It’s simply insane that it’s been five years since I started this website. This whole thing started shortly after I finished directing my first show, Dragon Sukuro-ru for public access. I was searching for more martial arts films, and wasn’t finding what I was looking for. The ones I did find had no real reviews out there to judge whether to get it or not. I decided then and there to do exactly that: create a website that would cater to martial arts film fans and only them, and I would review everything, from every country and culture, from indie film to mainstream. So I wrote my first post “Welcome to our Island, Mr. Roper” and laid out my mission statement to the masses. I then posted my first review a few days later, The Big Boss, because, you just gotta start with Bruce Lee. I got some nice support from folks like Vern and the great Ric Meyers. One of my earliest supporters, when no-one knew my site even existed, was the late great Darren Shahlavi. He thought the idea of the site was a good one, and spurred me to keep going with it. It was that and a few others who really made me press on.
I slowly built a readership, and was exposed to something I wasn’t aware of: the Indie scene, and the stunt teams behind them like The Stuntpeople, EMC Monkeys, LBP Stunts Chicago, Thousand Pounds, Faux Fighting, Z-Team, and got acquainted with some great folks like Eric Jacobus, Emmanuel Manzanares, Tyler Williams, Shawn Bernal, Dennis Ruel, Vladislav Rimburg, and so many more. I also met others who were doing similar things to myself, like the Heroic Sisterhood, Lee Golden, Gene Ching, and others.
I also got some great support from a place I wasn’t expecting: Roger Ebert. I had written an open letter concerning my thoughts on his review and blog post about The Raid. I never expected him to actually read it, but he did, and pointed it out to others via Twitter (Ah, the power of Tweets!), and my readership increased by a lot afterwards. I’ve also had the pleasure to do some Q&A’s with some awesome people like Matt Page and Gary Daniels.
Little did I know that things were about to change. Rather, I was about to change.
Bruce Lee delivers the pain.
I was going back to college to get my degree in film, for the purposes of becoming a better writer on the subject, but a funny thing happened. The more films I saw, the more I wanted to make them myself, even after the disaster that was my first effort. Then two things happened: a video and a talk. The video was one of Alan Watts’ speeches, posted on Facebook by Tyler Williams (eternal thanks!). The video simply asks the question: “What if money was no object?” You can watch for yourself below (this isn’t the same video, but the speech is the same):
I pondered over this video long and hard, and sat down with my best friend/wife Jen, and we looked at the situation, and looked at myself. A decision was made: to, at the age of 38, to become a full-time filmmaker. So, I walked away from a comfy full-time job with great benefits, in order to attend school full time. I did so, and May 2014 I got my degree, and afterward wrote and directed my first webseries, Cornered, which will be released soon. We also welcomed my little boy Jonathan into the world in September, marking what has to be one of the best years of my life.
So here we sit at 5 years! I have no idea what comes next, but I promise I’ll always be here, making films (hopefully you’ll enjoy them) and reviewing other movies, which may slow down from time to time due to productions. There may even be more guest writers/reviewers from time to time.
So thanks for coming to my island. The best is yet to come. Bolo will now escort you to your rooms.
–Michael S Moore