Tuesday, April 15, 2014


"Trailer for Robert Rodriguez's El Rey Network 2013"

AtemiCast Tony

When I first heard about this new network dedicated to the style of movies and shows that appeal to the members of the ABYSS I was intrigued. Director Robert Rodriguez pioneers a novel cable channel where he asks fans to "Ride Along" with him as he takes us, back to our childhood of classical grind house cinema and "B" rated Kung Fu classics. My first thought upon hearing the name of the network was that all the programming was going to be in Spanish and that all the movies would be dubbed. I am happy to say, I was thrilled to find the exact opposite. Rodriguez not only shows the programming in English, but also shows the programming in its uncut versions to preserve the artistic integrity of the film maker. I have to confess that I only discovered this network about a month ago. Nor did I have any idea that something like this existed, but thankfully, through a fellow enthusiast I had been introduced to this great channel.

Director Robert Rodriguez

I found that my cable subscription included El Rey. I began to familiarize myself with the programming and the schedule. I came to find out that, Rodriguez, being a fan of the martial arts genre had dedicated a day to such classical movies. Now every Thursday, my cable box is set to record four hours of action packed, exploding fists, and kung fu classics directed by the renowned brotherly duo Shaw Brothers Productions. Most of the films Rodriguez plays were directed by them. They are without doubt producers of some of the greatest Kung Fu movies ever made. Rodriguez recently dedicated a whole Saturday to the Kung Fu films of Gordon Liu a.k.a. Chia Hui Liu, who has starred in many classics such as my all time favorite, "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin," a.k.a. "Master Killer."

Classic Gordon Liu

In this classic, Liu plays San Te, a student whose family is killed by the evil Manchu dictators and barely escapes to Shaolin where he vows to learn Kung Fu to avenge his family and teach the masses to defend themselves against the tyranny of the evil Manchu. While at Shaolin, Liu, San Te, begins his training in the highest chamber where he quickly learns that his best chance of making it is to start at the beginning. As he advances, he masters every chamber and ultimately is given the chance to head up his own. He first has to pass the final test and defeat the discipline master monk played by veteran bad guy Lee Hoi-Sang. This is some of the best action in the film and leads to the scene that depicts Liu's character, San Te as being the inventor of the three sectional staff. This staff is one of my favorite martial arts weapons. San Te moves on to exact his revenge and surprisingly gets help from his Shaolin brothers to dismantle the evil Manchu's. He lastly opens his chamber and begins instructing his fellow countrymen Shaolin Kung Fu.  

San Te (Liu) fights Discipline Monk Lee Hoi

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is just one of the many movies that I have seen in the past month and they just keep getting better and better. I am reliving my childhood. Remembering a time with my cousin and friends as we all dreamed of being Shaolin Monks with powerful Kung Fu. These movies were what inspired me to get into martial arts and still keeps me intrigued in the different disciplines. Sure, there are new movies out there that are well made and have better cinematography, better scripts, more realistic fight scenes and better dubbing but, those movies just can't replace the classics. Robert Rodriguez has made me even more of a fan of his movies and his network. This is just the beginning. I cannot wait to see the El Rey network kick out more of these great movies and move on to the classic Godzilla films. First-rate grind house films are played Friday nights and that list is too long to mention in this one article but, trust me when I tell you if you are a fan of this genre of movies Rodriguez has hit gold with this network and we at Cinema Abyss are all in for the ride.