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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.