It is year 2024. Jamaica is a broken nation. Bad governance, as well as mounting pressures on the poor, led the Jamaican population into a civil war. With a total lock down on freedoms, the only alternative was to flee the once beautiful tourist island. After the Dudus chronicles, there is a halt on granting American visas to Jamaicans. The popular perception in America is that every Jamaican is potentially another Dudus. “Foreign” ended up being the Far East.
Identities are now in the form of AVATARS of the Far Eastern Culture. Jamaicans assumed the identities of the Chinese. With our natural propensity to prevail against all odds, the Jamaican crew end up as a force to contend with.
Our hero, First Born, is the bouncer in a whore house. He has discovered that he is the rightful ruler of the Far East Empire. Ninja Grand Master, Bad Muta, is evil incarnate and the new ruler of the Far East Empire. He will do anything to maintain the status quo.
The ensuing battle for Power continues.
Production Cost Differentiator:
Revoice and old movie.
Started: August 2010
Published: August 2014
Definition: Kung Fu Remix
Starring: Twin of Twins
Produced By: Bruce Hart
Directed By: Bruce Hart
– Used existing old kung fu trilogy – Ninja Death 1 2 3
– Edit story to 1 single feature length film
– Strip all audio
– Rebuild all sound except dialogue as a base.
– reinterpret to Jamaican context and attitudes by revoicing with local satiric comedians.
– publish movie as new story using the old film and new voices and sound bed.
Release in a rented playhouse and publicize in all media.
Tour movie like a play in rented venues
Ching Pow: A Kicking Comedy
The result is a wonderful, ridiculous, absolutely hilarious film. Dubbed Ching Pow: Far East Yardies, the flick doesn’t take itself seriously and spends as much time mocking itself and the genre as it does the characters with a few side swipes at LA Lewis. Ching Pow takes footage from Ninja Death and reworks it with dialogue by Twin of Twins and Hart, to usually hilarious effect.
Additionally, Ching Pow benefits from excellent dubbing, which is a little ironic as an almost staple element of watching a kung fu flick was the out of sync dub between the original dialogue and the English.
As much as I am usually unable to consume too much Twin of Twins in one go, as is the case with Ching Pow, I usually have to doff my hat to their comedic genius, and those occasional moments of brilliant satiric insight into Jamaican society. The opening of the film is one such. It fully indicts current spate of violence and corruption as the reason for the destruction of Jamaican society which send these ‘yardies’ to the Far East in a quest for the greener pastures of ‘farrin’.
Based on a film in which the protagonist is a bouncer in a whorehouse, Ninja Death made perfect fodder for the Twin of Twins foul-mouthed sketches. Ching Pow reworks the story of Ninja Death which follows the classic hero’s journey of a ‘karachi’ film. For those who are unfamiliar with that plot line, it is the roughly same one you find in The Matrix.
Ching Pow infuses versions of the characters usually found in the Twin of Twin sketches, voiced by the duo, with a few required additions. So Marley becomes the wise kung fu master, Master Bob and is pitted against the film’s villain (a silver fox of a sort) Bad Muta and his not so merry band of ninjas. Renato Adams is a mindlessly violent killer but the Pastor only has a walk in role.
The film is replete with expletives, which is par for the course with Twin of Twins, and also contains what may well be some of the worse sex scenes every filmed. That being said, however, when you shovel away some of the delightfully rich manure that is there just for laughs, you often find some gems buried within Twin of Twin humour. And Ching Pow has its share. Through Master Bob we are treated to the insight of Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey and Jamaican proverbial wisdom, none of which serves to dampen the fast-paced humour.
The film is currently running at Theatre Place, Kingston, where it will continue showing daily (except Mondays) through to September 7, 2014. It has been four years in the making and the results suggest that the efforts to bring it to fruition were worth it. The producer hopes to take it on an island-wide tour.
Ching Pow is hilarious from start to finish though if you can’t handle too much misogyny, or expletives just because, this isn’t the film for you. However, if you can, and are a fan of kickers in generally and/or Twin of Twins in particular, be forewarned: this is a comedy with kick, so you might just hurt yourself.
Movie In A Theatre – ‘Ching Pow’ Skirts Traditional Cinema Route
Mel Cooke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The finer points of distinction between a cinema and a theatre are often overlooked in matters of audiovisual dramatic presentation in a public setting. For while the theatre is for plays and the cinema for movies, in Jamaica the general public goes to the theatre – as the cinema is labelled – to watch movies.
However, until early September, after an August 7 start, it is correct to say one is going to a theatre – the Theatre Place on Haining Road, New Kingston – to watch a movie – Bruce Hart’s Ching Pow: Far East Yardies, with voices done mainly by dancehall duo Twin of Twins. So, for example, Bob Marley becomes a martial arts guru.
Makeda Solomon, Toni-Ann Thomas, Mumzel and Melissa Fearon do the many female voices required for a script that involves a house of ill repute.
Ching Pow is an edited compilation of the 1980s Taiwanese trilogyNinja Death, with the dialogue reshaping the resulting film in a distinctly Jamaican direction, both in plot and language. There had to be another kind of connection between Taiwan and Jamaica, though, Hart saying, “We had to get in touch with the producer, who we are in negotiations with, and I am confident everything will be in good order.”
Hart said in debuting Ching Pow, the standard cinema release route was one of two options considered, but discarded. One factor in that decision was the large percentage of the gate which the cinema takes, which Hart pointed out is an industry norm.
EYES ON TOUR
Then there was the route of using a theatre, “… but adapt it to fit viewers in the way that Stages does it. They show at venues around the country and then tour the play abroad.
“It gives us more flexibility to show with a wider reach and hit markets that we can take our product to, even as far as the countryside in Jamaica and, internationally, to the Jamaican markets abroad.”
It is not only in Jamaica that Hart is taking the route far less travelled for film. He makes it clear that outside the country, he is also not going through the conventional avenues – one well traversed by Jamaican cinematographic output from Perry Henzell’s 1972 Harder They Cometo 2010’s Better Mus’ Come and many in between and subsequent.
“Our interest is not the film festival circuit,” Hart said, although, in Jamaica, a few scenes of Ching Pow were shown at the Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) Urban Arts Festival in 2010 and the film will be screened at Great Huts in Portland next weekend as part of the festival of Jamaican films there.
Hart said: “It is just a practical appeal to people. It is not about trying to get a medal. It is about getting something real and strong and unfiltered,” Hart said. So there was no consideration of ratings, but “just go for what is good and real and push the edge of it”.
And strong and unfiltered Ching Pow: Far East Yardies certainly is. The Twin of Twins (Patrick ‘Curly Lox’ Gaynor and Paul ‘Tu-Lox’ Gaynor) were true to themselves in doing the dialogue and would not have had it any other way, the two having some caustic words for some of the on-screen fare available.
It did not hurt that they are ‘kickers’ fans, Tu-Lox saying, “We used to go Odeon (in Cross Roads, St Andrew), before them build the bus park.” Curly Lox adds the names of some big-screen martial arts stars. “We know Bolo, Bruce Lee, Carter Wong,” he said.
They also make the Far East connection with dancehall, referring to the song of that name done by Barry Brown in the 1980s. Mighty Crown sound system, which is dubbed The Far East Rulers, “just make it more popular in the dancehall era”.
In doing the Ching Pow dialogue, they went uncensored – as they believe it should be. The film is rated NP – a self-imposed No Pickney. This is in a context where, Tu-Lox said, “they are trying to contain people who are the creative people in Jamaica, which is the ghetto people”.
They have used the dancehall channels to push Ching Pow.
“To spread the word about this film, it was not hard,” Tu-Lox said. “When we put up the first trailer, the response was overwhelming.”
They have also gone to the live dancehall space (“You can’t depend on social media alone,” Tu-Lox said) to let people know about the film, Curly Lox saying that they had stopped at a dance and simply walked in, gone to the microphone and let the people know about Ching Pow in their unique style and voices. It was not the only dancehall stop.
There is another dancehall connection with Ching Pow. Condom brand Slam, which made a splash with Dancehall Queen Carlene, is a major sponsor, through its Goliath product.
After the Theatre Place run is over, Hart said Ching Pow: Far East Yardies will go travelling.
“We are thinking of MoBay first, but we are basically going to see what the market and appeal is for this month is, and it could be as far as London. Jamaica and the Caribbean and promising. It could be on to the Caribbean, London, New York, and so on,” Hart said.
“We are going to take it on tour, like a play or dancehall product.”