The final trailer for Cornered (2015) hits!

Posted in Aaron Alexander, Bobby Hernandez, Donald Brooks, Michael Moore on May 26, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

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If anyone is wondering why my reviews have been scattershot in release the last year or two can feast your eyes on this, the webseries I’ve been working on since last January, and I present you with the second and final trailer! Next Monday episode 1 kicks off, and I hope you enjoy it. I’ll just let the trailer speak for itself!

 

 

Here’s a fun Trailer for Tiger Cop 1 & 2 from Maria Tran!

Posted in Maria Tran with tags , on May 21, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Maria Tran, a great martial artist and stuntwoman down under, having done the film Maximum Choppage and the short film Hit Girls now returns with this, a what if that reminds me of Moon Lee, Cynthia Rothrock and Yukari Oshima films like Outlaw Brothers,  Kickboxer’s Tears and of course Yes Madam. Damn it all this “what if” needs to be a “will do”! This is a film I would need to see stat, and I’m sure once you see this trailer you’ll agree. There’s no plans–at least I think–for this to be anything more than a trailer, but I’m sure if enough people watch we could perhaps change Maria’s mind and kickstart this baby up? Oh yeah, and Mark Houghton and Michael Woods need to be in it. That’s just a wish fulfillment of my own! Check out the trailer below, and let’s hope that perhaps someday this becomes a reality!

Review: Pound of Flesh (2015)

Posted in Jean-Claude Van Damme, Darren Shahlavi, Mike Moeller, Mike Leeder with tags , , on May 14, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Darren Shahlavi, John Ralston, Mike Leeder, Mike Moeller

Fight Choreography by John Salvitti

Directed by Ernie Barbarash

JCVD returns as a black-ops agent Deacon Fry who arrives in France in order to give one of his kidneys to a niece he’s never met. Thing immediately go wrong when, after having a one-night stand, wakes up in an ice bath only to find that one of hiss kidneys has been taken. Deacon must then team up with his estranged brother George (Ralston) in order to track the kidney down, and rain vengeance on those who did so. George, a pious man, must reconcile the violence committed in his daughters’ name, even as the danger grows larger the closer they get to the kidney, but even they are not prepared for what they find at the end of their journey…

Pound of Flesh hits all of the normal JCVD tropes: the splits, butt shot (yes, even at age 51! Bravo!) and the tortured action heroes he’s been playing ever since he hit DTV land. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily; but I do miss the lighter characters he played in his hit films of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Deacon is a hardened man, but regretful of actions he took…actions that caused the rift between himself and George, who seems to be his opposite. JCVD does a good job portraying Deacon, and his performance, particularly at the end, is great, and gave me something that 1) I had never seen in a JCVD film, and 2) showed me a performance I wasn’t sure he was capable of, and it struck a cord, at least with me. John Ralston is a good foil for JCVD as George, who goes through a transformation throughout the film to discover that he may be more like Deacon than he’s ready to admit.

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And of course we have to talk about the late Darren Shahlavi as the lead villain Drake. His charisma onscreen is great, and my only regret is that there wasn’t more of him. He’s a great match for JCVD as he plays his character not-quite-over-the-top, something that actually brings a lot of energy to the film when things seem like they are about a lag a bit. The film pays a dedication to Darren, and I’m so glad they did. His performance is bittersweet, as it’s a reminder of how much he had grown as a performer, both in stunts and in acting. Ernie Barbarash, even though he’s working with a low budget, always seems to get the absolute most out of every dollar spent, and here is no exception, as this may be the best looking JCVD film to date not named Universal Soldier (or Hard Target).

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The fights choreographed by John Salvitti, who has been part of Donnie Yen’s stunt teams, gives something new. I was expecting the normal JCVD kicks, ending in his patented helicopter kick, but Salvitti goes in a different direction, adding more mixed martial arts to his repertoire, especially the final fight between JCVD and Darren Shahlavi. I’m normally not a fan of the style, but it works well here.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

A damn good action film from JCVD as he rollercoasters his way to vengeance as he battles Darren Shahlavi. Jean-Claude Van Damme proves once again he can deliver the goods!

Luc Besson Brings Us Warriors Gate!

Posted in Dave Bautista on May 13, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

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I loved what Luc did with Jet Li in Kiss of The Dragon, and I pretty much love most of what Besson does (The Fifth Element is one of my favorite films) and here he comes with a story that…doesn’t sound too much different than The Forbidden Kingdom: a teenager is magically transported to ancient China and must learn kung-fu. Yep, that sounds like Forbidden Kingdom, but I have faith in Luc, so I’ll give it a chance. The main villain is being played by Dave Bautista, who is evidently going to be the Bolo Yeung of this day and age, as he seems to be the go-to bad guy in any English speaking martial arts films. Also starring Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Marc Chao, and Chinese actress Ni Ni, and fav martial artist Ron Smoorenburg (Who Am I, The Protector) will be on hand for some great stunts.

Now the question is: who is doing the fight choreography?

Source: Variety

Review: Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow (1975)

Posted in Chi Ling Chiu, Fung Hak-On, Hwang Jang Lee, Jackie Chan, Roy Horan, Simon Yuen, Yuen Woo Ping with tags , on May 13, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen, Hwang Jang Lee, Fung Hak-on, Peter Chan, Charlie Chan, Roy Horan, Chi Ling Chiu

Fight Choreography by Yuen Woo Ping

Directed by Yuen Woo Ping

Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow represents a turning point in the career of Jackie Chan; he was deemed a failure by Lo Wei after several box office disappointments. The heir to Bruce Lee he was most definitely not; just another stuntman who couldn’t cut the mustard as a star. So when Golden Harvest came calling, Lo Wei had no qualms about lending Jackie to them. Jackie, understanding that the end was near, asked to control his own films, and to do something no one had really thought of: allowing Jackie to be Jackie, and not Bruce. That thinking, along with pulling JC into the orbit of the Yuen family, culminated in this film, which would become the thematic template to the film that will make Jackie Chan a major star, Drunken Master.

So what to make of the Snake?

In this film we find that he Snake Fist school has been under attack by the Eagle Claw school, and that for a school that once boasted over 3000 members now only has a few left (that’s not an attack. That’s war). We find that Mr. Ass Kicker himself Sheng Kuan (Lee) as he takes out another Snake fist master (Fung Hak-On). Next we meet one of the last masters of the form,  Master Pai Cheng Tien (Yuen), who wanders around as a beggar. His travels brings him to the orbit of a kindly young man Chien Fu (Chan) who “trains” at a school that, while the Master is away, is run by two buffoons who ridicule and embarrass him at every turn. Taking a liking to Chien Fu, Pai Cheng Tien decides to teach him the style of Snake Fist, but warns him not to show it. But since this is Jackie Chan, of course he’ll use it! This brings Sheng Kuan and several assassins to attempt to kill the last remaining Snake Fist masters…but Cheng Fu has a surprise waiting for them…

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Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow really shows the comedy that would become a hallmark of Jackie’s early films and career as a whole. Jackie himself, at least this time, is playing a nice young man, rather than the rapscallions he would later play. Even in this early film, it’s easy to see why JC became the superstar that he is. He has a great screen presence, and his kung fu is fun to watch, especially since he fell under the wing of the Yuen family, Speaking of whom, Simon Yuen, the real ODB himself, is as crazy fun to watch as he ever was. Is there any doubt that Simon Yuen was to Jackie Chan in these early films what Bill Tung would be for his later ones? They were both great comedic foils for JC to play off of, and they are both sorely missed.

Hwang Jang Lee is just awesome, this being a warm-up (as it was for everyone) for his role in Drunken Master. Roy Horan is decent as one of the assassins, and his finale…damn! The story itself is simple but hey, that’s the novel joy of it, and Yuen Woo Ping keeps things moving at a brisk pace, and the training sequences are standout, as is the scene where JC finally practices the Snake Fist form. Still glad to see films where the hero is not an instant badass who is a kung fu expert right out of the womb.

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This film also answers a trivia question “what’s the worst kill of Jackie Chan’s career?” Roy Horan gets the nod here, and his death by skewered testicles ranks up there with some of the worst as JC just pulls a Sonny Chiba on his unfortunate ballsack. I can’t decide if Horan’s death scene is one of the worst acted or one of the best. It’s just that cruel an ending for him. He could’ve screamed for his mommy at the point and I wouldn’t have blamed him.

The fights are as imaginative as Woo Ping has ever been, but is only a small taste for what’s to come. The final fight with Hwang Jang Lee, Jackie Chan, and Simon Yuen is as great as you would think, but still only a small, small taste of what’s to come. Woo Ping brings out the playfulness in JC, and that’s the thing I think Woo Ping does so well; he matches his fight choreography to the personalities of the actor/fighter.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

A great kung-fu film that became Jackie Chan’s first real hit film, and would set the stage for one of the greatest kung fu films of all time! A fun filled spectacle to watch.

Kiai-Kick’s Q & A with Jean-Claude Van Damme!

Posted in Darren Shahlavi, Jean-Claude Van Damme with tags on May 6, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

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There are cool moments in life…and then there is this! I never thought in a million years that I would have any contact whatsoever, by email or otherwise, with anyone of the caliber of JCVD, but here is is! His newest film, Pound Of Flesh, will be out May 15th, and so I sent the Muscles From Brussels some questions, and while he didn’t answer them all, the answers he did give were really cool, and I’m happy he answered a question about one of this website’s favorite people, the late Darren Shahlavi. Please enjoy, and expect my review of the film next Monday!

KK: You’ve been playing dark characters over the last few films, but then play it for laughs in Welcome To The Jungle, and of course, some hilarious commercials. What do you look for in the roles you take now as opposed to when you were younger?

JCVD: I am a big fan of smart movies, right.  But let’s face it.  Jean Claude Van Damme is into the action category.  So I got a Facebook and when they send me response when I talk to my fans, they send me back pictures when I was 25, 28 years old with big biceps.  That’s how they love me.  That’s how they see me.  So I think it’s time for me to go back into the action genre and of course with some acting into it so it looks even more dangerous and that’s why I go to the gym every day.  So hopefully it will be ok for me to be one more time in Hollywood.  

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KK: This is your third film with Ernie Barbarash. What is it about his directing style that you gravitate towards?

JCVD: Ernie knows me.   He gets it.   He’s smart, you know.  I like smart people….He’s very relaxed and quiet with the actors…He’s a cool guy, plus he’s a good director and a good writer.

But I’m afraid for Ernie.  He’s done so many good movies.  And they call him in a sense a doctor because sometimes he comes on the set to fix movies.  And they take advantage of his good heart.  And you know, he’s got to work.  But I think Ernie should get the chance to have a movie with a studio one day with or without me where he can get the 55 days of shoot.  Then you will see Ernie Barbarash.

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KK: On a very somber note, the stunt community is saddened by the passing of Darren Shahlavi earlier this year. Many of my readers were fans of his. What was it like working with him? 

JCVD: When I was on EXPENDABLES, I didn’t talk to nobody.  Why?  I played the bad guy.  And I want Stallone to be scared when I took my glass out…and I saw the gulp.   Because you know, when you’re very truthful, and you go to a person, even though it’s Sly and it’s a movie, if the feeling is so strong, they get scared…especially when you don’t talk to them in a full shoot.

And of course, after I come to them, Woah!  So it was the same with Darren.  I didn’t want to talk to him too him so was have this fresh encountering.  And then at the end of the shoot, we started to talk, and I’m kind of a shy guy.  People think I don’t like people.  Here I’m opening myself because of the promotion.   I want this movie to work.

He came to me.  He’s such a great guy.  Hey, I love your movies because of you and this and that…I see me because of Bruce Lee. We became good friends.   So Simpatico.  I should have gone to the gym with him, this and that, but I will meet with him in Los Angeles.

So when I heard the news, I was completely flabbergasted because he was in shape.  He trained hard.  He was so happy always.  Some people.  I’m not saying.  Nobody deserves to die.  But maybe, something else is waiting for him up there because he’s such a warrior and a good person that they need him for a job that nobody can do out there except him.  That’s why I see Darren as a good warrior person.  

Thanks to JCVD and EOne Entertainment for setting this up!

Check out the Latest Trailer below, and get ready for May 15th! 

In China to donate his kidney to his dying niece, former black-ops agent Deacon awakes the day before the operation to find he is the latest victim of organ theft. Stitched up and pissed-off, Deacon descends from his opulent hotel in search of his stolen kidney and carves a blood-soaked path through the darkest corners of the city. The clock is ticking for his niece and with each step he loses blood.

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