7 Dec 2012

CITY ON FIRE - A MARTIAL ARTS WEBSITE WITH PLENTY OF PUNCH

By David Lee Andrews   Posted at  07:30   FAN-SITE

A very good friend of mine gave me a piece of very good advice once: If you don’t want to get laid for an entire months, go on a national radio station and be the guy who runs an 'Asian Film Website'. Yeah. No messing about. Jeffrey Bona is my friend's name. And he's an expert on all things kung-fu movie related. Here, check out a conversation we had only the other day, whilst defending our fallen master from some Japanese chap with a long-white beard and a sharp-sword.





1) What is your role in www.cityonfire.com, Jeffrey, and how did this venture come about?   It all started back in 1995. Mainstream internet was fairly new and “Rumble in the Bronx” had hit theaters, which finally made Jackie Chan a household name in America. Even though I've been watching Jackie’s movies for years (via mail order bootlegs from New York), his success rebooted my interest in Asian film.

Around that time, my internet service was offering its members a whopping 2 megs server space for a personal website. Instead of creating a personal page, I created my first Jackie Chan movie review page called “The Ultimate Filmography of Jackie Chan,” (it later became “Fist of the East Star”) which covered all of his films, obscure and new. At that point, many “Rumble” fans weren't even aware that Jackie had been around for years. In fact, most people didn't realize he tried to break into the American market with films like 'The Big Brawl', 'The Cannonball Run', and 'The Protector' years ago. So a comprehensive list of all his films -- accompanied by reviews -- was the perfect ground for a solid reference-based website -- especially for as young as the internet was. I don't mean to boast, but I was one of the first that covered the subject, so I remember getting lots of emails and attention. Today, the internet is so saturated that people rarely take the time to drop off an email saying “love your site!”. It still happens, but very rarely.

So, the fan site went on for a few years, then I decided to invest in a domain name and started to expand the content to not only Jackie Chan films, but all of Asian cinema. Today, 'City On Fire' covers pretty much any type of action/cult films -- both news and reviews -- as well as features and interviews; not to mention Blu-ray and DVD release dates for relevant titles. But our main focus is still Asian cinema. Me and a couple of close partners update the site daily.

2) What are your own origins?   Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of -- well, I’ll stop right there. Too much to get into. To make a long story short, I was born in Lakewood, California. I had a thing for pop culture as far back as I can remember. I love film, love music and everything else in between (click here for more info).

3) What was the first Asian film you watched? And what do you still remember about it?   Maybe I’m answering too literally, but it was probably while flipping through channels as a kid during the “Kung fu Theater” days on local TV stations that I watched my very first Asian film. Couldn't tell you what it was. I’m sure it was a period Shaw Brothers flick. I can tell you that I noticed something about it that was different from the kinds of movies I was used to: The dubbed voices, the period costumes, the blood, the yelling, the weaponry and the fights that lasted forever. But the very first Asian film I watched -- from beginning to end -- would have to be Bruce Lee’s 'The Chinese Connection' (aka 'Fists of Fury').

4) If ‘City On Fire’ was a piece of music, what would it be and why?   Any kind of 1970’s music. You name it. Anything that sounds “Grindhouse” or super 70's. I wish I grew up in those days. I love old school, torn up posters, bell-bottom fury and old VHS tapes.




5) Now I know that this is a difficult question to answer, but what is your top five favorite films of all time?   This is tough. But ones that come to mind are 'The Godfather', 'Once Upon A Time In America', 'Year of the Dragon', 'The Deer Hunter' and 'Macross: Do You Remember Love'. I’m sure I’m missing some others that I like more than these. These are from the top of my head.

6) What is your opinion on the current crop of martial arts movies?   Call me old school, but I prefer less CGI effects and wire work. Alright. I know wires always existed in older kung-fu movies, but it’s getting ridiculous with today’s technology. Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done. I like grounded martial arts movies more. It just all depends on the context.

7) Is it a coincidence that your website is named after the Ringo Lam film 'City On Fire'?   When I was scouting around for a domain name, I was trying to find something that was short, easy to remember, and had served some kind of relevance to Asian cinema. Everything was pretty much taken, except for 'cityonfire'. So that’s what I settled for. I’m not particularly a fan of Ringo Lam’s movie “City on Fire,” but it’s good enough movie -- and its title is cool -- so it all worked out great.

8) Has your site received any praise from the media or other noted sources?   I wouldn't say major 'praise'. But back in 2002, I was guest on a radio show for a local station. The topic was Asian film and they just let me blabber away while we gave callers the chance to win a free DVD copy of 'Royale Warriors'. Here’s some advice: If you don’t want to get laid for months, go on a radio station and be the guy who runs an “Asian Film Website”, ha!

9) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your site, who would you get and why?   Bruce Lee. It’s a cliché answer. But I seriously can’t think of anyone better. Movies and star status aside, I love the guy’s drive. I love that he was against tradition. I love that he was different. I love that he was never satisfied, no matter how far he pushed his limits. He was one of the greatest thinkers of the last 100 years. There’s more to him than just “Bruce Lee”.

Wow, Jeffrey! I can not agree with you more, mate. So what are your waiting for, dear reader? A remake of 'Game Of Death'? Please check out www.cityonfire.com today! Plus don't forget to do the face-face / tweet-tweet thing too. Go on. Bruce would be proud that you did.  



Back to top ↑

 
    Check Page Rank       Comic Blog Elite  

Comic Book And Movie Reviews. All Right reserved 2013