Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mystery Movie Solved! HAN BO WARRIOR (1982)



Here's a 2-for-1 deal: one movie that solves two mysteries! Alice Hsia's Transmedia Distribution Corp. released seven martial arts movies in the early '80s, six of which starred Billy Chong (KUNG FU EXECUTIONER, A HARD WAY TO DIE, SUPER POWER, JADE CLAW, KUNG FU ZOMBIE, A FIST FULL OF TALONS). The seventh, HAN BO WARRIOR, opened in only two theaters in midtown Manhattan on August 13, 1982 before traveling to the outer boroughs, Jersey, Connecticut and action theaters elsewhere, which leads us to the conclusion that Transmedia only had two prints. It turns out HAN BO WARRIOR was 10 years old at this point; a recent investigation by the sleuths here at Temple of Schlock revealed its true identity as MENG HU XIA SHAN/THE RAGE OF WIND (1972), starring Chen Sing and Yasuaki Kurata.


The film stayed in circulation for almost two years. Here it is playing second fiddle to MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY in a Baltimore grindhouse (courtesy of Washington D.C. sub-distributor Ross Wheeler) the week of February 10, 1984.


Below is a funny article written by Baltimore Sun syndicated columnist Matt Seiden about his experience attending the MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY w/ HAN BO WARRIOR double bill.


Meanwhile, the World Northal "Black Belt Theater" television packages were earning great ratings for channels like WNEW 5 in New York, which ran martial arts movies every Saturday afternoon on their DRIVE-IN MOVIE program. One movie I always wondered about was THE NINJA WARLORD, which premiered on DRIVE-IN MOVIE on February 26, 1983. The TV listing below gets the date wrong and the plot turned around --


A Hong Kong production where the Japanese are the good guys? Yeah, anyway, when the Transmedia films were picked up by World Northal for inclusion in the "Black Belt II" package, the title of HAN BO WARRIOR was changed to THE NINJA WARLORD (Right, because in addition to always being the villains, all Japanese are ninjas!). In other words, the film was still playing the kung fu circuit as HAN BO WARRIOR while showing on TV as THE NINJA WARLORD. As an elderly Italian-American co-worker of mine used to say, "Nice in America!"

No comments: