How to Forge the Hattori Hanzo Katana from ‘Kill Bill’

Given the gravitas that the katana wielded by Uma Thurman’s Black Mamba character in the cult Kill Bill franchise was afforded, it is no surprise that the weapon — forged in the films by the legendary Japanese blacksmith Hattori Hanzo — still captures the imagination of blade enthusiasts worldwide.

In the Man at Arms: Reforged YouTube series, Baltimore Knife and Sword enlisted the help of master armorer and engraver Ilya Alekseyev, accompanied by a five-man swordsmithing crew, to recreate the awe-inspiring blade by which no small number of baddies met a gruesome end in Quentin Tarantino’s epic.

Watch the video above and explore the rest of the series here.


8-Bit Cinema – Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 Retold as an 8-Bit Animated Video Game

CineFix has released a new episode of 8-Bit Cinema that retells Quentin Tarantino‘s action films, Kill Bill Volume 1 and Volume 2, in the form of an 8-bit animated video game. It was written and animated by David Dutton of Dutton Films with music by Henry Dutton.

“Today we present Kill Bill in the form of an 8 bit video game! You get both volumes in one convenient video cartridge, packed with action and awesome finishing moves.”


BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) presents “All Hail the King: The Films of King Hu”


Jun 6—Jun 17, 2014
Part of BAMcinématek

Master of the martial arts movie, Chinese cinematic titan King Hu revolutionized the wuxia/swordplay film, introducing a refined sense of aesthetics, attention to mise-en-scène, and sense of mysticism to the genre that was borne out of his lifelong love for Chinese opera. With its unique blend of thrilling action and dazzling stylistic expressiveness, Hu’s style influenced decades of subsequent Asian cinema.

BAMcinématek‘s full-career retrospective of this “extravagantly talented visual stylist” (Bruce Bennett, The New York Sun) presents his work alongside an international selection of films that either anticipate his inimitable style or bear its influence.

Presented in conjunction with the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York.

All the King’s Men
Wed, Jun 11, 2014

Hu introduced a wry sense of humor into the historical epic form with this lavish, gorgeous-to-behold tale of intrigue, power plays, and elaborate political machinations during the tail end of the Tang Dynasty.


The Blade
Fri, Jun 13, 2014

A longtime favorite of Quentin Tarantino, this brutal martial arts film is one of Tsui Hark’s most audacious works.

The Valiant Ones
Fri, Jun 13, 2014

Hu’s last wuxia film is a stylistically innovative tale about a band of warriors battling Japanese pirates that transforms breathless fight sequences into an abstracted rush of rhythm and movement.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Sat, Jun 14, 2014

Contemporary art-house darling Tsai Ming-liang pays poignant tribute to Hu with this entrancing elegy for the golden age of Taiwanese cinema set during the last screening at a crumbling Taipei movie palace.

Dragon Inn
Sat, Jun 14, 2014

A trio of swordsmen and women battle the forces of a powerful, conniving eunuch in this awe-inspiringly ambitious martial arts classic that laid the foundations for decades of wuxia films to come.

Seven Samurai
Sun, Jun 15, 2014

This sweeping chronicle of courage and heroism is one of the greatest movie epics of all time.


The Fate of Lee Khan
Sun, Jun 15, 2014

Martial arts icon Angela “Lady Whirlwind” Mao stars in this rollicking, rousing comic adventure about a band of largely female warriors who join forces to stop a Mongol warlord from acquiring a valuable map.


 Legend of the Mountain

Mon, Jun 16, 2014

One of Hu’s most visually ravishing works, this supernatural fable follows a scholar on retreat in the mountains who finds himself seduced by ghosts.


Raining in the Mountain
Tue, Jun 17, 2014

Intrigue abounds in a Buddhist monastery as a nobleman and a general each conspire to steal a valuable scroll in this virtuoso showcase for Hu’s luxurious mise-en-scène.


Check out this link:

BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) presents “All Hail the King: The Films of King Hu”


Legendary movie producer Run Run Shaw dies at 106


The Hollywood Reporter:

Sir Run Run Shaw - H 2014

Legendary media mogul Run Run Shaw has died. He was 106.

Born on Nov. 23, 1907, in Ningbo, south of Shanghai, in the waning days of China’s last imperial dynasty, Shaw was the youngest of six sons of textile merchant Shaw Yuh Hsuen.

By the late 1960s, Shaw had risen to the status of media mogul unrivaled in Asia, growing his family’s theater chain, film studio and television network Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB) into a multibillion-dollar empire that helped launch the careers of some of today’s biggest Chinese stars, including Maggie CheungAndy Lau and Chow Yun-fat.

In addition to amassing the world’s largest library of Chinese films and helping to ignite a global kung-fu craze in the 1970s, Shaw also backed Hollywood hits such as director Ridley Scott’s 1982 science-fiction classic Blade Runner and had untold influence on directors ranging from Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill) to Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix).

With his vision and energy, he had built the station to become Hong Kong’s premier television station and a world leader in the Chinese-language television industry,” TVB said in a statement.

Raised in China, Shaw received his education in American-run schools. In 1925, his elder brothers founded Tianyi Film Productions in Shanghai with the movie New Leaf. At age 19, during his 1927 summer vacation, Shaw followed his third elder brother, Run Me Shaw, to Singapore to start a film market and establish a Southeast Asia distribution base.

Recognizing the strength of the Chinese diaspora, they set about distributing Chinese opera films from Shanghai. By 1934, the elder Shaw brothers had established a Tianyi office in the British colony of Hong Kong, calling it Unique Film Productions, where Run Run would not assume control of production until 1957. Shaw Brothers was founded in 1958 with Run Run Shaw as president.

In 1966, Life magazine published an article on Shaw’s Movie Town studio, and in 1967, Shaw Brothers had a true hit when The One Armed Swordsman fought its way to the top at Hong Kong’s box office — then the region’s richest — to become the first movie to earn more than HK$1 million in local ticket sales, propelling star Jimmy Wang Yu to fame.

Seeing room for growth, Shaw immediately established TVB, the first over-the-air commercial station in Hong Kong, on Nov. 19, 1967.

In 1973, Five Fingers of Death, starring Lo Lieh, set U.S. and European box office records, igniting a kung-fu craze around the world that would propel stars like Bruce Lee to global fame.

By the mid-1970s, Shaw Studios was producing 40 movies a year, and some 250,000 people per day went to see them at 143 Shaw-owned theaters from Hong Kong to Jakarta, plus thousands more in Chinatowns around the world.

Soon Shaw Brothers was co-producing films with Warner Bros. (Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold) and putting $16 million into MGM’s production of the film version of James Clavell’s best-selling novel Taipan, shot in Hong Kong at Shaw Studios in 1986.

Through the late 1970s, Shaw often made movies for $300,000 each without a soundtrack, dubbing them later into English, Italian, French and Mandarin Chinese. Often films were shot in three versions: the racy “hot” one for the U.S., Japan and Europe; a “cold” one, showing no flesh at all, for Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan; and a “medium” one for the Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong audience.

Shaw had four children with his first wife, Wong Mei Chun, whom he married in 1937. Wong died at age 85 in 1987, and Shaw Studios stopped filming in the same year. Ten years later, in 1997, Shaw remarried, taking Mona Fong Yat-wa as his bride in Las Vegas. Fong became a deputy chairman of TVB in 2000.

Also in 2000, Shaw agreed to the sale of his unique library of 760 classic Chinese movie titles for $77.37 million to Celestial Pictures Ltd., a Hong Kong-based company owned by Astro All Asia Networks of Malaysia.

In the early 2000s, Shaw Studios entered a new era with Shaw’s own majority investment (made through his various holding companies) in the $180 million Hong Kong Movie City project, a 1.1-million-square-foot, full-service studio and production facility in Tseung Kwan O in eastern Hong Kong.

In 2007, coinciding with his 100th birthday, Shaw was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Although his direct involvement in film had diminished, his legacy lived on in the careers of many stars he helped launched through TVB’s steady stream of beauty pageants, soap operas, variety shows and dramas. The annual TVB Music Awards remains one of the most widely watched television events around Asia.

Also in 2007, TVB posted revenue of $559 million. That same year, Forbes estimated the worth of the Shaw media empire at $3.5 billion.

Reflecting at the peak of his fame in 1976, Shaw told Time magazine, “A small screen can never compare with a big screen. Movie houses will carry on. People like to go out, they like to be in a crowd…as long as the Chinese population in Asia is big, I will get back my investment. Besides, I make movies only for entertainment, never politics.”

In December, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) presented a special award to Shaw in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cinema.

Not one to hoard his wealth, Shaw donated billions of dollars to charity over the years, most recently contributing $13 million for disaster relief after the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. His name adorns many hospital and school buildings in China and Hong Kong.

In 2004, 40 years after Chinese astronomers named an asteroid after him, Shaw established an annual international science award, the Shaw Prize, giving $1 million each to three people doing promising research in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and life and medical science.

Shaw is survived by four children and nine grandchildren. Shaw’s granddaughter Soo-wei Shaw was appointed head of the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2008.

Check out this link:

Legendary movie producer Run Run Shaw dies at 106


Quentin Tarantino on the Allure of Asian Cinema


When Quentin Tarantino made an unexpected visit to the 18th Busan International Film Festival earlier this month, he took time to have a chat with South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho about the timeless inspiration of genre movies and Asian cinema.

I came here quite impulsively actually,” said Tarantino, who arrived from an awards ceremony in Macau. He recalled watching Bong’s “The Host” for the first time and being so “blown away” he later screened it along with “Memories of Murder” at a retro theater he owns in Los Angeles.

Of all the filmmakers out there in the last 20 years, he has something that [1970s] Spielberg has. There is this level of entertainment and comedy in his films. [‘The Host’ and ‘Memories of Murder’] are both masterpieces… great in their own way,” he said. Bong on the other hand, vividly remembers the shock of seeing “Pulp Fiction” as a film student in 1994.

The two cineastes may have met only recently — and have since hung out talking about movies over drinks — but have a lot in common. Both grew up watching genre movies and now make their own respective brand of genre films with the same stock of actors.

Tarantino believes genre movies allow you to tap into your inner child.

There are things that, since the time you’re a kid, [you] associate with going to the movies. As you get older and sophisticated your taste can change and you can actually appreciate a wide variety of movies. But when you’re drawn to genre movies you’re drawn to that excitement of those initial movie experiences,” he said.

As a kid in the 1970s and ’80s the filmmaker was a fan of Hong Kong and Taiwanese martial arts films, Japanese sci-fi or monster movies, and Italian spaghetti westerns and cop movies. Among them, Ishiro Honda, the creator of Japanese monster films, “is one of the greatest directors of science fiction along with Spielberg.” Honda is best known for his kaiju (monster) and tokusatsu (special effects) films such as the Godzilla series, but is also known for his collaborations with film director Akira Kurosawa. Tarantino also learned about “the inhuman brutality” of Japan’s occupation of Korea through the work of Hong Kong-based Korean director Huang Feng “even before the history books.”

Though he continues to learn from the great masters, however, he tries to reinvent the genre in his own way. “I love Sergio Leone… but they’re movies that are a product of their times. I’m trying to do the 2013 perspective.”

Likewise, Bong, also a fan of 1970s films, says he tries to bring a Korean twist to the genre. “In the U.S., scientists, soldiers, and muscular superheroes fight against monsters, but in [‘The Host’] a Korean family, a messed up, really idiotic one at that, fights the monster.”

Tarantino agreed, saying, “It’s funny because the whole idea that a family, not just any family, but a weird, [messed] up family like in ‘The Host’ would be the stars is unfathomable in the U.S. or any country. That is recreating the genre.”

Check out this link:

Quentin Tarantino on the Allure of Asian Cinema


Director Sion Sono on his film “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” and the absurdities in the film industry

Sion Sono

Japanese director Sion Sono wants to set the records straight: It was Bruce Lee and not Quentin Tarantino who transformed the yellow jumpsuit into a piece of film iconography.

Sono has been fielding questions all day about Tarantino’s influence on his film “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” which premiered to an enthusiastic reception out of the main competition at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.

The raucous gangster drama telling the story of a young filmmaker aiming at cinematic greatness is full of over-the-top graphic violence, and a would-be action star wears a yellow jumpsuit, as sported by Uma Thurman in Tarantino’s “Kill Bill.”

“I speak as head of the `Bruce Lee Fan Club,'” Sono said in an interview. “Everyone is talking about the yellow tracksuit as something from Tarantino, but that is very sad for me. The original idea was Bruce Lee’s, and now everyone thinks it came from Tarantino.”

Check out this link:

Director Sion Sono on his film “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” and the absurdities in the film industry