Richard James Havis

Latest from Richard James Havis

The martial arts choreographers who brought fight scenes to life in wuxia and kung fu films

The martial arts films made in Hong Kong would never have been worldwide hits if it had not been for a select group of choreographers who revolutionised their fight scenes. Yet for years their names were absent from film credits. 

The martial arts films made in Hong Kong would never have been worldwide hits if it had not been for a select group of choreographers who revolutionised their fight scenes. Yet for years their names were absent from film credits. 

The martial arts choreographers who brought fight scenes to life in wuxia and kung fu films
7 Mar 2021 - 5:15AM
The outsider art of autistic, non-verbal sculptor Shinichi Sawada, whose bizarre clay creations ‘speak for themselves’

Shinichi Sawada’s strange, bestial and anthropomorphic figures, creatures of an imaginative realm known only to the artist himself, are now on show in New York.

Shinichi Sawada’s strange, bestial and anthropomorphic figures, creatures of an imaginative realm known only to the artist himself, are now on show in New York.

The outsider art of autistic, non-verbal sculptor Shinichi Sawada, whose bizarre clay creations ‘speak for themselves’
4 Mar 2021 - 5:15PM
Review | Tom and Jerry movie review: in live action/animated update, combative cat and mouse team are sidelined

Beloved MGM cartoon series is traduced in this dire update that fails on every level. The action moves to New York and, realising they had a hopelessly thin story to hold the film up, the writers tacked on a whole other one that takes it over.

Beloved MGM cartoon series is traduced in this dire update that fails on every level. The action moves to New York and, realising they had a hopelessly thin story to hold the film up, the writers tacked on a whole other one that takes it over.

Tom and Jerry movie review: in live action/animated update, combative cat and mouse team are sidelined
1 Mar 2021 - 3:36PM
Martial arts actor Jimmy Wang Yu excels as the lone hero in The Assassin, film inspired by the 1967 Hong Kong riots

The glamorous martial arts actor plays a romantic hero in The Assassin, a historical tragedy inspired by the 1967 Hong Kong riots that followed his success in One-Armed Swordsman.

The glamorous martial arts actor plays a romantic hero in The Assassin, a historical tragedy inspired by the 1967 Hong Kong riots that followed his success in One-Armed Swordsman.

Martial arts actor Jimmy Wang Yu excels as the lone hero in The Assassin,  film inspired by the 1967 Hong Kong riots
28 Feb 2021 - 5:15AM
Do we have proof aliens exist? Interstellar object ‘Oumuamua ‘the first sign of intelligent life’, says Harvard professor

An interstellar object to our solar system in 2017 may be our first sign of intelligent life beyond Earth says an astrobiologist. The object, ‘Oumuamua, may be some kind of buoy, a probe launcher, or just a piece of junk, Avi Loeb theorises.

An interstellar object to our solar system in 2017 may be our first sign of intelligent life beyond Earth says an astrobiologist. The object, ‘Oumuamua, may be some kind of buoy, a probe launcher, or just a piece of junk, Avi Loeb theorises.

Do we have proof aliens exist? Interstellar object ‘Oumuamua ‘the first sign of intelligent life’, says Harvard professor
24 Feb 2021 - 3:45PM
The future of entertainment is about game tech – from Hollywood special effects to cross-platform gaming

The gaming industry will play an increasingly important role in entertainment, from film production to musical artists embedding their songs and themselves in video games, say panellists at the Digital Entertainment World conference.

The gaming industry will play an increasingly important role in entertainment, from film production to musical artists embedding their songs and themselves in video games, say panellists at the Digital Entertainment World conference.

The future of entertainment is about game tech – from Hollywood special effects to cross-platform gaming
23 Feb 2021 - 9:48AM
Brigitte Lin’s ‘eyes say everything’, Leslie Cheung ‘wanted to play a more heroic role’: The Bride with White Hair director on the 1993 hit

Director Ronny Yu reveals what it was like working with ‘the best dramatic actress and actor in Hong Kong’ and why he made the fantasy kung fu movie in this previously unpublished interview from 1993.

Director Ronny Yu reveals what it was like working with ‘the best dramatic actress and actor in Hong Kong’ and why he made the fantasy kung fu movie in this previously unpublished interview from 1993.

Brigitte Lin’s ‘eyes say everything’, Leslie Cheung ‘wanted to play a more heroic role’: The Bride with White Hair director on the 1993 hit
22 Feb 2021 - 11:58AM
Jackie Chan in the Police Story films: how martial arts superstar pulled off astonishing stunts in the action movie classics

Chan climbing up a speeding double-decker bus, and sliding down a pole exploding electric lights as he goes, the destruction of a squatter village – how did the superstar and his stuntmen pull off these memorable stunts? 

Chan climbing up a speeding double-decker bus, and sliding down a pole exploding electric lights as he goes, the destruction of a squatter village – how did the superstar and his stuntmen pull off these memorable stunts? 

Jackie Chan in the Police Story films: how martial arts superstar pulled off astonishing stunts in the action movie classics
14 Feb 2021 - 5:15AM
Review | Earwig and the Witch movie review: Studio Ghibli’s first CG animation is a treat for all the family

The animation in Earwig and the Witch is the first from Studio Ghibli to be fully computer generated, but it still retains its unique hand-drawn look.

The animation in Earwig and the Witch is the first from Studio Ghibli to be fully computer generated, but it still retains its unique hand-drawn look.

Earwig and the Witch movie review: Studio Ghibli’s first CG animation is a treat for all the family
11 Feb 2021 - 1:59PM
Explainer | Played by Jet Li and Jackie Chan, who was Wong Fei-hung for real? Tracing the life of the martial arts legend

The subject of 100 films, as well as pulp novels and radio plays, Wong Fei-hung was born in the mid-19th century in Guangdong, southern China. Taught kung fu by his father, he is reputed never to have lost a fight in his life.

The subject of 100 films, as well as pulp novels and radio plays, Wong Fei-hung was born in the mid-19th century in Guangdong, southern China. Taught kung fu by his father, he is reputed never to have lost a fight in his life.

Played by Jet Li and Jackie Chan, who was Wong Fei-hung for real? Tracing the life of the martial arts legend
7 Feb 2021 - 5:34AM
In brutal martial arts drama Vengeance!, David Chiang embraced the blood-soaked aesthetic of filmmaker Chang Cheh

Vengeance!, a hideously violent revenge drama set in the warlord era in 20th century China, won awards for its director, Chang Cheh, and lead actor, the suave David Chiang – giving the latter’s career a major boost.

Vengeance!, a hideously violent revenge drama set in the warlord era in 20th century China, won awards for its director, Chang Cheh, and lead actor, the suave David Chiang – giving the latter’s career a major boost.

In brutal martial arts drama Vengeance!, David Chiang embraced the blood-soaked aesthetic of filmmaker Chang Cheh
31 Jan 2021 - 5:22AM
Jet Li in Hollywood: how the martial arts superstar fared in America with films like Romeo Must Die and The One

Superstar martial arts actor joined other top Hong Kong movie talent such as Jackie Chan, John Woo and Chow Yun-fat in Hollywood, but never got to show his full potential there as a martial artist or as an actor.

Superstar martial arts actor joined other top Hong Kong movie talent such as Jackie Chan, John Woo and Chow Yun-fat in Hollywood, but never got to show his full potential there as a martial artist or as an actor.

Jet Li in Hollywood: how the martial arts superstar fared in America with films like Romeo Must Die and The One
24 Jan 2021 - 5:45PM
Martial arts meets special effects in The Storm Riders, where Ekin Cheng battled an invisible Fire Dragon against a blue screen

A digitally created Fire Dragon, the manipulation of water, flying … The Storm Riders was one of the first films to fuse martial arts with digital effects and computer animation. Director Andrew Lau made no secret of his desire to change action cinema.

A digitally created Fire Dragon, the manipulation of water, flying … The Storm Riders was one of the first films to fuse martial arts with digital effects and computer animation. Director Andrew Lau made no secret of his desire to change action cinema.

Martial arts meets special effects in The Storm Riders, where Ekin Cheng battled an invisible Fire Dragon against a blue screen
17 Jan 2021 - 5:22AM
What makes a great martial arts movie? Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-leung and other Hong Kong action cinema legends have their say

Real and meaningful action, Cantonese-style kung fu rather than swordplay, plot and characters that move people, and above all entertainment – these are the ingredients legends of Hong Kong action cinema look for in a film.

Real and meaningful action, Cantonese-style kung fu rather than swordplay, plot and characters that move people, and above all entertainment – these are the ingredients legends of Hong Kong action cinema look for in a film.

What makes a great martial arts movie? Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-leung and other Hong Kong action cinema legends have their say
10 Jan 2021 - 8:26AM
The Blade, Tsui Hark’s nihilistic 1995 wuxia movie, may be the director’s least appreciated martial arts masterpiece

The nihilism of Tsui’s 1995 film did not go down well with cinema-goers who had, besides, had their fill of wuxia movies. Yet its realistic style, improvised scenes and sophisticated storytelling make it the director’s most mature work.

The nihilism of Tsui’s 1995 film did not go down well with cinema-goers who had, besides, had their fill of wuxia movies. Yet its realistic style, improvised scenes and sophisticated storytelling make it the director’s most mature work.

The Blade, Tsui Hark’s nihilistic 1995 wuxia movie, may be the director’s least appreciated martial arts masterpiece
3 Jan 2021 - 12:30PM
The Grandmaster: how Wong Kar-wai’s martial arts epic captured the essence of Chinese culture and history

Wong Kar-wai elegantly synthesises martial arts and Chinese history, giving faithful demonstrations of the different fighting styles. Four different versions of Wong’s film were released.

Wong Kar-wai elegantly synthesises martial arts and Chinese history, giving faithful demonstrations of the different fighting styles. Four different versions of Wong’s film were released.

The Grandmaster: how Wong Kar-wai’s martial arts epic captured the essence of Chinese culture and history
27 Dec 2020 - 7:50AM
How wuxia movies drew on martial arts novels by Louis Cha, Gu Long and Liang Yusheng

Stephen Chow, Wong Kar-wai, Tsui Hark and Chor Yuen made martial arts films by adapting episodes and characters from the writings of authors such as Louis Cha, known as Jin Yong, and Gu Long.

Stephen Chow, Wong Kar-wai, Tsui Hark and Chor Yuen made martial arts films by adapting episodes and characters from the writings of authors such as Louis Cha, known as Jin Yong, and Gu Long.

How wuxia movies drew on martial arts novels by Louis Cha, Gu Long and Liang Yusheng
20 Dec 2020 - 8:34AM
Cheng Pei-pei: how martial arts actress of Crouching Tiger fame first saw stardom in wuxia classic Come Drink with Me

When the Shanghai-born actress signed a contract with Shaw Brothers it wasn’t to star in martial arts films. But Run Run Shaw saw her dancing, liked the way she moved – and the role of Golden Swallow was hers.

When the Shanghai-born actress signed a contract with Shaw Brothers it wasn’t to star in martial arts films. But Run Run Shaw saw her dancing, liked the way she moved – and the role of Golden Swallow was hers.

Cheng Pei-pei: how martial arts actress of Crouching Tiger fame first saw stardom in wuxia classic Come Drink with Me
13 Dec 2020 - 7:22PM
From Jackie Chan to Wong Kar-wai, 10 Hong Kong martial arts films that are must-sees

The movie that made Jackie Chan a superstar in Asia, his film that spawned the kung fu comedy wave, the genius of King Hu, Wong Kar-wai’s wondrous Ashes of Time, Tsui Hark teaming up with Jet Li - we offer you a film lover’s feast.

The movie that made Jackie Chan a superstar in Asia, his film that spawned the kung fu comedy wave, the genius of King Hu, Wong Kar-wai’s wondrous Ashes of Time, Tsui Hark teaming up with Jet Li - we offer you a film lover’s feast.

From Jackie Chan to Wong Kar-wai, 10 Hong Kong martial arts films that are must-sees
6 Dec 2020 - 5:26AM
First Hong Kong film with LGBT characters, kung fu drama Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan shocked viewers in 1972

‘It girl’ actress Lily Ho plays a vengeful sex worker and Betty Pei Ti her lesbian brothel madame in Chor Yuen’s film Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, which shocked viewers with its depiction of same-sex love.

‘It girl’ actress Lily Ho plays a vengeful sex worker and Betty Pei Ti her lesbian brothel madame in Chor Yuen’s film Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, which shocked viewers with its depiction of same-sex love.

First Hong Kong film with LGBT characters, kung fu drama Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan shocked viewers in 1972
30 Nov 2020 - 5:16PM
Bruce Lee at 80: the martial arts legend and his legacy jeet kune do, the unique way of fighting he developed

Bruce Lee would have turned 80 on Friday had he lived. We gauge the influence of the jeet kune do fighting technique the martial arts superstar developed, with its ‘be water’ philosophy.

Bruce Lee would have turned 80 on Friday had he lived. We gauge the influence of the jeet kune do fighting technique the martial arts superstar developed, with its ‘be water’ philosophy.

Bruce Lee at 80: the martial arts legend and his legacy jeet kune do, the unique way of fighting he developed
26 Nov 2020 - 6:02PM
Explainer | What is wushu? How Jet Li studied it and made it famous in Hong Kong martial arts movies

Jet Li is a famous martial arts actor, but where did his fighting style come from and how did it make it into Hong Kong martial arts movies? We trace its origins and list the films to watch to see the best of Li’s wushu styles.

Jet Li is a famous martial arts actor, but where did his fighting style come from and how did it make it into Hong Kong martial arts movies? We trace its origins and list the films to watch to see the best of Li’s wushu styles.

What is wushu? How Jet Li studied it and made it famous in Hong Kong martial arts movies
22 Nov 2020 - 6:05PM
Explainer | Korean New Wave cinema: how Shiri, Christmas in August and other movie hits put South Korea on the world map

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Korean New Wave started a boom in domestic cinema. The phenomenal success of the action thriller Shiri in 1999 was pivotal to the rise of Korean cinema.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Korean New Wave started a boom in domestic cinema. The phenomenal success of the action thriller Shiri in 1999 was pivotal to the rise of Korean cinema.

Korean New Wave cinema: how Shiri, Christmas in August and other movie hits put South Korea on the world map
18 Nov 2020 - 6:16PM
Jackie Chan, The Matrix’s Yuen Woo-ping on martial arts choreographer’s role in Hong Kong action cinema

Jackie Chan, The Matrix’s Yuen Woo-ping, Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-leung – the honour roll of martial arts choreographers who influenced the direction of Hong Kong cinema is a long one. They explain the role and its challenges.

Jackie Chan, The Matrix’s Yuen Woo-ping, Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-leung – the honour roll of martial arts choreographers who influenced the direction of Hong Kong cinema is a long one. They explain the role and its challenges.

Jackie Chan, The Matrix’s Yuen Woo-ping on martial arts choreographer’s role in Hong Kong action cinema
15 Nov 2020 - 5:15AM
How to be happy: the secrets to satisfaction and mindfulness through meditation from a Buddhist monk once stressed and fatigued

Once stressed and fatigued himself, Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten says that to find happiness we need to stop searching for it, something meditation can help with.

Once stressed and fatigued himself, Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten says that to find happiness we need to stop searching for it, something meditation can help with.

How to be happy: the secrets to satisfaction and mindfulness through meditation from a Buddhist monk once stressed and fatigued
9 Nov 2020 - 6:46AM
How Chang Cheh, director of martial arts movies, got the inspiration for a twist on the kung fu genre

The characters were one-dimensional and the storylines simplistic in this master martial arts director’s Shaolin cycle of films. That was no accident – their whole point was to showcase so-called southern kung fu fighting styles.

The characters were one-dimensional and the storylines simplistic in this master martial arts director’s Shaolin cycle of films. That was no accident – their whole point was to showcase so-called southern kung fu fighting styles.

How Chang Cheh, director of martial arts movies, got the inspiration for a twist on the kung fu genre
9 Nov 2020 - 9:41PM
A martial arts riposte to James Bond, and Donnie Yen as a eunuch – how King Hu and Tsui Hark told the Dragon Inn story 25 years apart

When martial arts director King Hu wrote Dragon Inn, about rebels who thwart a bloodthirsty imperial Chinese eunuch, it was as a response to James Bond films that suggested ‘it was OK to kill people on a whim’. Tsui Hark’s remake updated the story.

When martial arts director King Hu wrote Dragon Inn, about rebels who thwart a bloodthirsty imperial Chinese eunuch, it was as a response to James Bond films that suggested ‘it was OK to kill people on a whim’. Tsui Hark’s remake updated the story.

A martial arts riposte to James Bond, and Donnie Yen as a eunuch – how King Hu and Tsui Hark told the Dragon Inn story 25 years apart
1 Nov 2020 - 5:26PM
Review | Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon turns her martial arts icon father’s ideas into a self-help guide in Be Water, My Friend

Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon has taken sections from Lee’s handwritten notebooks and broadened them out into a guide for modern life in Be Water, My Friend.

Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon has taken sections from Lee’s handwritten notebooks and broadened them out into a guide for modern life in Be Water, My Friend.

Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon turns her martial arts icon father’s ideas into a self-help guide in Be Water, My Friend
29 Oct 2020 - 9:08PM
The Godfather meets Agatha Christie in Chor Yuen’s wuxia film Killer Clans, 1976 production that brought sophistication to the genre

A director who had made his name with melodramas, Chor Yuen switched to wuxia films and made some of the genre’s most accomplished literary adaptations, starting with Killer Clans in 1976.

A director who had made his name with melodramas, Chor Yuen switched to wuxia films and made some of the genre’s most accomplished literary adaptations, starting with Killer Clans in 1976.

The Godfather meets Agatha Christie in Chor Yuen’s wuxia film Killer Clans, 1976 production that brought sophistication to the genre
25 Oct 2020 - 5:37PM
As a kid Tran Quoc Bao made backyard Jackie Chan videos that Corey Yuen helped edit. Bruce Lee inspired his martial arts tribute film The Paper Tigers

The Paper Tigers, directed by Asian-American Tran Quoc Bao, transplants themes from classic Hong Kong martial arts films to modern-day Seattle.

The Paper Tigers, directed by Asian-American Tran Quoc Bao, transplants themes from classic Hong Kong martial arts films to modern-day Seattle.

As a kid Tran Quoc Bao made backyard Jackie Chan videos that Corey Yuen helped edit. Bruce Lee inspired his martial arts tribute film The Paper Tigers
19 Oct 2020 - 6:59PM