Exit Wounds (2001) Review

"Exit Wounds" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Exit Wounds" Japanese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Dengeki
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Producer: Joel Silver, Dan Cracchiolo
Cast: Steven Seagal, DMX, Isaiah Washington, Anthony Anderson, Michael Jai White, Bill Duke, Jill Hennessy, Tom Arnold, Bruce McGill, David Vadim, Eva Mendes
Running Time: 101 min.

By Zach Nix

Steven Seagal is one of action and martial arts cinema’s most fascinating creatures. He broke out onto the action scene almost out of nowhere with several fantastic vehicles, such as Above the Law, Hard to Kill, and Marked for Death, that showcased his martial arts and acting abilities. After experiencing a minor taste of A-list stardom with Under Siege, Seagal’s career seemed to immediately tank after words with the release of his deeply personal and widely mocked environmental directorial debut, On Deadly Ground. From there, Seagal’s star faded as he experienced an interesting transitional period made up of minor hits (Under Siege 2, Executive Decision) and notable failures (The Glimmer Man, Fire Down Below).

While some action fans claim that Seagal’s stardom ended in the late 90s, many forget that Seagal experienced a very minor but notable comeback in the early 2000s with Exit Wounds, an urban action thriller that honestly should have catapulted him back to A-list stardom had he played his cards right. Exit Wounds may not be nearly as brutal, simple, or personal as Seagal’s earliest efforts, but it’s still one of his best films and quite honestly one of the most underrated pictures in his filmography.

Seagal plays Orin Boyd, a detective who is clearly underappreciated amongst his peers, as evident by the film’s opening prologue in which he risks his life to save the Vice President of the United States and is instead punished by being moved to the worst precinct in Detroit, Michican. Upon arriving there, Boyd continually stumbles upon crimes and drug dealings linked throughout the city that connect to a mysterious man named Latrell Walker (DMX). As Boyd investigates into the case, he realizes that there may be more to Walker than meets the eye, and that the cops within the precinct may be dirty and linked to the crimes as well.

The first striking realization that action fans will notice upon watching Exit Wounds is that Seagal looks physically fit. He apparently lost a lot of weight to get back into shape for the film, and it shows. He not only looks fantastic, but also cut his pony tail off. Going from The Patriot, to Exit Wounds, and than to Ticker and Half Past Dead is quite shocking, as Seagal’s weight and build drastically changed in between all of those films. Besides looking absolutely great within the film, Exit Wounds was not only a return to form for “The Sensei,” but a bonafide box office hit. Made for a solid $33 million, the film grossed $79 million worldwide, making it both profitable and commercially successful. Therefore, based upon the film’s box office returns and Seagal’s physical image, Exit Wounds could be declared a through and through comeback, something that few action stars ever experience.

However, Seagal immediately wasted his comeback by starring in 2002’s Half Past Dead, a terribly incoherent picture that featured the plotting of his DTV work but with the budget of a studio picture. It was such a failure, that Seagal did not return to the big screen until 2010’s Machete, although he only has a cameo in that picture. Therefore, Exit Wounds is a unique anomaly within Seagal’s filmography in that it helped reestablish his place back at the top of action cinema, only for him to dive right back into incoherent action with a major studio flop and successive DTV films.

Nevertheless, Exit Wounds is not just a Seagal picture, as it is also notable for being directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak and co-starring DMX, a rapper who was very popular at the time. Therefore, it is quite impressive that the film turned out somewhat competent, given that it had to balance the egos and stardom of both Seagal and DMX, two entertainers whose glory days are long behind them now. Bartkowiak is remembered by action fans for also directing Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave, two of Jet Li’s English language films. Those two films, along with Exit Wounds, form a trilogy of urban action films that feature hip-hop soundtracks and several of the same recurring actors, most notably DMX, Isaiah Washington, Anthony Anderson, and Tom Arnold. This trilogy was most definitely a product of what was popular at the time, as seen through its extensive wire-work and hip-hop soundtrack.

As someone who was a director of photography on many action films for several years, it makes sense that Bartkowiak was able to do such a solid job with action when promoted to director, as he has a great eye for visual flair and flashy bouts of violence. Barkowiak crafts a competent studio picture that is undeniably entertaining from start to finish thanks to helping heaping of action nearly every ten or so minutes. This might just be one of Seagal’s most action packed films, as shootouts, car chases, and fist-fights are literally around the corner of nearly every dialog scene.

Exit Wounds doesn’t waste any time getting to the action, as Seagal racks up a kill count a mere seven minutes into the film. The opening shootout is one of the best set pieces of the picture, as Seagal’s character fights off a group of armed assassins atop a bridge as they attempt to take out the Vice President of the United States. There’s also a great climactic shootout at the end of the film where all of the characters come together for a dramatic conclusion to the film’s many plot threads. Hong Kong cinema fans will notice a shout out, or blatant steal, from the Hong Kong buddy cop film Tiger on the Beat during the final action scene when DMX wraps his belt around a shotgun and throws it into the air in order to shoot at enemies that he cannot see. One can only wonder if producer Joel Silver, who is a huge fan of Hong Kong cinema and even cast Tiger on the Beat’s Conan Lee in Lethal Weapon 4, came up with that moment.

Although Exit Wounds is a cop thriller, it also has plenty of fist-fights featuring Seagal, DMX, Michael Jai White, and other characters. The fights are hardly brutal or cruel along the lines of early Seagal efforts, opting to be tamer, safer, and flashier. Arms and bones still break, but there’s rarely any audible sound effects when victims suffer said injuries. It’s all fairly middle ground stuff, although squibs and gore shots abound throughout during the shootouts, keeping it somewhat hard edged. The fights in the film are also notable amongst Seagal fans for their obvious incorporation of wirework, something that Seagal typically doesn’t delve into, Belly of the Beast aside.

It makes sense that there is some wire work in the film, as just about every action film released post-Matrix dabbled in the stuff for a few years, especially ones produced by Joel Silver. The wire-work is most obvious during a club brawl in which Seagal flips over a bouncer and even bounces off a string of chains. There’s also some obvious and quite hilarious wire-work in the final showdown between Seagal and Jai White as the two flip through the air whilst holding giant cutting blades. It’s all a ton of fun, and further adds to the flashy studio nature of the picture, but it’s a far cry from the greatness that was Seagal’s brutal hand-to-hand fights of the early years.

While the film is undeniably entertaining from an action standpoint, it leaves much to be desired storytelling wise. First off, the main plot of the picture takes awhile to get going. Much like other Seagal pictures such as Marked for Death and even latter DTV efforts like The Keeper, Exit Wounds opens with a prologue that sets the stage for the rest of the picture. Unfortunately, the first thirty or so minutes of the picture are completely unnecessary in the long run, as they should have been trimmed down significantly in order to get to the more gripping (if you could even call it gripping) story at the center of the picture, Seagal and DMX’s hunt for corrupt officers.

And speaking of DMX, his character’s motives are mostly kept in the shadows and not revealed until two acts into the picture. I always find withholding crucial information like this to be a cheap way to “surprise” the audience, as it proves that the filmmakers don’t know any other way to keep viewers engaged other than to string them along.

Based upon the novel of the same name, Exit Wounds offers up characters and themes consistent within Seagal’s filmography and personal beliefs. His character, Orin Boyd, is a cop whom is simply disgruntled with the rules of the system. When he risks his life to save the Vice President, he is reprimanded, moved elsewhere, and declared everything but a hero. While this opening portion of the film only serves the purpose to explain how Seagal ends up in a new precinct, it also represents Seagal’s continuing and innate frustration with law enforcement and the system that surrounds him. Making Exit Wounds a Seagal vehicle was a good idea because it also deals with internal affairs and dirty cops. These themes concerning shady protective agencies appear within other Seagal ventures, and always reinforce his best work. After all, Seagal does such a great job embodying characters who fight for what is right and protect the innocent, whilst also rebelling against the system that employs him.

And last but not least, one can’t go without mentioning that Exit Wounds is not only one of Seagal’s more overtly comedic films, but successfully comedic as well. Let it be known that Seagal actually got a couple laughs out of me in this film, especially during an anger therapy group scene where he declares, “Do you see this face? This is a happy face! You all, would be lucky, to be as happy as I am.” Most of the humor is fairly silly and mainstream-esque in nature, such as Seagal being too big for a classroom chair or him being forced to direct nearly uncontrollable traffic, but it honestly works. Comic actors Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold don’t serve the narrative very much, and easily could have been chopped out of the picture altogether, but the two go a long way in adding laughs and charisma to the picture. Their joke a second fest during the end credits could be a stand up comedy act in and of itself, and yet it’s attached to the end of a Seagal/DMX venture. Go figure. Unlike The Glimmer Man, which is one of Seagal’s most painfully unfunny action films, Exit Wounds has some pretty reliable comedy that helps liven the mood when things get more serious. You may disagree with me, so watch The Glimmer Man and Exit Wounds back to back, and than you’ll most likely side with Exit Wounds as to which of the two is funnier. On second thought, scratch that. Don’t watch The Glimmer Man, it’s an abysmal picture.

Although the story takes a while to take form and a large cast of characters over crowd the film’s narrative, Exit Wounds is a thoroughly entertaining crime thriller from start to finish thanks to a somewhat reliable narrative, a pulsating sense of energy, and a non-stop variety of action sequences. I would go so far as to say that Exit Wounds is leaps and bounds better than some of Seagal’s lesser 90s work, such as The Glimmer Man, Fire Down Below, and The Patriot, as it is never boring and mostly competent. Whenever people mention how Seagal’s downfall began in the late 90s, make sure to always pull out the Exit Wounds card in order to tear down their theory and to prove that “The Sensei” still had the chops, even in 2001.

Zach Nix’s Rating: 7/10

Posted in All, Asian Related, News, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Martial Law: Complete Series | DVD (Visual Entertainment)

Martial Law: The Complete Collection | DVD (Visual Entertainment)

Martial Law: The Complete Collection | DVD (Visual Entertainment)

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2016

On September 30, 2016, Visual Entertainment will be releasing Martial Law: The Complete Collection, which will include the entire series on 10 discs, plus two bonus crossover episodes and much more.

Martial Law is an American/Canadian crime drama that aired on CBS from 1998 to 2000. The title character, Sammo Law, portrayed by Hong Kong action legend Sammo Hung (The Bodyguard), was a Chinese law officer and martial arts expert who came to Los Angeles in search of a colleague and remains in the US.

The show was a surprise hit, making Hung the only East Asian headlining a prime-time network series in the United States. At the time, Hung was not fluent in English, and he reportedly recited some of his dialogue phonetically. In many scenes, Hung did not speak at all, making Martial Law perhaps the only US television series in history that featured so little dialogue from the lead character.

Martial Law also stars Kelly Hu (Cradle 2 the Grave), Arsenio Hall (Coming to America), Gretchen Egolf (Journeyman) with appearances by Tzi Ma (Rapid Fire), Sung Kang (Bullet to the Head), Elaine Lui (The Bride with White Hair), James Hong (The Perfect Weapon), Eugenia Yuan (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny), Mako (The Big Brawl), Byron Mann (The Corruptor), Billy Blanks (The Master), Mark Dacascos (Only the Brave), Loren Avedon (Raging Thunder), Shannon Lee (Enter the Eagles), Aki Aleong (Pound of Flesh), Johnny Nguyen (The Rebel), Roger Fan (Finishing the Game), Olivier Gruner (Nemesis), Simon Rhee (Furious), Ron Yuan (Revenge of the Green Dragons) and Steve Tartalia (Operation Condor).

The set will also include the following extras:

  • Produced by Carlton Cuse (Lost, Nash Bridges, Bates Motel)
  • Includes all 44 episodes plus two Bonus crossover episodes from Walker: Texas Ranger and Early Edition.
  • Bonus audio commentary from creator Carlton Cuse on series premiere, Shanghai Express.

Pre-order Martial Law: The Complete Series from Amazon.com today!

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

‘Kickboxer: Vengeance’ kicks in a new theatrical poster

"Kickboxer: Vengeance" Theatrical Poster

“Kickboxer: Vengeance” Theatrical Poster

Radar Pictures’ highly-actipated reboot of 1989’s Kickboxer, titled Kickboxer: Vengeance (read our review), will finally be hitting the big screen and VOD on September 2nd.

The upcoming film is directed by John Stockwell (In the Blood) and written by Jim McGrath (1990’s Elvis TV series) and Dimitri Logothetis (Wings of the Dragon).

Newcomer Alain Moussi (click here to read our interview with him) takes the lead role of Kurt Sloan (previously played by Jean-Claude Van Damme in the original).

Other stars include WWE star Dave Bautista (The Man with the Iron Fists), UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Gina Carano (Haywire), Darren Shahlavi (Ip Man 2), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Kickboxer), T.J. Storm (Punisher: War Zone), Matthew Ziff (The Martial Arts Kid) and Sara Malakul Lane.

Martial arts star Tony Jaa (Skin Trade) was attached, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Also attached was Scott Adkins (Zero Tolerance, Wolf Warrior), who declined the role of  David after realizing how small his role would be. Both of their roles were replaced by Van Damme and the late Darren Shahlavi, respectively.

Kickboxer: Vengeance tells the story of David and Kurt Sloan, the descendants of a well-known Venice, Calif., fighting dynasty. When David wins the Karate World Championship, a promoter lures him to Hong Kong, despite his brother’s protestations that the man is a crook. When Kurt travels to Thailand to meet his brother, he discovers he has died, and seeks his revenge.

Media: Official still, which has Dave Bautista (Spectre) as Tong Po, double wielding swords. | Click here to see 12 official stills. | Photo featuring Moussi vs. Bautista and fists of glass! | First teaser trailer. | Second trailer.

Updates: Check out our review for the film.

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The Return of Godzilla | aka Godzilla 1984 | Blu-ray (Kraken)

The Return of Godzilla | aka Godzilla 1984 | Blu-ray (Kraken)

The Return of Godzilla | aka Godzilla 1984 | Blu-ray (Kraken)

RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2016

Kraken presents the Blu-ray for Koji Hashimoto’s The Return of Godzilla (aka Godzilla 1984). The film was also released in the U.S. as Godzilla 1985, which was heavily edited and spliced with different footage for the American market. Please note that this release will be the original, uncut version of The Return of Godzilla.

The Return of Godzilla stars Keiju Kobayashi (Sanjuro), Ken Tankaka (20th Century Boys: Chapter 1: The Beginning of the End), Yasuo Sawaguchi (Spirited Away), Shin Takuma (The 8-Tomb Village) and Yosuke Natsuki (Shogun). | Trailer.

Pre-order The Return of Godzilla from Amazon.com today!

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

Donnie Yen to do a ‘Wesley’ film (and it’s not ‘Passenger 57′)

"Flash Point" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Flash Point" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Donnie Yen (Ip Man 3Kung Fu Jungle, Flash Point) and producer Raymond Wong have announced that their next project in the line is the Indiana Jones-esque film, Wesley (via AFS).

Wesley (or Wisely) will be based on the fictional character of the same name created by legendary Chinese novelist/screenwriter Ni Kuang. Wesley’s adventures have been covered in many novels, comic books and movies, including 1986’s The Seventh Curse with Chow Yun Fat and 1987’s The Legend of the Wisley with Sam Hui.

Despite Yen’s The Noodle Man (his first would-be Hollywood starring role) being put on the back burner, fans of Yen still have his high-profile appearances to look forward to in the upcoming xXx 3 and Star War: Rogue One.

As far as Yen’s long list of off again/on again projects – which include The Master, Dragon City, a possible Ip Man 4/Flash Point 2 and of course, Ice Man 2let’s just say, we’ll keep you updated!

Posted in News | 1 Comment

John H. Lee’s ‘Operation Chromite’ attacks U.S. theaters

"Operation Chromite" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Operation Chromite" Korean Theatrical Poster

John H. Lee’s (71: Into the Fire) upcoming South Korean actioner, Operation Chromite, is taking the battle to U.S. theaters on August 12.

Operation Chromite stars Lee Jung-jae (Assassination), Jin Se-yun (Enemies In-Law), Lee Beom-su (The Divine Move) and Liam Neeson (Taken), who will portray General Douglas MacArthur.

According to THR, Operation Chromite is the codename for the Battle of Incheon that took place on Sept. 15, 1950, shortly after the Korean War broke out on June 25. It was a surprise attack in which U.N. forces landed in the South Korean harbor city to drive out the North Koreans, and is recognized as a turning point for U.N.-backed South Korea against the communist North. Operation Chromite will focus on eight Korean war heroes.

Don’t miss the new North American trailer for Operation Chromite.

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Bruce Lee: Tracking the Dragon | DVD (MVD Visual)

Tracking the Dragon | DVD (MVD Visual)

Tracking the Dragon | DVD (MVD Visual)

RELEASE DATE: October 25, 2016

It’s been 43 years since the passing of Bruce Lee, yet the spirit of the martial arts icon is more powerful than ever. In addition to George Nolfi’s upcoming Bruce Lee biopic, Birth of the Dragon, as well as a Chinese film titled Double Dragon, a new Bruce Lee project is headed your way.

On October 25, 2016, MVD Visual will be releasing a new, 100-minute Bruce Lee documentary titled Tracking the Dragon on DVD.

Bruce Lee expert John Little (A Warrior’s Journey) tracks down the actual locations of some of Bruce Lee’s most iconic action scenes. Many of these sites remain largely unchanged nearly half a century later. At monasteries, ice factories, and on urban streets, Little explores the real life settings of Lee’s legendary career.

This film builds on Little’s earlier short, Pursuit of the Dragon, to present a comprehensive view of Lee’s work that will change the way you see the films. In such pivotal films as The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, The Way of the Dragon and Enter the Dragon, Lee staged the elaborately choreographed action sequences that revolutionized the martial arts field. They took on a mythic status and it is mindboggling to see how he expertly built traditional locations into his story lines to give them added dimension.

No one has ever taken on the task of finding what remains of this Bruce Lee’s world. The revelations are nothing short of astounding for fans of Bruce Lee, martial arts, and action movies.

Pre-order Tracking the Dragon from Amazon.com today!

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

Train to Busan (2016) Review

"Train to Busan" Theatrical Poster

"Train to Busan" Theatrical Poster

Director: Yeon Sang-Ho
Writer: Park Joo-suk
Producer: Lee Dongha
Cast: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-Seok, Jung Yu-Mi, Choi Woo-Sik, Ahn So-Hee, Kim Soo-Ahn, Kim Eui-Sung
Running Time: 118 min.

By Paul Bramhall

Korea’s film industry is one which is rarely associated with the medium of animation, however one name that may change all that is director Yeong Sang-ho, who’s been successfully carving out a name for himself within the animated arena. His hard hitting features like King of Pigs and The Fake, which display a biting social commentary towards modern day Korea, have drawn international acclaim, and were widely screened on the festival circuit. Sang-ho ventured outside the realistic trappings of his most recognised work for the 2015 feature Seoul Station, which deals with a zombie outbreak in the Korean capital, and a year later he followed it up with an immediate sequel in the form of Train to Busan.

What makes Train to Busan a unique sequel is that, instead of being animated, it’s a live action follow-up. Similar to Hollywood director Brad Bird, who after rising to prominence with the likes of The Incredibles decided to take on live action with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, so fans of Sang-ho have also been looking forward to seeing the director work on a live action production. The fact that his first foray was to involve Korea being overrun by a zombie outbreak was a welcome bonus.

Rather than drawing on comparisons to other zombie flicks though, the movie that immediately springs to mind when watching Train to Busan is fellow Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. Despite one revolving around an outbreak of the undead, and one being a futuristic vision of humans surviving on a train in an earth which has frozen over, both share the same thematic overtones and setting. Far from being a visceral thrill ride of an undead bloodbath, Sang-ho has constructed a tale which is more about the invisible divides that exist between the social classes, the members of whom are very much alive.

As expected, proceedings unfold which see a group of survivors on a train travelling from Seoul, located in the north of South Korea, travelling to Busan, a coastal city in the South. Gong Yoo plays the main character, most recognizable as the lead from the 2013 action movie The Suspect. His character is that of a stereotypical salary man, one who is so involved in his work that he’s already divorced, with a young daughter that wants to go and stay with her Mum in Busan. For his daughter’s birthday, he agrees to take her to Busan to meet her mother, until of course events get interrupted by a zombie outbreak.

The cast of characters who convene to form the group of survivors are like a who’s who of disaster movie archetypes – we have the good hearted working class couple, played by Ma Dong-seok (the stocky muscular guy from any Korean movie made within the last 10 years) and Jeong Yu-mi. There’s a slimy middle aged business man who’ll happily sacrifice others to save himself played by Kim Eui-seong, a faithful train driver, a pair of old ladies, a teenage couple, and a homeless guy just for good measure.

Sang-ho wastes no time getting down to business, and within 15 minutes we’re already on the train watching events unfurl, as a stray zombie who managed to get on-board just before it pulls away from the platform begins to wreak havoc. For the remainder of the almost 2 hour runtime, we stay within the confines of the train, or never far from it. As a result of almost 75 minutes being spent in train carriages, there are times when the action begins to strain. At the end of the day, its zombies on a train, and as expected, most of the tension is wringed from the survivors frantically dashing from one carriage to the other, closing the door seconds before a horde of the undead pile up in pursuit. It’s initially effective, but by the umpteenth time we see it, all sense of danger has effectively dissipated.

Sang-ho’s script also makes the most interesting characters the supporting ones. Gong Yoo’s fund manager who doesn’t have time for his family is as dull as dishwater, despite being the main character. Before the first five minutes are over, it’s obvious that he’s going to take the train with his daughter, be put in peril, and realise that family is more important than work. It’s a cliché that’s been recycled time and time again in Korean cinema, and both the script and Yoo’s bland performance add nothing new to it. Dong-seok’s dedicated husband on the other hand stands out, both relatable and willing to do anything to protect his heavily pregnant wife, he easily steals the show whenever he’s onscreen.

One of the best scenes has Dong-seok round up Yoo and a teenage baseball player, to single handedly fight their way through several carriages of zombies, in order to get to a group of stranded passengers further down the train. Watching his burly frame punch and wrestle though several waves of the undead almost makes you wish that he was the main character, and it’s certainly a breath of fresh air to see zombies being dispatched with plain old brute force rather than the traditional bullet in the head. However for those checking in hoping to see a Korean version of Dawn of the Dead, those expectations should be adjusted accordingly. Despite several victims falling prey to the zombies insatiable appetite, Train to Busan feels like a tame affair when it comes to violence, with very little imagination shown when it comes to the nitty gritty of zombies doing what they do best.

Indeed it seems that rather than going for visceral thrills, Sang-ho is more interested in using the outbreak as a plot device in which to frame his commentary on the questionable decisions of those in authority. There’s been a number of Korean movies of late which take swipes at the countries government, a prime example being the excellent Inside Men, and Train to Busan also comes with a message for its audience. The issue is that it’s not a subtle one, and the moments when Sang-ho’s script wants to say something, it does so in a way which sticks out like a sore thumb. A newsreader announces “We must keep calm and trust the government” over images of a burning cityscape, and in another scene an employee, who knows the orders he received will condemn people to certain death, questions that it’s not his fault if he’s just doing what he’s told to do.

The lack of imaginative violence, social commentary, and a particularly awkward change in tone that switches to a melodramatic finale, all point to Sang-ho looking to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. The issues is that when you want to appeal to such a broad audience, a movie can easily lose its identity. To a degree that seems to be the main issue with Train to Busan. Is it a Korean zombie flick? Is it a scathing commentary on those in authority? Is it the tale of a father and daughter reconciling their relationship? Sang-ho has tried to make it all of those things, and it doesn’t quite succeed at being any of them, at least not in a way which effectively connects with those watching.

The zombies don’t feel scary enough, the characters aren’t fleshed out enough, and the swipes at the authorities aren’t subtle enough. With that being said, it’s unfair to write off Train to Busan as a bad movie. It’s not, and to Sang-ho’s credit it remains watchable throughout, even if by the end it has worn out its welcome ever so slightly. As a first foray into live-action, Sang-ho hasn’t quite hit the mark, but his talent is still very much on display, with the distinct visual style present in his animated productions successfully carried over into a live action environment. Next time, hopefully he’ll return with a sharper and more focused script, and when that happens I’ll be more than happy to buy a return ticket. But for now, Train to Busan is thankfully just a one-way trip.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 6/10

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

Watch a deleted “waterboard torture” clip from ‘Kill Zone 2′

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

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

Today marks the anticipated release of Well Go USA’s Blu-ray & DVD for Kill Zone 2 (read our review), which is also widely known as  SPL II: A Time for Consequences.

To celebrate its release, we have uploaded an exclusive clip featuring the film’s controversial deleted “waterboard torture” scene, with Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior) and Tony Jaa (Skin Trade). Click here or scroll below.

And don’t forget, today is the last day to enter our giveaway for your chance to win a Blu-ray copy of the film (enter the contest).

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 also stars Louis Koo (White Storm), Simon Yam (Wild City) and Zhang Jin (Ip Man 3). | Watch the film’s trailer.

You can currently order Kill Zone 2 from Amazon.com. But for now, don’t miss the following exclusive clip:

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Full trailer for Vin Diesel’s ‘xXx 3’ w/Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa

"xXx" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"xXx" Japanese Theatrical Poster

A third xXx sequel, titled xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, is currently in full swing. The upcoming film, directed by DJ Caruso (The Salton Sea), sees Vin Diesel reprising the role of Xander, the extreme sports-lovin’ secret agent who likes his Mountain Dew shaken, not stirred.

Joining Diesel is Ice Cube, who is co-starring as Darius Stone, the other agent, who took on the title character in 2005’s xXx 2: State of the Union.

Also along for the ride are martial arts superstars Donnie Yen (Ip Man 3) and Tony Jaa (SPL II: A Time for Consequences). Other cast members include Kris Wu (Journey to the West 2, Mermaid), Hermione Corfield (Mr. Holmes, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Indian mega star Deepika Padukone (Piku), Michael Bisping (Beatdown) and former NFL star Tony Gonzalez.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage hits theaters on January 20, 2017.

Media: Teaser for Vin Diesel; teaser for Tony Jaa; and teaser for Donnie Yen.

Updates: Watch the film’s full trailer.

Posted in News | 7 Comments

Watch the newest trailers for Jet Li’s ‘League of Gods’

"League of Gods" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"League of Gods" Chinese Theatrical Poster

After a 2-year hiatus, Jet Li (High Risk, The Sorcerer and the White Snake) is returning for a supernatural action epic, titled League of Gods (aka Feng Shen Bang 3D). The upcoming film – directed by both Koan Hui (Snow Blossom) and newcomer, Vernie Yeung – will be based on the 16th-century Chinese novel by Xu Zhonglin titled Investiture of Gods.

Also starring in League of Gods is Louis Koo (Flash Point), Huang Xiaoming (Ip Man 2), AngelaBaby (Mojin: The Lost Legend), Tony Leung Ka-Fai (A Better Tomorrow III), Fan Bingbing (The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom), Wen Zhang (The Mermaid) and Jacky Heung (From Vegas to Macau III).

Cecilia Cheung (Legendary Amazons) was previously attached (some of her scenes were actually filmed), but was ultimately replaced by Zhang, due to reported “out-of-control behavior on set.” Shu Qi (The Assassin) was also attached to the film, but dropped out for unknown reasons.

Media: 1st teaser trailer. | 2nd teaser. | Teaser for Jet Li’s character | Teaser for Wen Zhang’s character. | Teaser for Fan Bing-Bing’s character | Teaser for Huang Xiao-Ming’s character. | Teaser for AngelaBaby’s character. | Full trailer.

Updates: Teaser for Jacky Heung’s character.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection | Blu-ray (Arrow Video)

"Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection" Blu-ray Cover

"Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection" Blu-ray Cover

RELEASE DATE: August 8, 2016

Arrow Video is back it with its ongoing storm of Japanese cult classics. On July 26th, the company is releasing the Blu-ray set for the Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection, which will include Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion, Jailhouse 41, Beast Stable and Grudge Song.

Check out the press release below:

Starring the iconic and beautiful Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood, Stray Cat Rock) in a role that came to define her career, the four-film Female Prisoner Scorpion series charts the vengeance of Nami Matsushima, who assumes the mantle of “Scorpion,” becoming an avatar of vengeance and survival, and an unlikely symbol of female resistance in a male-dominated world.

Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion introduces Nami, a gullible young woman unjustly imprisoned, who must find a way to escape in order to exact revenge upon the man who betrayed her. The visually avant-garde Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 sees director Shunya Ito and star Meiko Kaji re-unite as Nami and six other female convicts escape prison once more. The Gothic horror-inspired Beast Stable finds Nami branded public enemy #1 and on the run. She soon finds refuge with a sympathetic prostitute, but runs afoul of a local gang. The final film in the series, #701’s Grudge Song (from director Yasuharu Hasebe, Retaliation, Massacre Gun), shows a gentler side of Nami as she falls in with Kudo, an ex-radical suffering from physical and psychological trauma caused by police torture.

Spiritual kin to Ms. 45, Coffy and The Bride Wore Black, the Female Prisoner Scorpion is the pinnacle of early 1970s exploitation cinema from Japanese grindhouse studio Toei, and one of the greatest female revenge sagas ever told.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

  • Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3000 copies)
  • Brand new 2K restorations of all four films in the series presented on High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD
  • Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays) for all films
  • Optional English subtitles for all films
  • Double-sided fold out poster of two original artworks
  • Reversible sleeves for all films featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
  • Booklet featuring an extract from Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji, an upcoming book on the star by critic and author Tom Mes, an archive interview with Meiko Kaji, and a brand new interview with Toru Shinohara, creator of the original Female Prisoner Scorpion manga

FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION

  • Newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Gareth Evans (The Raid, The Raid 2)
  • Archive interview with director Shunya Ito
  • New interview with assistant director Yutaka Kohira
  • Theatrical Trailers for all films in the series

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41

  • Newly filmed appreciation by critic Kier-La Janisse
  • Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Shunya Ito
  • New interview with production designer Tadayuki Kuwana
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE

  • Newly filmed appreciation by critic Kat Ellinger
  • Archive interview with director Shunya Ito
  • New visual essay on the career of star and icon Meiko Kaji by critic Tom Mes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701’s GRUDGE SONG

  • Newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Kichiku: Banquet of the Beasts)
  • Archive interview with director Yasuharu Hasebe
  • Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Yasuharu Hasebe
  • Visual essay on the Scorpion series by critic Tom Mes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Pre-order the Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Asian Titles, DVD/Blu-ray New Releases | 3 Comments

House in the Alley (2012) Review

"House in the Alley" Vietnamese Poster

"House in the Alley" Vietnamese Poster

Director: Le-Van Kiet
Writer: Le-Van Kiet
Producer: Dan Trong Tran
Cast: Veronica Ngo, Son Bao Tran, Van Hai Bui
Running Time: 93 min.

By Kyle Warner

It’s been my experience that some of the finest horror films work so well because they build their dread and terror by taking their time, letting the scares linger, allowing the horror to slowly bubble over. An in-your-face horror film like Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a visceral thrill but a slow-burn horror tale like Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse (aka Kairo) hits on a more psychological level (I love both films, by the way). Thing is, when a slow-burn horror film misses, it can be accused of being boring by more than just the general audiences… And I think even the most hardcore of horror fans will find House in the Alley rather dull and drawn out.

House in the Alley is a Vietnamese horror movie about a wife who’s going crazy and a husband who keeps falling off the roof every 20-30 minutes. There’s more to the movie than that, but not much more. After a bloody childbirth results in a stillborn baby, wife Thao (The Rebels Veronica Ngo) is beside herself with grief. She won’t allow the baby to be buried, instead keeping the little coffin inside the master bedroom of their dreary, leaky house. Her husband Thanh (Son Bao Tran) is upset, too, but he’s ready to move on and try again. Thanh is also dealing with difficulties at work and a terribly unsympathetic mother (who’s also his boss), so coming home to a depressed and sometimes irrational wife isn’t easy for him. But Thao’s not just depressed, she’s apparently losing her mind. She confesses to a friend that she often thinks about chopping her husband into pieces. Hubby Thanh doesn’t pick up on any of this—he thinks the best way to coax his wife out of her depression is sexy fun time, an activity that’s almost constantly on his mind.

Add to the marital discord some creepy sounds, ghostly children on the patio, and a bouncing ball with no owner, and you get a supernatural ghost story about a dying marriage and severe postpartum depression. The supernatural happenings seem like an afterthought, though—a theory pretty much confirmed when the film tacks on an answer to the hauntings in the finale that seems to belong to a different story altogether. Writer/director Le-Van Kiet (Gentle) goes for the classics with spooky stains, giggling ghost children, the sound of running footsteps in an empty house, and black cats abruptly crossing our path (for what it’s worth, the cat gave me a jump).

House in the Alley is not original in its scares and nor is it terribly effective in how it delivers them. Le-Van Kiet’s film is almost without form, fading from one scene to the next without much in the way of buildup. The characters also suffer from behaving stupid under the circumstances (something that’s common in horror, to be fair). Husband Thanh wanders his house in the middle of the night to find the source of the sounds he keeps hearing. In his searches, he inevitably finds himself hanging from the side of his house, and then falls to the ground below. This happens three times, I think. It’s a peculiar thing to keep revisiting. Also, later in the film when the events have reached their boiling point, a character actually thinks that the best place to hide from someone with an axe is behind a clear glass window. Surprise! That axe is coming through the window with no problem at all. You big dummy.

I feel like the filmmakers could’ve done more with the fact that there’s a dead baby’s coffin watching over husband and wife in bed—that’s original imagery, if nothing else—but the film’s not terribly interested in making a mark visually. House in the Alley does seem to have something in mind regarding women’s roles in modern Vietnam, though. The wife Thao is expected to get over it, to move on and please her overworked husband. Even her mother-in-law wants to remind Thao of her place in the marriage. That Thao’s depression is viewed so dispassionately is sometimes troubling, and it certainly doesn’t help us like her husband any better, nor make us fear for his well-being. Without the haunting aspects of the film, Thao’s crazy behavior later in the film could almost be seen as an ugly depiction of a ‘hysterical’ woman. The supernatural justifies her behavior, and in doing so saves House in the Alley from being a nasty, dispassionate piece of work. One thing I did enjoy was the gender swap of horror situations. Often when a spouse goes mad in horror cinema, it’s the husband that’s threatening to the wife (The Shining, for example). Here, it’s the wife whose behavior is threatening to the husband, and that makes for a few interesting scenes.

When a movie review uses the phrase “deliberately paced,” most readers probably think that’s critic-talk for “boring.” I really don’t want to call House in the Alley a boring film but… I do think the movie tests the audience’s patience too often without delivering enough of the goods to make it worth your time.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 4.5/10

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Cityonfire.com’s ‘Kill Zone 2′ Blu-ray Giveaway! – WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

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

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

Cityonfire.com and Well Go USA are giving away 3 Blu-ray copies of Kill Zone 2 (read our review) 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 Blu-ray for Kill Zone 2 will be officially released on July 19, 2016. We will announce the 3 winners the following day.

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by July 19, 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: Sahaphol P, MardukKyrios and Travis.

Posted in News | Tagged | 45 Comments

Deal on Fire! Wrath of Vajra | Blu-ray | Only $7.42 – Expires soon!

The Wrath of Vajra | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

The Wrath of Vajra | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Law Ching Cheong’s The Wrath of Vajra.

In The Wrath of Vajra, a top Chinese martial artist (Yu Xing, star of the upcoming Super Bodyguard) sets his sights on a Japanese death cult after they abduct innocent Chinese children and train them to be assassins.

The film also stars Steve Yoo Seung Jun (Dragon Blade), Jiang Baocheng (Painted Skin 2: The Resurrection), Yasuaki Kurata (Shinjuku Incident) and Hiroyuki Ikeuchi (Ip Man).

Order Wrath of Vajra from Amazon.com today!

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Nicolas Tse and Lau Ching Wan return for ‘Heartfall Arises’

"Heartfall Arises" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Heartfall Arises" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Currently being prepped for release is Ken Wu’s Heartfall Arises, a crime-thriller that reunites the two stars of 2012’s The Bullet Vanishes: Nicolas Tse (The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom) and Lau Ching Wan (Too Many Ways to Be Number One). Other cast members include Tong Liya (Wild City) and Mavis Fan (The Silent War).

This $25M (US) production, which is being described as a “high IQ crime movie,” is set across four countries: China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan.

Heartfall Arises will be released this year in both 2D and 3D. In case you missed it, here’s the film’s first trailer, as well as a “making of” featurette.

Updates: Watch the film’s newest trailer.

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‘The Rebel’ and ‘Bay Rong’ star has an ‘Untold Story’ to tell

"Once Upon A Time in Vietnam" Vietnamese Poster

"Once Upon A Time in Vietnam" Vietnamese Poster

Vietnamese actress/model Veronica Ngo (House in the Alley) – best known for her martial arts action roles in Lua Phat, Bay Rong, The Rebel and the recent Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II – is getting ready to release her directorial debut, Tam Cam: The Untold Story, fantasy-adventure is based on the Vietnamese fairy tale The Story of Tam and Cam (Vietnam’s take on Cinderella).

In addition to directing, Ngo also stars in the film alongside Ha Vi, Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc, Thanh Loc, Ngoc Giau and Huu Chau.

If you’re expecting nothing but a family-friendly flick, think again, because the newly released trailer (via FCS) for Tam Cam: The Untold Story promises some action. The film hits Vietnamese theaters this summer.

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Deadly Kick, The | aka Dragon King (1976) Review

"The Deadly Kick" Korean Theatrical Poster

"The Deadly Kick" Korean Theatrical Poster

AKA: The Rival
Director: Go Yeong-nam, Lo Lieh
Cast: Lo Lieh, Bobby Kim, Pearl Lin Yin Zhu, Han Mi-ja, Im Eun-ju, Kim Ki-ju, Jin Bong-jin, Gam Kei Chu, Bruce Cheung Mong, Chan Feng Chen, Chiu Chun, Han Myeong-hwan
Running Time: 93 min.

By Paul Bramhall

In 1972 the Shaw Brothers production King Boxer was released in the US, under the title of Five Fingers of Death, and is largely considered to be the movie which kicked off the kung fu craze for western audiences. Starring popular thespian Lo Lieh, King Boxer was actually directed by a well-respected Korean filmmaker named Jeong Chang-hwa. Because of Chang-hwa’s popularity in Korea, not only did the movie travel stateside, but it also received a Korean dub and was released on his home soil. Perhaps because of this, Lo Lieh became a recognizable face in Korea, and 4 years later he’d go on to star and co-direct a pair of Korean movies alongside local taekwondo star Bobby Kim.

Bobby Kim was one of those Korean stars who, much like Han Yong-cheol, made his most popular movies in Korea during the 70’s, and never transitioned to Hong Kong productions like Casanova Wong, Hwang Jang Lee, and Kwon Yung Moon did to great effect in the later part of the decade. Kim eventually emigrated to Denver, where he setup a taekwondo school, and featured in a number of mostly no-budget local martial arts productions (Kill Line being a good example).

Lieh and Kim would pair up in both International Police and The Deadly Kick in 1976, and both movies contain almost identical casts and crew, so it’s safe to assume they were filmed at exactly the same time. In The Deadly Kick Lieh plays a sex crazed alcoholic, the self-proclaimed “king of the nether regions”, who’s just gotten out of a 5 year stint in prison. In flashback we learn that Lieh and Kim used to be students under the same martial arts master, however Lieh’s quick temper and jealousy led him to rape the master’s daughter, during which he uses his eagle claw technique to gauge her eyes and blind her. You may assume this makes Lieh the despicable villain of the piece, however, in a decision that’s beyond explanation, he’s actually the main character.

Through a series of muddled events, 15 minutes in we finally meet Bobby Kim, playing an Interpol agent on the trail of a stolen $100,000. A criminal organization are also after the money, who hire Lieh to track it down, and the pair form an uneasy partnership to try and locate it together. The Deadly Kick looks and feels like a sleazy incomprehensible mess, and it leaves a distinct impression that the dubbing has seriously flubbed some of the plot points. Random events simply pop up through abrupt scene changes, such as the master’s daughter suddenly showing up and announcing that, “even though I’m blind, I’ve practiced martial arts all day every day.” Her practice entails having a young girl (it’s never explained who she is) follow her around, who jangles a bell to signal were the daughter should attack. However when the confrontation with Lieh finally happens, he simply kills the little girl with one strike, and then wonders off back to resume his mission.

Lieh’s style of kung fu is also likely to draw looks of confusion. Clearly channelling his King Boxer stances, whenever he springs into action the camera cuts to directly in front of his face, as he busts out various tiger, eagle, and snake hand gestures, which for the uninitiated could well be mistaken for shadow puppetry. However best of all, is that each animal gesture is spliced with images and sounds of said animal. So we get brief glimpses of a tiger mask being thrust at the camera, complete with growls, a stuffed eagle being shaken about by a hand just off-screen while headache inducing squawks play over it, and a rubber snake held so close to the camera you can hardly make it out at all. Oh, and by the way apparently snakes don’t hiss, they squeak intermittently.

It’s difficult to tell what tone The Deadly Kick was really going for. At times it feels like an Asian version of 007, with Bobby Kim being captured and trapped in a gas chamber, disguising himself as a waiter to save Lieh from a guillotine trap that would make Blofeld proud, and even being chased by bad guys throwing grenades from a helicopter. However at other times it feels like a cheap basher, with a trio of henchmen (two of which are played by Korean kung fu luminaries Kwon Il-soo and Chiu Chun in early screen appearances) being a highlight. While two of them utilise a shuriken and blow dart respectively, the third member, played by Chun, uses a brick, which he smashes over his head and then throws the pieces at whoever he’s trying to kill. Who thought this would be a good idea!? That being said, the blow dart prop doesn’t fare much better, with the henchman unable to muster up enough breath to propel it more than a few inches in front of him. Thankfully, the editing would have us believe it lodged in a hapless victim’s skull several meters away.

You’d think a production that contains a scene in which a helicopter flies so low, it almost clips the person it’s chasing after, could afford a more effective blow dart mechanism. The actual martial arts action also mostly falls into the basher category. For over an hour, it’s frustratingly filmed in a way which has either Lieh or Kim striking at the camera, then cutting away to the person whom the strike is supposed to have connected with falling to the ground. However the fact that no physical connection is ever shown damages the impact of these scenes significantly. Essentially Lieh or Kim could have been filmed in one location, and the recipient of their blows might as well have been filmed in another. However at just over the hour mark Kim finally gets into a decent scuffle, which allows us to see his kicks physically interacting with his opponents. The action is filmed in a frantic style by the camera, very much reminiscent of the karate exploitation flicks coming out of Japan at the time, spearheaded by Sonny Chiba.

However what makes any basher worthy of its title is the sense of desperation conveyed in the fight scenes. The term ‘basher’ was mostly used for productions from the 70’s, which displayed more of a ‘punch and block’ style of fighting, as compared to the more intricate choreography style which would come a few years later, popularly known as ‘shapes’. The style was particularly effective in modern day set action movies of the time, and names like Jimmy Wang Yu, Chan Sing, and Yasuaki Kurata would become synonymous with the genre. The final 30 minutes of The Deadly Kick cranks out some worthy basher action, particularly when Lieh has to fight his way through a series of sliding door rooms to get to the main Japanese villain, reminiscent of a similar scene that would take place 30 years later in Ryoo Seung-wan’s City of Violence (only Seung-wan’s production was minus the animal sounds).

Bobby Kim also gets some worthy kicks in, with one shot in particular standing out which has the camera positioned on the floor, some distance away from the fight action. Kim then kicks one of the henchmen, who proceeds to slide across the floor face first straight into the camera lens. The image of the henchman looking directly into the camera is one that will linger for a while after watching. Indeed The Deadly Kick manages to remain watchable mainly due to these constantly random moments, seemingly played completely poker faced, popping up with frequent regularity. The white haired villain of the piece lives behind a fake wall, with only a stuffed owl to keep him company, and the wall slides back whenever he has to dish out orders to his henchman. Exactly what he’s sitting there staring at whenever the wall is closed is a mystery.

Other worthy mentions include the inclusion of 3 shirtless bodybuilder thugs, who must have been given the direction to laugh while flexing their pecks at the same time, which was clearly a lot harder to do than it sounds. My favorite scene of randomness though occurs when Lieh thrusts his fist into a henchman’s stomach, and rips out their intestines. These aren’t just some cheaply made prosthetic intestines though, they’re fresh, sloppy, very real animal intestines, which he then proceeds to throw into the face of poor Park Dong-yong, before grabbing them and strangling him to death with them. I can only imagine the conversation that took place between the director and Dong-yong before the scene – “So you just need to stand there, and Lo Lieh is going to throw the animal innards into your face, ok?” Kudos to him for being so game, and the scene pre-dates the same intestine strangulation technique used in The Story of Ricky by 16 years.

That being said, the sexual violence won’t appeal to everyone, and rightfully so. When Lieh’s crime syndicate love interest is captured by the Japanese, she’s stripped naked and tied up in front of a room comprising only of men. The main Japanese villain then proceeds to repeatedly stab her between the legs with a fencing sword, set to her ear piercing screams. Even though no nudity is shown, it’s an uncomfortable scene. To keep with the exploitative nature of the situation, every scene which then takes place within the room, including the fights, is awkwardly framed from between her thighs. If the preceding torture hadn’t been so cruel, such a technique would have been bizarrely entertaining, but as it is, the scene leaves a bad taste.

For those who are wondering, the plot is coherent enough to have Kim remember what Lieh did to their master’s daughter, and the finale delivers a Bobby Kim vs Lo Lieh showdown. Keeping with the bizarre nature of the production, it becomes an almost mystical confrontation, with Lieh calling on what I can only presume is the God of Eagle Claw, and Kim channelling the powers of the Buddha. Onscreen, this translates to lots of blowing leaves, and spliced scenes of the stuffed eagle facing a statue of the Buddha. As a fight, I challenge anyone who’s seen it to explain exactly what happens, but as an exercise in 70’s kung fu oddities, The Deadly Kick certainly qualifies as a contender.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 5/10

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Cynthia Rothrock has an ‘Asian Ghost Story’ to tell…

"Asian Ghost Story" DVD Cover

"Asian Ghost Story" DVD Cover

On September 13, 2016, Rapid Heart Pictures is releasing Asian Ghost Story to DVD. This ultra low-budget (we repeat, ultra low-budget) horror/martial arts flick revolves around the spirit of a dead Chinese railway worker who seeks revenge in the form of a lethal Ninja.

Asian Ghost Story stars MMA’s sensation Josh Van Meurs, Nicholas Simmons (Evil Exhumed) and Cassidy Alexa (School of Fish). Of special note, the film also features martial arts legend, Cynthia Rothrock (Shanghai Express) – despite headlining the DVD artwork, we believe she may only have a cameo.

Without further ado, here’s the trailer (and Rothrock is nowhere to be found in it). Proceed with caution…

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Sea Fog | DVD (Film Movement)

Sea Fog | DVD (Film Movement)

Sea Fog | DVD (Film Movement)

RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2016

Sea Fog, the debut film of Sim Sung-Bo (writer of Memories of Murder), is heading to DVD on August 2, 2016, courtesy Film Movement.

Sourced from the 2007 stage play of the same name, Sea Fog (aka Haemoo) is the story of a Korean fishing vessel and the thrilling events the crew members face while on their deadly journey. The film is based on actual events.

Sea Fog stars Kim Yun-Seok (The Chaser), Park Yoo-Chun (Dance Subaru), Han Ye-Ri (Kundo), Lee Hee-Joon (The Unjust) and is produced by Bong Joon Ho (The Host, Snowpiercer). | Trailer.

Pre-order Sea Fog from Amazon.com today!

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