
when it appears outwardly that piracy of another country's intellectual property is a God-given right and something that we overseas folk have no right to question!
Criminals are criminals (sounds like a Yogi Berra line) and most know they are criminals. They don't believe it is a God-given right, but they exploit an easy target (since Hollywood is trying to protect its own first.) I also feel that you are confusing Hollywood (and their values) for all of America.


I think with this portion of the response, I have proved my point. Every time any kind of foreign interest, like myself, calls America or some of its business practices/ethics into question online -- instead of examining what is said, it's usually an American that tells us to shut up and implies we have no right to ask questions of something we (the outside world from your insular shores) perceive as either wrong, or hypocritical. It seems bewildering to me that individuals on a message forum can take comments directed towards their country's government and government policies so personally! Am I lumping you all in together and stating that YOU as an individual are responsible for your government's actions? No. I have simply put forward an opinion about something rather serious legally that, as an outside observer, I see as rather hypocritical in its stance.

NB: The "Hollywood" comment is commendably droll -- had I simply just related my comment to Hollywood, I'm sure the very first thing that would have been said to me would have been "Hollywood isn't the only place that make movies in America, you know!" Hence, damned if I do, damned if I don't - (some of) you Americans have an answer for everything. :roll:
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Postby Mike Thomason » Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:12 am

Brian Thibodeau wrote:Found this interesting tid bit in the "about us" section ad VSM:
"The Japanese video companies usually transfer the English Language films at a faster speed because the slight variation gives a higher-pitched quality to the voices, which more closely resembles their own style of speaking English"

Now that I did not know! Nor do I think it's true. It's probably another example of the cultural insensitivity the can sometimes be found in Weisser's books.


That you did not know Brian, because it simply is a complete and utter falsehood! What's the video standard in Japan? PAL? Or NTSC? If it's PAL, or PAL masters being utilised, then that would attribute for a 4% speed-up in the overall film, as well as a 4% rise in audio pitch (about a semitone).

All the same...the statement does harbour some condescending air of (colonialised) carnival about it, doesn't it? As in: "Ooh, look at the funny Japanese and listen to how badly they speak English -- they even pitch correct English language films so it sounds more like their mangled approach to the English dialect!" How culturally insensitive and downright RUDE*. We'll see how far Weissner gets in future when Mandarin becomes the primary second language of business, and a few generations down, what his reaction is when the first preliminary traces of the future monoculture begin appearing... :shock:

*The whole thing becomes far more ludicrous (Weissner's general condescending tone towards Asian races and their cinema) once one acknowledges he is married to a Japanese woman. One can only quietly ponder what home life must be like at Chateau Weissner...
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Postby dlopez » Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:56 pm

Interesting backgrounder on Eva. I assume she's no longer married to Mr. Canto/Garcia?


No, the divorce happened about 8 years ago. He told everyone that Eva was a crazy and unstable woman. He's still a star with work while she faded to obscurity (with ocassional appearances on gossip mags) till Jackie came to Spain to promote some movie I don't remember. She said that Jackie would include her in Armour of God 3. I think Tony Cantó was right....
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:47 pm

That you did not know Brian, because it simply is a complete and utter falsehood! What's the video standard in Japan? PAL? Or NTSC? If it's PAL, or PAL masters being utilised, then that would attribute for a 4% speed-up in the overall film, as well as a 4% rise in audio pitch (about a semitone).


Japan is NTSC, which makes even more baffling the claim made by Weisser's bootleg company. Knowing the aversion to research demonstrated by Weisser and his crew in his books, I suspect the company sourced a few of their illegal Japanese transfers from PAL sources, and simply assumed that all Japanese films must be sped up in some way and, lacking the initiative to, say, search the internet, decided the effect of the process acceptable to the Japanese because of their high pitched voices. :roll: What a bunch of friggin' 'tards.

Once it became apparent that Weisser's book was a repository of misinformation, I joked to a friend of mine that his Japanese wife must have helped him with the translations of the Chinese names and titles for his book on Hong Kong cinema. Weisser probably figured that since both languages shared several written characters, she'd be eminently qualified for the gig, all Asians being equal in his eyes, of course! I suppose I could be wrong, but it amused me at the time. I'm sure she's a beautiful person, and likely an obvious and well-intentioned source of cultural information for the Japanese film books, but her list of credits outside of her husband's bubble is nil.


No, the divorce happened about 8 years ago. He told everyone that Eva was a crazy and unstable woman. He's still a star with work while she faded to obscurity (with ocassional appearances on gossip mags) till Jackie came to Spain to promote some movie I don't remember. She said that Jackie would include her in Armour of God 3. I think Tony Cantó was right....


Oh, we're all a little crazy and unstable in someone's eyes. Everything's just magnified when we're celebrities! Her IMDB listing shows a seven-year gap from 1997 to 2004 in which she appears to have fallen off the radar, but she has been in a couple of smaller films these past two years.

Reading deeper into her listing actually reveals that even the IMDB isn't free from The Curse of Thomas Weisser®. If I'm not mistaken, it was Weisser who first credited De Garcia as the blond villainess in Teddy Robin Kwan's LEGEND OF WISELY. Oh, wait a minute, I'm not mistaken: IT'S ON MY LIST! This little bit of disinformation also appeared in at least one other film book thanks to Weisser's presumptuous approach to research, and has now been made part of De Garcia's filmography on the IMDB. Thankfully, the actual actress, Heidi Makinen, another bottle blonde, IS credited for the role, which makes De Garcia's inclusion all the more pointless. The only resource loaded with more mistakes than Thomas Weisser's books is the IMDB, so I shouldn't really be surprised, but at least the website's operators can claim some ignorance of the material submitted by clueless fans.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:03 pm

Decided to google Weisser to see what other information I could find on the man. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyways) that positive reviews of his work were hard to find.

His bio at Penguin Books says he has an M.A. in English and Communications (which may explain his longevity, but certainly not the sloppiness of his books and magazines) and has worked as a record producer. What a crock...
http://www.penguin.ca/nf/Author/AuthorPage/0,,0_1000040298,00.html

Here's an amusing review of Weisser's JAPANESE CINEMA: THE ESSENTIAL HANDBOOK from MidnightEye.com. "...and it is clear in a number of cases that Weisser has not seen a good percent of the films under review." The review also points out Weisser's disturbing habit of using his own English translations for films that already have well-known English titles.
http://www.midnighteye.com/books/japanese-cinema-the-essential-handbook.shtml

And another from the same site regarding his book on Japanese Pink movies. "Again, Weisser clearly hasn't seen a lot of the films on review..."
http://www.midnighteye.com/books/japanese-cinema-encyclopedia-the-sex-films.shtml

And here's a fun, if sloppy, review from tohokingdom.com, in which the writer lists many of Weisser's errors from the JAPANESE CINEMA ENCYCLOPEDIA: HORROR, FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION book, much like I've done here, though on a somewhat smaller scale:
http://www.tohokingdom.com/web_pages/b_c_gn/books/japan_cin_ency_horror.htm

And, finally, dig this:

Weisser's got a "new" book out: SPAGHETTI WESTERNS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE VIOLENT. It's actually a paperback repackage of a hardcover doorstopper he scribbled in 1992, but surprisingly neither listings at Amazon have a single review! Perfect timing for the man to cash in on his newfound fame as a DVD liner note writer for the completely-above-board-I'm-sure Discotek Media. Looks like Asian films aren't the only ones to get worked over by Weisser.
The new one:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0786424427
THe old one:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0899506887
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Postby mrblue » Thu Oct 27, 2005 6:57 am

Brian, if you want some more fun reading, go to the Google archive of alt.asian-movies and look up Darryl Pestilence/Weisser (Darryl was a former writer for ACC).

Even if half of the crap about Weisser is true, to say that he is "shady" is the understatement of the year.
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Postby odresel » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:53 pm

Having very modestly asked for some circumspection a while earlier in this thread, I'll now get on the bandwagon.

To add to the list of errors in ACC: page 170, the blood-sucking actress in ROMANCE OF THE VAMPIRES is not 'Usang Yeong Fang' (whoever she is.) The vampiress is played by Mondi Yau Yuet Ching, who also appeared in TEMPTATION SUMMARY and several other soft-soft-core films in the early 1990s. That's her in the sexy pic, too.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:06 pm

Brian, if you want some more fun reading, go to the Google archive of alt.asian-movies and look up Darryl Pestilence/Weisser (Darryl was a former writer for ACC). Even if half of the crap about Weisser is true, to say that he is "shady" is the understatement of the year.


I've checked out alt.asian-movies occasionally over the last decade (but never contributed) and have always found it to be a frustrating, depressing experience. Not only were these older newgroups visually ugly and unwieldy (hey, I'm a designer, what can I say?!), but far too often they devolved into ad nauseam geek flamethrowing, as can be witnessed by an alarming number of the threads featuring Darryl Pestilence. What a way to show your support for the cinema you supposedly love. Both he and the people who engage him in these ridiculous, space-wasting word wars come off looking very, very sad.

Link

What's even sadder is to look through those pages and realize that "name" people often associated with the promotion of Asian cinema could often befound arguing semantics. I suppose one could say that's what I've done with this thread, but I dare say the discussion has been a little more civilized. It IS too bad that the real assholes always achieve the most prominence. To his credit, though, even Pestilence seems to have hated Weisser after awhile, even acknowledging his rampant bootlegging (which continues to THIS DAY), although far better cinema writers (like Miles Wood, August Ragone, Craig Ledbetter, Patrick Macias and on and on) have left Asian Cult Cinema's pages out of frustration.

I did notice one thread in which someone mentioned that HKMDB's Ryan Law was planning on leaving the discussion group because of the rampant xenophobia and other assorted retardation that flourished there. Did he ever follow through? I can only hope he did. Hell, does alt.asian-movies still operate for that matter? There seemed to be so little of value and so much swill to slog through just to get to it...

I'm eternally grateful for the software (whatever it may be) that makes today's discussion forums (the reliable survivors) as appealing and user-friendly as they are, as well as the vigilance of editors who can make sure conversations don't degenerate into eye-splitting free-for-alls.

On to other related news:

I've just finished reading KOREAN CINEMA: THE NEW HONG KONG, by Anthony C.Y. Leong. My girlfriend purchased this for me as a birthday present and it's not bad, surprisingly. Leong, unfortunately, has been a contributor to the Asian Cult Cinema Magazine since issue 22 (the one with Kate Asabuki on the cover, a Japanese starlet who planned on conquering the USA under the agency of one Thomas Weisser but never landed a single gig!). According to his website (www.mediacircus.net/sightings.html) his most recent appearance was issue 43, which might mean he, too, was smart enough to sever ties from Weisser.

Leong's writing style is about on par with the better mid-range writers who have been associated with Weisser over the years. He seems to check his facts, at the very least. The 87 main reviews in his book largely employ the exact same structure (backgrounder->lengthy synopsis->impressions) from one to the next, but having seen nearly every film he covers bar about fifteen before I read this book, I can safely report that Leong has, unlike Weisser, actually watched the movies he covers.

Two things almost kill it, though. One is evident in the title: drawing comparisons between the now-glorious cinema of Korea and the once-glorious cinema of Hong Kong, which he does repeatedly, is to ignore cultural identity that makes Korean films so unique despite their obvious emulation of Hollywood filmmaking styles (a fact NOT lost on Leong, at least). Hong Kong cinema, while unique in its own way and still my own preferred Asian filmmaking, is a considerably different beast from the Korean (and American and European) style. Just because a Korean movie employs a Hong Kong choreographer, or features flying swordsman, in NO WAY means it does so because the filmmakers were bereft of originality, a charge Leong often levels.

Secondly, a background on Korean culture and Korean cinema, at least at this point in history, is almost a necessity in any book with reviews as long and purportedly in-depth as Leong's (few films pre-1998 are given space, although one could argue their lack of availability at the time of publication). While Hong Kong cinema often proudly wears it's capitalistic and anti-China subtexts (for examples) on its sleeve and dispenses with subtlety in favour of pure kineticism, Korean cinema often requires deeper investigation to not only understand the subtext (sometimes even the main text) but also the culture in which the filmmakers have been raised. There are plenty of books becoming available that elaborate on this topic, but most tend to diametrically oppose Leong's viewpoints simply by default.

That said, though, his book is still worth a quick read for newbies to Korean cinema as his reviews do adequately cover the surface aspects of the films and WILL make you want to learn more once you've seen the films, largely because you'll probably suspect you're not getting part of the cultural transmission. Still, some of the more scholarly books on K-cinema don't cover the breadth of contemporary films that Leong does. Overall, a just above average work, which is better than expected from an associate of the lamentable Thomas Weisser.

Link

Be wary of the Amazon reviews. All but two are fake, and the oldest one there is actually reprinted from the back cover of the book. If nothing else, Leong learned to bullshit with the best of them!
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Postby mrblue » Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:21 pm

I did notice one thread in which someone mentioned that HKMDB's Ryan Law was planning on leaving the discussion group because of the rampant xenophobia and other assorted retardation that flourished there. Did he ever follow through? I can only hope he did. Hell, does alt.asian-movies still operate for that matter? There seemed to be so little of value and so much swill to slog through just to get to it...


a.a-m still operates, but it -- like most other unmoderated Usenet groups -- is just a bastion of spam and trolls, or people trading bootlegs.

I seem to recall Ryan did stop posting on a.a-m, but I don't think there was a single incident which caused him to do so. Probably like many other people like myself, he got sick of Usenet's general unwieldyness and all the spam/trolls.
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Usang Yeong Fang

Postby STSH » Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:09 am

odresel wrote:To add to the list of errors in ACC: page 170, the blood-sucking actress in ROMANCE OF THE VAMPIRES is not 'Usang Yeong Fang' (whoever she is.) The vampiress is played by Mondi Yau Yuet Ching, who also appeared in TEMPTATION SUMMARY and several other soft-soft-core films in the early 1990s. That's her in the sexy pic, too.


I researched the origins of Usang Yeong Fang for several months after reading ACC. Here's the story.

Weisser mistook her for the lead actress in Beauty Evil Rose (actually titled The Beauty's Evil Roses), who was billed as Uang Yeong Fang. ACC slipped in an extra S.

Uang Yeong Fang is most likely a Malaysian transliteration slightly misspelt. Should have been Wang Yeong Fang, referring to Wong Wing Fong (Cantonese transliteration), another Cat III actress.
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