Cityonfire.com’s ‘Vigilante Diaries’ Giveaway! – WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Vigilante Diaries | Blu-ray & DVD (Anchor Bay)

Vigilante Diaries | Blu-ray & DVD (Anchor Bay)

To celebrate the release of the action-comedy Vigilante Diaries, Cityonfire.com and Anchor Bay are giving away the following prizes to three lucky Cityonfire visitors:

  • Grand Prize: 1 Blu-ray + 1 signed poster by Michael Jai White
  • 1st Runner Up Prize: 1 Blu-ray
  • 2nd Runner Up Prize: 1 DVD

To enter, simply add a comment to this post and describe, in your own words, the film’s trailer.

We will be selecting a winner at random. Be sure to include your email address in the appropriate field so we can contact you for your home address. Additionally, you must ‘Like Us‘ on cityonfire.com’s Facebook by clicking here.

Anchor Bay Entertainment will release Vigilante Diaries in select theaters and on iTunes on June 24, and On Demand, DVD and Blu-ray on July 5.

The film features an all-star ensemble cast led by Paul Sloan (I Am Wrath), UFC’s Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (A-Team), action icon Michael Jai White (Falcon Rising), Paul Sloan (I Am Wrath), Jason Mewes (Clerks), Michael Madsen (Kill Bill), Jaqueline Lord (Mercenary for Justice), WWE star Sal ‘Chavo’ Guerrero, Jr. and James Russo (Once Upon A Time in America).

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by July 10, 2016 to qualify. U.S. residents only please. We sincerely apologize to our non-U.S. visitors. Winners must respond with their mailing address within 48 hours, otherwise you will automatically be disqualified. No exceptions. Contest is subject to change without notice.

WINNERS: Grand Prize/David; 1st Runner Up/Michael S; 2nd Runner Up/Danny H.

Posted in News | Tagged | 23 Comments

Sun Honglei to star in Chinese remake of ‘Veteran’

"Veteran" Theatrical Poster

"Veteran" Theatrical Poster

Ryoo Seung-wan’s box office hit Veteran will be getting a Chinese language remake. In the upcoming film, Sun Honglei (Drug War) will play the lead role originally performed by Hwang Jeong-min (The Wailing).

The original Veteran followed a seasoned police detective (Hwang) who immediately has a face-off with a young tyrannical heir (Yoo Ah-in) to an untouchable mega-corporation. CJ Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray & DVD last April.

The Veteran remake is currently in pre-production, with a target theatrical release due in 2017. Stay tuned!

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Cecilia Cheung and T.O.P. are seriously ‘Out of Control’

"Commitment" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Commitment" Korean Theatrical Poster

Hong Kong star Cecilia Cheung (Legendary Amazons, 12 Nights) and Seung-Hyun Choi (Tazza: The Hidden CardCommitment), better known as T.O.P. – his pop idol stage name – are currently putting finishing touches on Out of Control, a big-budget German-Chinese co-production, directed by Axel Sand (Alarm for Cobra 11) and Richard Lin.

According to Variety, the story involves a Chinese film and martial arts star (Cheung) who is ensnared by a dangerous plot while visiting the Berlin Film Festival. Her survival and the success of a major rescue mission depend on a Korean secret agent (T.O.P.), who is also her ex-fiance.

A release date is still pending, but until then, don’t miss the film’s exciting trailer (via AFS).

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Andy Lau and Gong Li for Johnnie To’s ‘Vampire Killers’?

"The Fearless Vampire Killers" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Fearless Vampire Killers" Japanese Theatrical Poster

With the recently announced production of War, the 2+ decade collaboration between Johnnie To (Office) and Wai Ka Fai (Too Many Ways to Be Number One) is showing no signs of weakness. In fact, it’s stronger than ever.

According to a scoop from AFS, the duo are planning project titled The Fearless Vampire Killers, which will star Andy Lau (My Bodyguard) and Gong Li (Shanghai).

If you’re wondering if it’s a remake of the 1967 Roman Polanski cult classic of the same, welcome to the club. Given To and Wai’s eclectic film influences from around the world, we definitely wouldn’t rule it out.

We’ll keep you updated on this blood-sucking story as we hear more.

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Cityonfire.com’s ‘The Midnight After’ DVD Giveaway! – WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

The Midnight After | DVD (Well Go USA)

The Midnight After | DVD (Well Go USA)

Cityonfire.com and Well Go USA are giving away 3 DVD copies of Fruit Chan’s The Midnight After to three lucky Cityonfire visitors. To enter, simply add a comment to this post and describe, in your own words, this video.

We will be selecting a winner at random. Be sure to include your email address in the appropriate field so we can contact you for your home address. Additionally, you must ‘Like Us‘ on cityonfire.com’s Facebook by clicking here.

The DVD for The Midnight After will be officially released on June 21, 2016. We will announce the 3 winners on June 20, 2016.

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by June 20, 2016 to qualify. U.S. residents only please. We sincerely apologize to our non-U.S. visitors. Winners must respond with their mailing address within 48 hours, otherwise you will automatically be disqualified. No exceptions. Contest is subject to change without notice.

WINNERS: Andrew O, Ernie E and Dilford.

Posted in News | Tagged | 17 Comments

Ghost Warrior | aka Swordkill (1984) Review

"Ghost Warrior" Theatrical Poster

"Ghost Warrior" Theatrical Poster

AKA: Swordkill
Director: J. Larry Carroll
Writer: Tim Curnen
Cast: Hiroshi Fujioka, John Calvin, Janet Julian, Charles Lampkin, Frank Schuller, Bill Morey, Andy Wood, Robert Kino, Joan Foley, Peter Liapis, Mieko Kobayashi, Toshishiro Obata
Running Time: 81 min.

By Kyle Warner

One of Ghost Warrior’s poster taglines was, ‘100 Years Ago, He Was a Living Legend… Today, He’s a Living Hell.’ You can almost hear the trailer voice guy reading that, can’t you? Well, I think that Ghost Warrior’s tagline should’ve read, ‘Unthawed samurai popsicles and the women who love them,’ as it more accurately describes the film. But even then, my tagline would’ve hinted at a more entertaining picture than the one we actually got. How do you take a concept like unthawing a frozen samurai in modern day LA and turn it into a boring movie? Seriously, how? It seems impossible and yet the people behind Ghost Warrior somehow managed it.

Before I get ahead of myself I want to say a little something… about myself. If there’s one type of martial arts movie that I still remain largely unfamiliar with it’s the ninja boom that hit Hollywood in the 1980’s. TV’s Shogun and Kung Fu were wildly popular and helped spawn a wave of American productions about Asian martial arts. We Americans were especially intrigued by the ninja, apparently. Well, I grew up sometime after the American ninja craze, and the films didn’t engrain themselves into pop culture the way that other 80’s genre cinema did, so I’ve been slow on the uptake. I mean, I can name over a dozen Toshiro Mifune films at the drop of a hat, but I can’t name more than one Sho Kosugi movie (City on Fire has other people for that job!). So, Ghost Warrior, a 1984 film about a samurai at large in Los Angeles… it’s not something I can put into any sort of historical perspective beyond the fact that it was riding a wave of ninja and samurai popularity. I’m just going to review Ghost Warrior as a peculiar action movie about an unthawed samurai and hope that that’s enough.

In the film, the samurai Yoshimitsu (Hiroshi Fujioka) is defeated in battle and falls into a frozen lake. He’s later discovered frozen in modern day Japan and shipped to Los Angeles where scientists will attempt to revive him. Apparently the original order was to do an autopsy, but weirdo scientist Dr. Richard (John Calvin) decides it’d be cool to secretly revive the samurai instead… I guess he’d been sitting on the technique for how to revive a century old dead guy and was just dying to try it out. After a complicated, unexplained surgery involving rotating blue lights, the doctors are able to successfully revive Yoshimitsu. They leave him in a room and he’s seen to by the young Ms. Chris Welles (Janet Julian), an expert in “Oriental studies” who barely knows a word of Japanese and is their go-to pick for communicating with Yoshimitsu. It’s maddening. Why wouldn’t they at least hire somebody who spoke Japanese to speak to the samurai? Ms. Welles teaches Yoshimitsu like he’s a smart chimp, showing him shapes and seeing if he can duplicate the patterns. She even teaches him how to drink sake—she is the expert, after all. Anyway. The samurai and the lovely Ms. Welles form a bond, despite never understanding each other. One night, the special scientific program’s only security guard sneaks into Yoshimitsu’s room to steal his swords so he can pawn them. BIG MISTAKE. Yoshimitsu nearly cuts the guard in half, then escapes the facility to wander aimlessly around LA.

There is some entertainment to be had watching a samurai encounter his first automobile, or watch a hard rock band on TV, or visit a bar and get mistaken for Toshiro Mifune. It’s the usual comedy that you see in other such “fish out of water” time travel tales. And though the film’s attempt at humor is nothing special, Ghost Warrior really could’ve used more of it. The action is remarkably dull, the characters barely make sense, and I think I put more thought into the plot while writing this review than they did when they wrote the damn script.

The “unthawed traveler from another time” thing had been done before and revisited again since. Ghost Warrior has a lot in common with Donnie Yen’s Iceman, which was itself a remake of 1989’s Iceman Cometh. There was also an early Brendan Fraser comedy called Encino Man (that film co-starred Pauly Shore, which automatically makes Ghost Warrior the better movie). If you were to make up a list of unthawed hero movies (an odd list, to be sure), I’d put 1984’s Iceman starring John Lone and Timothy Hutton at the top of the list. This Iceman asked some interesting questions about the complicated nature and responsibility of bringing a man back to life from so long ago. It’s actually a pretty good, underrated piece of science fiction.

To be fair, Ghost Warrior makes it clear very early on that it has no intention of asking big questions or even in playing with the clever sci-fi ideas. The movie unthaws a samurai, unleashes him on street gangs in LA until he causes enough violence for the police to hunt him down, and meanwhile that lady who claims to be an expert follows him around everywhere. I can’t fault it for not trying to be a bigger, more thoughtful film, but its failure to be an entertaining one is an egregious offense. There’s no reason why something so silly (and kind of cool) as a samurai in LA should be so remarkably dull and dimwitted. Credited to screenwriter Tim Curnen (who wrote only one other film) and director Larry Carroll (this is his sole directing credit), Ghost Warrior is a huge swing and a miss. Maybe if I had more to drink or the right crowd to laugh along with, I might’ve had more fun. As it is, my first impression is that Ghost Warrior is best left in the ice.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 3/10

Posted in All, Asian Related, News, Ninja, Reviews | Tagged | 2 Comments

Deal on Fire! Kung Fu Killer | Blu-ray | Only $9.99 – Expires soon!

Kung Fu Killer | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Kung Fu Killer | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Donnie Yen’s Kung Fu Killer (aka Kung Fu Jungle).

Kung Fu Killer (read our review) follows a top-notch kung fu instructor (Yen) who is imprisoned for accidentally killing a man. But when a deranged killer (Baoqiang) begins targeting the best martial artists in Hong Kong, it’s up to Yen to stop him! This high-octane, martial arts thriller reunites Yen with director Teddy Chen (Bodyguards & Assassins), as well as Wang Baoqiang (Iceman Cometh 3D). Watch the trailer.

Order Kung Fu Killer from Amazon.com today!

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New, stylishly edited teaser for Ringo Lam’s ‘Sky on Fire’

"Sky on Fire" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Sky on Fire" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Ringo Lam is definitely back in the game! The legendary Hong Kong action director is currently putting finishing touches on Battle of Life, his follow up to his 2015 “comeback” film, Wild City. Plot details are under wraps, but Daniel Wu (That Demon Within), the film’s leading star, is describing Sky on Fire (aka Battle of Life) as City on Fire 2.

“I said yes without even reading the script because John Woo, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark are the guys who have initiated this new wave of classic Hong Kong and I always wanted to work with them. The movie is called Sky on Fire, but it could just as well be described as City on Fire 2,” said Wu, in reference to Lam’s seminal 1987 classic, City on Fire.

The film also stars Amber Kuo (Jian Bing Man), Joseph Chang (Wild City), Leon Lai (White Vengeance), Zhang Jingchu Zhang (Switch), Simon Yam (SPL II) and Gordon Lam (Trivisa).

Updates: Watch the new trailer for Sky on Fire (via FCS).

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Good, the Tough & the Deadly, The (2016) Review

"The Good, the Tough, & the Deadly" Book Cover

"The Good, the Tough, & the Deadly" Book Cover

Author: David J. Moore
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Description: 1 Edition May 25, 2016, Hardcover
Length: 560 pages

By Zach Nix

The Good, the Tough & the Deadly, the latest book from film journalist, David J. Moore, is possibly the most expansive exploration of action and genre cinema to date. Moore’s previous book, World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies, was already an impressive feat, as it covered practically every single post-apocalyptic genre film ever made. It even tackled live action and animated television series! However, while World Gone Wild tackled a very niche sub-genre, his latest, The Good, the Tough & the Deadly, covers a much wider array of genre cinema, specifically action films released from 1960 until now. Packed with over one thousand movie reviews, and loads of informative and revealing interviews with the stars and filmmakers responsible for said action films, Moore’s latest is immediately the most encompassing and comprehensive examination, exploration, and celebration of all things action.

Although one may be eager to dive into the book to read about their favorite action movies, it is extremely important to read the introduction, as it breaks down exactly which action movies and stars Moore and his fellow co-writers set out to examine within the book. First off, all of the movies reviewed within the book were chosen based upon which action stars headlined or inhabited said films. Second, the action stars chosen to write about had to come from a background in sports, wrestling, martial arts, bodybuilding, and/or stunt work. Actors who happen to make action films, such as Clint Eastwood, Kurt Russell, or Mel Gibson, were not considered. Moore and his co-writers are only interested in the real deal: actors who are labeled as action stars, who more or less play themselves from film to film, and have dedicated a majority of their career and persona to action cinema. They also chose to exclude the multitude of sword and sorcery and martial arts films that exist, as those sub-genres could suffice their own book and are truly never ending. Speaking of martial artists, only those who made a huge impact on the genre or crossed cultures to have an effect on international audiences were included. After all, Moore and friends had to narrow their criteria down to something. Otherwise, their book could never end.

The plentiful movie reviews make up the bulk of the text. Each review includes which format the film was watched upon (they keep it simple, DVD or VHS only), a paragraph or two on the summary of the film, and than a piece on the writer’s opinion of the film and how it reflects its action star. Some films have very little written about them, as much as two paragraphs, while others have fairly lengthy pieces spanning a couple paragraphs. While it would have been nice to have more in depth reviews for every single one of the films, it makes sense that most of them just get small blurbs, as an in depth review for every film would turn the book into its own encyclopedia series. Therefore, understand that in order for the book to amass over one thousand reviews, it couldn’t provide an in depth essay for every single film. Than again, I don’t think anyone is chomping at the bit to write an essay about Death Wish V: The Face of Death or Cyborg Cop 2. There are simply too many films and too many sequels to cover in an equal fashion.

As far as the specifics of the reviews come, each one is written in a matter that gives you a sense of the film’s plot and overall experience. After tackling the introduction, which I cannot stress enough, I still found myself repeatedly surprised to see which films made the cut, but understood the author’s criteria and reason for their inclusion. For example, Scooby Doo! WrestleMania Mystery, a DTV children’s cartoon, is included because it features John Cena, an action star whose background comes from sports and wrestling. While I fully expected to see English language Jackie Chan ventures like the Rush Hour and Shanghai films pop up, I completely forgot that Chan had co-starred in Disney’s remake of Around the World in 80 Days, and that it even included extensive martial arts sequences. I even forgot that Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, starring world famous animal expert, Steve Irwin, even existed, let alone classified as an action film. But alas, Moore breaks down how Irwin is essentially a stunt man, regarding his crazy antics with animals, and therefore, qualifies for the book. In regards to films that I know and expected, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the writer shared my sentiments towards Safe, arguably Jason Statham’s greatest all around action movie, an opinion that I had always felt alone on. However, I was a little taken aback by some of the over whelming positive words written about some of Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme’s lesser DTV films. I never expected to read praise about Seagal’s performance in A Dangerous Man or that Derailed is superior to Seagal’s own Under Siege 2. But alas, that’s where some of the fun comes from in reading this book.

The real treasures of this book, as with World Gone Wild, are the interviews, which offer up a great insider’s look at these stars and their work. The stars interviewed range all over the place, from Carl Weathers, to Michael Dudikoff, to Al Leong, to Cynthia Rothrock, to Zoe Bell, and even Wesley Snipes. Honestly, if you can think of them, they are probably interviewed within the book. Several directors and writers are interviewed as well, including DTV veterans Isaac Florentine and John Hyams. It’s really nice to hear some of these stars and filmmakers discuss both their successes and failures in detail. After all, failures and bombs deserve to be given the time of day as much as the successes.

For example, Martyn Burke, the director of Avenging Angelo, reveals a lot about Stallone’s one and only DTV film, the movie that more or less marked the lowest point of his career. Burke describes how shady the production was, and how $15 million of the film’s budget vanished. He even discusses how he would have to go toe to toe with Stallone every morning of the shoot regarding creative differences. Even though it’s clear that Avenging Angelo was nothing more than a disaster, you can tell that Burke has a great attitude about the whole experience from his interview. Another interview, one with writer Steve Latshaw, reveals that Van Damme’s In Hell was originally to be a forty million dollar theatrical comeback vehicle at Warner Bros, but instead became a Millennium picture for a mere $5 million. An interview with Daniel Bernhardt, the star of Bloodsport II, reveals how truly genuine and humble a person he is, even going so far as to not consider himself an action star. And as a big fan of Scott Adkins, I was over joyed to find not one, but two interviews with him that cover nearly all of his films. All in all, the interviews are the true treasure of the text, and a big incentive to buy this book instead of simply flipping through it at the bookstore.

At the very end of the book, one will find both an index on the book’s stars, as well as an all around index of every single film covered. I especially enjoyed the index of action stars, as it makes it simple to figure out who is and who is not covered within the book, along with which pages one can find their interviews.

In conclusion, The Good, the Tough & the Deadly is mostly a book for people who already love action movies, and are looking for opinions or a historical overview of the films they already love, whilst also discovering new action movies and stars that they have never heard of along the way. If you are new to action films, than you should probably start with a more historical text and watch many of the action classics yourself, because Moore’s epic hardcover isn’t going to give you the “Action 101” you may need. That being said, The Good, the Tough & the Deadly is a celebration amongst action fanatics like myself, as it is more or less the ultimate love letter to all things action and bad ass cinema. As I write this review, I still have not been able to take in every single piece of text within the book, as it is that overwhelming and comprehensive. I cannot recommend a purchase enough, as the book will last any action fanatic weeks from cover to cover. From now on, when action movie lovers go on to Amazon and type in “action movies book,” Moore’s bible to all things action and the action star will always be the one that pops up, and rightfully so.

I would like to thank David J. Moore and Schiffer Publishing for providing me with a copy of the book to review. It will forever stand as one of my prized possessions within my book collection.

Zach Nix’s Rating: 9/10

Posted in All, News, Reviews | Leave a comment

1st footage of Jackie Chan’s ‘Foreigner’ in new mega trailer

"Polce Story 2013" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Polce Story 2013" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Perhaps Jackie Chan is taking a page from Liam Neeson’s playbook and realizing that, even at the ripe age of 61 years-old, there’s no reason he has to retire from a life of action. That would explain why the concept for the actor’s next, project The Foreigner, sounds so much like a movie Charles Bronson might have starred in his heyday.

In the film, Jackie Chan plays a humble restaurant owner who is pushed to violence after a band of terrorists take his daughter’s life in an attack. The movie is based on Stephen Leather’s 2008 novel The Chinaman.

Directing The Foreigner is everyone’s favorite 007 filmmaker, Martin Campbell (Casino Royale). Co-starring with Chan is former James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan (Tomorrow Never Dies, No Escape). According to TW, Brosnan will play a former IRA member-turned-government official. The project will unite Campbell and Brosnan for the first time since 1995’s Goldeneye.

The Foreigner is currently shooting in London, with an expected release date set for late 2016/early 2017.

In addition to The Foreigner, Chan currently has many movies on his agenda, including Skip TraceThe Civilian, Kung Fu Yoga, Railroad Tigers, Chinese Zodiac 2 – and possible sequels to the popular Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon franchises.

Updates: Watch the new “mega” trailer (all-in-one) for Jackie Chan’s upcoming films. This new trailer includes scenes from Skip Trace, Kung Fu Yoga, Railroad Tigers and The Foreigner (via AFS).

Posted in News | 10 Comments

Kill Zone 2 | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Kill Zone 2 | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Kill Zone 2 | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2016

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Kill Zone 2 (read our review). Kill Zone 2 is also widely known as  SPL II: A Time for Consequences.

When an undercover cop gets too close to revealing the mastermind of a drug syndicate, his cover is blown. Double-crossed and under a false identity, he’s thrown into a Thai prison, where a guard discovers the inmate – claiming he’s a cop – is a bone marrow match for his dying daughter… and his warden may have an even deadlier operation hidden within the prison walls.

This Cheang Pou-soi (The Monkey King) directed film stars Tony Jaa (Skin Trade), Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior), Louis Koo (White Storm), Simon Yam (Wild City) and Zhang Jin (Ip Man 3). | Trailer.

Special Features:

  • 3-Part Making-of Featurette
  • The Story
  • The Fights
  • The Vision
  • Deleted Scenes

Pre-order Kill Zone 2 from Amazon.com today!

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

Outlaw: Kill! (1969) Review

"Outlaw: Kill!" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Outlaw: Kill!" Japanese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Gangster VIP 6
Director: Keiichi Ozawa
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Eiji Go, Kenji Imai, Goro Mutsumi, Koji Wada, Hiroshi Kondo, Fujio Suga
Running Time: 85 min.

By Kyle Warner

“I don’t get involved in yakuza feuds,” says Goro Fujikawa, the Outlaw antihero who seriously gets involved in a new yakuza feud practically every time he hops off the train. Goro’s not fooling anybody, least of all the audience. We’ve heard these kinds of things from him before. The Outlaw series is a yakuza crime saga caught on a carousel, taking us whizzing past similar sights and sounds every time we take a ride. Goro doesn’t want to get involved… but then he gets involved. Goro meets up with the Chieko Matsubara of the Week… and they fall in love. Goro dishes out justice with a blade… and shambles off to an uncertain fate by each film’s end. The sixth Outlaw film, titled Kill! (the exclamation point is part of the title), is a bit different because we know it’ll be the last time we ever see Goro. Despite that, the film plays just like all the others, and doesn’t offer any closure for the series at the finale. It’s almost like the series just ran out of gas.

In the opening moments of Outlaw: Kill! the Toyu Clan attacks yakuza boss Matsunaga (Michitaro Mizushima) of the rival Iriezaki Clan. Not only does Matsunaga manage to defend himself, the old man goes a bit overboard, hacking his would-be assassins to death in the streets for everyone to see. That’s just fine by Toyu boss, though. As the man in control of the Toyu Clan, Kenwachi (Fujio Suga) willingly sacrifices his men as he attempts to achieve dominance over the city of Keihin. His rival Matsunaga going to jail for seven years is almost as good as seeing him dead. With Matsunaga out of the way, Toyu declares open season on all rival yakuza in Keihin, putting a target on the backs of the Iriezaki boys and any other yakuza in the city.

Tough guy drifter Goro Fujiwara (Tetsuya Fujiwara) just happens to be passing through Keihin at this point. And though Goro at first claims to have zero interest in siding with either Toyu or Iriezaki, his link to an old cellmate in the Iriezaki family lets us know pretty early on whose side he’s ultimately going to fall in with. Goro can lie to himself all he wants that he’s not ready to get involved with more warring gangsters, but he’s too much of a standup guy to idly watch as bullies pick on the weak.

Much of Outlaw: Kill! has Goro acting the mentor to young yakuza. It’s an interesting but natural turn for Goro, who started out the series as stupid as the youth he’s now taking under his wing. But it also tells something rather unflattering about Goro: that, though he knows the game is rigged and the bosses are monsters, he still can’t break away from the yakuza lifestyle completely. It’s not like Michael Corleone raging about, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” because Goro never really leaves the life. He walks the tightrope between a past he wants no part in and a future he’s unable to stick with, unable to fully commit to either.

In addition to Goro’s failings at going straight, he continues to have a weird love life with women that all look the same, as Chieko Matsubara returns yet again as a new character who’s destined to fall for Goro. The formula is familiar: she’s a complete stranger, then she hates him, then she realizes he’s not so bad, and then she can’t live without him. Chieko Matsubara is perhaps the most wasted part of the Outlaw series. She’s put through the paces of playing with the same drama time after time while Tetsuya Watari gets to experience actual character growth and other returning actors get to play something wildly different in their respective sequels. Her character seems a complete afterthought in the Kill! (I’m undecided if this hurts or helps the film). It’s like they realized they’d gone five films with Chieko Matsubara as a romantic lead and figured they might as well make it the complete six.

Though much of the film’s drama feels overly familiar, Kill! does provide us with Outlaw’s best villain. Character actor Fujio Suga is positively loathsome as Kenwachi. A character actor best known for supporting parts in Yasujiro Ozu dramas and the Zatoichi series, I’ve seen Suga in many films but his presence is usually regulated to the background. In Kill!, Suga demands your attention. The character is written as the lowest of the low who sees his men as petty pawns in a game of chess and Suga seems to have a fun time in the role. In the film’s climactic finale (which calls to mind the first film as well as the punk rock flair of Stray Cat Rock), Goro takes on the Toyu Clan in a nightclub. Kenwachi and his goons are seated below the dance floor, looking up the skirts of young girls, when Goro comes in with a knife. The brawl plays out below while the oblivious dancers enjoy their lives above, even as blood sprays on the glass that separates the two worlds. Maybe there’s some social commentary here about the separation of the young upper class and the criminals who kill themselves for scraps just beneath their feet? Or, more likely, it’s just a cool action sequence to finish off the film.

With the exception of praising actor Fujio Suga’s performance and director Keiichi Ozawa’s action sequences, I realize that I’m not exactly heaping praise on the final Outlaw film. But that’s not really the film’s fault. It’s just that, by this point, I’m feeling acute Outlaw burnout. The Outlaw series is fun but it repeats its themes and characters with more regularity than I would’ve liked. By the end of Outlaw: Kill!, it’s as though the seventh film was just over the next horizon. Maybe it’s for the best that they stopped here, though. I enjoyed the Outlaw series, for the most part. I didn’t really dislike any of its six films and I loved one of them. However, by this point, it was becoming clear that the series had run its course and had nothing new left to offer.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 6.5/10

About this release: The six-film Outlaw: Gangster VIP series hits DVD and Blu-ray with a 6-disc box set for the first time in the West thanks to the good folks at Arrow Video. It comes with 3 DVDs and 3 Blu-rays, with each disc sporting two films plus special features. (I only viewed the Blu-rays, so some DVD layout may differ.)

Special features include trailers and photo galleries for each film, a visual essay by Kevin Gilvear, and an audio commentary on the first film by Jasper Sharp. The visual essay is basically a rundown of the entire series, with Gilvear talking plot points and characters. (The visual essay begins with a warning that you should wait to watch it until you’ve seen all six films. It’s wise to follow this piece of advice.) Gilvear mixes a fan’s praise with a critic’s cynicism and has some fun with the “cloning” operation involving Chieko Matsubara.

Jasper Sharp’s commentary is a little less focused than I would’ve liked. Sharp spends much of the commentary talking about Nikkatsu’s history and the film careers of those who worked on the film, but I would’ve liked to have known more about the production of Gangster VIP and the series that followed.

The real highlight of the extras is the 40 page booklet with writing by Chris D., Mark Schilling, and Kevin Gilvear. Chris D. puts the Outlaw series in a historical perspective, Mark Schilling lends some information about the real-life gangster who wrote the books on which Outlaw is based, and Schilling and Kevin Gilvear write biographies for the three directors who worked on the series. The best part of the booklet is a reprinted interview with director Toshio Masuda conducted by Schilling which originally appeared in Schilling’s book No Borders, No Limits: Nikkatsu Action Cinema. It’s an entertaining talk with one of Japan’s best directors who still remains largely unknown in the West.

In regards to the picture and sound quality of the films… sadly, the best film looks the roughest. Gangster VIP shows signs of age and wear that the other films don’t. The remaining five Outlaw films look great on Blu-ray. I obviously have no idea how they looked when they originally debuted in cinemas in the 1960s, but I think the films look as good as or better than you would expect. The sound is also handled nicely, with clashing daggers ringing loudly over the speakers.

If you’re interested in this set, you should know it is a limited edition release of 3,000 copies in the US. After that, who knows? I give the first film, Outlaw: Gangster VIP, the strongest possible recommendation for fans of gangster movies and fans of Japanese cinema in general.

The rest of the films – Outlaw: Gangster VIP 2, Outlaw: Heartless, Outlaw: Goro the Assassin, Outlaw: Black Dagger and Outlaw: Kill! – aren’t quite up to the quality of the original, but there’s some entertainment to be had with the stylish action and a strong lead performance from Tetsuya Watari. If you do decide to dive into the Outlaw set, my advice would be to space the sequels out a bit, as it’ll make for a more entertaining and less repetitive film viewing experience.

Posted in All, Japanese, News, Reviews | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Well Go USA to release Johnnie To’s ‘Three’ on June 24th

"Three" Theatrical Poster

"Three" Theatrical Poster

Johnnie To’s crime thriller Three (aka Three on the Road) is getting a theatrical release on June 24, 2016, courtesy of Well Go USA.

The upcoming film stars Louis Koo (Accident), Wallace Chung (Drug War) and Gao Yuanyuan (Robin-B-Hood) and Vicky Zhao Wei (14 Blades).

When a police sting goes bad, a master criminal (Chung) makes a desperate choice: he forces the cops to shoot him. Once there, he refuses treatment, instead waiting for his cohorts to break him out.

Caught between an obsessed cop (Koo) and the troubled surgeon assigned to save his life (Wei), the hospital is now a taught-and-tense situation that could turn into a bloody battleground at any moment. | First trailer. | Second trailer.

To see if Three is playing in your area, click here!

Posted in News | 10 Comments

Final Score | aka Elegy of a Massacre (1986) Review

"Final Score" Theatrical Poster

"Final Score" Theatrical Poster

Director: Arizal
Writer: Deddy Armand
Cast: Chris Mitchum, Mike Abbott, Ida Iasha, Dicky Zulkarnaen, Zainal Abidin, Siska Widowati, Nizar Zulmi, Ivonne Elisabeth, Andre Mathias, Gino Makasutji, Syarief Friant
Running Time: 88 min.

By Paul Bramhall

It’s an age old dilemma – how does one carve out a successful career for one’s self in Hollywood, when one of your family members is an A-list star? It’s a question no doubt such names as Eric Roberts and Frank Stallone would have plenty of input on, however one name who did for a time appear to have cracked the formula, was Chris Mitchum. The second son of legendary actor Robert Mitchum, well known for his roles in the likes of Cape Fear and The Yakuza, Chris looked to be following in his father’s footsteps, with starring roles in the likes of Howard Hawks’ Rio Lobo, and featuring alongside John Wayne in Big Jake.

However it was his association with John Wayne which inadvertently set his career off-course. Known for sharing the same conservative outlook politically, along with similar controversial views on the Vietnam War, Mitchum quickly fell out of favor with the Hollywood studios, and by the mid-70’s the offers of work had all but dried up. As a result, he turned his attention to appearing in productions in Europe and South East Asia, and although arguably it was never his intention, Mitchum found himself re-born as a B-movie action star. Most frequently working in Indonesia and the Philippines, his filmography quickly filled up with titles such as One Armed Executioner, American Commandos, and American Hunter.

One such movie was Final Score, an Indonesian action flick which paired him with the same director as American Hunter – the man simply known as Arizal. Having begun his career in the film industry working as an artistic assistant for the Walt Disney studio, upon returning to his native Jakarta, Arizal quickly found his niche creating explosive action movies. Cranking out such titles as The Stabilizer, Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters (both of which got released on DVD by Troma Entertainment), and Double Crosser, Arizal quickly gained a reputation for his no holds barred style of filmmaking, and his name came to become synonymous with Indonesian action cinema.

For many, the concept of Indonesia even having an action movie scene in the 80’s could well be one that induces blank expressions, and rightfully so considering their lack of exposure, but it was a scene that was very much alive and kicking. Such titles as Lady Terminator (which far from being a play on words, is exactly what you hope it’ll be), Virgins from Hell, and the countless Barry Prima starring swordplay flicks, contributed to a local film industry which embraced its own wackiness, aiming for a go-for-broke style of action mayhem. Lest we forget a certain Billy Chong as well, who by the end of the 80’s had also returned to his motherland, working on several local martial arts flicks under his birth name of Willy Dozan. All this of course, more than thirty years before The Raid would put Indonesia back on the action cinema map.

Final Score in many ways could be considered Arizal’s finest moment, and is a superlative slice of Indonesian action. Mitchum plays a decorated Vietnam War veteran, as was the case with almost every role Caucasian actors would play in these Indonesian and Filipino action flicks. He lives with his Indonesian wife and son in Jakarta, and for those wondering why he’s living in Indonesia and not America, thankfully this question happens to be addressed by his son, who asks the exact same thing. Mitchum calmly replies, “Well, because we love it here, it’s a beautiful country and a peaceful place to live.” Promote tourism in Indonesia checkbox – ticked! They may indeed love it, but it doesn’t stop both his wife and son being brutally murdered while he’s out shopping for his son’s birthday present (which ironically enough, sees him pick a toy machine gun).

The man behind the hit is a ruthless business rival played by British actor Mike Abbott. While he may have started in the Indonesian film industry (like Mitchum, he’d team up with Arizal again for American Hunter), Abbott soon after moved to Hong Kong, where he must hold the record for featuring in the highest number of Godfrey Ho movies with the word ‘ninja’ in the title, often alongside Richard Harrison. Bionic Ninja, Ninja Operation 7, Death Code: Ninja, Rage of Ninja, Ninja Knight Brothers of Blood, and Ninja Empire all feature healthy doses of Abbott in action. He did manage to feature in more respectable HK productions, namely the likes of A Better Tomorrow 2, City Hunter, and A Purple Storm, but once you’ve seen Final Score, it’ll most likely be the role you remember him for.

In a runtime which clocks in at less than 90 minutes, Mitchum’s family is slain in the first 15, and it’s no exaggeration to say that he spends the remaining hour plus simply going around massacring anyone who has the slightest connection to it. He even has a list of people he’s going to kill on a piece of paper, not so much a ‘to-do’ list, as a ‘to-kill’ list if you will, and whenever he offs one of the names on it, he happily flicks out his biro pen and crosses it off. Such a simplistic plot should get old pretty quickly, but Arizal has Mitchum rampaging around Jakarta with such a degree of violent reckless abandon, that it’s never anything less than pure entertainment.

Early on he intercepts a car stacked to the brim with weapons that was on its way to a deal, and Mitchum has no hesitation in arming himself to the teeth with everything available in his newly acquired wheels. From then on, the thumping synthesiser soundtrack is frequently accompanied by the sounds of glorious machine gun fire and explosions. Bad guys get shot in the crotch, have red hot pokers thrust up places where the sun don’t shine, and are blown to pieces at regular intervals. Just as Death Wish could well be considered the template for Final Score, all be it Arizal’s piece ramps things up to 100, so the likes of Final Score could be considered the template for the likes of Taken. Mitchum maintains his take-no-prisoners attitude throughout, and there’s something cathartic about watching him relentlessly mow down all those involved in his families death.

Perhaps the aspect that most stands out most about Final Score, is how likely all of the stuntmen involved made it to the end of the production alive. There are some insane stunts on display, mostly involving vehicle chases, which make you wonder how they could have survived it. At one point during a car chase, a bad guy has half his body outstretched from the passenger window, firing a machine gun at Mitchum’s car in front. In the same shot that we see him shooting in, the car careens off the road, and flips over into a ditch out of sight. How on earth did he survive? In another, Mitchum is surrounded in a house, and two bad guys are standing side by side in the driveway shooting the place up. A secretary who Mitchum becomes friendly with comes to his rescue, suddenly appearing in her car, and she drives full speed into the back of the two bad guys. One of them literally flies head over heels from the impact!

Indeed the vehicle chases in Final Score are so entertaining, they were copied and pasted into Italian director Umberto Lenzi’s 1990 Euro-action movie Cop Target 4 years later. There’s plenty more in Final Score to recommend, from the hilarious dubbing (at one point a group of bad guys find their car trapped on a railway track as an oncoming train approaches, and just before the impact they yell in unison, “You son of a biiiiiiitch!”), to the bewilderment inducing plot points, such as when Mitchum decides half way through his rampage that he’s over his families death, and decides to get it on with the secretary who’s been helping him out. Throw in a motorbike kitted out with rocket launchers, more explosions than you can shake a stick at, an assault on a warehouse that’ll most definitely bring to mind a scene in The Raid 2, and Final Score is a glorious hark back to how action movies used to be, and more importantly, should be.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 8.5/10

Posted in All, Asian Related, Indonesian, News, Reviews | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Vigilante Diaries | Blu-ray & DVD (Anchor Bay)

Vigilante Diaries | Blu-ray & DVD (Anchor Bay)

Vigilante Diaries | Blu-ray & DVD (Anchor Bay)

RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2016

Anchor Bay Entertainment will release the action-comedy film Vigilante Diaries in select theaters and on iTunes on June 24, and On Demand, DVD and Blu-ray on July 5.

The film features an all-star ensemble cast led by Paul Sloan (I Am Wrath), UFC’s Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (A-Team), action icon Michael Jai White (Falcon Rising), Paul Sloan (I Am Wrath), Jason Mewes (Clerks), Michael Madsen (Kill Bill), Jaqueline Lord (Mercenary for Justice), WWE star Sal ‘Chavo’ Guerrero, Jr. and James Russo (Once Upon A Time in America).

Vigilante Diaries is directed by Christian Sesma (Shoot the Hero) from a script co-written by Christian Sesma and Paul Sloan.

In the film, Mewes stars as an in-your-face filmmaker known for his web videos of an urban avenger known only as ‘The Vigilante’ (Sloan). But when The Vigilante terminates a creep with deep connections, it’ll trigger a live-feed bloodbath between the Armenian mob, Mexican cartels, a rogue team of Special Forces commandos, and an international black ops conspiracy that’s about to make things very personal.

Vigilante Diaries is based off the popular web series on Chill.com that ran from 2013-2014. The show was driven by fans, in a unique episodic-funding model, where the money spent by viewers to view the first two episodes, would go towards funding subsequent episodes. | Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Vigilante Diaries from Amazon.com today!

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

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

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

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

RELEASE DATE: July 26, 2016

This July, Well Go USA is releasing XYZ Films’ (The Raid 2River on Blu-ray and DVD.

In River, American doctor John Lake (Sutherland), volunteering in the north of Laos, becomes a fugitive after he intervenes in the sexual assault of a young woman. When the assailant’s body is pulled from the Mekong River, things quickly spiral out of control.

River is directed by Jamie M. Dagg and starring Rossif Sutherland (High Life), Ted Atherton (Max Payne), Sara Botsford (The Fog), and Vithaya Pansringarm (Lupin the Third).

“It’s terrific when we can find a film so riveting, it holds on to you from beginning to end,” said Doris Pfardrescher, President and CEO of Well Go USA Entertainment. “That gripping tension is what’s so exciting about it – [Sutherland] is so raw, and so believable, that you really want to see him escape, and the tension just builds and builds – it’s nearly claustrophobic. I was really impressed,” she said. The film is currently scheduled for a Summer 2016 theatrical release. | Don’t miss the teaser trailer for River.

Pre-order River from Amazon.com today!

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, News, Other Notable Titles | 1 Comment

First look at Philip Ng as ‘Bruce Lee’ in ‘Birth of the Dragon’

"Birth of the Dragon" Chinese Teaser Poster

"Birth of the Dragon" Chinese Teaser Poster

A new Hollywood film about Bruce Lee titled Birth of the Dragon is currently in production. The movie will take a look at the life of legendary martial artist and movie star Bruce Lee, using Lee’s disputed bout with Master Wong Jack-Man as the centerpiece of the story.

Rising Hong Kong star, Philip Ng (Wild City, Sifu vs Vampire, Zombie Fight Club), will portray Bruce Lee. Additional casting includes Yu Xia (Dragon Squad) as Wong Jack-Man, Billy Magnussen as Steve McKee, and Jinging Qu (Journey Through China), who’ll be playing Steve’s love interest. Ron Yuan (Blood and Bone) and King Lau (Kick Ass 2) are also attached. The legendary Corey Yuen (Kiss of the Dragon, No Retreat, No Surrender II) will be handling the fight choreography.

At the helm of the project is George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) with a screenplay by Christopher Wilkinson (Ali) and Stephen J. Rivele (Nixon).

There’s some speculation that this could lead to a Rashomon-like structure to Birth of the Dragon since there are so many varying accounts of how the fight between Bruce Lee and Master Wong went down.

This isn’t the first time Hollywood has explored the legend of Bruce Lee. Perhaps the most well known example is 1993’s Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, a heavily dramatized biopic from The Fast and the Furious director Rob Cohen that featured Jason Scott Lee (Time Cop 2) in the lead role.

Birth of the Dragon will be released late 2016/early 2017. Until then, here’s a series of set photos (including one with director George Noli and Philip Ng, who plays Bruce Lee), which recreate 1960s San Francisco with stunning detail (using Vancouver’s Chinatown district).

Updates: Here’s a good photo of Philip Ng as Bruce Lee, courtesy of Ricky Baker. We expect a trailer to be hitting soon. Stay tuned.

Posted in News | 8 Comments

Exclusive: Interview with martial arts star Sammo Hung

If you were to ask me who I thought was the ultimate kung fu filmmaker, one name would instantly spring to my mind: Sammo Hung.

During my childhood, his movies – such as Prodigal Son, Warriors Two, Magnificent Butcher and many others – stoked a fire in my imagination and helped me through some dark times. When I heard he was appearing at the Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy, I immediately thought: “I have to go!” Thanks to my friend Ryan Law and the great staff at the festival, my dream of meeting my personal hero came true.

Sammo was everything I’d hoped he would be: funny, kind, warm and a true gentleman in the purest sense of the word. Despite being in a collective interview, it was an experience words cannot describe. My friends Matija Makotoichi Tomic and Goran Grey managed to get a one-to-one with him, which is also included in this exclusive interview.

Without further ado, here’s the interview for one of the true legends of martial arts cinema.


"My Beloved Bodyguard" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"My Beloved Bodyguard" Chinese Theatrical Poster

TIM YOUNGS: I’d like to welcome our special guest today, Sammo Hung! (audience clapping, cheering)

SAMMO HUNG: Thank you, thank you.

TIM YOUNGS: Sammo’s here to receive the lifetime achievement award for his contributions to Hong Kong cinema over more than 5 decades. He has an incredible filmography, and his first onscreen credit was achieved when he was just a child in 1961.

SAMMO HUNG: (In English) Me too, I’m a child too. (audience laughter)

TIM YOUNGS: By the late 60’s he had progressed to assistant action director. By the mid to late 1970’s, he had moved in to directing, and that progressed in to a career that became one of making hit films as a director and actor. He was one of the most popular Hong Kong actors since the late 1970’s. Over the years he has had experience in all sorts of genres, from martial arts to horror to modern day action. Now, he is very well known as an action choreographer working on major productions. This year the Far East Film Festival is showing his new film The Bodyguard. So perhaps you would like to introduce the movie?

SAMMO HUNG: (In English) The Bodyguard is a good movie. (audience laughter) I had stopped being a director for the last 18 years. So I feel like I’m a new director again for The Bodyguard. I feel like at this point to get a lifetime achievement award is a little bit too early for me. (audience laughter)

Sammo Hung, Jacqueline Chan and Andy Lau.

Sammo Hung, Jacqueline Chan and Andy Lau.

Actually, I wanted to be director of this movie. So when the boss showed me the script, I read it and 2 weeks later he asked me: “What do you think?” I said: “It’s a very good script” He said: “Do you have the time?” I said: “Yes”. I have been working in this industry most of my life and it’s very rare to find a really good script. I really love movie making. Acting and directing. However, if you want me to count it, I could only say maybe a handful – like 5 or 6 movies I’ve made – have good scripts. So if I see a movie with a really good script and I wasn’t involved, I feel aggrieved that I wasn’t part of that collaboration. So if there’s a good script and nobody invites me to be involved, that’s very hard, because opportunities are rare to come by. So, in a way, I’m really involved in this movie, I was the director, I was acting in it, I was also the action choreographer and I think I totally invested myself into the whole collaboration and creative side of this movie. When I made The Bodyguard, I enjoyed everything. In the morning, I enjoyed it. Even when BREAK! GO! I enjoyed it. (audience laughter)

TIM YOUNGS: When you first saw the script, was there a specific theme, idea, or concept that appealed to you in particular?

SAMMO HUNG: This is a script that is very strong and complete, and I don’t feel I need to change a lot. I just added my own thoughts and ideas in making the movie.

Twinkle Stars reunite: Yuen Biao, Andy Lau and Sammo Hung.

Twinkle Stars reunite: Yuen Biao, Andy Lau and Sammo Hung.

TIM YOUNGS: The film also has different genre types. There’s a lot of drama, there’s a lot of action. It’s an interesting balance. I feel that in a lot of your older films, you like to cross into different types of genres. What appeals to you in that way?

SAMMO HUNG: Before I did everything… horror movies, action movies. Now, I want to try love stories. Before it was just fighting, now I want to try everything. Now, I want to find the new, young action stars. In Hong Kong, it is very difficult, in Mainland China, they have had the chance, but don’t really make kung fu movies. Because before, everybody loved it when I made the kung fu movies. But now, give me a chance to make the love story (audience laughter).

TIM YOUNGS: Where would you look for the new martial arts talent?

SAMMO HUNG: I will start after June to look for Martial Arts Champions in China, and give them a good chance to join me.

TIM YOUNGS: Now we can jump to the floor: are there any questions for Sammo about his career?

A fight scene from "My Bodyguard"

A fight scene from "My Bodyguard"

JOURNALIST: I enjoyed the movie. I think everyone will like it. I’d like to ask you about the Hong Kong movie market. Less and less good movies are made in Hong Kong, and I wanted to ask you what will you do. Will you do something to save the Hong Kong movie market or will you abandon it and move to mainland China?

SAMMO HUNG: Now, the problem is nobody in Hong Kong is making kung fu movies. Even for the last 5 years. There is no training platform for the students. 20 years ago, 30 years ago, they have the training and they thought, with hard work, I can be an action star. Now, we don’t have these kinds of dreamers who want to shoot the movies. This is the problem in Hong Kong. The young kids, they don’t dream. They become waiters. Or they dream of being singers, dancers, and TV is very popular. So they go this way, they don’t think “I need to train hard”.

Mainland China is young in terms of the movie market, and in ten years they have grown up. Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Baio are popular until now. How many new action stars coming up? Only 5 or 6. Now in Mainland China there are kids training… they all know kung fu. So now they need a chance, so we will see the next generation of kung fu movie stars. Immediately, in my mind, I want to establish my own company in Shanghai. I will set up martial arts schools and call all the Martial Arts Champions and students to come. And of course, they will have to love movie making, acting as well.

"Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars" Japanese Theatrical Poster

I want to create an opportunity for them to train to be kung fu stars. So my next goal is to find the next kung fu actors from China. If I discover these people, they don’t need to only work for me. I will be equally proud and happy if they can become a success in all the areas of movie production. So I will stay behind them and wish them success. I’m not Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan is a hero. In my movies before, you can see there are so many actors, I’m not the top guy. I love movies, I love characters. I love people who can do a good job. They work for me, they don’t work for me, I’m happy. (audience clapping, cheering)

TIM YOUNGS: I’d just like to extend that a bit. You are obviously very interested in martial arts cinema. How have you seen the market change? In Hong Kong for example, martial arts films haven’t been as popular as they were in the mid-90’s. Is it difficult to find investors to work with new talent?

SAMMO HUNG: First I want to say, in Hong Kong, not only martial arts movies are going down. In the last 7 years, the Hong Kong film market is always going down. To make the drama movie, you need 7 million dollars. For the kung fu movie, you need 12 million dollars. But now in Hong Kong, the market is very low. Before when we start shooting in Hong Kong, they say “Sammo Hung, we have a new movie has started”. And in lots of places like Korea, Thailand, Malaysia they say “Oh, we will buy your movie”. Now they need to see the movie, then they will decide to buy or not. So, if we make the kung fu movies with new guys, nobody wants to buy it. So, you’re asking me when in Hong Kong martial arts movies go up, I really don’t know. And Mainland China, they will put a lot of money in to casting. They don’t know how to push the new people.

"SPL" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"SPL" Chinese Theatrical Poster

FRED AMBROISINE: I wanted to talk about your career as an actor. You stopped working as an actor in the mid 90’s. And then you played a very important role as an actor in SPL. This one was important because you played a bad guy, and you hadn’t played that since maybe in the 70’s, where you were fighting Angela Mao Ying. So could you tell me what made you decide to accept this role?

SAMMO HUNG: I don’t normally play bad guys, as you said. Now, it’s a very simple answer, it’s who pays me the most! (laughter) Joking. I actually examined the script very carefully. I looked at how this character was portrayed, why was he the bad guy, how was he described in his personal life. I Wanted to make sure the audience understood who this bad guy is. Obviously, I didn’t want the role of the bad guy to affect people’s perception of me. So, whether playing a good guy or a bad guy, I want to see that the script has the full character development for me to be a good actor, so that I could use my acting methods to express the character, which will eventually enhance the story telling.

So, for a while I was like Robin Hood. I was always helping people and because a lot of people in the industry are good friends – actors, directors – and they all have interesting projects, and I say: “I have a role for you, come and help me out”. So I was playing Robin Hood for a long time, for a lot of my friends. Just like this movie The Bodyguard, there are a lot of old friends in it. They just come in one day to shoot. Like Tsui Hark, Karl Maka, Dean Shek. And my Seven Little Fortunes classmate Yuen Baio. So in the industry we really value our old friendships. We all reciprocate this too, and I will never reject them and help them out whenever I can.

Tsui Hark, Karl Maka and Dean Shek featured in a character poster from "My Bodyguard"

Tsui Hark, Karl Maka and Dean Shek featured in a character poster from "My Bodyguard"

TIM YOUNGS: I’d like to introduce another topic as well, because we’ve talked about your work as a director and actor. What about action choreography. Do you follow a specific school or style, or do you like to mix it up?

SAMMO HUNG: I like to mix it up, because every character, every movie, is different. Like, who is the character, how do they fight? I like to give the audience something new.

JOURNALIST: I noticed that Jackie Chan also is doing something similar, trying to discover martial arts talents in China. Are you doing it the same way or using different ways as him?

SAMMO HUNG: Jackie Chan has his own way of discovering the talents in China. It seems like I am doing the same. It is not about who is doing what, the matter is that all of us are doing it. We have all started this path. This path is for long term development. We want to create a cradle of new talents. In the long run it’s a very strategic decision to train new talents, to create new opportunity’s for the future of the movie industry, especially for the martial arts genre. There are schools everywhere, everybody is learning something, and it’s important for the future that’s what matters.

MARTIN SANDISON: I wanted to ask you about traditional kung fu films because they seem to be dying. Your films such as Warriors Two and Prodigal Son are two of my favorite films and I wanted to ask will you make another traditional kung fu film?

Martin Sandison getting closer to his idol at the Udine Far East Film Festival.

Martin Sandison getting closer to his idol at the Udine Far East Film Festival.

SAMMO HUNG: You need to have faith, and you need to have patience, and give me time, and I will bring back the traditional kung fu movie that you like. (audience clapping, cheering)

FRED AMBROISINE: As an action choreographer you have won awards for Prodigal Son and Ip Man. There is no such award in Hollywood. I want to know if you think action films are less respected in Hollywood than Hong Kong because there are no awards for best action choreography.

SAMMO HUNG: Because they don’t have martial arts movies, so they don’t know what martial arts or what kung fu is. Only the TV show, Kung Fu. But you notice that recent Hollywood film are influenced by Hong Kong action movie elements. Like in 1999, when I was in America shooting the TV series, Martial Law, I was in my trailer, watching period movies, Chinese movies. They fight in the air y’know. Suddenly the American guy came to my trailer. He watched the Chinese actors flying, fighting. He said: “Wow!” I said: “Americans only have one Superman. In China we are all Superman!” (audience laughter)

In Chinese or Hong Kong martial arts movies, our history of making them goes way back. This does not exist in American culture. Actually, martial arts as a school is already deep rooted in Chinese people’s mentality and their culture. So, martial arts movies are deep rooted in everybody’s mind. Given time we believe Hollywood will have the same perception from the audience. So, you notice more and more fighting scenes are shown in new Hollywood Blockbusters. Just like Hong Kong before. So back a long time ago in the Hong Kong Film Awards, there was no award for action choreography, it did not start right from the beginning. So having the award is an endorsement and a recognition of the Hong Kong movie talents. It’s not like we got a prize, but it’s are endorsement for the talents that have worked all their lives in this trade. It’s a very significant award. Thank you. (audience clapping)

Sammo Hung and Arsenio Hall in "Martial Law," which aired on CBS in 1998-2000.

Sammo Hung and Arsenio Hall in "Martial Law," which aired on CBS in 1998-2000.

JOURNALIST: I would like take the opportunity to ask you a question, Mr. Sammo Hung, because we are really happy to have you here, in our town. I would like to know how do you feel here? Also, there is another thing because martial arts is very important as you said to Asian culture, and here, we have a similar thing about soccer. We have a team here and you will go tomorrow to see the game. So do you think there is any link between martial arts and soccer?

SAMMO HUNG: Actually, I like martial arts and I like soccer, too. I’ve been like a deputy captain in a team for 2 years in the South of China before it was very popular. When I was there it was popular, now it’s not! (audience laughter)

And then also, I was an investor in my own soccer team for 2 years. I didn’t want it to be a commercial for Sammo Hung. At the time everyone knew me. So I put a lot of money in to the team, and I watched them play, they got hurt. I thought: “why in Hong Kong is there no young soccer team?” I could see that they work very hard but I didn’t see many young players on the field anymore. A lot of the time, they hired players from England and other players to play in the Hong Kong team. So the question always lingered in my mind: “why don’t we train our own local soccer players?” So I spent 20 million Hong Kong dollars to invest in and finance my own team. This kind of investment, a lot of the time is a one way street. The money just goes out and you never get your investment back. I don’t need the money. I want to help the young boys. Like: “Do a good job, train hard, then maybe 2 or 3 years later you will be a star. Don’t be narrow minded. Don’t have your own little clan. When you train, train as a team.”

Yuen Biao, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hun reunite to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seven Little Fortunes.

Yuen Biao, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hun reunite to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seven Little Fortunes.

Some guys train and don’t care about the other players. This is no good. I really tried to train them with the philosophy of team spirit. The first year it was very good, almost champions. The second year we went down a bit. The third year they were asking me: “How is the planning for next year?” I said: “Very good!” Before, when I was young, I had a team and Jackie Chan had a team. We all played together. Who Lost? Go to the restaurant. (laughter)

I hate him. I really hate him. (laughter) I said to him: “We will play in the Summer, only for fun. Who will lose, will pay. Then we get together, he hires a football team! He cheated! I said: “ Why are you cheating?! What for?” (laughter) He said “Eat” (laughter). So, Jackie Chan has his own production crew and we would like to go and play a game, and the loser would foot the bill of the dinner. So for me, it was just a game. There were 12 people! A banquet! My heart felt very painful (laughter). My players were always movie workers. Jackie would bring the professional soccer players! I will remember it my whole life. (laughter)

JOURNALIST: In The Bodyguard, which aspect of the character is most challenging to play?

SAMMO HUNG: My desire was to have a love making scene in the bed! (laughter) The challenge is to get out of the bed! Actually, it’s true there are a lot of 70 year old people wake up at the same time. So, to portray an older person is more difficult. The alarm goes off at 6, they probably woke up already. But it’s still hard for them get out of bed. I really value my time spent with senior people, just like my grandfather. I was practically brought up by my grandfather. When I was shooting Wheels on Meals in Spain, someone called and told me my grandfather had passed. I sat there for some time thinking about it. It’s quite shocking when you realize someone that close to you has passed. Also, my mum just passed a few years ago. I used to go down to her room every day and say “Hi Mom!” And then one day you go to that room and they are not there anymore. So, it’s very important to while they are still alive to spend time with your seniors, your family. And I encourage every one of you to spend more time with them, every minute counts, that’s very important. (audience clapping)

Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung (with Jheri curl) and Yuen Biao in "Wheels on Meals"

Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung (with Jheri curl) and Yuen Biao in "Wheels on Meals"

JOURNALIST: The first question is about the fighting style you use in The Bodyguard. Did you use a particular style of kung fu?

SAMMO HUNG: I used some kung fu and some more realistic styles. I did some research about secret agents’ training techniques. So, the principle of The Bodyguard is he is not going around to stir up fights. The Bodyguard is supposed to protect whoever he is working for, like a leader or senior person. The Bodyguard mentality is to stay alert all the time, aware of the environment and detect danger even before it comes to you. So the main job is to control danger before it comes to you. So, the main thing is The Bodyguard is not out to attack, it’s more for protection. Control them and not kill them. So they don’t have any chance to come again.

JOURNALIST: That’s why you break the arms and the legs?

SAMMO HUNG: Yeah, yeah. Arms and legs. So it’s easy to control the other people. So one punch, the guy lies down, 30 seconds later, he comes again. Very tired! (audience laughter) So many years ago I wanted to try and make a movie like The Bodyguard, but I didn’t make it. I wanted to make it set before this one, when his profession was a bodyguard. Now I did more research before shooting. And the old guy who has already retired in the movie, someone comes to attack him, he has an automatic reaction. So many years have passed but he has a natural reaction. So I decided to shoot differently than my older movies. Not just TA! TA! (Sammo acts out punching and blocking) Just like how the attacker comes, I want to do one move, then they don’t have a chance again. So in this movie I use a lot of grabs.

Yasuaki Kurata's Sai vs. Sammo Hung's Tennis Racquets in "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars"

Yasuaki Kurata's Sai vs. Sammo Hung's Tennis Racquets in "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars"

JOURNALIST: I’ve seen most of your movies, and you have different styles from movie to movie. I would like to know, I would guess that the fight is not written in the script, but it’s something that you create on the set. I want to know how you stage a fight. And how you use the props, like in Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars you use the tennis racquets. So how do you create a fight? On the set, or before?

SAMMO HUNG: It’s already decided. I know what I want. I don’t want the fight scene to always be the same. When I fight with the Japanese guy (Yasuaki Kurata) and use the tennis racquets, I think it’s funny. We have a similar weapon in Chinese Opera on the stage. So I think the audience will be excited, they have never seen that before. Now before shooting, I need to decide everything.

JOURNALIST: Like a ballet, a dance? So you decide where to put the camera later?

SAMMO HUNG: No. When I shoot, when I decide the movement, I already have the camera angle. I have a system, I can see my movement, from this side I can see it’s good or no good. I will tell my crew my camera angle is like this, more power, more clear. So we already decide. And then at the end we shoot on the set. A long time ago, we all think about it on the set. This wastes so much time. We will take a lot of time to think. Now it’s a chance with every movie, we need 2 to 3 months to practice. The main cast, if they have time, come to train.

"The Prodigal Son" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Prodigal Son" Chinese Theatrical Poster

JOURNALIST: So it’s you who decides the camera, how to film the fight?

SAMMO HUNG: Yeah I will decide everything.

JOURNALIST: Because your style is very clear. We can see everything. It’s not like the American movie where you can’t see who received the punch, it’s very clear.

SAMMO HUNG: Well sooner or later they will catch on. They have already imported a lot of ideas from martial arts and they have studied a lot of Asian kung fu movies, so eventually all of this will be implanted in their ideas and incorporated in them in time.

JOURNALIST: Is it the fault of the editor?

SAMMO HUNG: It depends what kind of editor they’re hiring to do the job. To be able to capture the Chinese martial arts, every stroke and punch, it’s better with Chinese training. Somebody from Asia with that kind of experience will be a better editor. Very easy, I will show you (Sammo asks the journalists to grab his wrist) If you catch me – harder, harder – (Sammo breaks the hold). Very easy. In America the audience they don’t know what has happened. People, they don’t have much power in the wrist. If you just show in one shot, you don’t know what happened. So if you know the martial arts, know the action, then you will think about the way it’s shot. So two hands – (the journalists holds both of Sammo’s wrists) – very easy (Sammo breaks the hold). So it’s what you want the audience to see, and what angle you use. Before you create a fight, you have to already have the shot.

Sammo Hung, on the set of "Ip Man," demonstrating the use of the wooden dummy, a training device associated with the Wing Chun martial arts style.

Sammo Hung, on the set of "Ip Man," demonstrating the use of the wooden dummy, a training device associated with the Wing Chun martial arts style.

MARTIN SANDISON: You made two of the original Wing Chun films Warriors Two and Prodigal Son, then you made Ip Man and Ip Man 2. Could you talk about choreographing the Wing Chun style and how it changed?

SAMMO HUNG: So before, Lau Kar Leung is famous for depicting another style, Hung Kuen onscreen. So I found out that I need to come out with a new idea, something innovative. Another type of martial art that is also exciting and interesting to be depicted onscreen. And then I learnt about Wing Chun. I know that Wing Chun is a very interesting style, and has a very strong philosophy. So I picked up the story of Grandmaster Leung Tsan, so I developed the story using this protagonist. I studied Wing Chun for a long time, and also studied the philosophy, the methods and teaching behind it. I believe if I don’t learn everything inside out it won’t be right for me to be directing the film about Wing Chun. So in order to tell the correct story and depict Wing Chun onscreen, I had to learn it inside out. And then I had to draw my own conclusion – how best to show it to the audience. So it took a while, but then I began to design the shooting style.

Sammo Hung developing the round table scene in "Ip Man 2"

Sammo Hung developing the round table scene in "Ip Man 2"

So the first Wing Chun style films I made were set in the Ching Dynasty, wearing the Ching costumes, it’s a period piece. So there is a big difference between making these movies and Ip Man, because of the background. So the time changed from the Ching Dynasty to a little but more modern. So the first Ip Man, the story is set about 1940, so quite close to modern times. So you gotta create more like a modern movie. When you’re fighting you gotta let the audience believe the fight. Not only like a drama, it’s gotta be a modern film. So the audience will say: “Yes. This is a real fight.” Like Ip Man 2, when we finished the first one, the director Wilson Yip said “If we have a chance to make part 2, we fight on the table. Ok?” (laughter) So when we were shooting, I had to be thinking “What kind of table? How big is the table? What’s at the side of the table?”

So when I was creating the scene, I used the round table, the chairs at the side. Before, at the side there would be knives, in the period movie. So if someone fell, BA! They would get killed. But now in the modern times, just chairs. So I was thinking “How do we fight on the table? So we turn like that. I’ve gotta be thinking of everything. Then we keep trying. Actually it’s not dangerous! The table was not that high. One problem was the table was very slippery. So we poured the Coca-Cola. Very sticky! (audience laughter) So every movie I’ve gotta be thinking “What am I showing to the audience?”

Sammo Hung gets pinned by Bruce Lee in "Enter the Dragon"

Sammo Hung gets pinned by Bruce Lee in "Enter the Dragon"

JOURNALIST: So you’ve been in a lot of fight scenes in countless films, what do you think has been the most challenging fight scene, or the most rewarding?

SAMMO HUNG: In one film I did a stunt. It was about 60 feet high, somebody kicked me. Before we have a lot of cardboard boxes to protect me. But there were only 6 of them this time, very small! And I was standing on the mountain! (Sammo gets up to act it out; audience laughter) So the director said: “Rolling!” And I am still there, I need a few minutes. Then I said to the actor: “Kick me!” “Rolling! Action!” PA! Don’t worry I’m still there. I said to the actor: “No, no, no” (audience laughter) He kicked me three times. You gotta be controlled PA! The position, holding your body you cannot turn to fast. If you go to fast you will roll, roll too much. Holding the position AAHH! Almost get there! When I do that, I think this is a mountain on the beach, so lots of sand. So if I fall I will just bleed a little, not be seriously wounded. Maybe I won’t die (audience laughter).

JOURNALIST: Which movie was it?

SAMMO HUNG: (Sammo gives Cantonese title) The two words mean selling your life. It was back in the 60’s, when I was a stuntman and action director. So that is one of the scenes that was most memorable. The other is an ending scene, I fight the Japanese guy. The action director is Lau Kar Leung. He directed the sword fight with Andy Lau. Then the action director changed to me, because it was an open hand fight. The second shot follows me running, jumping PA! Kick the Japanese guy. I fell down, and get up, stand up. I said “Ok. I will take the third shot first”. Then we fight. The whole sequence was shot, the fight was finished. Then we started from the beginning. “Action!” TUNG! Not a good take. Not enough power. One more take PA! I kick him. He was scared and thought he would lose his balance. We did it again, I said no, because my hand was broken. Nobody believed it! I said: “Hey!” You could see my hand was broken! (audience laughter) Because I fell on my hand. The director said: “Are you kidding?” I said: “NO!” (audience laughter) I went to the hospital, and got the plaster cast on my hand. Then I went back to the set, shoot again. Because the next day I was leaving for Canada. In the shot if you see my hands, it’s a double. (audience laughter)

JOURNALIST: In the film The Bodyguard, for the action scene why do we see this movement of the camera, like the shaky-cam style?

SAMMO HUNG: I don’t think the shaky camera was a special artistic expression, at that moment someone bumped in to the cameraman! (audience laughter)

JOURNALIST: Was it shot in Manadarin?

SAMMO HUNG: No, some of the cast spoke Mandarin, I spoke Cantonese. Because in Mandarin they have lots of different accents. I can speak general Mandarin. But I don’t have an accent. I speak Cantonese because I’m from Hong Kong. So when I shoot I speak Cantonese. The Young girl speaks Cantonese, Andy Lau speaks Cantonese. The other actors are from China, they already have their accent.

Martin Sandison and Sammo Hung.

Martin Sandison and Sammo Hung.

MARTIN SANDISON: Thanks so much, your movies mean so much to me. (shaking hands with Sammo)

SAMMO HUNG: Thank you, thank you. Did you see my movie?

MARTIN SANDISON: Yes, I loved it. I will watch it again tonight. Can I get a quick picture?

SAMMO HUNG: Ok, 500 dollars. (laughter) Wow, this is a long time ago, Mao Ying huh? (as Sammo looks at my 36 Styles Angela Mao Ying T-shirt)

MARTIN SANDISON: Yeah great movies! Thank you so much!

SAMMO HUNG: Thank you!

Note: The following portion of the interview is a one-on-one conducted by Matija Makotoichi Tomic and Goran Grey:

MMT/GG: As one of key figures of Hong Kong action cinema, what’s your view on martial arts movies today and back in the good old days?

Sammo Hung accepting his award (photo courtesy of Matija Makotoichi Tomic).

Sammo Hung accepting his award (photo courtesy of Matija Makotoichi Tomic).

SH: I can rightfully say that during our time, we knew how to make martial arts movies, and those were real martial arts movies. I don’t see that same type of martial arts movies coming out of Hong Kong today.

MMT/GG: There’s an export of Hong Kong talents today, filmmakers that went to Mainland China and became actively involved in the movie industry there, working over there. So, it seems like today in Hong Kong there is a void of martial arts movies being made.

SAMMO HUNG: That’s because the Chinese market has grown so big. The box-office revenue in the country these days is so high, people are going to the theatre so much. It’s very hard to compete for Hong Kong market alone to survive. Chinese box-office revenue exceeded those of many American markets, they are so big. I’ll give you an example of the calculation: the production cost of a typical Hong Kong movie could be, say about 1.5 million, but you can only get maybe 5 million back from the box-office. So, it’s for the practical reasons, it’s not possible to make the same type of movies just for Hong KOng market alone.

Sammo Hung with Casanova Wong in "Warriors Two"

Sammo Hung with Casanova Wong in "Warriors Two"

That’s why I didn’t want to make my new movie for any market in particular, I made it to be universally acceptable by both Hong Kong market or Hong Kong audience, or the Chinese audience in Mainland China. Or outside the country, like Europe. People say: this is Mainland China, this is Hong Kong… no, I just want to make a movie. That’s entertainment you know? I hope everybody likes it. But in Hong Kong there’s a problem when we have some actor or actress coming from Mainland China. The reviews say it’s Mainland China movie and people don’t wanna watch it. Mainland China is the same. They have a lot of Chinese actors, there’s one actor from Hong Kong and they say that is a Hong Kong movie. I don’t know why. I wanted to make this movie entertaining, I want entertainment. I wanna say: “People, go to the theatre, only one hour and forty minutes, you’ll have a great time. You will enjoy!” That is my point, you know? Did you enjoy in the theatre, did you see my movie?

MMT/GG: No, not yet.

SAMMO HUNG: Ok, you will enjoy it tonight, or maybe tomorrow (laughs)

MMT/GG: Tomorrow… yes, I’m sure we will.

"Warriors Two" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Warriors Two" Chinese Theatrical Poster

SAMMO HUNG: But it seems that the segregation is initiated by the audience themselves because of the geographic division. It was not my intention to make any division, I wanted to make an entertaining movie so that everybody could enjoy. There shouldn’t be any barriers basically.

MMT/GG: Can you tell us who brought Casanova Wong in Golden Harvest?

SAMMO HUNG: That was a long time ago?

MMT/GG: Yeah, late 70’s. The South Korean kicker.

SAMMO HUNG: Yes… now he’s boss in South Korea.

MMT/GG: He stared in your movie Warriors Two.

SAMMO HUNG: Yes, actually he starred in a lot of movies. He was popular for his jump over the table, then kick. His kick is very nice, very good. He knew how to do it, but he needed somebody to decide for him. I scolded him a lot because of that, I gave him a hard time. I used to tell him: “You’re brainless!“ Why? I said to him: “You gotta be thinking. I tell you one, you go one, I tell you two, you go two. If I say one, you gotta say ten! You gotta be different!” (yelling)

MMT/GG: Speaking of Casanova, is it true that South Korean kung fu movies influenced the choreography in Hong Kong movies?

"Painted Faces" Theatrical Poster

"Painted Faces" Theatrical Poster

SAMMO HUNG: A little bit, not a lot. They did influence, but not a lot. Because I choreographed, I decided the kicks, the acts for him (Casanova). I don’t want people just to follow my orders. I want you to come up with your own individual idea and use your own brain to digest what’s been taught to you and then bring out the new. Your own creative method of doing things.

MMT/GG: In 1988, you stared in a movie called Painted Faces. It’s about your growing up and training at the Peking Opera School. How much of it is true?

SAMMO HUNG: Almost 70%. Actually, the real training was harder than what is portrayed in the movie.

MMT/GG: About a month ago, martial arts community lost another great legend, Fung Hak-On. Some of his most memorable roles were in your movies The Iron Fisted Monk and Warriors Two. What can you say about him?

The late Fung Hak On in "Ip Man 2"

The late Fung Hak On in "Ip Man 2"

SAMMO HUNG: Ah, nothing to say. We had a relationship a long time ago, then we fell apart. Of course, my heart is sad. I was overseas at the time when he passed away, I wanted to pay my respect but… He was a long time collaborator from very old days. He left Hong Kong and went to America long time ago and there he won the lottery. He won the lottery in San Diego, he was very lucky. And then, when he came back to Hong Kong, we worked together on Ip Man 2. I would tell him what to do and he would just do it. That’s ok, I taught about everything for him.

We were friends before. When we were young, we were always going out to bar, drinking, fighting on the street. It was long time ago. Of course I’m really upset, but what can I say? What can I do? Just pray to him: “Hey you on the other world! Watch us, ok? Give me luck!”

Thanks again to Martin Sandison, Matija Makotoichi Tomic, Goran Grey, Ryan Law, the great staff at the Udine Far East Film Festival, as well as all names involved – and of course, Sammo Hung himself – for making this interview happen.

Posted in Features, Interviews, News | 9 Comments

New teaser trailer for Jackie Chan’s ‘Railroad Tigers’

"Railroad Tigers" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Railroad Tigers" Chinese Theatrical Poster

If Jackie Chan’s upcoming Skiptrace isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe Railroad Tigers – his other forthcoming movie – is something you can look forward to.

Railroad Tigers will be hitting theaters in December 2016. The period actioner reunites the legend with director Ding Sheng (Little Big Soldier, Police Story 2013) for a 3rd time. The film also stars Xu Fan (A World Without Thieves), Edison Huang (Gentle Bullet) and Koji (Color War).

According to THR, Railroad Tigers is set in wartime China in 1941 and features Chan as a railroad worker who leads a team of freedom fighters who use their knowledge of the train network to disrupt Japan’s wartime engine and steal food for the starving Chinese population.

Updates: Watch the new teaser trailer for Railroad Tigers, courtesy of AFS.

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Deal on Fire! The James Bond Collection | Blu-ray | Only $68 – Expires soon!

"James Bond Collection" Blu-ray Cover

"James Bond Collection" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is Blu-ray set for MGM’s The Bond Collection.

This edition includes every official James Bond film made from 1962-2012 (from Dr. No to Skyfall), plus a load of extras features for each and every title. There’s even a space reserved for Spectre, which was recently released on Blu-ray.

At $68, each movie comes to about $2.95 a disc – to put it quite simply, this deal is a license to steal!

Order James Bond Collection Blu-ray set today!

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Wailing, The (2016) Review

"The Wailing" Theatrical Poster

"The Wailing" Theatrical Poster

Director: Na Hong-jin
Writer: Na Hong-jin
Cast: Kwak Do-Won, Hwang Jeong-Min, Jun Kunimura, Chun Woo-Hee, Kim Hwan-Hee, Jang So-Yeon, Heo Jin, Jo Han-Chul, Son Kang-Kuk, Kim Do-Yoon, Kim Ki-Cheon
Running Time: 115 min.

By Jeff Bona

Na Hong-jin, the fierce South Korean filmmaker behind Chaser (2008) and The Yellow Sea (2010), is once again unleashing hell with The Wailing – and let me tell you brothers and sisters – I’ve never been happier seeing a director’s return since Kim Jee-woon made sadistic violence look so alluring in I Saw the Devil (2010).

While every Asian film fanatic was waiting anxiously for Donnie Yen to fight Mike Tyson in Ip Man 3, I was fantasizing about the release of Na’s next relentless project – his first in 6 long years – and thanks to the gang at Well Go USA, my dreams have officially come true. With Chaser and The Yellow Sea being two of the damnedest crime flicks I’ve ever seen, I’m here to answer the simple question: Is The Wailing another bullseye for Na? Read on.

When a series of unexplainable, gruesome murders take place in a rural village, an incompetent cop (Kwak Do-Won) starts a chaotic investigation. Things get seriously personal when his young daughter (Kim Hwan-Hee) is directly affected by this deadly phenomenon. The only suspect is a Japanese hermit (Jun Kunimura) who recently relocated from Japan at the very same time slaughters began to happen; and the only clue is a poisonous mushroom which turns up at every crime scene. Are these murders committed by a human being or sparked by a mysterious force of nature?

While watching The Wailing, I couldn’t help but feel the influence of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973), Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) and Alan Parker’s Angel Heart (1987). And to really throw you off, I also felt shades of Scooby-Doo, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Hideo Nakata’s The Ring (1998). But let’s get one thing straight: The Wailing has its own thing going on, so don’t expect spinning heads, a deranged axe-welding lunatic, killer VHS tapes, Lisa Bonet’s hairy armpits or some kind of zombie apocalypse (and the “monster” doesn’t reveal itself as a high school janitor in a man-made costume).

I’ve only seen The Wailing once, but something tells me, no matter how many times it’s viewed, it’s one of those paradoxial movies where questions will always remain, leaving everyone with their own, unique theory. Of course, all of this is intentional. Clues and visuals are subtly placed to misguide the audience, but not in a cheap M. Night Shyamalan sorta way. By the end of the film, I didn’t feel like I was deceived, cheated or part of a stupid trick; once the end-credits rolled, I froze with a look of wonderment on my face. I was calmly thinking to myself “What the hell?”. At that very moment, I realized the movie did its job.

Even the The Wailing’s title is a double entendre: The original Korean title is Goksung (in English, it translates to Wailing, as in “give a cry of pain, grief, or anger”), and it also is the name of the location where the movie was filmed. In other words, Na has viewers by the balls, and he’s loving every minute of it. And so was I.

Mysteria aside, The Wailing delivers the goods. Na’s trademark grit is here. The violence is down and dirty; the presence of blood is all-you-can-eat; and once again, Na shoves intensity, uneasiness and evil down our throats. The entire cast, led by Kwak Do-Won, push themselves to the limit, surrendering to Na’s high standards.

Although The Wailing isn’t technically an action film, there’s certainly a revenge element that’ll undoubtedly satisfy fans of Chaser and The Yellow Sea. Humor also plays a noticeable part, but don’t get too comfortable with it, because things get disturbingly dark. And talk about a hard-hitting soundtrack that empowers the visuals to sheer perfection.

The Wailing is a third reminder to us all that Na Hong-jin is one of the greatest filmmakers alive. James Wan, take note: This is how you make a thriller.

Jeff Bona’s Rating: 8/10

Posted in All, Korean, News, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Wong Kar-Wai hits the small screen in a big way

"The Grandmaster" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Grandmaster" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Renowned filmmaker, Wong Kar-Wai (The Grandmaster), is set to begin production on a big budget, two season series for the Huanxi Media Group. The untitled series is being produced primarily for digital streaming services.

According to THR, Huanxi has agreed to spend $3.10 million-$3.85 million (20 million-25 million RMB) per episode, a lavish production budget by Chinese internet drama standards. The show will have two seasons — one with 12 episodes, the other with six — with the first season expected to complete production in 2017.

Casting and plot details should be available soon. The question is: Where will the series make its North American run: Netflix or Amazon? We’ll keep you updated!

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Master, The | aka The Final Master (2015) Review

"The Final Master" Theatrical Poster

"The Final Master" Theatrical Poster

Director: Xu Haofeng
Writer: Xu Haofeng
Cast: Fan Liao, Xiao Song Jia, Jiang Wenli, Huang Jue, Jin Shijie, Zhang Aoyue, Song Yang, Dong Xiaosong, Madina Memet, Leon Dai, Chen Kuan-tai, Xiong Xin-Xin
Running Time: 109 min.

By Martin Sandison

Now that the old guard of Hong Kong martial arts stars are getting on in age, the eyes of the kung fu movie-loving public have turned to Mainland China. With big money behind productions, some new talent – as well as a different approach to action choreography – right now may be the time for Mainland films to flourish.

This brings us to Xu Haofeng’s The Master (aka The Final Master), a film that I heard a lot about before finally seeing it at The Far East Film Festival.

The story, while a little contrived from the outset, is classic old school stuff. It concerns Chen (Fan Liao), a master of Wing Chun from the South who arrives in Tianjin in the early 20th century to set up a school. The beginning of the film is simple: Chen must defeat eight masters from different schools to be able to set up his own academy; but as the film progresses, the story becomes more interesting and complex. Chen gets involved with a beautiful waitress Zhao (Jia Song) and takes on a student Gen (Yang Song), while the various masters collude to bring Chen down.

The approach to The Master’s aesthetic is what marks The Master as something unique; it takes an existing kung fu movie, tropes and twists it into something almost surreal and extra diverting. Characters are not chivalrous, heroic or evil; they merely have their own motivations and interact accordingly.

The look of the The Master are reminiscent of Shaw Brothers 80’s flicks, especially with coloring and set design. The budget of the film shows in its crane shots, elaborate camerawork, period detail and high-standard costume design. With this base, director/writer Xu Haofeng creates a dark and thematically heavy film that does not celebrate, but rather berates the Martial World, which is usually lauded in most kung fu films. This is put forth with intelligence rather than extremity; there is not much blood or killing in the film, rather a dependence on martial arts technique and an unusual way of depicting fight scenes.

Together with its weight of intellect and spiritual undercurrents, The Master conveys a fresh feeling that permeates each frame of the film. I have the utmost respect for Xu Haofeng’s vision. As his third film as director, The Master is his biggest in scope (his last film, The Sword Identity, made waves with its new approach to the wuxia genre).

The Master’s cast are all established actors, with the lead Fan Liao having previously had stand out roles in Let the Bullets Fly and Black Coal, Thin Ice. Main actress Jia Song recently appeared in Sammo Hung’s The Bodyguard. Every talent in the film quits themselves well, which is evident in the wiggle room given for character development, as well as humorous moments.

However, where the film falters for me is during the fight sequences. There are many action scenes in The Master featuring open hand and weapons fighting. The filmmaker’s vision was to have a more realistic style than most viewers are used to. The way the combat is shot and staged is at a high level: good framing, editing and execution. There’s no doubt that the choreographers – and editors – must be applauded for this (their approach definitely bodes well for future productions). The problem for me is that I was never that excited by the action. In some of the best examples of Hong Kong martial arts movies, there is an intricacy to all aspects of filmmaking that make me completely immersed in that universe. They create a kind of awestruck consciousness that I can’t find with much else in life. Unfortunately, The Master, by virtue of its realistic approach, does not tap into this for me. It’s such a shame because everything else about the film is top notch.

One interesting aspect of the action is that it’s at times humorous, in a very surreal way. Such as at the end where Chen takes on an alleyway full of old masters, with each given a sprain, break and/or scuttling off after amusing reaction shots.

Fans will love the cameo appearance by none other than the Shaw Brothers legend Chen Kuan Tai (Shanghai 13, Killer Constable) in one of the last fights of the film (where he wields a massive sword).

Near the end of the film, the masters are about to sit down and watch The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple, considered by many to be the film that began audiences love of the martial arts genre. An ambitious reference to make, The Master pulls it off despite some shortcomings.

Martin Sandison’s Rating: 7/10

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Steven Seagal to direct the Kurosawa-esque ‘Attrition’

"On Deadly Ground" Theatrical Poster

"On Deadly Ground" Theatrical Poster

Steven Seagal (Above the Law) will direct and star in Attrition, a Kurosawa-esque project that Seagal wrote years ago. In addition, Seagal will also produce. If all goes as planned, the movie will be his first directorial project since 1994’s On Deadly Ground, 22 years ago.

Attrition will be shot completely in Thailand through Wych “Kaos” Kaosayananda’s production company, Kaos Entertainment. Kaosayananda (Zero ToleranceTekken 2, Once Upon A Time in Vietnam) himself, will be serving as both producer and cinematographer for the film.

Seagal will play Axe, a warrior who’s in search of a missing Thai girl who possesses mythical powers. “I’ve written something called Attrition, which kind of reminds me of a [Akira] Kurosawa movie. I’m hoping to make that soon, maybe in China, maybe in Hong Kong, maybe in Thailand. We’ve got a lot of great offers out there. We’re going to be getting real busy this year,” Seagal told JoBlo last year.

Other Seagal films “in the works” include Contract to KillEnd of a GunCypher, Four Towers and Under Siege 3. Seagal can be seen next in one of the following, forthcoming titles: The Asian ConnectionKilling Salazar, Perfect Weapon and Code of Honor.

Look out for Attrition in 2017. Stay tuned for updates!

Updates: Watch a new interview with Seagal, where he talks about his newly founded film production company in Thailand, his thoughts on Netflix and a lot more. Definitely one of the best, and surprisingly humble, Seagal interviews in recent times.

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Techno Warriors | aka Computer Hero (1997) Review

"Techno Warriors" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Techno Warriors" Korean Theatrical Poster

AKA: The Cyber Warrior
Director: Philip Ko Fei
Writer: Philip Ko Fei, Al Marcelo
Producer: Chui Ching Yat
Cast: Philip Ko Fei, Tamara Guo, Darren Shahlavi, Winston Ellis, Monsour del Rosario, James Ha Chim Si, Thorsten Nickel, Alan Chan Yiu Lun, Niño Muhlach
Running Time: 85 min.

By Paul Bramhall

The career of Philip Ko Fei is an interesting one to say the least, and one which has made me an unabashed fan of his work. If you were to ask me why, like many others, I’d probably lean on the fact that he rightfully became known as the King of Shapes. The use of the word ‘shapes’, in the context of kung fu cinema, relates to the highly intricate choreography style that reached its peak in the early 80’s. From witnessing Ko Fei’s performance in the likes of The Loot, Tiger Over Wall, and Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, his ability to perform such a complex number of moves in a single take, with speed, was mesmerising to watch.

However this was only one side of his talents. Outside of stealing the show in various kung-fu classics, Ko Fei featured in some wonderfully left of field productions. From a raw egg drinking bald assassin in Leung Kar Yan’s Profile in Anger, to a revenge seeking brother-cum-Buddhist monk in the completely out there The Boxer’s Omen. By the time Ko Fei retired from the film industry in the early 2000’s, some of the last productions in his filmography consist of self-directed titles such as Royal Sperm, Love & Sex in Sung Dynasty, and Burning with Desire. Chances are that if Eight Diagram Pole Fighter was made at the tail end of his career, it wouldn’t have been referring to a style of kung fu.

The 1990’s were definitely some of the most interesting years for Ko Fei. At the beginning of the decade he packed his bags and headed for the Philippines, were he began directing a number of decidedly low budget, but highly energetic, action movies. They often starred Yukari Oshima, with whom he was rumoured to have been in a relationship with at the time, and came to be defined by the B-grade production values, OTT wirework, and cheap and cheerful pyrotechnics. Some of these movies also seemed to reflect a sci-fi influence, as titles like Ultracop 2000 indicate, and Techno Warriors was another production which aims for a more fantastical angle.

Explaining the plot of Techno Warriors could easily be described as headache inducing, but I’ll attempt to anyway, as much to give myself disclosure on the whole thing as it is for this review. It’s the year 2020, and people have become so sufficient on their computers that they never need to leave their homes. One such person is an overweight unemployed fellow played by Niño Muhlach (more recently seen in the breakthrough Filipino crime thriller On the Job), who wears t-shirts which look two sizes too big for him, and speaks in an annoyingly winey American dubbed accent. Muhlach loves nothing more than playing on a computer game called Techno Warriors all day (which involves him wearing what looks like a virtual reality version of a gimp mask), and his dream is to one day get so good at it, that he’ll be skilled enough to rule over the Cyber World. Yes, there’s an alternate universe called the Cyber World.

In the real world anyone who can’t use a computer usually ends up in a criminal gang, and it’s up to crime unit members Tamara Guo (most recognisable as one of the two Women on the Run) and local Filipino actor Monsour Del Rosario (who’s character, it’s explained, has recently transferred from the Inter-Planetary Immigration Service), to keep the streets clean. The Black Ninja (played by a permanently masked Ko Fei), who rules over Cyber World, has cottoned on to the fact that this Filipino layabout could be a threat, so he sends various assassins (who all happen to be characters in the game also) into the real world to kidnap and make him their slave. Thankfully, cyber-police Darren Shahlavi, Simon Yeung, and Karin Perathoner (who are also characters in the game) plan to foil the kidnap attempt, so also make the leap into the real world in an attempt to stop the Black Ninja. Once in the real world, they team up with Guo and Rosario, which sees the best of the cyber world police and the best of the real world police join forces to take on the bad guys.

If you feel baffled, you’ll be even more confused once you actually watch it. There’s a reason why I mention all the principle players from Cyber World also being characters in the game. There are a few scenes which involve Muhlach playing the game, which follow him from selecting the characters to the fight itself. Except the in-game fight is played out by the actual actors, so we get to see Darren Shahlavi (whose character is called Twister, exactly as it is in Ip Man 2) let loose in what amounts to a couple of nice one-on-one exchanges against other opponents. The secret is to remember that this is Shahlavi the Techno Warriors game character, not Shahlavi the cyber cop, who’s busy trying to save Muhlach due to his mastery of playing him in the game. Lost? So was I.

As entertaining as these specific fights are though, unfortunately they’re completely ruined by Muhlach’s commentary which plays over them. We also have to suffer cut away shots of him attempting to perform the moves in his living room, adorned in his virtual reality gimp mask, which convert over to the characters in the game (thankfully much more convincingly than he does them). There’s nothing quite as frustrating as watching an intense HK style fight, while some guy enthusiastically yells over everything such clangers as, “Looking good! Looking cool!” and “Oh yeah, suck it up!” A high tolerance threshold comes thoroughly recommended, or the mute button.

Thankfully these scenes only make up a small portion of the action, which is plentiful, and Shahlavi remains front and center for many of them.  Techno Warriors is about as close as the British powerhouse would get to a leading role in a Hong Kong movie, all be it one shot in the Philippines, and he sells his fights with aplomb. Even more so than in Bloodmoon, made the same year, he unleashes a formidable array of kicks whenever he springs into action, as do the rest of the fighting cast. Taekwondo seems to be the martial art of choice for most of the fight scenes, so for those who like their boot work, Techno Warriors should definitely deliver some entertaining moments.

However I should warn that the action comes with a caveat that may turn some viewers off. It seems that Ko Fei was attempting to stick so closely to creating a live action computer fight game, that almost every kick, punch, or thrust of the sword is accompanied by some kind of animated projectile being attached to them. While for some this may be an annoyance, in the context of the plot I found it to add to the productions already goofy charm. The fact that the projectiles are also adequately paired with practical explosions (of varying sizes) actually made the effect quite fun, as one thrust of the sword would throw off 10 laser beams blasting off the walls and ground. I’d say one of the biggest reasons why the decision works, is that the effects are there as well as the choreography, rather than getting in the way of the latter. So it’s still possible to enjoy the fisticuffs, while watching laser beams and things explode all around the opponents going at it.

Perhaps more than any other movie I’ve seen which hopes in some way to capture the essence of a fight based video game, Techno Warriors does the job, for better or worse. The irony of course being, that it’s not directly based on any game. Characters wear face masks, capes, bright colored leggings, carry around over-sized weapons, and best of all it’s all done completely poker faced. The influence of Street Fighter 2 and Moral Kombat is blatant, with an M Bison clone being the stand out, and while it is completely derivative, it’s also a lot of fun seeing such characters on the screen, with almost zero adjustment from what you’d imagine them to look like in a game. Indeed the opening 8 minutes of the movie is basically a video game intro, as each character gets his own onscreen profile detailing their vital stats. Shahlavi is a ‘Supercop of the Game World’, Perathoner is ‘Pretty, Cool, & Precise’, and Ko Fei’s Black Ninja biography reads ‘Dangerous, Tricky, & Ulmost Cruelty’.

Ko Fei at least must have been happy with the end product of Techno Warriors, as he’d go onto recycle scenes from it in his movie Digital Warriors, made just 2 years later. Mercifully, the footage doesn’t include a late in the game (excuse the pun) appearance by some laser firing spaceships, which look like they’ve come straight out of a primitive flash video program (they probably were). But really, what other kung fu movie has opponents duking it out while fighting off spaceships? Reasons like this make me torn, as Techno Warriors looks and feels like it should be immediately written off as an embarrassing disaster. However the frantic pacing, colorful characters, boot work, and even the laser beams all somehow add up to a goofily entertaining 90 minutes. For fans of the late Darren Shahlavi, fight based video game adoptions, and Ko Fei’s Filipino action output, Techno Warriors is definitely worth a look. Would I recommend it to anyone else? Maybe, but doing so could be considered a move of ulmost cruelty.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 6/10

Posted in All, Chinese, Filipino, News, Reviews | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Steven Seagal goes sci-fi in a new trailer for ‘Perfect Weapon’

"Perfect Weapon" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Perfect Weapon" Japanese Theatrical Poster

A Steven Seagal actioner titled The Perfect Weapon will be released later this year. Despite its name, this upcoming movie has no connection with 1991’s The Perfect Weapon, which starred Jeff Speakman.

The Perfect Weapon hints an influence from both Universal Soldier and Hitman: Agent 47. Even though the words “Steven Seagal” headline the film’s marketing materials, the Above the Law star appears to have more of a co-starring role – as the film’s villain – second to Johnny Messner (Kill ‘Em All).

Perfect Weapon is directed by Titus Paar (The Refugees) and produced by Andre Relis (War Pigs) and Rafael Primorac (Wesley Snipes’ Game of Death).

The film also stars Sasha Jackson (Jarhead 3), Richard Tyson (Simon Says), Vernon Wells (Commando), Kimberly Battista (Hot Summer Nights) and Lance E. Nichols (13 Sins).

Official Plot: In a not too distant future, a totalitarian state run by ‘The Director” (Seagal) controls all aspects of life. All enemies of the state are dealt in the harshest way. Most of them are executed by the secret government’s assassins. The best operative is code-named “Condor” (Messner) – an elite agent and hit man for the government. However, in his latest assignment, “Condor” fails to kill an opposition leader, and finds himself on the run from the very same government agency that he works for. This sets in motion a chain of events with unforseen consequences for all involved. But “Condor” just might survive the hunt because he is… The Perfect Weapon.

Perfect Weapon is just one project in a list of upcoming titles with Seagal’s name attached. Others include Contract to KillCode of Honor, Under Siege 3, CypherThe Asian ConnectionEnd of a Gun, Killing Salazar, Four Towers, China Salesman., as well as Seagal’s next directorial feature, Attrition.

A release date for Perfect Weapon is still pending. Stay tuned.

Updates: Watch the film’s newest trailer!

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Young Rebels: Special Edition | DVD (Cinema Epoch)

Young Rebels: Special Edition | DVD (Cinema Epoch)

Young Rebels: Special Edition | DVD (Cinema Epoch)

RELEASE DATE: September 20, 2016

Cinema Epoch presents the DVD for 1992’s Young Rebels: Special Edition, directed by Amir Shervan (Samurai Cop).

Young Rebels follows an enforcer named Jon Greene (Maniac Cop), who plays a one-man army up against an evil drug cartel organization.

Young Rebels also stars Tadashi Yamashita (American Ninja), Robert Z’Dar (Maniac Cop 2), Aldo Ray (The Green Berets), Christine Lunde (Open Fire), Dale Cummings (Samurai Cop) and Delia Sheppard (Sins of Desire).

Pre-order Young Rebels from Amazon.com today!

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

Five Memorable James Bond Scenes

"License to Kill" Theatrical Poster

"License to Kill" Theatrical Poster

If the rumours are true, Daniel Craig may already be planning the end to his days as James Bond. The fervour around who will take over him as the British secret agent though shows just how much the man with the license to kill is still loved. With the recent rise of online casino and more and more people look to play bingo, we thought we would put together a list of some of his best moments:

License to Kill

Timothy Dalton may not be the best loved Bond, but he gave the character an edge that was close to how he was represented in the books. License to Kill saw Bond in some of his darkest moments when he was out for revenge.

In one of the films more iconic scenes we saw Bond go up against Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) in a game of blackjack that was designed to get the aggressors attention. Winning a victory that gave him a £250,000 win, it not only helped him achieve his goal but caught the admiration of many an online blackjack player who could only dream to achieve such a winning.

Casino Royale

In Casino Royal we saw Daniel Craig as James Bond, again taking part in a card game but this time with a somewhat different outcome. This time taking on the evil Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen before his Hannibal days) Bond finds himself poisoned in a bid to take him out of the high stakes game of poker. The unforgettable scenes of Bond fighting to expel the poison from his system and fighting to get to his car to use an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) was a moment of weakness we don’t usually see from the normally unstoppable killer.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

While historically On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is memorable for George Lazenby’s strange decision to play the part only once, the film is also the greatest moment of weakness for James Bond himself. Having found love with the Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) we see him truly happy. In the film’s closing moments though we see this ripped from his hands as she is assassinated. This is a turning point for the secret agent as from this point forth we see a more brutal killer whose heart has a stonier edge.

Goldfinger

Goldfinger was the second outing for the character, and the film which truly showed that Sean Connery deserved the mantle of the best Bond, though some may not agree. The most iconic scene from this movie is also one of the most memorable from all the films as we see Bond strapped down to a table with a laser slowly cutting its way towards the secret agent. With Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) walking away, Bond asks if he expects him to talk, with Goldfinger’s reaction simply being “No, Mr Bond. I expect you to die!”.

Dr. No

The greatest moment of any James Bond has to be his first introduction. The character needed to be set up for the audience to be suave and enigmatic, and most importantly handsome. Under Terence Young’s direction, Connery played the scene perfectly, delivering the iconic words “Bond, James Bond” as an introduction to one of the most successful characters in British film history.

I’m sure you have your own choices of for iconic James Bond scenes, but I’m sure you’ll agree these are some of the best. One thing we know for sure is, Daniel Craig may be leaving the role, but there is still life in the old secret agent yet.

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Louis Koo and Max Zhang are getting a ‘Dragon Tattoo’

"The Man with the Dragon Tattoo" Teaser Poster

"The Man with the Dragon Tattoo" Teaser Poster

Max Zhang – the rising star of The Grandmaster and Ip Man 3 – will once again appear alongside his SPL II co-star, Louis Koo (Wild City), in The Man with the Dragon Tattoo, an upcoming action thriller to be directed by Fruit Chan (Made in Hong Kong).

Plot details are thin, but we can almost guarantee – despite its title – the film will have nothing to do with Stieg Larsson’s best selling series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.

Zhang has many other projects in the works, including The Brink, S.P.L 3: War Needs Lord, as well as an unofficial Ip Man 3 spin-off. As for Koo, well, the guy has a new film every week.

Thanks to AFS, the film’s teaser poster has emerged. Stay tuned for more details!

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Deal on Fire! Ip Man Trilogy: Collector’s Steelbook | Blu-ray | Only $24.99 – Expires soon!

Ip Man Trilogy: Collector's Steelbook | Blu-ray (Well Go USA)

Ip Man Trilogy: Collector's Steelbook | Blu-ray (Well Go USA)

Today’s Deal on Fire is for the Ip Man Trilogy: Collector’s Steelbook. One Great Man. One Inspiring Story. And now, one quintessential collection: The Ip Man Trilogy.

The Ip Man Trilogy contains the following films:

Ip Man (2008)

Set in Foshan, China during the Sino-Japanese War, an infamous Japanese occupation has brutally dismantled the once-great city. Proud men have been laid low, reduced to fighting their neighbors to the death for a precious bag of rice. Defined by courage and devoted to peace, one man stands for his people: Grandmaster Ip Man (Donnie Yen), whose matchless fighting skills are revered all over China. He refuses to teach Wing Chun, his cherished martial arts style, to the invading Japanese soldiers, and is forced to fight for the honor of his country in a series of battles that culminate in a kill-or-be-killed showdown with General Miura (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), Japan’s greatest fighter.

Ip Man 2 (2010)

International superstar Donnie Yen reprises his role as real-life kung fu Grandmaster Ip Man, now a newly-arrived citizen in British-occupied Hong Kong. Master Ip wishes to open a Wing Chun academy to teach his unique style to a generation of new students, but is blocked by a corrupt group of martial arts masters led by Master Hung (Sammo Hung). They refuse to allow him to teach in peace until he proves himself as a kung fu master. His trouble continues when he s forced to enter a savage King of the Ring boxing match against Twister (Darren Shahlavi), a Western-style boxer who insults the Chinese locals, in a East-versus-West fight to the finish.

Ip Man 3 (2015)

Igniting the screen in the role that made him an icon, Donnie returns to the blockbuster martial arts series as Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster who mentored countless students, including several martial arts masters and action star Bruce Lee. When a ruthless real estate developer (Mike Tyson) and his team of brutal gangsters make a play to take over the city, Master Ip is forced to take a stand against the crooks, thugs, gunmen, and another rival Wing Chun master (Jin Zhang) to protect his students, his city, and his own family. Fists will fly as some of the most incredible fight scenes ever filmed, choreographed by the legendary Yuen Woo Ping, come to life in this genre classic.

Order The Ip Man Trilogy from Amazon.com today!

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