Donald Simmons (theengineer) wrote,
Donald Simmons

Farewell Kung Fu Friday

I come to praise Kung Fu Friday, not to bury it.

Thanks to most of the rep cinema's closing at the end of the month, last night was the last Kung Fu Friday, Colin Geddes' festival of fist-in-face movies that he's been running every couple of weeks for 10 years now. I went to the very first one, last night's one, and a lot of the ones in between. I'm really gonna miss them.

I figured I should arrive at the Revue early last night, and I'm glad I did. Even at 9 PM (movie was to start at 9:45) there was a crowd already there, and there ended up being a capacity house. I think Colin had to apologize to some later-comers who just couldn't be seated without ticking off the Fire Marshall.

Another reason to come early was to help out my brother with a great idea he had. He got a Bruce Lee movie poster, took it along, and set it up in the lobby for people to sign the back to thank Colin for all the great movies he's shown for us. It was a hit and in the end it was just about covered with people's names. Dave presented it to Colin with his own thanks just before the show started.

Some other people had tributes for Colin as well. A woman who I think worked for the Revue has some artwork commissioned showing Colin as a Kung Fu warrior using reels of film to fight, and another guy had a trophy for him as the Kung Fu Friday Sifu (Master).

As for Colin, he was looking a little overwhelmed with all the attention he was getting. Kung Fu Friday has meant a lot to him, but with the reps closing and his work at the Film Festival taking more time continuing it is just something he can't handle right now (he explained). Also, after ten years he probably deserves getting his Friday nights back (IMHO). He is looking at in the future maybe doing "Cult-matheque Ontario", and show besides Kung Fu, biker movies, zombie movies, and anything offbeat.

He also talked about the first Kung Fu Friday (I was there!). He got a copy of Jackie Chan's Snake in the Eagle's Fist, managed to rent the Metro, Toronto's last porno movie house, and spent most of a cold February putting up posters about it (he doesn't recommend doing this). But near the last minute, he found that the print wasn't dubbed (as he thought), or even subbed, it was raw Cantonese. Thinking quickly, he wrote up Rocky Horror type rules for it. When the Old Kung Fu Master comes on screen, everyone says "Sifu!". The fat bully was "Piggy!". The evil priest with the dagger hidden in a cross "Hallijuah!", and so on. In any case the movie was Plot #1 (kid gets pushed around, runs to hills, finds old master and learns Kung Fu, returns and defeats the bad guy) so it's not like we couldn't follow the plot. And we were there for the fighting anyway.

The evening was a hit, besides the sticky seats, and Colin ran from there. KFF was at the Bloor for a while, at Innis Town Hall a few times, and then moved to its biggest and best home, the Royal, for several years before going to the Revue several months back. Colin's shown a heck of a lot of movies over that time.

So, last night again. After a record five not-coming attractions (including the fan-favourite Revenge of the Lady Ninja) there was the last KFF door prize draw with Prize Queen Jen (and at least 15 DVDs given away). Dave and I both finally won something a few months back (separately) so I didn't mind not getting lucky again. People then came up to give Colin his tributes (and a standing ovation) and then the film!

Colin's shown Crippled Avengers before, but I missed it. And it was a great movie to end the series off with. The dubbing is great (I think you know what I mean by that), and the fighting was fast and furious. After bandits kill Tu Tinto's wife and cut his son's hands off, he goes slightly nuts, and after making his son steel hands (with built in weapons) and teaching him Tiger Kung Fu, they decide they now have a mandate to terrorize anyone who offends them. They blind a traveling peddler, deafen and make dumb a blacksmith, cut the legs off a guy who bumps into them on the street, and when a traveling good guy tries to stop them, they make him an imbecile (by squeezing his head in a vice). The others return said good guy to his temple, where his Master decides to teach them all Kung Fu to defeat Tu.

It was a rocking movie and the crowd loved every minute of it, a night to remember, and why going out to see a film still matters and is worth doing. Thanks again Colin for making this happen for ten great years.

Colin will still be sending out his email bulletins about offbeat movies, You can sign up to his list at:
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