Bob Marley as sensi? He is if you’re watching Ching Pow: Far East Yardies

Mix kung fu with a couple of Jamaican comedians and some reggae, and what do you get? A must-see movie mashup about an evil-fighting brothel bounce
Ching Pow: Far East Yardies

Caribbean kung fu … Ching Pow: Far East Yardies. Photograph: PR

Red carpet, dancehall reggae stars, folks dressed to the nines, ample Red Stripe and Guinness for everyone. This is a screening of a film calledChing Pow: Far East Yardies in Kingston, Jamaica. But this is not just any movie – it’s a mashup of standup comedy, karaoke, remix culture and an odd, three-part Taiwanese kung fu movie from the 80s. Jamaica’s music industry is built on versioning and revisiting instrumental musical riddims, and this is the logical cinematic extension.

For the past month, Ching Pow has been a must-see – again and again. A tale of a brothel bouncer destined to fight evil is given a Jamrock twist. Bob Marley shows up as a martial arts guru who provides essential instruction to the bouncer, a bumbling but ultimately successful hero. Martial arts movies have had an audience in Jamaica for decades, so it’s not surprising that screenings have been packed.

The popularity of the film’s first run has led to demand across the island. It’s being shown in a venue known for dramatic productions, so Ching Pow is linked to the same expectations Jamaicans have for theatre. It’s common for plays in Jamaica to tour, and then make a jump to the diaspora with shows in New York and London. A second run in Jamaica is a sure thing, and it would seem that the movie would be an obvious choice to appeal to an international audience.
Source material for Ching Pow is a 1987 low-budget trilogy called Ninja Death. Comedy duo Twin of Twins (brothers Patrick and Paul Gaynor) provide the voices for all the main characters. The Twins are known for their off-colour humour and send-ups of Jamaican politicans and celebrities. They are also comfortable mocking themselves as well as Jamaican cultural mores, and this film is no exception. Director Bruce Hart thought the twins were perfect for the film: “They have a dancehall attitude. [The Twins] put a spin on it. There is a purity of their raw speech. Underpinning it all, they are really reflecting on our culture. They have taken characters and the attitude, but they also comment back on it. There is a satiric side about them.”

The film came about after Hart was inspired by the US TV series Kung Faux, which reworked and redubbed bits and pieces of kung fu cinema with voiceovers and video-game-style effects. Hart upped the ante with a full-length feature film. The original was bizarre and disjointed, but, as Hart says, it had more than enough material to “manipulate and reconfigure the story”. And the hilarity is enhanced by near-perfect dubbing, achieved through experimentation on behalf of the actors. There’s also the requisite reggae – dub matches particularly well with the punching and kicking.

Getting permission to play with the source material was a challenge. The creator (or creators) of Ninja Death weren’t easily accessible. Nearly superhuman efforts – including the hiring of a private investigator – were made to contact the copyright holders. The search led to Hart’s film becoming a case study for Harvard law students interested in the rules and regulations surrounding orphan works.

For Hart, Ching Pow demonstrates new possibilities. The excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the film demonstrates that there is an audience for this type of project: a movie that otherwise might be forgotten is recut, rethought and remixed for a specific audience. “This could be done in different languages for different cultures,” he says. “There is a lot of potential.”

Encore! – Overwhelming Calls For Ching Pow’s Return

Photo by Mel Cooke From left: Paul ‘Tu-Lox’ Gaynor, Patrick ‘Curly Lox’ Gaynor and Bruce Hart (the movie’s producer and director). Photo by Mel Cooke From left: Paul ‘Tu-Lox’ Gaynor, Patrick ‘Curly Lox’ Gaynor and Bruce Hart (the movie’s producer and director).

Based on the overwhelming demand for Ching Pow – Far East Yardies, Twin of Twins is promising that there will be a second Kingston run for the movie.

Ching Pow – Far East Yardies started showing on August 7 at the Theatre Place, located at 8 Haining Road, St Andrew, and ran until September 7.

Despite a full house for most of these nights, Twin of Twins’ Patrick Gaynor says there are many persons who are yet to see the movie.

“It’s been great, overwhelming. We have gotten great responses. Everybody really loves it. Twins are known to be different and entertaining in a different way,” he told The Gleaner.

“The way the response is overwhelming, we will be back in Kingston. People had to be turned back on various nights because there were no more seats, and in some cases, people had to be standing,” he said, adding that the Theatre Place can only accommodate 350 persons for each showing.

Meanwhile, Gaynor said they were now in negotiations with a couple venues for the second run of Ching Pow – Far East Yardies in Kingston, but other parishes, including Westmoreland, St James, St Ann, and Clarendon, would also get a taste of the movie. He said persons in St James and Westmoreland should be able to see the movie by October.

But at no point did Gaynor expect this kind of response to the movie, which is a martial-arts film with Twin of Twins replacing the dialogue with their own.

“When I create, I don’t think about what is gonna be good. I just do it and the outcome is up to the people,” he said.


Having had issues with their material being bootlegged on previous occasions, Gaynor says he is happy that Ching Pow – Far East Yardieshas not suffered the same fate. He says that is part of the reason why they are trying to control the content and where it is shown.

“You have to keep it tight. You don’t want it to get out there with bootleg. Mi surprised [that it hasn’t been bootlegged], but at the same time, we are happy. It nuh happen yet, so we a try keep it secure for as long as we can,” Gaynor said.

Luckily, he says there has been some level of corporate support for one of their projects this time around, in the form of Slam Condoms.

“Slam stepped up and helped. Kudos to Slam. It is not that we don’t want to work with corporate people, we want our work to be authentic. We don’t buy into this generic thing. It has to be mutually benefiting,” Gaynor toldThe Gleaner, noting that they have been in discussions with other corporate entities.

While the movie continues to gain support, Gaynor says Twin of Twins is still releasing songs, Wah Gwaan and Teef being the most recent.

Gaynor says he has also done a solo poem for his mother that will be released soon, and Twin of Twins will be going on a tour of Europe from November 17 to December 6.

Ching Pow: A [Cunning] Dancehall movie in “kickaz” guise

Mike at the Movies

Ching Pow is a dancehall movie.

I find it important to start with that bit of overstatement,as there are some, well-intentioned and otherwise, who easily fall for the bait of writing it off based on the profanity and seeming crassness as well as the soft-core sex and other elements that contribute tot he producers’ self-styled “NP” (No Pickney) rating.

Those seeing the movie, which ended what is presumably a preliminary run Sunday night last at the “off-Palace” location of New Kingston’s Theatre Place, will actually find a cunning mash-up of classic R-rated martial arts and contemporary dancehall expression, with thinly veiled (and sometimes not) social commentary that has a lot in common with the vintage National Gas magazine of the 1970s, just peppered with expletives – without which, I hasten to add, Ching Pow would STILL be funny.It is, in other words, a roundhouse kick to the gut of the falsely conservative.

Of vital importance to the full appreciation of what producer-director Bruce Hart and provocateurs Twin of Twins have wrought with Ching Pow, are the prologue and epilogue that bookend the main story.

And that main story centres around the kung fu staple of royal succession -this time with a Japanese as well as Chinese twist. The king is dead, the queen is presumed dead (though actually in exile), and their first-born son,(the character is actually given that name in the film, First Born) is working as a tout and pimp outsidea whorehouse, er that should be house of heavenly delights.

“First Born”

There is an honourable sensei, Master Bob (the Marley reference is, of course, obvious), villain, Bad Muta (also obvious) an inscrutable blind prophet-teacher ad, naturally, a love interest, as well as the assorted expendables who provide fodder for the jokes and contribute to the body count.

Family, betrayal, megalomania and love – yes love in all its varied stripes are part and parcel of the narrative, but it is in the imposition of contemporary Jamaican dialogue, that Ching Pow really succeeds. Sound and visuals are so expertly melded, and the Twins – who provide the bulk (if not all) the voicings are so on-point with their expressions, that the film’s conceit of disillusioned yardies transplanted to the Orient becomes not merely plausible, but readily acceptable. People all over this planet are ultimately motivated by and react to, the same things, regardless of the varied brushstrokes of culture and language: the guy wants to get the girl (and vice versa), the bad guy wants to run the world, and good somehow always conquers evil – even if “good” starts out as a egotistical, whoremongering “gyallis”.

None of the above is even necessary to having a good time with this movie, provided your sensibilities are sufficiently fortified. Ching Pow is just the kind of subversion that the country at large ought to be exposed to right now. It may not come to a cinema (God knows there are too few of those left anyhow) but here’s hoping it comes near you….soon

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, NewKingston – 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 trilogy Ninja 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.


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 Come to 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 Crownsound 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 onsocial 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.Ching Pow gleaner

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.”

Photos by Mel Cooke

Ching Pow: A Kicking Comedy

Tanya Batson-Savage | Friday, August 8th, 2014

The karate move, or kickers, is a core ingredient of Jamaica’s dancehall/urban culture. The movies were a staple element in the Jamaican film diet in the 70s and 80s and found a home in the dying embers of the State and Odeon cinemas during the 1990s. Like the lone gunslinger of the Western, the kung fu warrior became a part of how Jamaican heterosexual masculinity was defined. So, when producer and director Bruce Hart (Rocket Jamaica) matched comedy DJ’s Twin of Twins with a reworked version of Ninja Death I, II and II, it was a match made in dancehall heaven.

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.

Bruce Hart director, producer and co-writer of Ching PowBruce Hart director, producer and co-writer of Ching Pow

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.

Far East Yardies hopes to kick up storm


Twin Of Twins

PRODUCER Bruce Hart’s kung-fu comedy mash-up masterpiece, Ching Pow: Far East Yardies premiered on Thursday at the Theatre Place, St Andrew, starting its month-long run at the venue.

“This project is a long time coming. It took a lot of negotiations to get it where it is so I’m finally happy to have it released to the public,” Hart told the Jamaica Observer.

Ching Pow: Far East Yardies takes three kung-fu movies, Ninja Death and its two sequels, re-edits and redubs them into a single picture for maximum laughs. Providing the lead voices are local comedy team Patrick and Paul Gaynor, better known as Twin of Twins. Hart said he was inspired by a badly done YouTube video and felt the concept could work better if given a more professional touch. The nonsensical plot follows First Born, a whorehouse bouncer, who must take his rightful place as ruler of his land. Many of the supporting characters should be familiar to any Twin of Twins fan, and the story plays on many of Jamaica’s common social stereotypes.

“The movie took almost five years to complete,” Hart said.

Hart’s first hurdle was the music score.

“It was very music-driven at first, but then I found out the cost to license the tracks we wanted to use and we had to rescore the whole thing,” Hart explained.

The big issue came with the rights to use the Ninja Death footage. As these Far Eastern karate movies are simply film fodder it took a while to find the original producer, which Hart did with a fitting comedic twist.

“It took us two years to find him using a private investigator. Turns out he wasn’t in Taiwan or East Asia at all, but New York,” Hart said laughing.

The movie will now play at the Theatre Place from August 7 to September 7, with 8:00 pm showings Tuesday through Sunday. At the month the month, Hart plans to take it around Jamaica and across the United States targeting the diaspora.

PREE-VIEW : Twin of Twins Far East Yardies Movie

Patrick “Curly Lox” and Paul “Tu-Lox” Gaynor aka Twin of Twins have been stirring things up in Jamaica with their comedy and social commentary for a decade now. A few years ago we caught wind of a feature-length film starring the brothers, or at least their voices transposed over old kung-fu footage. Now, that film is finally ready to be seen. Ching Pow: Far East Yardieswill screen every night for the next month, from today through September 7th, at The Theatre Place, 8 Haining Road in Kingston.

In the vein of the early-2000s-era Fuse Network series Kung Faux (which “remixed” old kung-fu movies with overdubs from hip-hop figures including Afrika Bambaataa, Crazy Legs and Biz Markie), Ching Pow jacks footage from Ninja Death parts 1, 2 and 3 to tell a story (Rated “NP” for “No Pickney”) that pokes fun at dancehall culture and Jamaica’s political atmosphere in a manner not unlike Twin of Twins’ mixtapes.

Catch an exclusive preview of the film, courtesy of director Bruce Hart, below, and the theatrical trailer below.

Twin of Twins do voices in Film

By Mel Cooke – The Online Jamaica Star, June 23, 2010

Fans of ‘kickers’ are used to seeing voice overs of films that are not in sync, where what is being said in English does not quite match the movements of the characters’ mouths.
On Monday night, however, as the hour got late at the 2010 Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) film night, held at Redbones Blues Café, 1 Argyle Road, New Kingston, there was a showing of a martial-arts film voice over of a very different kind, Twin of Twins replacing the dialogue with their own.
It was not just a matter of replacing the dialogue, carrying through the original meaning in another language, but adjusting the plot. And the Twins used the voices of Roundhead, Mutabaruka, Julian and Bob Marley, among others, thereby recasting the characters.
Not surprisingly, the short film, a sampling of things to come in November 2010, is rated ‘NP’ – No Pickney. There are adjustments to come, as what was shown was stamped ‘The Really, Really, Really Ruff Kut”.
Before the clip was shown, director Bruce Hart explained that he is developing a style of filmmaking utilising already existing material. After the screening, throughout which there were hoots of laughter from the audience (which declined as the evening wore on), he said it was “a way to make a film with no money at all … . I knew that Twin of Twins are funny … . They are very, very intelligent”.
In terms of marketing, Hart spoke about the black market and companies embedding their products in the content in a non-invasive way. He also mentioned midnight screenings at cinemas. However, Hart did add that “basically, we have censorship issues”.
“It is mimicking the dancehall culture in every way. But that is the intention, to keep it with the culture that is driving Jamaica forward or backward, as you see it.”
The ‘forward’, as in a sign of approval, was unmistakable on Monday night. And while no negative responses were voiced, there are sure to be those who disapprove of ‘Ching Pow’, what with ‘Bob Marley’ saying “no say nutten! I a go look one piece a Chiney brush” when the need is on. In a sex scene, there are many compliments on the standard of the woman’s vagina (“You have the will you marry nuh”) and the man declares: “God believe me, me nah lef’ yu till Shebada tun gal.”
Among the high humour points were one character telling another, “Yu know why I don’t murder you now? The script say you don’t dead till the last part”. And also the declaration of badness: “Check me out pon!”
At one point in a sex scene, the woman asks the man, “Whe yu a do, stop?” To which the man replies, “No. Da part ya name cool an deadly.”
‘Ching Pow’ was very different from the rest of the short films – that were shown on Monday night at Redbones. Among the films were the reggae juggler from Bull Bay in a Character series, a look at the cruise ship-based supposed development of Falmouth, Dinner Jacket and Coast and Missed, both from the New Caribbean Cinema group.

Twin of Twins star in remixed Kung Fu Film

By Steven Jackson Observer writer
Monday, July 12, 2010

Comedians Twin of Twins are starring in Ching Pow, Far East Yardies–a remixed Kung-fu film slated for November release which will rely on local bootleggers to market the product, its producer said.
The comedians will dub their voices over the film images of Ninja Death–an old kung-fu trilogy which has entered the public domain according to producer Bruce Hart of Rocket Jamaica Ltd–an independent media company.
The remixed film described as an “action-satire” will rely heavily on slang and “poke fun” at dancehall culture and particularly artiste Bounty Killer who is a nemesis of the comedians.
“It is very much in the Twin of Twins sensibilities and their formulation of relying on social criticism, dancehall music and comedy to criticise,” stated Hart.
Ninja Death is a 1987 Hong Kong film about a man, Tiger who owns a brothel but moonlights as a kung fu artist. He runs into trouble when Ninjas jeopardise his prostitution ring.
The movie is slated to be released in Carib Theatre in November and will follow with a DVD release. Hart however expects to avoid the trappings of local bootleggers ebbing DVD sales by encouraging them.
“We like the bootleggers. We like to share the stuff,” he stated.
Hart isn’t philanthropic, rather his marketing approach will seek financing upfront via sponsorship instead of relying on DVD sales. The project budget will range “between US$100,000 to US$500,000″ Hart stated seriously.
Hart wants to attract independent sponsors especially those affiliated with dancehall including products, producers and artistes. He doesn’t want corporate conglomerates which in his mind would jeopardise the integrity of the script.
Hart emphasised that sponsors would be seamlessly woven into the story-line.
“We will stay true to the story,” he said. “The sponsorship will be non-evasive and woven into the story.”