By Jerome Reuter
A few years ago, Internet comedian Brad Jones (aka The Cinema Snob) re-introduced much of the world to Pierre Kirby. An action hero who starred in a total of nine movies, all made within a 2-year period. Since then, he’s gained an enormous cult following. You can find several fan tributes all over the web, and a lot of people are starting to take notice of the works he was in.
In order to understand why so Kirby has gained so many followers, we need to start at the beginning. Pierre Kirby was cast in films from Hong Kong director Godfrey Ho. Ho himself boasts a filmography of over 100 film, primarily martial arts flicks. They’re quite easily accessible, due to their distribution by the Wu-Tang Clan. Ho’s production company IFD, as well as producer Joseph Lai, had an interesting approach to churning out so many releases. It all surrounds a unique ‘cut and paste’ style of editing. Older Japanese and Hong Kong films were taken and recut with sequences starring Caucasian actors, and redubbed. In a sense, it’s like watching two movies at the same time. Much of these were old Kung Fu movies that IFD had the rights to.
Much of the time, as a matter of fact just about all the time, these ended up being laughable for their continuity errors. Last time I checked, Ninja’s didn’t wear bright colored jumpsuits and wore headbands reading ‘Ninja.’ The massive amount of errors aside, that’s part of their charm. These works are definitely in the ‘so bad it’s good category.’
Which brings me to Kirby. Apparently, he had absolutely no acting experience before his run in with Ho. He was a yacht courier who delivered boats to several couth pacific locations. His good looks and martial arts experience landed him in the roles from IFD. Much to the surprise of many, Kirby could act. He seemed to be a natural in front of the camera, and that comes in handy when delivering those patented one-liners.
“The dragons fire burns hot!”
When it comes to the films themselves, they’re actually REALLY entertaining. They’re your typical 80’s testosterone laden action films, with high flying Karate, over the top villains, and some of the worst dubbing I’ve ever seen. Not to mention: lifted music from Re-Animator, Maniac, The Sister Of Mercy, and even German new wave band Alphaville.
The end of our story is something you might see in an action like this. While en route to the Philippines, Kirby’s ship was attacked by pirates. Not willing to go down without a fight, Kirby resisted. He was promptly murdered, and his body was dumped at sea.
So why the massive cult following? Well, these are films that are one of a kind. We’re never going to see Pierre Kirby make a comeback and save the day. These works he left behind are a legacy. They’re fun to watch, and you can tell Kirby enjoyed every moment he was in front of a camera. Don’t waste another moment–join the cult, and enjoy everything Pierre Kirby left for us to enjoy.