A Touch of Sammo

Sammo Hung is one hell of a legend when it comes to Hong Kong Cinema.  How he fights so fast with his frame defies imagination, so I try my best to find what I can from him here in the States.  So let’s get a few of my favorite fights together from Mr. Hung and check out the master at work.  Don’t forget to pick up your jaw from the floor.

I’ll definitely post more fights in the future, but for now, these’ll do.

Ketchup Catch-Up

arielKETCHUPWith the start of July, it’s time for me to air out the closet and finally discuss my hiatus from both the YouTube channel and the blog over here.  For the few people that actually read these posts, I send my utmost appreciation to you.  In all honesty, my reason for being absent from my favorite grounds of internet discussion have been simple: I was transferring to a new job.

As March dawned on me & the GF, my boss had finally coughed up the fact that he wanted to leave Flori-duhhh for South Caroli-nuuuuuhh.  One could say that from a distance, maybe the research opportunities were more prominent there, but from this very moment, that supposition is quite far from the truth.  The one thing I learned from my boss as he left our institution?  Never anger your parent institution in such a way that you would visibly lie to them to gain leverage for a higher position in said institution by talking about ANOTHER institution WHILE having an interest in ANOTHER institution ‘cuz you just might end up there with your tail between your legs.  My GF’s boss had done the same months before (with more success mind you), but at least he didn’t leaver her scrambling for a job for two months like me.  I can report that she’s in a new lab, and although it may not be as advanced in study or in techniques as the old one, it seems to be a lot less stressful.

Boston_Marathon600pxThen came Boston, and its subsequent marathon.  The tragedy that ensued there was immeasurable, and that was especially so since I myself was and am a runner, but not a long distance runner as the marathoners present on that day.  It was a sad day, and was even more of one when we found out one of the victims was a visiting scholar from China.  Sad days indeed.

And speaking of sad days, having both Lau Kar Leung AND Jim Kelly pass away on the same week LAST week was awful.  God awful.  Martial arts film icons who helped to empower their craft have been taken from us, and hopefully, there will be other spirited individuals who could fill in those shoes in good time.

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From March until late May, it was a struggle to find a lab position to stay in the institution.  I had absolutely no intention to follow my boss to Charleston, and finding another lab to take me became an even harder prospect thanks to the fact that there many MANY others in the same position as me.  The competition was hot, and my window was tight.  Luckily for me, my co-worker Kelley pointed me to a position involving clinical study consents that sounded quite interesting.  No bench work and no mice was already a plus, but to be involved with more clinically relevant recruitment was, to put it mildly, pretty cool.  After four sets of interviews and a lot of waiting (and packing my old boss’ lab), I got the job, and now, I remain in the institution with my woman.  Mission accomplished.

For celebrations, I decided to purchase something that I’ve always wanted, and that was a NEO GEO!!  I originally had planned to purchase a Neo Geo AES in 2010, but I opted to grab the PC-Engine Core Grafx instead and in that time, that was the right decision given my budget and the quality and availability of the games present on eBay.  Furthermore, investing in the Neo Geo AES was downright impossible given that some of the best titles on the console are worth large sums of money.  I wasn’t having any of that, and as much as I loved playing Real Bout on my PS2, I wanted to have a taste of the real thing on the real hardware.

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And then came independent start-ups like Analogue and Arcade Works.  Both companies are devoted to the business of Consolized MVS designs, with Analogue featuring a woody panel design and Arcade Works opting for their signature AES-themed console called the Omega Entertainment Machine (which is what I own now).  As many of you know, the Neo Geo MVS arcade system was a cartridge based system and as such, the goal of both Analogue and Arcade Works was to repackage the MVS’ motherboard into a console that can play Neo Geo’s previously labeled arcade-only carts.  In that regard, buying carts for the MVS would be much cheaper and affordable than their officially consolized AES counterparts.  It might be all geek speak at the moment, but for me, that meant that I can play more games at a better price.  The system was a whammy of +$500, almost like the original price for an AES, but the neat thing for me is that I can at least pay $44-$60 for a Metal Slug MVS cartrdige compared to the $1000 buck price tag of Metal Slug for the AES.  The choice was clear, and now, I am an owner of dedicated Neo Geo MVS console.  Sweet!!

And finally, to top things off, my car had a major issue where the onboard computer was more or less fucked, and let’s just say the price to fix that up was pricier than my Neo Geo.  Oh, and the speedometer and the rearview mirror needs some piecing up as well.  I guess the world needs to stay in balance after all. 

So that’s the skinny of what’s been going down behind the scenes of Naika’s Lounge.  The hope is that I’ll get back to blogging on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, along with putting up some more media on the YouTube channel (especially after the fact that the Blip TV channel was cancelled due to inactivity).  Until then, thanks for reading and please look forward to more posts and videos from me in the near future.  Have a happy 4th of July!!

FAREWELL, LAU KAR LEUNG!!!!!

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The first time that I saw Lau Kar Leung in action was during the late 90s as I was watching a Tai Seng copy of “Drunken Master 2” in my home.  The beginning fight scene featured Jackie Chan going toe-to-toe with an older chap under a train who was, to put it bluntly, damn good at kung fu.  The old man’s death near the film’s end was sobering to say the least, but had I known that the individual had such a rich and colorful history in the world of asian action cinema, I may have given him more of the respect he truly deserved.  It wouldn’t be until years later, thanks in no small part to YouTube, that I had finally cultivated a new appreciation for Hong Kong style fight choreography, and, more importantly, Lau Kar Leung.  Words such as “a contemporary,” or “a legend” can only say so much of this little man’s reputation.  With his passing today, the only words that come to my mind when I think about Lau Kar Leung and what he’s given to asian action cinema are words like “pillar,” “trend setter,” “visionary,” and even “pinnacle.”

From his collaborations with Chang Cheh during his heydays at Shaw Brothers to his varied cameos in films such as Tsui Hark’s “Seven Swords,” Lau Kar Leung was revered for both his skills in Hung Kuen and his dynamic approach in filming fight scenes.  His early work with Chang Cheh in “One-Armed Swordsman” was, in my opinion, preliminary at best, but he evolved in such a way that only the fashion in which my jaw dropped at the sight of his final fight scene in “8 Diagram Pole Fighter” could justify it.  Lau Kar Leung’s fights had a stepwise intensity that featured form, force and fury and if that wasn’t evident to those uninitiated in kung-fu film lore, then wait until you see him actually performing in a fight scene.  Lau’s cameo in Sammo Hung’s classic “Pedicab Driver” would probably be my favorite fight scene featuring him thusfar (but thankfully, I’ve got more to watch from him).

It’s sad to see an individual with such a rich legacy in asian action cinema go like this, especially when it happens during an age where it seems like we need him now more than ever.  With less and less action film stars emerging from China, our eyes turn to those outside of it to feed us our daily dosage of film fighting.  However, with that comes the possibility that maybe a new star can rise and fill in the large shoes that someone of Lau Kar Leung’s stature have left behind.  We can muse about Lau Kar Leung’s legacy day in and day out, but for me, the best way I can remember him is by watching his films, finding amazement in them, sharing them with others and thinking to myself that in one point in our history as asians involved in action cinema, there was but one man in the modern day who we could call our reference, our gold standard, and our zenith.  Lau Kar Leung, that was you.  That will always be you.