DragonFest is a two-day martial arts expo held every August at the Pickwick Convention Center in Burbank, California. I was fortunate to attend both days of the expo and I met many fabulous vendors and some big name martial arts stars. The one I traveled 3,000 miles to see was my favorite Shaw Brothers Living Legend and Icon, Master Lu Feng!
On Sunday, August 26, 2018, I had the pleasure of watching Master Lu Feng give a seminar on making films in the 1970s and showing his fans his magnificent skills with weaponry. He also answered questions and gave his fans a few pointers before he led them in a skill set.
After this wonderful display of skill, Master Lu Feng was generous with his time and sat with me to do a quick interview. Thank you to Christopher Sin for translating!
Dionne Hawkins: What was it like to be apart of the mighty Shaw Brothers in the 1970’s?
Lu Feng: The experience was happy. We lived at the studios and worked all the time.
Do you still drink Coka Cola?
(excitedly answers gesturing with his hands): Yes!!! When I was younger, I drank so much Coke. I was known as the Cola King. I would drink 6 Cokes a day. I drank so much Coke, you could build a house from the cans. I still drink Coke but not as much now!
What was The Venoms daily training routine like?
There wasn’t actually a training routine for the movie. But when I was young, I was in the Peking Opera School and when I was in school I learned all the basics. When Shaw Studios was looking for this kind of talent, for people who knew kung fu, we applied these basics to the movie choreography. Because when we are filming every day, it is like our filming was like our training.
“Legend of the Fox” is not talked about much but it’s one of my favorites. The sequences with you and Philip Kwok Fung Chung are amazing. Was there a lot of footage not left in the movie?
I am not quite sure. But every day we were fighting so I can’t remember every move. But the director probably cut out some parts. Can I ask you a question? Is it ok? You like The Legend of the Fox, why do you like it? Do you like the characters or do you like the fight scenes because it is actually based on a classic novel by a very famous novelist.
I like all of it. I love the story line. I love the telling of the story of the young fox getting revenge for his father and the flashback of the father being killed that is placed in the middle of the story instead of the beginning. I like the fight scenes because they did an excellent job on them. Chin Siu Ho did a great job in the movie.
Was Legend of the Fox meant to be the movie to launch Chang Cheh’s next young group of actors like Chin Siu Ho?
Yes! Chang Cheh’s goal in all the movies he makes is to bring the other generation, the next generation to the industry.
“Flag of Iron” is my all time favorite movie. Who came up with the idea of using flags as the highlighted weapon?
Me and 3 of my friends and Chang Cheh the director saw a flag used in a Peking Opera and we thought it was really beautiful that the flag can spin around.
But the thing is a flag cannot actually attack people so we added a spearhead to the flag. And that is how we created the weapon. Most of the credit goes to Chang Cheh, even though me and 3 friends came up with it.
Who were the 3 friends?
Kuo Chui (Philip Kwok Chung Fung) and Chiang Sheng.
The Three Amigos!
No two! The next one is me. Sorry, two. (we have a good laugh) The other one is me, ok. Every day we had to do meetings and do research on what weapons we are going to use, how we are going to fight. We had meetings every day.
Are you working on a new project?
I work mostly in TV these days but in October I will be going to mainland China to work on a movie that isn’t exactly a martial arts one but will probably be an action film.
You have been talking about doing a remake or reboot of “The Five Venoms”. How are you going to make this project happen?
I have heard from two of my American friends. They have brought up the idea of doing this. I really want to do this but there are some difficulties.
What kind difficulties?
There are many difficulties like money and people, how to film it, where to film it. Some people are saying that in the new movie, we will be the masters and we will train the new Five Deadly Venoms. One problem is with people because it’s not like everyone wants to do it. And one of the Five Deadly Venoms is in heaven right now. So there are many difficulties but we are trying to work on it.
What is your opinion of the evolution of Martial Arts in cinema since the time of the Venoms?
In the past, in my generation, especially director Chang Cheh requested that all his actors must know real kung fu. We have gone through a long journey of lot of sweat to learn kung fu and get the real skills. Right now, a lot of the young people don’t want to go through the long painful journey, the long blood and sweat journey of learning real kung fu. That’s why a lot of them use stunt doubles.