Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Blood Of The Vines

Wine Goes To The Movies with
Now And Zin and Trailers From Hell!

"The Man From Hong Kong" is cited as the first Australian/Hong Kong production in cinematic history, as well as the first Australian martial arts film.  Trailers From Hell guru Brian Trenchard-Smith got his directorial start with this film, and he has some nice tidbits to offer in his TFH clip.

A martial arts movie with fists a-flying and kicks a-plenty, "The Man From Hong Kong" stars Jimmy Wang-Yu and George Lazenby.  Lazenby plays a bad guy, as opposed to the good guy he played in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."  You may have heard of that character before.  Bond.  James Bond.

The co-stars apparently had some bad luck doing their own stunts.  Lazenby's arm was burned while trying unsuccesfully to remove a flaming jacket in one scene.  The experience probably left him shaken, not stirred.  Wang-Yu was knocked silly in a fall from a hang glider.  

Trenchard-Smith is reported to have barely escaped injury when an exploding cars' door flew farther than expected and nearly clobbered him.  Ah, all in a day's work.  That's show biz.  Get my agent on the phone.

The action is practically nonstop in this movie, so if you like your Kung Fu heavy on the physical stuff, load up the DVD.  There are only about 18 minutes of dialogue in the 100-plus minutes the film runs.

Pop music afficionados will note that the song "Sky High," by the one-hit-wonder Jigsaw, was used over the credits.  The music often adds a lot to a furious fists a-flyin' flick, but this choice seems fairly anemic and after-market.  It's as if it had been decided afterward that a hit song was needed somewhere in the mix.  It's energetic, and "blown it all sky high" certainly fits the action film mold.  It's no "Eye Of The Tiger," though.

Now, for a wine to sip while watching a martial arts movie.  We've had tougher assignments than this.  It didn't take long to find a Hong Kong connection to fit the bill.  The trouble is, the bill is too high.  Sky high.

The 8th Estate Winery bills itself as Hong Kong's only urban winery.  They source grapes from Australia, Italy and Washington state and ship them to Hong Kong after flash-freezing them.  This, I suppose, allows their label to say "product of Hong Kong."  It's an expensive way to 
make wine, and it shows on the winery's website.  There, they announced their Christmas sale: "$1200 for 6 HK wines!!"  Pardon my gasp.  If you find yourself in Hong Kong wanting to do a tasting there, it's only $80 for a flight of four.  That's even pricier than Napa Valley.  An Asian social/food site claims the wait time for a table at the winery is one minute.  No doubt.  Who can afford to stay longer?

Now let's explore some wines from a little lower on the sales shelf.  Hong Kong is in love with Bordeaux, and "The Man From Hong Kong" was an Aussie venture.  Maybe we can find some suitable wines that don't kick quite so hard at the wallet as those Hong Kong imports.

Furious Fists Find More Affordable Wines

K&L Wines shows a shipping container full of Bordeaux for less than $20 per bottle.  The 2008 Trebiac Graves is said to taste like a $30 bottle, which is a good impersonation for a $14 bottle to carry off.

The comedy troupe Monty Python once cited the fictitious "Melbourne Old-And-Yellow" as a "good fighting wine," particularly in hand-to-hand combat.  Australia's Fighting Gully Road is a winery located in Beechworth, Victoria.  They do a little Shiraz, but their vineyards are planted mostly to Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Their Shiraz goes for $32, their Pinot for only $25.

It should be easier to find Mollydooker's 2010 "The Boxer" Shiraz, a South Australian wine with amazing power.  $24

If the Man From Hong Kong had shopped around a little, perhaps he wouldn't be quite so angry.

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