First Look at Michelle Yeoh in ‘Master Z: Ip Man Legacy’

"Cheung Tin-chi" Teaser Poster

“Cheung Tin-chi” Teaser Poster

Max Zhang – the rising star of The Grandmaster, S.P.L. II and Ip Man 3 – is headlining an unofficial Ip Man 3 spin-off directed by legendary martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (Dance of the Drunken Mantis). Zhang will reprise his role as Cheung Tin-chi from Ip Man 3, in Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (aka Cheung Tin-chi).

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy will also star Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny), Tony Jaa (xXx: Return of Xander Cage) and Dave Bautista (Kickboxer: Vengeance).

Here’s the official plot: After defeated by Ip Man, Cheung Tin Chi (Zhang) lives a depressed life and stays low profile. While Tin Chi tries to stay out of trouble, he gets himself into a fight with the foreigner Davidson (Bautista), big boss behind bar district. Tin Chi fights hard with Wing Chun and earns respect.

Zhang has many other projects in the works, including The Brink, S.P.L 3: War Needs Lord and Made in Kowloon, Escape Plan 3Assassins and the Missing Gold and Pacific Rim Uprising.

Well Go USA has already secured rights to Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, which is currently in pre-production phase. Until then, check out a still from the film featuring Michelle Yeoh (via AFS).

legacy

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Reset | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

"Reset" Theatrical Poster

“Reset” Theatrical Poster

RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2018

Director Yoon Hong-seung (The Target) joins forces with Jackie Chan (as producer) for the Korean/Chinese production titled Reset (read our review), which is heading to Blu-ray & DVD from Well Go USA on February 6, 2018.

When her son is kidnapped, the inventor of a time machine (Yang Mi of The Bullet Vanishes) teams up with multiple versions of her future self to rescue him.

Reset also stars Wallace Huo (The Founding of an Army), Chin Shih-chieh (Brotherhood of Blades) and Liu Chang (A Journey Through Time With Anthony).

Pre-order Reset from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Asian Titles, DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, News | Tagged | 2 Comments

‘Once Upon a Time in Northeast China’ blood flowed in snow…

"Once Upon a Time in Northeast China" Teaser Poster

“Once Upon a Time in Northeast China” Teaser Poster

Currently in-the-works is a thriller titled Once Upon a Time in Northeast China, which is being directed by Kong Ergou, who is mostly known for producing John Woo’s epic The Crossing saga, as well as the upcoming The Three-Body Problem: I.

The film stars Zhang Jingchu (Sky on Fire, The Adventurers), Xia Yu (Birth of the Dragon, Mojin: The Lost Legend), Hu Jun (Bodyguards and Assassins, Firestorm) and Wu Yue (Cold War 2Bruce Lee, My Brother)

According to AFSOnce Upon a Time in Northeast China follows a nightclub manager whose entanglement with a beautiful girl in the northeast of China leads to exile, murder, imprisonment and eventually redemption.

With the famous “Once Upon a Time” banner, one can only hope it lies somewhere between a Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time in the West) or Tsui Hark film (Once Upon a Time in China). Stay tuned.

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Jackie Chan to return as a demon hunter in ‘Knight of Shadows’

"Knight of Shadows: Walker between Halfworlds" Teaser Poster

“Knight of Shadows: Walker between Halfworlds” Teaser Poster

Pre-production has started on an upcoming Jackie Chan film titled Knight of Shadows: Walker between Halfworlds, which is being described as an “epic” that features exciting action, wild comedy, eternal love, thrilling VFX, and revelations of a world beyond (via TFC).

According to SD, the Vash-directed film (yes, the director’s name is simply “Vash”) stars Chan as a demon hunter defending humanity from an inhuman invasion. When an evil force starts kidnapping village girls to feast on their souls, the demon hunter sets out to save them assisted by his lawman protégé and a group of friendly monsters. Check out the film’s Teaser Poster, courtesy of AFS.

In addition to Knight of Shadows, Chan currently has many movies on his agenda, including The CivilianChinese Zodiac 2Five Against a Bullet, Rush Hour 4Bleeding Steel and Journey to China. We’ll keep you posted on all of Chan’s projects as we hear more.

Until then, don’t miss our reviews for his latest films, Railroad TigersKung Fu Yoga and of course, one of the best movies of his career, The Foreigner.

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Donnie Yen to deliver MMA in Kam Kar-wai’s ‘Big Brother’?

"Big Brother" Teaser Poster

“Big Brother” Teaser Poster

If you’ve been following your social media accounts, you’ve probably come across photos of Donnie Yen back on set for a mysterious, untitled movie that’s currently in production – but if you look closely – the title of the film is right before your eyes. Hint: It’s not Enter the Fat Dragon and it’s not Ip Man 4.

The name of the film is Big Brother, an upcoming MMA-themed actioner directed by Kam Kar-wai whose Color of the Game recently opened in theaters.

Very little is known about Big Brother, but from what we’re able to gather, the movie features MMA fighters, stuntmen and other players in the action film genre, including Jess Liaudin (Night Fare), Brahim Acchabkhe (Boyka: Undisputed IV), Craig Miller (The Brothers Grimsby), Tom Caserto (My War), Semiquaver Iafeta (Unbeatable), Lockhart Ogilvie (Level Up) and industry figure, Mike Leeder (Ultimate Justice).

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. Until then, here’s a look at what director Kam Kar-wai is capable of in the Trailer for Color of the Game:

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Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws | aka Yong-ho’s Cousins (1981) Review

"Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws" Korean Theatrical Poster

“Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws” Korean Theatrical Poster

AKA: Yong-ho’s Cousins
Director: Lee Hyeok-Su
Producer: Kim In-dong
Cast: Charles Han Yong-Cheol, Hwang Jang-Lee, Nam Chung-Yat, Park Ae-Kyung, Han Kyung, Kwon Il-So
Running Time: 95 min.

By Paul Bramhall

Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws is about as perfect an example of Godfrey Ho tampering that you’re likely to come across. A 1981 Korean production titled Yong-ho’s Cousins, directed by Lee Hyeok-su, it became one of the many Korean kung fu flicks that were picked up by Ho and Tomas Tang for overseas distribution through their Asso Asia company. At best, under Ho and Tang these movies would be given an English title, an English dub, and a new set of opening credits citing Ho (or one of his many aliases) as the director. At worse, they’d be given all of the above, and then also be re-edited into completely different plots than the original movie, or even have newly shot ninja footage inserted into the runtime to be passed off as a completely new movie.

In this case, Ho’s meddling has it sat somewhere in the middle. While there’s no new ninja footage randomly inserted, the original version Yong-ho’s Cousin’s has been completely chopped up and dubbed to resemble a very different beast than it started out as. The original involved a pair of Korean independence fighters that steal a horde of Japanese gold. When the pair meet an untimely end, half of a map which shows where the gold is buried ends up in the hands of one of the fighter’s sisters, while the other ends up in the possession of Hwang Jang Lee. Step in Han Yong-cheol, who also plays an independence fighter looking for his fallen comrade’s sister, and who ultimately gets embroiled in the search for the gold. Then you have Ho’s version, which strips the plot down to make Hwang a mischievous card sharp who’s after the gold, and ends up partnered with Yong-cheol to find it. That’s pretty much it.

It isn’t the first time one of Hyeok-su’s movies has been bastardized by Ho’s confusion inducing editing, with another production featuring Hwang Jang Lee from the same year, Chunyong-ran, being given the same treatment and released under the title of Hard Bastard. What’s most interesting about Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws though, at least in terms of its western marketing (which is exactly the audience it was edited for), is its heavy leaning on the presence of Hwang. In fact, the Silver Fox himself is not the main star of the piece, but rather he plays a supporting role to Han Yeong-cheol (who takes center stage on the original poster). Yong-cheol was the leading action star when it came to Korean kung fu flicks in the 70’s, and even over 40 years since he first appeared onscreen in 1974’s Manchurian Tiger, it’s easy to see why. Six foot tall, handsome, and with a confident swagger, even dubbed into English his screen presence and charisma still shines through.

In many ways, the pairing of Yong-cheol alongside Hwang in Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws can be seen as a handing over of the torch from one kicking legend to the other. By 1981 Hwang had already become a seemingly permanent fixture in Hong Kong movies as an indestructible villain, with enough classics to his name that they run into double figures. For Yong-cheol on the other hand, this would be the last movie he appeared in, and unlike his Korean contemporaries such as Casanova Wong and Kwan Yung-moon, he never felt the urge to hop over to Hong Kong and apply his formidable kicks there. Just 7 years earlier, Yong-cheol played the lead in one of his best movies, Returned Single-Legged Man, horrendously chopped up and released in the U.S. as The Korean Connection. While Yong-cheol played the title character, here Hwang was a nameless lackey, so for him to rise to co-star status by the time of Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws is to be admired.

Interestingly Hyeok-su, who would continue making action movies all the way up to his final picture with 2002’s Quick Man, cast Hwang in similar roles both in Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws and Hard Bastard. Playing distinctly against type compared to the unstoppable villain roles he’d become accustomed to playing overseas, in both productions he plays comically inclined swindler type characters, who tend to run away from confrontation just as much as they’re likely to get involved in it. Fans of the king of leg-fighters may be thrown off by such portrayals, and indeed 1981 itself is a unique year in the boot masters filmography. Apart from his comedic turns in Hyeok-su’s productions, he’d spend part of the year minus his trademark beard (including here), and also make his directorial debut with Hitman in the Hand of Buddha.

One thing that can’t be denied though, is the entertainment value derived from watching Yong-cheol and Hwang strut around in their fantastically 70’s style wardrobe, despite it already being 1981. Bell bottom pants, oversized collar disco shirts, and blazers that look 2 sizes too big are the order of the day, and the visual appeal of throwing flying kicks in such attire can likely be appreciated more now than it could at the time of its release. While Yong-cheol had made his fair share of contemporary set movies, including Strike of the Thunderkick Tiger from the same year, Hwang on the other hand had mostly been cast in period pieces, and very rarely got to let loose in a modern day surrounding. This would change as the decade progressed, with appearances in the likes of Bruce Strikes Back and Where’s Officer Tuba?, but by then the bell bottoms were out, and 80’s style nylon tracksuits just didn’t have the same appeal.

Hyeok-su had spent most of the 70’s directing Korean kung fu movies, working with the likes of Casanova Wong, Dragon Lee, and Eagle Han, and sure enough for fans of the genre there are plenty of familiar faces to enjoy in Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws. From Kwon Il-soo as a black leather blazer wearing assassin, to Kim Ki-ju as a cane wielding villain. The main villain of the piece though comes in the form of Nam Chung-il, who never once takes his sunglasses off, even when he’s in the middle of throwing down. The finale, which appears to take place in a gravel pit, has Yong-cheol taking on Ki-ju, before both Hwang and Chung-il show up, which sees it segue into a two versus one showdown against the latter. I admit that even for me it was strange to see Hwang paired up with another hero to take out the bad guy, as so many of the movies he appeared in involve 2 or more protagonists needing to team up to take out his usual villain character.

However it should come as no spoiler to say that, true to form, events culminate in the righteous Yong-cheol having to throw down against a backstabbing Hwang. To see two legends of the Korean kung-fu movie face off against each other is one of the main reasons to watch Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws, and it should come as no surprise to say that the confrontation is suitably scrappy and raw. Those looking for Hong Kong style choreography have definitely come to the wrong place, but both sides definitely get their licks in and show off some brutal kicks. Like always, Hwang dominates the fight, the viciousness of his kicks unable to be tamed even for the screen, with Yong-cheol spending most of it on the defence, until the two of them are sent tumbling down a mountain of gravel while still going at each other. As expected, ultimately Yong-cheol makes a comeback, but there’s certainly no doubt left at the end of it as to how Hwang gained his formidable reputation.

Ultimately Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws is an entertaining snapshot of early 80’s Korean action. The suits are sharp and action is raw, even if not as frequent as some may like. However much like Hong Kong’s Chow Yun Fat, Han Yong-cheol has a level of charisma that allows him to carry a movie by himself, so when you throw in Hwang Jang Lee, things are never going to be that bad. While it lacks the goofier elements that made me so endeared to Korean kung fu flicks – there’s no bizarre instances of wirework or outlandishly whacky characters – for those that like their action served poker faced, shortly before being kicked in it, there’s plenty to enjoy here.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 6/10

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‘Jailbreak’ star Jean Paul Ly to lead UK equivalent of ‘The Raid’

jailbreak2After his notable stuntwork in films such as Lucy and Now You See Me 2 – not to mention is breakout starring role in Jailbreak – Jean-Paul Ly will lead Nightshooters, a martial arts thriller directed by Marc Price (Colin).

According to FilmoriaNightshooters is the story of a film crew, led by stunt man Donnie (Jean Paul Ly) that stumbles upon a gangland hit. “With this film we’re hoping to create some of the best action UK independent cinema has seen. A UK equivalent of The Raid with a healthy splash of the fragmented, humorous characters I’ve always connected with”, says Price.

Nightshooters starts production in London on November 2017, with a target release in the summer of 2018.

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‘Ip Man 3’ star Max Zhang is Jeff Lau’s ‘Heavyweight Assassin’

"Assassins and the Missing Gold" Teaser Poster

“Assassins and the Missing Gold” Teaser Poster

Veteran Hong Kong director/writer Jeff Lau (Treasure Hunt) is currently putting finishing touches on Assassins and the Missing Gold (aka Heavyweight Assassin), a martial arts film starring Max Zhang (SPL 2), Ada Choi (Fist of Legend), Andy On (Outcast) and Hung Yan Yan (Double Team), who is also handling the film’s action choreography.

Assassins and the Missing Gold is about a group of assassins attempting to track down a stash of hidden gold, according to SD.

Assassins and the Missing Gold is just one of many upcoming movies featuring Ip Man 3’s rising star, Zhang. His other titles include The Brink, SPL 3: War Needs Lord, Invincible Dragon, as well as an unofficial Ip Man 3 spin-off.

Updates: Check out the film’s New Poster, followed by photos from the film below (via AFS):

Heavyweight Assassin

 

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Deal on Fire! 13 Assassins | Blu-ray | Only $8.99 – Expires soon!

"13 Assassins" Blu-ray Cover

“13 Assassins” Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for 13 Assassins, a film by cult director Takashi Miike (Terra Formars).

Miike delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan’s feudal era. 13 Assassins (read our review) – a masterful exercise in cinematic butchery (New York Post) is centered around a group of elite samurai who are secretly enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord in order to prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war torn future.

13 Assassins stars Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yusuke Iseya, Goro Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura and Mikijiro Hira.

Order 13 Assassins from Amazon.com today! 

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Black Eagle | Blu-ray & DVD (MVD Rewind)

Black Eagle: Special Edition | Blu-ray & DVD (MVD Rewind)

Black Eagle: Special Edition | Blu-ray & DVD (MVD Rewind)

RELEASE DATE: February 13, 2018

The MVD Rewind Collection have announced an upcoming 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD release for Black Eagle, a 1988 actioner starring Sho Kosugi (9 Deaths of the Ninja) and Jean-Claude Van Damme (Kill ’em All). The film is directed by cult director Eric Karson, who helmed Chuck Norris’ The Octagon and Olivier Gruner’s Angel Town.

One of the US Air Force’s most modern tactical aircrafts, a F-100 with a new laser guidance system, crashes into the sea near Malta – a region where the Soviet forces are highly present, too. The CIA immediately sends out their best secret agent Ken Tami (Kosugi) to salvage the system before it falls into enemy hands. To ensure his loyalty, they bring his two young sons to a nearby hotel on the island. Ken Tami’s tough opponent is KGB agent Andrei (Van Damme).

The film also stars Kane Kosugi (Zero Tolerance), Shane Kosugi (Pray for Death), Doran Clark (The Warriors), Bruce French (Mission: Impossible III), Vladimir Skomarovsky (Martial Outlaw) and William Bassett (Black Dynamite).

Special Features:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the main feature
  • Original 2.0 Stereo Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray) and Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Includes 93 minute theatrical version + 104 minute uncut extended version of the film
  • Sho Kosugi: Martial Arts Legend (HD, 21:26) (featuring new 2017 interviews with Sho Kosugi and Shane Kosugi and more)
  • The Making of Black Eagle (HD, 35:50) (featuring new 2017 interviews with Director / Producer Eric Karson, Screenwriter Michael Gonzalez and stars Sho Kosugi, Doran Clark, Shane Kosugi and Dorota Puzio)
  • Tales of Jean-Claude Van Damme (HD, 19:20) (Brand new 2017 interviews with cast and crew tell stories about working with the legendary action star)
  • The Script and the Screenwriters (HD, 27:14) (new 2017 interviews featuring Michael Gonzales, Eric Karson and more)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
  • Collectible Poster

Pre-order Black Eagle from Amazon.com today! 

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles, News | Tagged | Leave a comment
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