Next Week is Gary Daniels Week On Kiai-Kick!

Posted in Gary Daniels with tags on October 17, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Gary Daniels1

That’s right, Fist Of The North Star and Bryan Fury himself, Gary Daniels, will be celebrated all next week! So what will we do? Well, how about reviews of some of his films, including a review of his newest film Misfire, plus his entry as a Kiai-Kick All Star, and a Q & A with the man himself? Damn Right!

It’s Gary Daniels all week long! It’ll be fun! In the meantime…how about a primer?

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Is this the end of Wu Jing?!

Posted in Jacky Wu Jing with tags , on October 17, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Wu Jing hospital

That is a vision we’ve seen from Jackie Chan more than once, but here we have Wu Jing, who suffered great injuries during the filming of SPL 2, with 2 broken legs and more. There is now speculation that this will end the 41-year-old’s career. With SPL 2 and Wolf Warrior coming up, there is a chance of that. Wolf War is his directorial debut, and hinted than his destiny may well be behind the camera. I’d hate to see Wu Jing hang it up, and that would leave Donnie Yen and (Now) Xing Yu as the only real martial arts stars in China.

I had always thought that Wu Jing would become a superstar once he found his Wong Fei Hung or Ip Man. He has the talent, but nowadays guys who would do things that garner injuries like Wu Jing above are a dying breed. Most Chinese action films now have stuntmen performing for the stars just like in Hollywood films. The days of Jackie Chan,  Sammo Hung and their crews are, sadly, over.

I hope Wu Jing will make more films, but wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t. How well Wolf Warrior does may go a long way toward his decision either way.

Thanks to Lee Golden with Film Combat Syndicate for the original story.

Iron Monk on Indiegogo needs our support!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 16, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Iron Monk

Many will remember when I reported on this film back in 2011. Things seemed to die down to the point that I wondered if this film would ever get made, even though I would hear from star Jason Ninh Cao every once and a while. But now, lo and behold, they have decided to have the film crowdfunded, and they need your help! It all looks like a slick project, and I’ve been really behind this film, and I urge for you all to donate what you can. Starring Yanzi Shi, Jason Nihn Cao, Zara Phythian, Silvio Simac, and Mark Strange. Check out their Indiegogo ad below, and then go check out the trailer and donate here!

Are you ready for Tony’s Wrath?

Posted in Amy Johnston, Emmanuel Manzanares, Gui DaSilva, Mark Mushashi, Mickey Facchinello, Tony Chu, Vlad Rimburg with tags , on September 28, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Wow. Simply a great short by Vladislav Rimburg featuring cinematographer and fighter Tony Chu, a tremendously talented dude. Vlad made this as a thank you to Tony for helping to start the Indie martial arts community. I have to thank Vlad and all of them for opening my eyes wide to this community that I’ve chosen to become a part of. You’ll find so many great folks on screen here: Mickey Facchinello, Amy Johnston, Mark Mushashi, Gui Dasilva and so many more. Just watch this piece of greatness and enjoy. A lot of hard work went into this!

 

 

 

Review: Shaolin Kids in Hong Kong (1994)

Posted in Gordon Liu, Philip Kwok, Wang Lung Wei with tags , on September 8, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

2014-09-08 12.18.00

Starring Gordon Liu, Wang Lung Wei, Philip Kwok, Anita Lee, Choi Yue, Lee Hiu-Tung.

Fight Choreography by Philip Kwok

Directed by Stephan Yip Tin-Hang

Shaolin Kids starts at the Shaolin Temple, where Master Chi (Lui) has the unenviable task of trying to train a new generation of shaolin monks. Two of his youngest students, enamored with things like a Nintendo Gameboy, decide that there’s a better world out there and go out to seek their fortune, and so leave for Hong Kong. Master Chi follows them in order to bring them home, but must face his own ignorance of the outside world. The two boys are taken in by a young woman named Money (Lee) but find themselves in trouble when they uncover a belt of counterfeit money, and danger chases them in the form of a local drug boss (Lung Wei), and only Master Chi can save the day. (Of course he can. Like two little kids can take on Wang Lung Wei. Please.)

Shaolin Kids is a really cheap movie that was made to appeal to kids, but there is some casting that just makes you go “this is a kids film?” Aside from the mugging and overacting for the camera, and goofy sound effects, I have to admit I was wanting a hell of a lot more, and with that cast, who could blame me? Gordon Lui is, well, Gordon Lui, or as I like to refer to him, The Greatness. He plays the Shaolin master as well as ever, even in his more sillier scenes. On the other hand, in one section of the film Gordon Lui gets into a scuffle with Philip Kwok, who looked as if he stepped off of another film, and don’t even get me started on Wang Lung Wei. Hell, he does the famous finger wag, even in a damn kids movie! No one escapes the Wang Lung Wei finger wag. The man acted as if he thought he was in Outlaw Brothers 2!

This one is for you, Heroic Sisterhood!

This one is for you, Heroic Sisterhood!

The fights are kidified and relatively bloodless, and the plot is truly silly, but with a decent final bout between Gordon and Wang Lung Wei, I couldn’t complain, except that this is a kids’ movie! The cinematography is shoddy at best, and there is not really anything of any artistic value from a directing standpoint. It’s hard to grade a film like this, as it was meant for kids, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. A better director would have made far greater use of his talent.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 3

It’s breezy entertainment meant for the wee ones. Some odd casting keeps things slightly above the kid level. Not really one to recommend. Let the kids watch Kung Fu Panda instead.

Review: Maximum Risk (1996)

Posted in Jean-Claude Van Damme with tags , on August 25, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

MAXRISK-CTIT-CT-554

Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Zach Grenier, Paul Ben-Victor, Frank Senger

Fight Choreography by Charlie Picerni

Directed by Ringo Lam

I wonder what it felt like in 1996, in what we’ll officially call on this website from here on out “A.R.”: After Rumble in The Bronx, to be JCVD or any American martial arts star, to have seen what Jackie Chan did with Rumble in the Bronx, with Supercop on the way to a stateside release. Could they feel the shift of things under their collective feet? I know that as a martial arts fan, after Rumble I could feel that things had changed. Slow fight scenes, simplistic choreography just wouldn’t cut it after see that blaze of kung fu and exhilarating stunts not seen since…ever, for most Americans. But I sense that JCVD knew what was coming, and tried to align himself with other HK directors in the hopes of putting out a film in the vein of their hits. John Woo, Tsui Hark and now Ringo Lam took their shots at it, and there is a long-standing rumor that all three bet that they could make the most successful JCVD film between the three of them.

Ringo Lam didn’t win, but it wasn’t due to a lack of trying nor was it the end result. It’s just that it came A.R.

JCVD once again plays what he plays best (for some reason): twins. The film begins as Mikhail Suverov (JCVD) is being chased through the streets of Nice, France by two unknown assailants. Mikhail has been obviously tortured, and is desperate to get away from them. In doing so he makes the wrong move and is killed during a car chase. Fast forward a day or so and we meet Alain Moreau (JCVD) a French detective who finds out that he had a twin brother he never knew about, but is determined to retrace his wayward brother’s tracks to find out why Mikhail was being hunted, and the connections he had with the Russian Mafia in New York City. While there Alain meets Mikhail’s girlfriend Alex (Henstridge) and together they discover that Mikhail was is deep trouble with factions within the mafia, as well as the FBI, and Alain finds that he can’t trust anybody…

Maximum Risk 2

This film is the closest we’ll get to a JCVD spy thriller, and for the most part, it works. Alain has plenty of reasons to find out what happened to his brother, and his conversation with his mother is surprisingly effective, and JCVD had the acting chops to pull it off. Natasha Henstridge is okay as Alex, but isn’t much more than eye candy here. Paul Ben-Victor has made a career of playing assholes who happen to be law enforcement officers, and he is great here as FBI Agent Pellman, who needs Alain and what he knows about Mikhail. The story is well told, and Ringo Lam does include some of his classic dolly shots and camera trickery, but none of the verve and energy seen in his HK product (that could be said for Woo and Hark too).

Maximum Risk 1

There aren’t many fight scenes, but JCVD does have a couple of good scrapes with a large Russian, whom he faces in a burning building and then in a sauna, and finally in an elevator, all of which are well done, but not overly complicated. Just simple, but in a good way. JCVD looks great as he always does. No really standout fights, but solid work all around.

(as an aside, if I had control of the film, Alain would be dealing with the Italian mafia, and thus go to Italy. Monica Bellucci would have replaced Natasha Henstridge. But that’s just me, folks.)

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 7

A really solid if not spectacular JCVD film that tells a good story peppered with good action. It was just born at the wrong time!

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