Richard James Havis

Latest from Richard James Havis

Shaw Brothers meets Hammer horror in martial arts oddity The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

The idea of vampires trained in kung fu meeting their match in Professor Van Helsing was far-fetched enough. Then Warner Bros insisted Count Dracula turn up in China too.

11 Aug 2020 - 5:45PM

The idea of vampires trained in kung fu meeting their match in Professor Van Helsing was far-fetched enough. Then Warner Bros insisted Count Dracula turn up in China too.

Shaw Brothers meets Hammer horror in martial arts oddity The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
How Sammo Hung sparked the kung fu horror comedy genre with Encounter of the Spooky Kind

Sammo Hung, who had trained with Jackie Chan, became a force in martial arts cinema with the success of Encounter of the Spooky Kind, which launched a new genre, the kung fu horror comedy.

3 Aug 2020 - 5:25PM

Sammo Hung, who had trained with Jackie Chan, became a force in martial arts cinema with the success of Encounter of the Spooky Kind, which launched a new genre, the kung fu horror comedy.

How Sammo Hung sparked the kung fu horror comedy genre with Encounter of the Spooky Kind
Angela Mao in Lady Kung Fu outsold Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon at US cinemas, so who is this legendary martial arts actress?

Trained from a young age at a Peking Opera school, Angela Mao was as famous as Bruce Lee in the US. She had an intense screen presence, and her fight scenes made no concessions to her femininity.

27 Jul 2020 - 11:50AM

Trained from a young age at a Peking Opera school, Angela Mao was as famous as Bruce Lee in the US. She had an intense screen presence, and her fight scenes made no concessions to her femininity.

Angela Mao in Lady Kung Fu outsold Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon at US cinemas, so who is this legendary martial arts actress?
The good, the bad and the ugly: Western-influenced martial arts films of the 1960s

Hollywood Westerns were an influential genre in the 1950s and ’60s, and many martial arts films reflected this, including two Shaw Brothers’ films by Chang Cheh.

19 Jul 2020 - 9:25PM

Hollywood Westerns were an influential genre in the 1950s and ’60s, and many martial arts films reflected this, including two Shaw Brothers’ films by Chang Cheh.

The good, the bad and the ugly: Western-influenced martial arts films of the 1960s
Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits – Criterion Collection producer on preserving the martial arts icon’s legacy with new box set

Producer of Criterion Collection’s film box set Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits explains why a comprehensive overview of the martial arts actor’s life and career is warranted.

14 Jul 2020 - 3:50PM

Producer of Criterion Collection’s film box set Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits explains why a comprehensive overview of the martial arts actor’s life and career is warranted.

Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits – Criterion Collection producer on preserving the martial arts icon’s legacy with new box set
Review | Upgrade film review: Blumhouse sci-fi thriller is intellectually provocative and a moral tale of revenge and technology

After his wife is murdered and he is crippled, a man is implanted with a microchip that talks to him and can take control of his body and fight for him. He goes after his wife’s killers in this moral tale about technology.

7 Jul 2020 - 11:48PM

After his wife is murdered and he is crippled, a man is implanted with a microchip that talks to him and can take control of his body and fight for him. He goes after his wife’s killers in this moral tale about technology.

Upgrade film review: Blumhouse sci-fi thriller is intellectually provocative and a moral tale of revenge and technology
How Tsui Hark, Brigitte Lin revived the Swordsman series with The East Is Red, a chaotic gem of a martial arts film

Bringing back Brigitte Lin as the evil villainess Asia the Invincible, Tsui Hark’s 1993 film The East is Red, the final part of the highly successful Swordsman trilogy, is an explosive assault of colour, noise, martial arts and action.

6 Jul 2020 - 5:53PM

Bringing back Brigitte Lin as the evil villainess Asia the Invincible, Tsui Hark’s 1993 film The East is Red, the final part of the highly successful Swordsman trilogy, is an explosive assault of colour, noise, martial arts and action.

How Tsui Hark, Brigitte Lin revived the Swordsman series with The East Is Red, a chaotic gem of a martial arts film
Review | Inheritance film review: Lily Collins, Simon Pegg in ludicrous shocker with twisted morality

Lily Collins and Simon Pegg do their best with a ludicrous script, but cannot save this thriller. It’s a clichéd and unsavoury experience, and it’s hard to feel sympathy for any of the characters.

15 Jun 2020 - 9:39PM

Lily Collins and Simon Pegg do their best with a ludicrous script, but cannot save this thriller. It’s a clichéd and unsavoury experience, and it’s hard to feel sympathy for any of the characters.

Inheritance film review: Lily Collins, Simon Pegg in ludicrous shocker with twisted morality
Jackie Chan on Project A, the martial arts film that set a creative template for his decades of show business success

In Project A, Jackie Chan shows a remarkable command of all the elements of filmmaking. He was its star, director, and co-writer, and co-designed its fight and chase scenes.

15 Jun 2020 - 8:28PM

In Project A, Jackie Chan shows a remarkable command of all the elements of filmmaking. He was its star, director, and co-writer, and co-designed its fight and chase scenes.

Jackie Chan on Project A, the martial arts film that set a creative template for his decades of show business success
Review | Be Water film review: Bruce Lee’s life revisited in ESPN documentary that lacks balance and feedback from Hong Kong

ESPN documentary Be Water focuses on how Bruce Lee’s time in America affected his outlook, but glosses over parts of the martial arts superstar’s story and lacks insights from Hong Kong directors and actors that worked with him.

9 Jun 2020 - 6:25PM

ESPN documentary Be Water focuses on how Bruce Lee’s time in America affected his outlook, but glosses over parts of the martial arts superstar’s story and lacks insights from Hong Kong directors and actors that worked with him.

Be Water film review: Bruce Lee’s life revisited in ESPN documentary that lacks balance and feedback from Hong Kong
Review | Only Cloud Knows film review: Feng Xiaogang melodrama prioritises scenic views of New Zealand over dramatic depth

A grieving husband burying his wife’s ashes in the place she loved most is the cue for a story superficially told in two big flashbacks, in a film that sometimes looks like a promo for its New Zealand setting.

8 Jun 2020 - 4:33PM

A grieving husband burying his wife’s ashes in the place she loved most is the cue for a story superficially told in two big flashbacks, in a film that sometimes looks like a promo for its New Zealand setting.

Only Cloud Knows film review: Feng Xiaogang melodrama prioritises scenic views of New Zealand over dramatic depth
A very modern martial arts film, The Sword by Patrick Tam subverts the hero trope with story of a selfish swordsman

Hong Kong New Wave film director Patrick Tam made death and despair the swordsman's stock in trade, not restoring honour and order, in 1980’s The Sword, his subverting of the wuxia film genre.

7 Jun 2020 - 7:15AM

Hong Kong New Wave film director Patrick Tam made death and despair the swordsman's stock in trade, not restoring honour and order, in 1980’s The Sword, his subverting of the wuxia film genre.

A very modern martial arts film, The Sword by Patrick Tam subverts the hero trope with story of a selfish swordsman
Jet Li’s best movies: ranking the martial arts superstar’s top 10 films, from Hero to Once Upon a Time in China

Martial arts actor Jet Li has had an illustrious film career that includes collaborations with acclaimed directors Tsui Hark and Zhang Yimou. We rank the top 10 movies he has made so far.

22 Jun 2020 - 12:25PM

Martial arts actor Jet Li has had an illustrious film career that includes collaborations with acclaimed directors Tsui Hark and Zhang Yimou. We rank the top 10 movies he has made so far.

Jet Li’s best movies: ranking the martial arts superstar’s top 10 films, from Hero to Once Upon a Time in China
Explainer | Hong Kong martial arts cinema, starring Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Donnie Yen: everything you need to know

The biggest stars – Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen – kung fu and wuxia, the leading martial arts film directors, and the best films to watch. It’s all here

13 Aug 2020 - 7:22PM

The biggest stars – Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen – kung fu and wuxia, the leading martial arts film directors, and the best films to watch. It’s all here

Hong Kong martial arts cinema, starring Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Donnie Yen: everything you need to know
Like spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood, an amoral drifter leads cast of Deaf and Mute Heroine

Wuxia director Wu Ma’s 1971 film has at its heart a swordfighting drifter reminiscent of Eastwood’s gunslinger character in Sergio Leone’s Western trilogy.

29 May 2020 - 10:36PM

Wuxia director Wu Ma’s 1971 film has at its heart a swordfighting drifter reminiscent of Eastwood’s gunslinger character in Sergio Leone’s Western trilogy.

Like spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood, an amoral drifter leads cast of Deaf and Mute Heroine
Review | Brahms: The Boy II film review – scary movie? Not really, this creepy doll horror sequel is all build-ups and no pay-offs

The Boy, a 2016 horror film, was very dull. The follow-up, Brahms: The Boy II, a stand-alone follow-up with the same director and scriptwriter, may be even duller than its predecessor.

20 May 2020 - 3:48AM

The Boy, a 2016 horror film, was very dull. The follow-up, Brahms: The Boy II, a stand-alone follow-up with the same director and scriptwriter, may be even duller than its predecessor.

Brahms: The Boy II film review – scary movie? Not really, this creepy doll horror sequel is all build-ups and no pay-offs
Far East Film Festival, Italian celebration of Asian cinema, moves online with live streams and videos to cope with lockdown

The Far East Film Festival will reach Asian movie fans worldwide this year by moving to a web platform, rather than just fans gathered in Udine, northern Italy, as it does in a normal year. That could be a good thing, its director says.

18 May 2020 - 8:57PM

The Far East Film Festival will reach Asian movie fans worldwide this year by moving to a web platform, rather than just fans gathered in Udine, northern Italy, as it does in a normal year. That could be a good thing, its director says.

Far East Film Festival, Italian celebration of Asian cinema, moves online with live streams and videos to cope with lockdown
How Jet Li’s nameless Hero encapsulates Zhang Yimou’s political philosophy in classic martial arts film from 2002

Director Zhang Yimou has said Hero – featuring Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung – is not political, but that is hard to believe with its justification of China’s philosophy that authoritarianism is better than chaos.

29 May 2020 - 10:39PM

Director Zhang Yimou has said Hero – featuring Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung – is not political, but that is hard to believe with its justification of China’s philosophy that authoritarianism is better than chaos.

How Jet Li’s nameless Hero encapsulates Zhang Yimou’s political philosophy in classic martial arts film from 2002
The making of Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon, martial arts movie that launched a thousand fight clubs

Cast and crew, including Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, talk about the making of the low-budget film that, posthumously, made Bruce Lee an international star.

11 Jun 2020 - 9:46PM

Cast and crew, including Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, talk about the making of the low-budget film that, posthumously, made Bruce Lee an international star.

The making of Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon, martial arts movie that launched a thousand fight clubs
We sort fact from myth about Shaolin Monastery, home of kung fu that a Jet Li martial arts film, Shaolin Temple, rescued from obscurity

Legends abound about the home of kung fu – a real place with a 1,600-year history. Monks at the Shaolin Monastery did fight, but not with hands and feet until the 16th century. The monastery was half-derelict when a 1982 Jet Li film sparked its revival.

11 Jun 2020 - 9:48PM

Legends abound about the home of kung fu – a real place with a 1,600-year history. Monks at the Shaolin Monastery did fight, but not with hands and feet until the 16th century. The monastery was half-derelict when a 1982 Jet Li film sparked its revival.

We sort fact from myth about Shaolin Monastery, home of kung fu that a Jet Li martial arts film, Shaolin Temple, rescued from obscurity
Hong Kong martial arts cinema: why Leslie Cheung had to be talked into making 1987 Tsui Hark classic A Chinese Ghost Story

Filmmaker Tsui Hark had to talk Leslie Cheung into acting in period film A Chinese Ghost Story opposite Joey Wong. Loosely based on a 1960s Shaw Brothers film, Tsui’s film reignited international interest in Hong Kong cinema.

11 Jun 2020 - 9:52PM

Filmmaker Tsui Hark had to talk Leslie Cheung into acting in period film A Chinese Ghost Story opposite Joey Wong. Loosely based on a 1960s Shaw Brothers film, Tsui’s film reignited international interest in Hong Kong cinema.

Hong Kong martial arts cinema: why Leslie Cheung had to be talked into making 1987 Tsui Hark classic  A Chinese Ghost Story
Hong Kong martial arts cinema: how a golden age of wuxia movies began with 1967 classic film One-Armed Swordsman

One of the most influential Hong Kong films ever made, One-Armed Swordsman modernised the wuxia genre in the late 1960s while establishing its director Chang Cheh and star Jimmy Wang as major figures in the industry.

11 Jun 2020 - 9:54PM

One of the most influential Hong Kong films ever made, One-Armed Swordsman modernised the wuxia genre in the late 1960s while establishing its director Chang Cheh and star Jimmy Wang as major figures in the industry.

Hong Kong martial arts cinema: how a golden age of wuxia movies began with 1967 classic film One-Armed Swordsman
Hong Kong martial arts cinema: how Ashes of Time, star-studded Wong Kar-wai film, gained classic status

Wong Kar-wai’s Ashes of Time, which featured a galaxy of stars including Leslie Cheung, both Tony Leungs, Brigitte Lin and Maggie Cheung, exists both within the wuxia genre and outside it.

11 Jun 2020 - 9:56PM

Wong Kar-wai’s Ashes of Time, which featured a galaxy of stars including Leslie Cheung, both Tony Leungs, Brigitte Lin and Maggie Cheung, exists both within the wuxia genre and outside it.

Hong Kong martial arts cinema: how Ashes of Time, star-studded Wong Kar-wai film, gained classic status
Jet Li on how he played two real-life Chinese martial arts heroes on film, and the differences between Fong Sai-yuk and Wong Fei-hung

The role of Wong Fei-hung in Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China films launched Jet Li’s career. But Li portrayed another real-life Cantonese martial arts hero, Fong Sai-yuk. He explained how he played two different characters.

11 Jun 2020 - 9:59PM

The role of Wong Fei-hung in Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China films launched Jet Li’s career. But Li portrayed another real-life Cantonese martial arts hero, Fong Sai-yuk. He explained how he played two different characters.

Jet Li on how he played two real-life Chinese martial arts heroes on film, and the differences between Fong Sai-yuk and Wong Fei-hung
Hong Kong martial arts cinema: A Touch of Zen star Hsu Feng on working with King Hu, and winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes

The Taiwanese actress, who would become one of the greatest female martial arts stars ever, ‘learned everything’ from King Hu – including, she recalled, how to pour all of her emotions into her eyes for close-up shots.

11 Jun 2020 - 10:03PM

The Taiwanese actress, who would become one of the greatest female martial arts stars ever, ‘learned everything’ from King Hu – including, she recalled, how to pour all of her emotions into her eyes for close-up shots.

Hong Kong martial arts cinema: A Touch of Zen star Hsu Feng on working with King Hu, and winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes
First martial arts film to put family at centre of the action, Lau Kar-leung’s Executioners from Shaolin is a masterpiece

The 1977 martial arts film starring Lo Lieh and Lily Li is notable not only for its merging of two distinct styles of Shaolin kung fu, but for its portrayal of the family unit as a source of both emotional and physical strength.

11 Jun 2020 - 10:05PM

The 1977 martial arts film starring Lo Lieh and Lily Li is notable not only for its merging of two distinct styles of Shaolin kung fu, but for its portrayal of the family unit as a source of both emotional and physical strength.

First martial arts film to put family at centre of the action, Lau Kar-leung’s Executioners from Shaolin is a masterpiece
When Joan Chen was persuaded to shave her head to play an assassin in Hong Kong martial arts film Temptation of a Monk

Hong Kong martial arts film Temptation of a Monk is a historical drama with a modern message – ‘We don’t seem to believe in anything any more,’ director Clara Law said. She also told how she persuaded actress Chen to shave her head.

11 Jun 2020 - 10:07PM

Hong Kong martial arts film Temptation of a Monk is a historical drama with a modern message – ‘We don’t seem to believe in anything any more,’ director Clara Law said. She also told how she persuaded actress Chen to shave her head.

When Joan Chen was persuaded to shave her head to play an assassin in Hong Kong martial arts film Temptation of a Monk
Hong Kong martial arts cinema: why King Boxer (1972), aka Five Fingers of Death, remains a fan favourite

King Boxer, aka Five Fingers of Death, was released in March 1973 in the US a few months before Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury kick-started the martial arts wave in America. It surprised everybody by topping the US box office charts for a week.

11 Jun 2020 - 10:10PM

King Boxer, aka Five Fingers of Death, was released in March 1973 in the US a few months before Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury kick-started the martial arts wave in America. It surprised everybody by topping the US box office charts for a week.

Hong Kong martial arts cinema: why King Boxer (1972), aka Five Fingers of Death, remains a fan favourite
Hong Kong martial arts cinema: Michelle Yeoh on Tai-Chi Master and her action film start – ‘I dared them to cast me’

Michelle Yeoh, a star of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, talks about getting into action films and how dancing training helps her fight scenes, in this interview from 1993 after the release of Tai-Chi Master.

11 Jun 2020 - 10:12PM

Michelle Yeoh, a star of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, talks about getting into action films and how dancing training helps her fight scenes, in this interview from 1993 after the release of Tai-Chi Master.

Hong Kong martial arts cinema: Michelle Yeoh on Tai-Chi Master and her action film start – ‘I dared them to cast me’
Kung Fu: how Bruce Lee lost out to David Carradine for role in martial arts TV series

Kung Fu, the popular 1970s martial arts TV series starring David Carradine, followed the adventures of a Shaolin monk in the Wild West; the failure to give Bruce Lee the lead role has caused much speculation since.

11 Jun 2020 - 10:13PM

Kung Fu, the popular 1970s martial arts TV series starring David Carradine, followed the adventures of a Shaolin monk in the Wild West; the failure to give Bruce Lee the lead role has caused much speculation since.

Kung Fu: how Bruce Lee lost out to David Carradine for role in martial arts TV series