Diamond Cartel (2017) Review

"Diamond Cartel" Theatrical Poster

“Diamond Cartel” Theatrical Poster

AKA: The Whole World at Our Feet
Director: Salamat Mukhammed-Ali
Cast: Karlygash Mukhamedzhanova, Armand Assante, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, Bolo Yeung, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, Peter O’Toole, Michael Madsen, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, Aleksey Frandetti, Nurlan Altaev, Serik Bimurzin
Running Time: 100 min.

By Paul Bramhall

As a candidate for the cinematic oddity of 2017, Diamond Cartel is certainly a strong contender for the prize. The Kazakhstan production was originally titled The Whole World at Our Feet, with filming and editing spread across 3 years from 2011 – 2013, and a domestic release eventually finding its way onto local screens in 2015. Skip forward another 2 years, and it was picked up for US distribution by Cleopatra Entertainment, before being re-cut and re-dubbed into English (from Russian) to create Diamond Cartel. This isn’t the first time such a practice has taken place in recent years, with Thai director Wych Kaosayananda’s 2012 crime drama Angels being re-cut (and even having new scenes filmed) to create the 2015 action flick Zero Tolerance. In both instances the original version of the movies is all but impossible to come across, with only the new edits available to pass judgement.

The question is of course why would a movie from Kazakhstan, a nation engraved into people’s memories due to its unfortunate but hilarious portrayal through comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s character Borat, be of any interest to an action movie fan? The answer is a perplexing one, but one that’s as equally entertaining as it is bewildering. For reasons that remain unknown to this reviewer (believe me, I did my research), first time director Salamat Mukhammed-Ali managed to bring on-board a veritable smorgasbord of internationally known names to feature in his movie. The screen time of each varies considerably, from substantial roles (Armand Assante and Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa), to a couple of minutes (Bolo, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, and Peter O’Toole), to mere seconds (Michael Madsen and Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister).

How did Mukhammed-Ali, a guy who’s done everything from being the lead singer of one of Kazakhstan’s most successful rock bands, to being personally head hunted by the countries President to direct his outreach commercials, manage to get these stars onscreen together!? There’s clearly something in the Kazakhstan air, as Mukhammed-Ali’s fellow countryman Erken Ialgashev brought together a similarly ridiculous cast for 2016’s Beyond the Game (which at the time of writing, has yet to have an official release), many of whom also turn up in Diamond Cartel. However none of these actors are the star of the show (despite what the posters would have you believe), instead the main character is played by actress Karlygash Mukhamedzhanova. Clearly dubbed, there’s no doubt she brings a visual appeal to proceedings, and was probably the reason why Vinnie Jones can also be found in a Kazakhstan production, when they appeared in 2011’s The Liquidator together.

Mukhamedzhanova is the focal point, and narrator, of Diamond Cartel’s rather muddled and often incoherent plot, which vaguely resembles a kind of love triangle version of Kill Bill. The main problem is that there are actually 2 main plots vying for attention, when what would have made the most sense is for one to be a sub-plot of the other. Firstly, Mukhamedzhanova takes a job at a casino run by gangster Armand Assante (who spends the whole film in a suit jacket minus a shirt underneath), and as she catches his eye, he tricks her into being indebted to him, training her to be one of his black leather wearing female assassins (think Naked Weapon). However she only wants to be with her one true love, a pure of heart but penniless handsome young man played by Aleksey Frandetti.

This setup results in an abundance of unintentionally hilarious dialogue, which manages to be as equally cheesy as it is stilted. Mukhamedzhanova and Frandetti were childhood sweethearts, however Frandetti has always had to compete against the richer and more powerful love rival, played by Nurlan Altaev, who by pure chance, is now Assante’s main henchman. As the training to be an unthinking assassin sees her disappear off the map for a number of years, it’s only when she comes across Frandetti by chance that she seizes the opportunity to get her life back. The pair go on the run (after she explains how she’s been murdering people during the time that she disappeared), chased by Assante (who wants his assassin back) and Altaev (who still wants her to only love him). Confused? You should be. Oh, and I mentioned there’s a 2nd main plot as well. So Assante is trying to get his hands on a huge diamond, which the loved up pair inadvertently end up in possession of.

To spend any more time on the plot would be a fruitless exercise, as on-screen it plays out as a dizzying mess. Extended flashbacks, bizarre double-crosses, characters that come & go with no rhyme or reason, completely misguided melodrama, and hyper-violent action scenes all get thrown at the viewer with merciless abandon. Songs used as a soundtrack start in the middle of scenes in which they make no sense, the voice performer dubbing Mukhamedzhanova provides a narration that’s reminiscent in both style and tone of Sarah Connor’s in Terminator 2, and at one point, Bolo says “Yeah.” However, somehow it all remains entertainingly watchable, although let’s be perfectly clear, it’s for all the wrong reasons.

Michael Madsen, playing a character called Mr. Mike, appears for a few seconds then gets shot in the face. During one action sequence a guy is set on fire, and the camera keeps cutting back to him running around in flames and screaming, but he’s so energetic it’s hilarious instead of horrific. Armand Assante has a quartet of blind folded violinists who play in a stable while he’s interrogating those who he thinks double crossed him. Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa sits at a table which has a chained man in a cage next to it, who is never explained let alone utilised, he’s just part of the furniture. A character even comes back from the dead that rivals Nick Cheung’s so-called death scene in The White Storm, and that takes some topping. Some of the native English speakers are also dubbed, most glaringly Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, his new voice providing him with the performance of his career. Everyone else seems to have been dubbed by the guy that used to narrate trailers in the 80’s and 90’s, meaning every time someone says something, no matter how trivial it is, it sounds epic.

Assante and Hiroyuki-Tagawa seem to have been spared the dubbing treatment, however their performances alone provide enough entertainment. Assante in particular, in one scene during which he realises he’s been tricked, goes for the over-acting performance of the year, as he flips out in a way that makes Nicolas Cage at his most manic look like he’s on Valium. Hiroyuki-Tagawa deserves points simply for going to the effort of speaking in a Russian accent, an effort that must have been appreciated enough to be maintained. Then we have the elephant in the room – Peter O’Toole. Yes, the same Peter O’Toole from Lawrence of Arabia, here clocks in his final performance before his death. O’Toole’s appearance is almost as baffling as when Charlton Heston showed up in Jean Claude Van Damme’s 2001 DTV movie The Order. As a boatman that plans to help the couple escape the country, he appears onscreen for less than 2 minutes, mumbles some incomprehensible lines, and is gone. An interesting end to an acting career spanning 60 years.

Matching the craziness of the rest of the movie is a couple of equally crazy action scenes, both of which involve heavy duty machine gun fire and the bodily damage it entails. The violence is completely over the top, with knives lodged in mouths and through the back of heads, torsos ripped apart by mini-guns, shovels impaled in chests, and fingers shot off of the hands they belong to. Even Bolo gets a brief, poorly edited fight scene, which bizarrely keeps cutting away to a random kitten wandering around aimlessly. It was only while I was researching for this review that I read the kitten was Bolo’s idea, as he wanted the fight to be a homage to the Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris confrontation in Way of the Dragon, in which a cat also watches the fight. Let’s just say that here it didn’t work, and leave it at that.

While Diamond Cartel’s intentions are clear – it wants to be an epic tale of how true love conquers all (a message which its original title more fittingly conveys, as it’s a meaningful line actually spoken in the movie) – its delivery is so over-enthusiastic and incohesive that it’s impossible to take seriously. However, I also find it impossible to be too harsh on the production, just because its full-steam ahead approach and unapologetic over-the-top nature does result in a bizarre form of entertainment. While audience’s mileage will vary, taken as a kind of modern day incarnation of Samurai Cop or Miami Connection, there is a lot of fun to be had with Diamond Cartel. But if you’re expecting to find the answer as to why Mukhammed-Ali was personally head hunted to be a director for the President of Kazakhstan, then the answers are probably best found elsewhere.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 6/10

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Headshot | DVD (Lionsgate)

Headshot | DVD (Lionsgate)

Headshot | DVD (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: June 13, 2017

On June 13, 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment will be releasing the DVD for Headshot (read our review), an Indonesian martial arts thriller directed by The Mo Brothers (Killers, Macabre).

A mysterious man (Iko Uwais) left for dead with a gunshot wound to the head jolts awake after months in a coma. Realizing that the man has lost his memory, Ailin (Chelsea Elizabeth Islan), a nurse, renames him Ishmael. The two grow close, but their peace is short-lived when Ailin is violently taken by ruthless criminals. Determined to save the woman who rescued him, Ishmael has no choice but to save Ailin.

Headshot also stars Julie Estelle (“Hammer Girl” from Raid 2), Sunny Pang (The Collector), Very Tri Yulisman (“Baseball Bat Man” from Raid 2) David Hendrawan, Epy Kusnandar and Zack Lee.

Pre-order Headshot from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Asian Titles, DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles, News | Tagged | 23 Comments

Three (2016) Review

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

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

Director: Johnnie To
Producer: Johnnie To
Cast: Louis Koo, Wallace Chung, Vicky Zhao Wei, Lam Suet, Lo Hoi-Pang, Timmy Hung, Michael Tse, Eddie Cheung, Mimi Kung, Raymond Wong Ho-Yin, Jonathan Wong, Stephen Au, Mickey Chu, Hedi He
Running Time: 89 min.

By Kyle Warner

After a couple years spent making comedies, director Johnnie To returns to the gritty crime genre with the cops vs. robbers vs. doctors thriller Three. Like all of To’s finest films, Three is positively dripping with style. Near the start is a P.O.V. shot from inside a brain as a scalpel digs in and the film builds to a final act slow-motion shootout that should make any Matrix fan lose their sh*t. And in between these two memorable visual moments, we get a tightly wound thriller with a surprisingly playful script and a strong cast of flawed characters.

Can you tell I liked this movie?

The law’s attempt to arrest a violent crew of thieves only nets them one suspect, Shun (Wallace Chung), and they only nabbed him because he got shot in the head. Shun didn’t die from the wound, though. The bullet is still stuck in his brain, so they rush him to the hospital. Inspector Ken (Louis Koo) watches on nervously as brain surgeon Dr. Tong (Vicky Zhao Wei) preps for surgery. Is Ken concerned for the man he says shot himself in the act of the arrest? Or is Ken more concerned about the violent suspect who, despite his current state, still might pose a threat to the public? When Shun wakes up on the operating table, he freaks out. Not only did Shun survive his headshot wound, he’s apparently suffered zero debilitating physical side effects of hosting a bullet inside his brain. Shun tells Dr. Tong that he doesn’t want surgery, he just wants a phone call. And so, handcuffed to his hospital bed with a time bomb of a health condition, Shun decides to spend what might be his final moments teasing his captors while promising that his men will be coming for him soon enough.

As things progress, we learn more about the characters. Dr. Tong is having a horrible week of failures. So desperate is she to get her confidence back, she’s pushing herself at the cost of her patients. And though she means well, her best intentions nonetheless cause trouble for the cops in the hospital. Inspector Ken, meanwhile, is trying to get the information out of his suspect about how he can track down the other criminals of his crew. Ken’s also dealing with a bit of intrigue about the mysterious circumstances which led to that gun being fired and putting a bullet in Shun’s brain. The villain Shun, who spends most the film in bed, is a well-read lunatic. He’s the sort of villain that I find annoying, but this time I think that’s exactly the point. Shun is a bully, and unable to exert violence on his peers he’s left with taunting words. It’s a character that’s pretty easy to hate, even in his sad state.

Vicky Zhao Wei (Shaolin Soccer) does a fine job as the self-loathing surgeon, likely the most sympathetic character in the film despite her many flaws. Louis Koo has done some of his best work before in To movies (Election 1 & 2, Drug War) and he’s good here, too. Ken is probably the most challenging role in the film; deadly serious most of the time, then suddenly submissive before his bosses, and occasionally faking a sense of humor when the situation calls for it. Wallace Chung is an actor relatively unknown to me, though he’s had roles in Drug War and Monster Hunt before this. Like I said, it’s an annoying character, but I think Chung is pretty convincing in the role. Also starring in a major supporting role is To regular Lam Suet (PTU), here playing a cop named Fatty (surprise) who spends most the film searching for Shun’s accomplices who may be hiding out in plain sight among the hospital visitors.

The entire film takes place on the hospital grounds. What I liked is that the world kept spinning around them, with other investigations and criminal acts taking place somewhere beyond the scope of our film. Three has a ‘real time’ feel to it, though it never embraces such a gimmick. It’s just that it’s so enclosed, so tightly plotted that you’d be forgiven for misremembering a ticking clock graphic somewhere in the movie.  The plot unfolds in an interesting fashion, with every character trying to assert control over the situation and the errors that could bring it all crumbling down. A good deal is spent on minor hospital characters as well, whose antics at first seem to distract from the central story but actually add to it in unexpected ways.

Three isn’t the action-packed shoot ‘em up sort of Johnnie To crime film but the finale has some pretty good bang for your buck. In the final act, when guns are drawn and bullets are exchanged, To uses all his saved up style points on a slow-motion one-shot shoot-out within the hospital. And sure, it’s not a true one-shot sequence. It was achieved by some artificial means, but that doesn’t prevent the wow factor from going into the red.

The film’s not perfect. The sense of humor is off and the use of physically impaired individuals for a laugh reads as infantile (but that’s hardly anything new in a Hong Kong movie). I must also take issue with the final minutes of the movie; after sizzling for so long, the film fizzles out before the credits roll. I have more questions. I require more resolution. I want to stay in this story just a little while longer… but oh well.

A few issues aside, I thought Three was fairly excellent. It’s stylish, clever, tense filmmaking and probably the coolest ‘medical thriller’ since George Clooney left the ER. Johnnie To fits more style into a throwaway shot in a hallway than some directors would reserve for their audience grabbing, trailer spotlight money shot. The film may not be remembered as one of the director’s very best, but it’s a good reminder as to why many consider To one of the coolest directors in the game.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 8/10

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Lady Bloodfight | DVD (Lionsgate)

Lady Bloodfight | DVD (Lionsgate)

Lady Bloodfight | DVD (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2017

On June 6th, 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment will be releasing DVD for Lady Bloodfight (aka Lady Bloodsport), an upcoming “female” martial arts flick, starring Amy Johnston (Raze).

Directed by Chris Nahon (Kiss of the Dragon), Lady Bloodfight tells the story of a young American who arrives in Asia and begins training for a vicious martial arts tournament, The Kumite, where women must fight to the death in order to win.

Lady Bloodfight also stars Jenny Wu, Muriel Hofman, Kathy Wu, Sharon Zhang, Jet Tranter and Mayling Ng.

Pre-order Lady Bloodfight from Amazon.com today!

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

Iko Uwais to ‘Raid’ Mario Kassar’s Indonesian sci-fi thriller?

"Foxtrot Six" Teaser Poster

“Foxtrot Six” Teaser Poster

Producer Mario Kassar will always be synonymous with Hollywood actioners like Rambo, Total Recall, Terminator 2 and Universal Solider, but now the former head of Carolco is taking his action-packed expertise to Indonesia for Foxtrot Six, an upcoming sci-fi thriller that was originally announced in 2015.

Foxtrot Six will be helmed by first-time Indonesian director Randy Korompis. Producing alongside Kassar is Ario Sagantoro (The Raid), who’ll be enlisting The Raid 2‘s Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman to handle the film’s fight choreography. According to Variety, you can also expect “a significant aerial crew and futuristic weaponry.”

Updates: Recent tweets from Paradigma Pictures (via TAE) suggest that Iko Uwais (Headshot, The Raid 2) may have joined the cast.

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New action packed Trailer for Andy Lau thriller ‘Shock Wave’

"Shock Wave" Chinese Theatrical Poster

“Shock Wave” Chinese Theatrical Poster

Herman Yau (Ebola Syndrome) is ready to detonate his latest thriller, Shock Wave, a $23 million dollar action movie that pairs the controversial Untold Story director up with Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau (Switch).

In the film, Lau plays an undercover explosive ordnance disposal bureau officer who becomes the protégé of a criminal specializing in bombs and then tries to capture him.

“The project is very much a Hong Kong-style action thriller, so I decided to produce and star in an important role in the film… previous films like Firestorm are the staple of Hong Kong cinema, belonging to one of the most important genres in our output. I hope to reach new heights with the Hong Kong action genre and the cops-and-robbers genre with this film,” Lau told THR.

Shock Wave explodes in Chinese theaters on March 28, 2017.

Updates: Watch the film’s latest Trailer below:

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Rob Cohen confesses: “I based ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’ on Bruceploitation star Dragon Lee!”

"Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" Theatrical Poster

“Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” Theatrical Poster

Director Rob Cohen, guilty of such celluloid atrocities as The Fast and the Furious and xXx, added a further misdemeanour to his list of cinematic mishaps during a recent interview, when he confessed that he thought Dragon Lee was Bruce Lee. The topic came up while discussing a proposed sequel to his movie Stealth, a potential Chinese co-production titled Stealth 2: The Chinese Connection. Cohen was explaining how Shanghai was the perfect location for the sequel, as the production cost barely covers the price of a Bruce Lee Blu-ray, so the level of smog in the city will allow the Stealth in question to disappear without the use of expensive CGI.

The title The Chinese Connection was of course also the US title for Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, which turned the conversation towards his work on Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. When probed as to why the 1993 production involved dreams of samurai warriors and an actor who looked nothing like Bruce Lee, Cohen had this to say – “You know, as with most of my movies, I didn’t really have any clue what I was doing. I was approached and asked if I’d want to helm a Bruce Lee biopic, so of course I said yes, who doesn’t know Bruce Lee!?” While Cohen’s enthusiasm is admirable, he went on to explain – “So I decided to check out if any biopics had been done before, and of course came across 1977’s The Real Bruce Lee, which contained archival footage of Bruce himself. It also contained what I thought was one of his movies, so I simply assumed it was him, but now I know that the actor was in fact Dragon Lee. Ha!”

Cohen went on to detail that, so utterly deluded was he that Dragon Lee was Bruce Lee, all of the auditions he held for the role were based on how closely the actors resembled the Korean kung fu star. “Looking back in retrospect, you’ll notice how Jason Scott Lee looks much more like Dragon Lee than he does Bruce Lee, that’s because I was basing the auditions on the wrong Lee. Now I understand why the producers were so confused when I said I wanted to include a one-stick nunchuck scene.” Cohen whimsically recalled with a vacant smile. “I even spoke with Linda Lee, and she asked me if I knew any of her husband’s famous quotes. So I said of course I did, and bellowed at her ‘Are you tired of living!? Bastard!’ She never spoke to me again after that.” Amongst much laughter, Cohen quipped how “It should really be called Dragon Lee: The Bruce Lee Story.”

Asked if he thought returning to the Asian movie industry could result in any further mishaps, Cohen insisted that he’d now set himself straight when it came to Asian actors, stating that during the making of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, “Myself and Donnie Yen, who was playing the Emperor, had a great working relationship, and I thought he was great in his recent movie Skiptrace.”

– Happy April Fools’ Day from Cityonfire.com!

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Deal on Fire! Triple Tap | Blu-ray | Only $9.97 – Expires soon!

"Triple Tap" Blu-ray Cover

“Triple Tap” Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Triple Tap, a Hong Kong action film directed by Derek Yee (Shinjuku Incident).

In Triple Tap,  a competitive marksman Ken comes across an armored van robbery where he shoots and kills four of the robbers. What follows is a tale full of revenge and bullet-ridden revenge.

Triple Tap stars Louis Koo (Z Storm), Daniel Wu (Sky on Fire), Charlene Choi (New Police Story), Li Bingbing (Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal), Lam Suet (Saving Mr. Wu) and Chapman To (Infernal Affairs).

Order Triple Tap from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Deals on Fire!, News | Leave a comment

Game of Death: Collector’s Edition | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Game of Death: Collector's Edition | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Game of Death: Collector’s Edition | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2017

Shout! Factory presents the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray for Game of Death, featuring an all-new 4K scan and restoration from the film’s original negative. This 2-Disc set will also include two extra cuts of the film: The Chinese (4K) and Japanese (HD) versions, both of which feature scenes not included in the U.S. version.

In Game of Death, Billy Lo (Bruce Lee) is a kung fu star with a promising career. When a syndicate leader (Dean Jagger) jumps at the chance to capitalize on his status, Billy’s kung fu mastery is put to the test. Tragically, Bruce Lee passed away during the production of Game of Death, so the film was completed with Kim Tai-chung (Tower of Death) in his place.

Special Features:

Disc One (The U.S. version, 100 minutes)

  • NEW! 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM
  • Audio Commentary with Asian Film expert Mike Leeder
  • Game of Death Revisited
  • Game of Death Locations
  • Outtake Montage
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Opening and Ending
  • Bloopers
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Still Gallery
  • Japanese Print in HD

Disc Two (The Mandarin/Cantonese Version, 90 minutes)

  • NEW! 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM
  • NEW! Trailer Gallery

Pre-order Game of Death from Amazon.com today!

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

Tunnel (2016) Review

Tunnel | DVD (Well Go USA)

Tunnel | DVD (Well Go USA)

Director: Kim Seong-Hun
Writer: So Jae-Won, Kim Seong-Hun
Cast: Ha Jung-Woo, Bae Doo-Na, Oh Dal-Su, Shin Jung-Keun, Nam Ji-Hyun, Cho Hyun-Chul, Kim Hae-Sook, Yoo Seung-Mok, Park Hyuk-Kwon, Park Jin-Woo
Running Time: 126 min.

By Paul Bramhall

Not to be confused with the 2014 South Korean horror movie, Tunnel 3D, director Kim Seong-hoon’s latest effort is a decidedly 2D disaster movie, which, in the grand tradition of many a disaster movie, puts its ill-fated location as the title. For many, the concept of Tunnel will most likely bring back memories of Sylvester Stallone bringing his macho heroics to the tunnel that provided the setting in the 1996 disaster movie Daylight. While that movie used the testosterone primed plot of a tunnel filled with flames and enough air to last a few hours, Seong-hoon dials things back to a more realistic setting. 20 years on since Daylight, Kia car salesman Ha Jeong-woo finds himself trapped behind the wheel of his car (a Kia of course), when a tunnel literally caves in on top of him.

It’s unusual for me to cover the plot for a movie I’m reviewing in the very first paragraph, but the plot for Tunnel can essentially be summarised with the above sentence. Just lose the Daylight reference. There’s no doubt that the sales pitch to make Tunnel must have been a tough one, not only is Jeong-woo’s predicament limited to the caved in tunnel, for a large part he’s not even able to budge from the interior of his car, as it’s completely surrounded by rocks and dirt. The fact that Seong-hoon is the man in the director’s chair likely put the producers mind at ease, as his 2013 sophomore feature, A Hard Day, proved to be one of the best thrillers to come out of Korea in a long time. Displaying a deft hand at incorporating a number of laugh out loud moments of black humour into the narrative, he’s an obvious choice to adapt So Jae-won’s novel of the same name.

The same goes for Ha Jeong-woo as the leading man. In 2015 Jeong-woo could do no wrong, starring in Choi Dong-hoon’s Assassination and Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden. Ironically Tunnel is not the first time he’s had to put on the equivalent of a one-man show, with 2013’s The Terror Live seeing his performance restricted to that of a TV studio. Jeong-woo brings a likeable presence to the role, and the same applies to the actress playing his wife, Bae Doo-na. After her powerhouse performance in 2014’s A Girl at my Door, the role of the wife in distress seems remarkably slight as a follow-up (not withstanding her 2015 collaborations with The Wachowskis in Jupiter Ascending and the Netflix series Sense8), and she doesn’t have much to do except act upset and hopeful in equal measures, but it’s still a welcome sight to see her back on the movie screen.

Seong-hoon has to be given credit for cutting straight to the chase (which considering the protagonists predicament, may not be the most appropriate word to use). Within the first 5 minutes it’s quickly established that Jeong-woo is (a) a car salesman, (b) it’s his daughter’s birthday and he’s bringing a cake home with him, and (c) the elderly gas station attendant fills his car with more fuel than he asks for, so gives him 2 free bottles of water to apologize. From the moment he drives out of the gas station in the opening scene, it’s only a matter of minutes later when the tunnel he’s driving through begins to collapse around him, in an impressively rendered CG sequence which again goes for realism more than spectacle.

It’s once Jeong-woo finds himself alone, buried under half a mountainside, that we start to see the elements of Seong-hoon’s style that made A Hard Day so successful. The same streak of black humour runs throughout the perilous scenario Jeong-woo finds himself in. From the first time he manages to make contact with emergency services, and the person taking the call fails to grasp exactly how much of the tunnel has ‘caved in’, to his encounters with a mischievous Pug that’s also trapped. Contact is eventually made with the head of the rescue operation that arrives onsite, played by Oh Dal-soo, continuing his mission to appear in every other Korean movie that gets made (in 2015 alone he had roles in 6 productions). While Dal-soo constantly gets cast as the bumbling everyman, somehow he still injects enough of whatever character he’s playing to ensure his performances never blend into one, and here he’s as effective as always.

It quickly becomes apparent that Tunnel has broader intentions than just providing a straight forward tale of a man stuck in a tunnel. Ever since the Sewol ferry capsized in 2014, which resulted in 304 deaths (many of them secondary school students), followed by the government and medias subsequent poor handling of the facts in the aftermath, there’s been an increasing undercurrent of mistrust towards those in authority. This has spread to the countries cinematic output, with productions like Inside Men and Train to Busan taking the opportunity to make scathing attacks on a government which has largely lost favour with the Korean public. This trend continues in Tunnel, however it’s handled in a less angry manner than in the examples mentioned, instead using comedy to take just as effective swipes at the media and government officials.

In one particular scene, Bae Doo-na arrives on the site of the collapse for the first time, and at one point is called to meet a government official. Frantic to hear some good news, the official tells her to look in a certain direction, revealing it to be a photo opportunity for the press to grab a snap of him and the wife of the man who’s trapped together. The other officials then awkwardly step into the shot so that they can each get a photo taken with her for the press. The awkwardness is only matched by how funny it is. In another the rescue team send a drone in to gain visibility on the extent of the cave in. After the drone is airborne, Dal-soo gives the order to the press that they can activate their drones, at which point about 20 others zoom up into the air, some crashing into each other and the entrance to the tunnel in their eagerness to get in first.

It’s a completely cynical look at the way both the media and the government use tragedies to further their own personal interests, but it’s done with a razor sharp wit, easily making such scenes some of the highlights of the movie. Of course Jeong-woo is never off-screen for long, and even without any other characters to immediately interact with, his performance is completely engaging as he comes to terms with his predicament, and exactly how long he’s going to be in it. Suddenly the 2 bottles of water and birthday cake take on a significant level of importance, and the juggling act of trying to keep a cell phone battery alive for an uncertain amount of time, all bring a fitting level of tension to proceedings. Seong-hoon also wrings plenty of subtle comedy from the confined space Jeong-woo is in, such as when he decides to open a bottle of washer fluid and starts cleaning the interior of his car, simply because there’s nothing better to do.

Of course, being the most commercial movie Seong-hoon has helmed to date, it raises the tricky question of exactly how Jeong-woo is going to get out of his seemingly impenetrable burial. Like many Korean movies, regardless of all that’s come before, the tone ultimately leads to a switch towards the melodramatic. This aspect is actually handled relatively well, the main issue is that Seong-hoon aims to cram in a number of scenes regarding the bureaucracy of the rescue attempt, all of which see Jeong-woo disappear off-screen for just enough time to notice. The fact that the scenes are thrown in towards the end also hinder the pacing. From an accidental death, to the public losing interest, to the corporations decision to restart construction on a 2nd tunnel being built. None of these abruptly introduced sub-plots really add to the story, with the new characters the scenes introduce us to barely registering.

Thankfully the plot reins itself back in for the final scenes, providing an expected happy ending that, while predictable, is still very much welcome. Tunnel is clearly Seong-hoon’s most commercial feature to date, and he handles it well, faring much better than higher budgeted Korean disaster movies like 2009’s Haeundae and 2012’s The Tower. While it doesn’t feature any spectacular scenes of mass destruction or feats of heroism, instead it gets by on its sharp wit and a trio of stellar performances from Ha Jeong-woo, Bae Doo-na, and Oh Dal-soo. Its premise may be basic, but thanks to some smart storytelling and an assured sense of direction, the light at the end of the Tunnel is definitely a bright one.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 7/10

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Scott Adkins has an ‘Incoming’ Die Hard-in-space actioner

"Close Range" is also available for purchase.With a handful of projects currently under his belt, martial arts sensation Scott Adkins (Hard Targer 2, Eliminators, Zero Tolerance) is without doubt, one of the most active action stars in the business. And now, a new project, titled Incoming, has just been revealed.

This one puts the Close Range star in somewhat of a Die Hard-in-space scenario. According to DeadlineIncoming revolves around an International Space Station that now serves as a prison. When the imprisoned terrorists take over the Station and turn it into a missile aimed at Moscow, only a shuttle pilot and a rookie doctor can stop them. Adkins plays a rogue CIA agent who has his own plans for the station and the terrorists within.

Incoming is being helmed by first-time director Eric Zaragoza. The film is written by Jorge Saralegui (Showtime) and based on a story by producer Rick Benattar (producer of Shoot ‘Em Up).

“We’re thrilled to be working with Scott on this exciting new project. It’s a science fiction film but rooted in the realities of our world today. It explores familiar themes and looks at what could be our world in the not-too-distant future,” said producer Benattar (via KWPR).

Be sure to read about Adkins’ other looming projects, such as Altar RockAccident ManSavage Dog, American Assassin, and of course, the highly-anticpated Boyka: Undisputed IV. Adkins is currently gearing up for Triple Threat, where he’ll be sharing the screen with Tony Jaa (Skin Trade), Tiger Chen (Man of Tai Chi), Iko Uwais (The Raid 2), Michael Jai White (Falcon Rising) and UFC Champ Michael Bisping (xXx: Return of Xander Cage).

Incoming is currently in production and a release date by XLrator Media will soon be announced. Stay tuned!

Adkins

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Return of the Dragon: Collector’s Edition | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Return of the Dragon: Collector's Edition | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Return of the Dragon: Collector’s Edition | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2017

Shout! Factory presents the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray for Return of the Dragon (aka Way of the Dragon), featuring an all-new 4K scan and restoration from the film’s original negative.

In Return of the DragonTang Lung (Bruce Lee) flies to Rome to help a friend of the family, Chen Ching-hua (Nora Miao). She is being threatened by local gangsters to sell her restaurant and they will stop at nothing to get the property. In one of the film’s most famous sequences, Bruce takes on American martial arts expert Colt (Chuck Norris) in the ancient city’s majestic Coliseum.

Return of the Dragon is noted for being the only film written, directed by and starring Bruce Lee. It was also the first project under Lee’s new film company, Concord Productions.

Special Features (additional details via Brandon Bentley):

  • NEW! 4K RESTORATION
  • NEW! Japanese Opening and Closing Credits in HD, taken from a recently discovered Japanese film master. It also shows the final shot of Lee walking in the distance with no credits.
  • NEW! Alternate Final Fight Music Cue: A clip from the final fight, but set to a previously unused music cue by Joseph Koo.
  • NEW! Trailer Gallery: Features the US trailer, two US TV spots in HD, 3 UK trailers/spots, uncut HK trailer (most releases cut the Mandarin dialogue between Lee and Miao midway in the trailer) in HD, 1975 Japanese theatrical trailer in HD, and the 1997 “revival” Japanese trailer (double billed with The Big Boss) in HD.
  • Audio Commentary with Asian Film expert Mike Leeder
  • Alternate Title Sequence
  • Interviews with Sammo Hung, Simon Yam and Wong Jing
  • Kung Fu? Jon Benn Remembers Return of the Dragon
  • TV Spot
  • Still Gallery

Pre-order Return of the Dragon from Amazon.com today!

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

The Great Wall | Blu-ray & DVD (Universal)

The Great Wall | Blu-ray & DVD (Universal)

The Great Wall | Blu-ray & DVD (Universal)

RELEASE DATE: May 23, 2017

On May 23rd, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing The Great Wall (read our review) on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD.

Acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of the Flying Daggers) directs this 15th century period flick revolving around an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure.

The Great Wall stars Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), Willem Dafoe (John Wick), Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs), Jing Tian (Special ID), Zhang Hanyu (The Assembly), Eddie Peng (Rise of the Legend), Lu Han (Miss Granny), Lin Gengxin (Young Detective Dee), Zheng Kai (The Running Man), Chen Xuedong (Tiny Times 3), Huang Xuan (Blind Massage), Wang Junkai, Yu Xintian and Liu Qiong.

Special Features:

  • Digital Copy of The Great Wall (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
  • Includes UltraViolet (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
  • Deleted and extended scenes
  • Matt Damon in China
  • Working with Director Zhang Yimou
  • The Great Wall Visual Effects
  • Man vs. Monster
  • Weapons of War
  • Designing a Spectacular World

Pre-order The Great Wall from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Asian Titles, DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles, News | Tagged | 3 Comments

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back | Blu-ray & DVD (Sony)

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back | Blu-ray & DVD (Sony)

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back | Blu-ray & DVD (Sony)

RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2017

On June 6, 2017, Sony Home Entertainment will be releasing Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer) and Tsui Hark’s (Young Detective Dee) Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back on Blu-ray and DVD.

In this sequel to Journey to the West, Hark takes over directing duties, while Chow produces. This time around, the cast consists of Vicky Zhao (14 Blades), Kris Wu (The Mermaid) and Kenny Lin (The Taking of Tiger Mountain). Shu Qi returns in a cameo role.

The original (read our review) centered on Tang Sanzang, a Buddhist trying to protect a village from three demons, his emerging feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and Sanzang’s transformative encounter with the Monkey King.

Pre-order from Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back Amazon.com today!

Posted in Asian Titles, DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles, News | Tagged | 4 Comments

John Wick: Chapter 2 | Blu-ray & DVD (Lionsgate)

John Wick: Chapter Two | Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

John Wick: Chapter Two | Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: June 13, 2017

On June 13th, Lionsgate Home Entertainment will be releasing Chad Stahelski’s John Wick: Chapter 2 (read our review) on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD.

Keanu Reeves returns in the sequel to the 2014 hit as legendary hitman John Wick who is forced to back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome where he squares off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.

John Wick: Chapter 2 also stars Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Reddick, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Peter Stormare and Franco Nero.

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski
  • Deleted Scenes
  • “RetroWick: Exploring the Unexpected Success of John Wick” Featurette
  • ‘Training John Wick” Featurette
  • “WICK-vizzed” Featurette
  • “Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership” Featurette
  • “As Above, So Below: The Underworld of John Wick” Featurette
  • “Car Fu Ridealong” Featurette
  • “Beat Down: The Evolution of a Fight Scene” Featurette
  • “Wick’s Toolbox” Featurette
  •  “Kill Count” Featurette
  • “Dog Wick” Short

Pre-order John Wick 2 from Amazon.com today!

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles, News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Quick Man (2002) Review

"Quick Man" Korean Theatrical Poster

“Quick Man” Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: Lee Hyeok-su
Writer: Yun Jin-a
Producer: Seo Gil-seong
Cast: Jeon Hye-yun, Yun Se-ung, Song Geum-sig, Ricky Jun, Park Jeong-gwon, Lee Moo-jung, Kim Youn-soo, Lee Jae-yeong, Min Seong-joo, Kang You-il, Lee Suk-koo
Running Time: 89 min.

By Paul Bramhall

The start of the millennium saw many new directorial talents emerge in Korean cinema, with 2002 in particular seeing the likes of Park Chan-wook unleash Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Ryoo Seung-wan deliver his hard hitting crime thriller No Blood No Tears. However amongst the new blood that was beginning to shape Korean cinema into what it is today, surprisingly there were still some distinctly old-school names around on the scene, making distinctly old-school movies.

One such name was Lee Hyeok-su, a director who had been around since making his first feature in 1967. Hyeok-su was one of a stable of Korean directors who cranked out countless kung fu movies during the 70’s and early 80’s, from Hwang Jang-lee flicks like Hard Bastard, to Casanova Wong vehicles like Pachun Martial Arts, to the Dragon Lee and Eagle Han starring Twelve Gates of Hell. It’s safe to say that if you were a Korean martial arts star in the 70’s, then at some point you would have worked with Hyeok-su.

For the 20 year period from 1967 – 1987, Hyeok-su made, almost without fail, anything from one to four movies per year, racking up an impressively long filmography, before finally deciding to take a breather from the industry. During the 90’s he returned to the director’s chair just 4 times, most notably directing a very early role for Lee Jeong-jae, with 1996’s Albatross. The director went quiet again after Albatross, until 6 years later he’d return to the film industry one final time, putting a cap on a directing career that spanned 35 years, with the 2002 feature Quick Man.

The plot concerns a dastardly assistant director of a company, who hires a hitman to assassinate the CEO in charge, working under the assumption that as the CEO has no family, his fortune will be left to the company that he’ll now be in charge of running. However in a CD-ROM that the CEO has left to his accountant, containing a video message outlining his will, he reveals that he has a long lost granddaughter, and entrusts the accountant to track her down and pass on his inheritance. When the assistant director also watches the video, he re-hires the same hitman, and sends him on a mission to find and kill the granddaughter before the accountant can locate her.

Just like Chang Cheh made an awkward transition into directing movies in the 1990’s, so the same statement could be applied to Hyeok-su directing a movie in the 00’s. Quick Man feels like a movie made at least 10 years earlier, and apart from the presence of flip style mobile phones and a laptop, there’s nothing in the production to indicate that it was actually made post-2000. This isn’t a criticism as such, and the straight forward, no nonsense plot, reminiscent of so many 90’s Korean gangster movies, is if anything a welcome presence. In particular, one of the walls in the interior of an office set is little more than MDF panels nailed together, no paint or decoration added. Perhaps they were going for a minimalist feel.

Indeed in many ways, Quick Man feels like a 70’s Korean kung fu movie, supplanted to 19… I mean 2002 Seoul. The hit-man is played by Ricky Jun, looking remarkably similar to a Versus era Tak Sakaguchi, who was a familiar face in 90’s Korean action cinema. Quick Man could be considered his most substantial role, after playing nameless thugs in the likes of My Wife is a Gangster, Public Enemy, and even featuring alongside Steven Seagal, in the Aikido master’s only Korean movie appearance, Clementine. Jun had the moves, and gets a couple of fight scenes to show off his boot work, both of which involve him taking on multiple attackers using Taekwondo.

In the unmistakably goofy style of many a 70’s Korean kung fu movie, once Jun receives a photo of the granddaughter, he immediately recognizes her as an advertising model. He and his cronies even have a poster of her on their office wall, purely by chance, so finding their target should hardly be difficult. Except of course, it turns out that she’s become tired of the modelling life, and on the same day the thugs come looking for her, is beginning a new life as an art teacher. The granddaughter is played by Jeon Hye-yun, and Quick Man is the only movie credit to her name. I guess she got tired of the actress life as well.

Through a series of completely implausible events, Hye-yun ends up being taken under the wing of a good hearted motorcycle courier, who inadvertently becomes her protector (and suitor) from Jun and his gang of muscle for hire. The courier, playing the Quick Man that the title refers to, is played by Yun Se-ung. This was one of his first roles, and while he clearly had some worthy action chops, he’d mostly settle into doing voice work on animated features, most recently appearing in Office as a supporting player. The action content of the movie basically rests on the shoulders of Jun and Se-ung, and the plot moves forward in such a way that it essentially involves Jun constantly sending thugs to kidnap Hye-yun, Se-ung thwarting them, and then repeating in a different location. Its innocently simplistic approach is so out-of-time with other Korean movies released in 2002, that it’s difficult not to enjoy watching Jun get increasingly infuriated each time his thugs come back empty handed, just like an old-school movie villain, but in a sharp suit.

The influence that Hong Kong movies had on the Korean action genre of the decade prior is also blatantly evident in Quick Man. It’s hardly a spoiler to say that Se-ung and Hye-yun fall in love, an aspect of the plot which is driven home with a musical montage. The montage ticks all of the relevant boxes – riding along a beach on a motorbike in slow motion, staring into each other’s eyes as the sun sets, and even recreating a scene from From Here to Eternity, but with less clothes. Speaking of a lack of clothing, all three of the female characters end up with their clothes off at some point. In the 1980’s erotic cinema boomed in Korea once censorship laws were removed, and perhaps being able to film nudity never lost its appeal for Hyeok-su, even a couple of decades on.

Like Hyeok-su, the actor playing the assistant director of the company, Song Geum-sig, had also made a career for himself within the Korean action and gangster genre. Quick Man would be one of his final roles, however his filmography includes appearances in everything from Golden Dragon, Silver Snake to Guns and Talks. Here he’s cast as a stereotypical conniving middled aged business man in a suit, who stays behind the scenes and uses his money for others to do the dirty work for him. It’s a template used over and over again in Asian action cinema, from Chor Yuen in Police Story, to John Shum in Pedicab Driver. What perhaps makes Quick Man a unique entry in the action genre though, is that in the final reel Geum-sig decides to get in on the action himself, suit included, representing the old school villain of the piece.

Throwing down against Se-ung in an abandoned factory, the two go at each other with an enjoyable amount of vigour. After watching Geum-sig spend the entire run time as a corporate villain, unwilling to get his hands dirty, to see him suddenly throwing Taekwondo kicks and grappling on the floor was definitely an unexpected surprise. Hyeok-su even employs some classic old-school kung-fu movie tropes, when at one point the pair take a fall from an elevated part of the factory, in a scene that takes place at night, and then the shot cuts to have them land in broad daylight on a granite pile outside. It’s a lengthy brawl (at least it feels that way considering it starts at night, and ends in a river basked in bright sunshine), and delivers a satisfying finish to a production thats only ambition is to deliver some straight forward action. Judged on this alone, Quick Man succeeds at achieving what it sets out to, and is a worthy swansong to Hyeok-su’s career as a director.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 7/10

Posted in All, Korean, News, Reviews | Leave a comment

Huang Kin Long (aka Bruce Le) is back with ‘Bloody Hero’

"Bruce's Deadly Fingers" Chinese Poster

“Bruce’s Deadly Fingers” Chinese Poster

A few years ago, Bruce Le (aka Huang Kin Long), cult martial arts star of Mission Terminate and Bruce Stikes Back, made his 7th directorial feature, Eyes of Dawn (a redux of his 1992 film, Comfort Women), a drama about women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories during World War II. The movie was Le’s first film project after a 20+ year absence from show business. Fortunately, his comeback isn’t about to stop there…

According to Impact’s Mike Leeder, Le is currently in post-production mode for Bloody Hero, a wartime adventure that’s best described as a Chinese Braveheart meets First Blood. The film tells the true story of a Chinese commando who rages a one-man war against Japanese forces on the border with Russia during WW2. In addition to directing and producing, Le also has a small part in the film.

But to kung fu fans, the most exciting news involves Le’s “dream” project: “In the last ten years, I have been thinking about making a very big kung fu movie, full blooded martial arts action… I would really like to make a big sized co-production between America and China, my dream project is to make something that would be worthy to be called Enter the Dragon 2. That’s something I have been working on for some time, making preparation for the last few years. I know to make a movie that delivers on those elements will be a lot of work but its what I think I have to do,” Le told Leeder. Additionally, Le is also developing an Africa-set action thriller that’ll essentially be the Chinese version of Taken.

Here’s hoping Bloody Hero will see a North American release. Until then, we’ll keep you updated as we hear more about all of Le’s projects. For now, here’s the Trailer for Bruce’s Deadly Fingers:

Posted in News | 2 Comments

‘Universal Soldier’ director to resurrect cult film ‘Maniac Cop’

"Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning" Japanese DVD Cover

“Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning” Japanese DVD Cover

While it may not have set the box office on fire, 2012’s Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning was generally met with acclaim from fans and critics alike, who applauded director John Hyams’ infusion of arthouse horror into the venerable action series. The sequel was also notable for introducing martial arts superstar Scott Adkins to the Universal Soldier cast list, alongside returning icons Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren. Unfortunately, all has been quiet on the Universal Soldier sequel front. In the meantime, Hyams recently directed eight episodes of the SyFy Network series Z Nation.

Now, fresh out of Fantastic Fest comes word that John Hyams will direct a reboot of the Eighties cult classic series Maniac Cop. The movies featured recognizable B-movie icon Robert Z’Dar as a homicidal police officer who returns from the dead to wreck havoc on the living.

Since Z’Dar sadly passed away earlier this year, the role is ripe for recasting – and one can easily see Universal Soldier’s Dolph Lundgren filling the lumbering shoes of the zombie cop. The remake is to be produced by Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, another filmmaker well known for his hyper-violent style. Popular comics writer Ed Brubaker (Criminal, Daredevil) penned the screenplay, which John Hyams called “the follow up movie I’ve been waiting for.” Considering Hyams’ previous output, one can easily imagine that this Maniac Cop reboot will be less of a B-Movie guilty pleasure and more of a jaw-dropping, mind-altering splice of action and horror.

Updates: At last, after nearly two years of gestation, John Hyams’ remake of Maniac Cop has been greenlit, and will shoot this summer in Los Angeles. The remake is described as a contemporary and realistic action thriller rather than a pure horror film. Stay tuned for casting news!

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Deal on Fire! Assassination | Blu-ray | Only $9.99 – Expires soon!

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

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

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Assassination (read our review), directed by Choi Dong-hun (The Thieves).

A group of rebels are planning a hit on an Army Leader in Japanese-occupied Korea, but the only killer for the job is in prison. Now, the Resistance must devise a jailbreak, escape a hitman… and discover which of them is a traitor.

The film stars Jun Ji-Hyun (My Sassy Girl), Lee Jung-Jae (Il Mare), Oh Dal-su (Old Boy), Ha Jung-Woo (Yellow Sea), Cho Jin-woong (Spirit of JKD) and Lee Kyoung-young (A Better Tomorrow).

Order Assassination from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Deals on Fire!, News | 1 Comment

Instant Death | DVD (Sony)

Instant Death | DVD (Sony)

Instant Death | DVD (Sony)

RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2017

On May 2, 2017, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing the DVD for Instant Death, a new ultra-violent revenge flick starring Lou Ferrigno (Pumping Iron).

A retired Special Forces veteran (Ferrigno) who is trying to adjust to normal life leaves his home in New York and visits England in an attempt to rekindle his relationship with his estranged daughter. During his visit, John witnesses a murder, which leads to a descent of fury and violence that not even the brutality of gangland is prepared for.

Instant Death is directed by multi-talented Ara Paiaya (director, writer, producer, cinematographer, editor, action coordinator and actor), who launched his first “professional” directorial debut with Skin Traffik (not to be confused with Skin Trade).

Although Ferrigno is predominantly known for playing The Hulk in the classic TV series, the legendary ex-bodybuilder is no stranger to film. With a handful of movies under his belt – including 1983’s Hercules and 1994’s Cage II (co-starring with Shannon Lee) – Ferrigno finally returns to headlining his very own action film.

Pre-order Instant Death from Amazon.com today!

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, News, Other Notable Titles | 4 Comments
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