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Author Topic: Kalevala Kung-Fu  (Read 6211 times)
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Great Rao
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« on: September 08, 2007, 03:57:26 AM »

A while back I bought a copy of "Super Infra-Man" on DVD, based on recommendations in this forum.  Since that purchase, I now get email updates from the retailer that I used.  This is from their latest newsletter listing new offerings:



"Jade Warrior", the first-ever Sino-Finnish co-production, and the first-ever Finnish Kung Fu film combines Finnish and Chinese mythologies into one film. Inspired by a well-known Finnish epic called the Kalevala, the story opens with a down-on-his-luck hardware merchant, Kai, who gets dumped by his girlfriend, Ronja. She tries to dispose of his collection of Asian artifacts at an antique dealer, but this sets off a mythical series of events that turns the merchant into a warrior prince, fated to battle a demon in icy northern Finland, responsible for enslaving all of humankind. The prince is abetted and then ultimately betrayed by a two-faced female warrior who has captured his heart and thus carries his greatest weakness in her hands. The battle involves enchanted boxes, spectacular swordfights, and supernatural events that come together simultaneously in an isolated cabin on the outskirts of Helsinki and in the rural Chinese mountains.

[The action]...choreographed by Yu Yan Kai--who relocated to Sweden, having worked with Sammo Hung and Corey Yuen in his native China--is a nicely stylized take on wu xia and kung-fu. There are several choreographed sequences, all of which are different in style and tone; from a strange confrontation with saplings instead of swords, to a bar fight with some nifty chopstick usage, to a more conventional confrontation, which turns into a mating ritual and a final showdown, where sledgehammers are the weapon of choice. Yu, and the cast, do a fine job.

In summary, [the director] made a very watchable, enjoyable film, which successfully blends drama and fantasy, utilizing both European and Chinese aesthetics with great success. I, for one, am interested to see what [the director] does next.

Review courtesy, an HKFlix Affiliate Site, edited for length. Log in to read the whole thing and post your comments!

The Thai DVD release of "Jade Warrior" is available in Region-Free PAL format for $13.95:

"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
Super Monkey
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2007, 06:03:13 AM »

It is also known as Jadesoturi and it's sold out on that site.

Here is the trailer:

Official website:
« Last Edit: September 08, 2007, 06:05:25 AM by Super Monkey » Logged

"I loved Super-Monkey; always wanted to do something with him but it never happened."
- Elliot S! Maggin
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2007, 12:50:49 PM »

Quote from: Great Rao
A while back I bought a copy of "Super Infra-Man" on DVD, based on recommendations in this forum. 

Oh, hear-hear! It's on DVD now, isn't it great? And it has the original 70s dub, no less!

The Shaw Brothers' INFRAMAN may be the single most insanely awesome Hong Kong movie ever made. It's one of the few Kung Fu/sci-fi/Monster movies ever made by the guys that invented the drive-in seventies Kung Fu flick  Where else do you get Kung Fu battles with plant monsters that involve lasers? Where ultimately the plant monster is defeated by using X-Ray Vision to find the plant's beating heart? Or a whip-wielding dominatrix from 20 Million BC that changes into a dragon, who can regrow heads?

Thanks, China!

My favorite creature may be the woman with eyes on her hands that shoot laser beams.

It also has a quotability right up there with SPINAL TAP and BUCKAROO BANZAI. Where else would you get such lines as

"Gentlemen, the situation is so bad, that it is the worst in human history."

And of course, the sound clip I have on Windows start setup:

PROFESSOR CHUNG: "Rayma...for success, it's essential you have Thunderball Fists."
REYMA: (impressed) "I...I can have such a thing?"
PROFESSOR CHUNG: "That's right. Thunderball fists!"

The moment the insanity skyrockets is when our hero is trapped inside "liquid ice." That's when Infra-Man looks all Christmas-y.

Quote from: Great Rao
"Jade Warrior", the first-ever Sino-Finnish co-production,

"Sino-Finnish?" That must be a fun phrase to type. Cheesy

Quote from: Great Rao
and the first-ever Finnish Kung Fu film

Never in my wildest dreams did I dare to hope for a concept so awesome.

I've seen the trailer for this movie, and it looks very weird and cool. Though I'm struggling to figure out where the Kalevala comes in.

I know there was a Kalevala TV miniseries on Finnish TV not too long ago, but alas, I haven't been able to get a copy and thus I can't review it.

The single best and most insane portrayal of Kalevala on screen was in a Soviet film (and you know you're in trouble when you write out a sentence like that), SAMPO, which was released as THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE. It was on an especially hilarious episode of MST3K.


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3 (this is the one where the actual movie starts):

...And there are seven other parts up there that are linked.

(My all time favorite part is from the comments section: "Whoa, I didn't know there WAS Finnish mythology!")

SAMPO was ludicrous, supercheesy drive-in fare, but it felt so Finnish. You had breathtaking Karelian scenery, lakes, mountains...and the fairy tale portions, like the part set in Pojola, was a weird country that looked like a cross between Hell, Conan's Cimmeria, and Star Trek sets, inhabited by troll cavemen. It's exactly how I pictured it.

My Mother, who grew up in Estonia, told me that she and her friends ranked movies in a descending scale:

American movies
Good movies
Bad movies
Russian movies

(As a side note, Väinämöinen from the Kalevala, is a deity in Iron Age Estonia, too: he's not a culture-hero hobo wizard that invents music, though. He's the god of music.and he has a minor, minor cameo in the Estonian national adventure, the Kalevipoeig. This, incidentally, was a hundred years before Stan Lee!)

I'm actually kind of glad that Hollywood has never attempted Kalevala. Why? You KNOW how they'll do it. It'd be TROY times a million: macho adventure with the fantasy stripped out. That's how they've done pretty much every version of Beowulf. But the most distinctive thing about Kalevala is the fantasy: the plank of wood Väinämöinen uses to fly like a witch's broom, Kullervo's talking sword, or how a blacksmith like Ilmarinen creates living things, like a horse from a cauldron or a robot wife made of silver. Imagine what the Illiad would look like if every major hero was a sorceror of some kind.

The thing that always amazed me about Kalevala, which makes it so different from, say, the myths of the Scandinavian people that are Finland's the relative lack of macho killing and battles. Let me give you an example of what I mean: in one of the last Runes, the evil witch releases a King Kong-sized superbear, Otso the Honey-Eater, onto Kalevala.

This is the example I tell people when they ask me what the difference is between Finland and the Nordic countries. That, plus saunas and Sibelius.

The Finnish hero, Väinämöinen, who is a horny, wise old man that was a cross between a harmonica-playing hobo and Gandalf as played by Peter O'Toole, makes a great magic trident to go kill the "monster." Anyway, right as Väinämöinen catches Otso sleeping and is about to gut him with his magic trident, he says, "Nah, I can't do it, he's too cool."

Instead, Väinämöinen offers to take Otso back with him to Kalevala's drinking halls, where they would both pound beers and chase girls together. Not exactly how Siegfried would solve the problem. Cheesy

Actually...I can see the Kullervo portion of Kalevala being fodder for Hollywood. For one thing, it's almost frighteningly modern. It's the only myth I can think of that handles the very real effects of child abuse, and the broken, tragic people it creates.

Incidentally, I was fortunate enough to see Sibelius's KULLERVO performed at the National Opera in Helsinki when I was with the study-abroad program. What struck me about the performance was that the only real thing that was truly evil about Kullervo, was that he grew up without love.

"Wait, a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
Super Monkey
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2007, 02:08:50 PM »

The version of Zhong guo chao ren aka The Super Inframan is the original uncut version, not the cheesy dub that changed all the names and dialogue. It's remastered and widescreen as well.


"I loved Super-Monkey; always wanted to do something with him but it never happened."
- Elliot S! Maggin
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