Kiai-Kick’s Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Shout Factory!

Posted in Angela Mao, Bruce Lee with tags , on November 25, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

Hey all!

Between working in local news and finishing El Gato Negro: Prey, It’s been a really busy time, but I’m still here, and I’ll still have plenty of reviews on the way, but over the next week or so I’d like to point out some goodies that would make excellent Christmas presents/stocking stuffers for the discerning martial arts film fan! I’ll actually be taking this company by company, and we’ll start with films first, so the first distribution company up is…

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These guys are always good about getting out some of the more obscure cinema out there, and they have an interesting group of martial arts films, but there are two I want to point out:

The Angela Mao Ying Collection

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Angela Mao is one of the classic women of martial arts, and there are 6 films in this DVD set:

When Tae Kwon Do Strikes

Broken Oath

The Himalayan

The Tournament

Stoner

A Queen’s Ransom

I can’t speak for every title, but Broken Oath and When Tae Kwon Do Strikes are gold, and you should own this for those films alone! But I have a feeling the other films in the set are MORE than worth the $35.00 price tag. 10 hours of Angela Mao kicking all kinds of ass. It’s light on extras, with only trailers, but this is still money well spent, and you can get it here.

 

  The Bruce Lee Premiere Collection

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While there is one other set (available only in the UK) I may point out later, this is one of the few Bruce Lee Collections on Blu Ray. I shouldn’t have to point out the importance of these films, and the immense entertainment value they’ll bring! Four films are featured here, with links to my reviews:

The Big Boss 

Fists of Fury

Way Of The Dragon

Game of Death

It’s Bruce Lee, and he’s cool for any present, so you can trust it! Keep in mind you won’t see Enter The Dragon in most sets, as that’s a Warner Brothers film, and not part of Golden Harvest!

Bonus Features

    • Audio Commentary With Hong Kong Film Expert Mike Leeder
    • Featurettes – Return to Pak Chong: The Big Boss Revisited, Remembering Fist of Fury And Game of Death Revisited
    • Interviews With Tung Wai, Gene Lebell, Yuen Wah, Sammo Hung, Simon Yam And Wong Jing
    • Game Of Death Outtake Montage, Bloopers, Deleted Scenes
    • Alternate Openings And Endings
    • Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots, Still Galleries…And Much More!

You can order this here!

(I would also recommend checking Amazon as well for both films!)

Exclusive Clip from Kill Ratio (2016)!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 10, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

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Here is an exclusive clip from XLRATOR MEDIA’s Kill Ratio, starring Tom Hopper (Black Sails). The synopsis:

An attack on the new President of a fledgling Eastern European democracy pits an American covert operative against the country’s ruthless military leader determined to seize control of the government.

Check out the clip below!

The action hits theaters on December 9th, and will shoot it up on VOD and iTunes December 13th, 2016!

Blu-Ray Review: Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Posted in Alain Moussi, Darren Shahlavi, Dave Bautista, Emmanuel Manzanares, Georges St. Pierre, Gina Carano, Jean-Claude Van Damme, TJ Storm with tags , on November 8, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

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Who’s in this film?

Alain Moussi, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dave Bautista, Darren Shahlavi, Gina Carano, Georges St. Pierre, TJ Storm, Sara Malakul Lane

The Film:

Alain Moussi now takes over the role of Kurt Sloane, who serves as a fight assistant to his successful karate champion brother Eric Sloane (Shahlavi). When mysterious fight promoter Marcia offers Eric a lot of money and the chance to face Tong Po (Bautista), a Kickboxing Muay Thai champion, Eric accepts, much to the dismay of Kurt. Eric goes to Thailand, and Kurt eventually follows, only to see his brother killed in the ring by Tong Po. Seeking revenge, Kurt tries to murder Tong Po, but with the help of a local cop (Lane) he hides at the home of Eric’s trainer, Master Durand (JCVD). There Kurt learns how to kick a ton of ass and finally is good enough to challenge Tong Po to a duel to avenge his brother…

The Review:

The film pretty much follows many of the beats of the original film, except for the beginning, which I won’t spoil here except to say that we first meet Kurt Sloane in a very dark place. There is a little time jumping, and the story doesn’t really allow me to connect to Kurt’s pain over his brother’s death, because their relationship isn’t touched on very much. Also a little baffling was the romance (sex) Kurt has with Liu, the Thai cop. It seems to just pop out of bloody nowhere, and there is no real resolution to it. Alain Moussi does a good job of playing Kurt Sloane, but doesn’t quite have the charisma that JCVD had in the same role. Speaking of which, JCVD was great every time he was onscreen, and in fact so much so I wish Master Durand was simply THE Kurt Sloane retired to train Kickboxers. JCVD even gets into a few scraps that show he’s still got it, but that’s no real surprise. I wonder now if JCVD being in the film hurts it rather than helps it.

The late, Great Darren Shahlavi, in his final role, is far too underutilized as Eric Sloane. I wish the film had not strayed from the original and kept Eric alive, which would have meant seeing a lot more of Darren. Gina Carano is in the film but is a complete waste. Her character could have been played by literally anyone. Sorry, if I see a prime Gina Carano in the credits of a film, I damn well expect to see her kick someone’s ass. The same can be said for Georges St. Pierre, who does have a few fight scenes, but there is one glaring edit of one of his fights— or some incident—that left me baffled as the film makes no explanation as to how he suddenly has  a broken arm after seeing him fairly healthy not many scenes before. Dave Bautista is okay as a much more menacing and intelligent Tong Po, but in the end he’s nothing more than a standard cookie-cutter baddie. Sara Malakul Lane is a stunningly beautiful woman, but her character doesn’t bring much to the story, except to slow things down too much with a useless side story.

The place where Kickboxer: Vengeance truly surpasses the original are the fight scenes, which many, and well shot and edited, and really gives Alain Moussi a chance to shine, but in the wake of Muay Thai films like Ong Bak or The Protector, some of it feels a little derivative. The best fight in the film, to me, is the fight between JCVD and Moussi. JCVD has better choreography here than I’ve ever seen this side of No Retreat, No Surrender.

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The Picture:

It’s a fantastic blu-ray transfer, as nearly all newer films are nowadays, and the colors pop appropriately.

Extras:

The only extras is the usual photo gallery and a commercial behind the scenes. The behind the scenes shows a lot of surface stuff, and doesn’t really go into the actual making of the film. In other words, incredibly disappointing. I would’ve loved to see a BTS of the fight choreography sessions (especially since Larnell Stovall and Emmanuel Manzanares of LBP Stunt Chicago are involved), not to mention maybe more interviews of JCVD or shots of him on set. Heck, even a trailer would have been nice. There were a hundred ways they could have gone with extras, and they really dropped the ball here. I also would’ve liked to hear the actors talk about the late Great Darren Shahlavi and what it was like to work with him.

Final Thoughts:

If you loved the film, or even if you just liked it, you’re going to be disappointed by the lack of extras here. It’s as bare bones as you can get. Here’s hoping the sequel will fare with better extras, ones that fans of martial arts film enthusiasts can get behind.

My original film review score stays the same: 6.5.

Kiai-Kick’s Blu Ray Score: 4

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Not even Gina Carano can save the lack of extras here.

 

Amy Johnston arrives in Lady Bloodfight Trailer (2017)

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

Since I just posted the previs work with Vlad Rimburg a few days ago,so its only fitting that I follow that up with the trailer for Lady Bloodfight, a film I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time! It seems as if the film has been teased forever, but here we are with a first trailer! Check it out:

So far the fight choreography looks to be on point, and Amy looks as fantastic as you would think! She’s a talented lady, and I’m happy to see her getting her shot on the big screen. The rest of the cast looks terrific as well. It’s been a while since we had a true “kumite” movie, so I hope this delivers. I’m dreaming of a Bloodsport/Lady Bloodfight double feature. I’ll have my review of the film out as soon as I can get a hold of a copy!

How about some previs work with Vlad Rimburg and crew?

Posted in Amy Johnston, Brendon Hour, Bryan Sloyer, Dennis Ruel, Emmanuel Manzanares, Jerry Quill, Shawn Bernal, Vlad Rimburg, Vonzell Carter on October 30, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

If you come to this site enough you know how much I love and appreciate the many martial arts stunt people/actors whom I’ve covered over the years. This video pretty much contains my favorite folks, one and all. They are tremendous talents one and all, in front and behind the camera, and it’s badass to see them together at once, even in a previs. My question is, previs for what? Ah, now that’s a question! Amy Johnston, Dennis Ruel, Vonzell Carter, Bryan Sloyer, Jerry Quill, Shawn Bernal, Brendon Huor, and Sam Puefua rock this all the hell out, with exciting choreography by Vlad Rimburg and Emmanuel Manzanares. Really, so much great work went into this. Check it out, and then watch it again. Great work, gang!

My new question for you, Vlad: So when do we get Part 3 Chapter A?

The Trailer for Birth of The Dragon…and my thoughts.

Posted in Bruce Lee, Philip Ng with tags on September 21, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

First, watch the trailer (if you haven’t already seen it):

Philip Ng looks great as Bruce, and I’d love to see him play the role…in a Bruce Lee film. By that I mean a film that is 100% actually about Bruce Lee. The problem here is Hollywood, as it usually is. Instead of a film that gives us a real life story that is amazing in itself, we get a whitewashed version of it, with Billy Magnussen as Steve McKee (based on Steve McQueen) who has a side plot that has a Romeo and Juliet flair to it. Which is really baffling because the story at hand is already much more interesting. Why can’t we just let the film star Philip Ng and Wong Jack Man? Why is it necessary to have a white guy star in any Hollywood film when the main story is about someone of another race? I keep going back to this video below, from Last Week Tonight:

*Sigh* So here we are again. Now have I seen this film yet? No. Will I? For the purposes of this website, yes. Bruce Lee is/was one of the greatest martial arts alive, and if you wanted to get a white person in there with a side story, how about his actual wife Linda Lee? As for Mr. Magnussen, he may be a fine actor but most people don’t know him any more than they do Philip Ng, so him being in the film won’t give it any more box office, so the “money” explanation won’t work.

The thing that will sell this film is Bruce Lee. His name, to this day, even among mainstream audiences, gets their attention, and a well told BRUCE LEE story will get them to the theater. His world is ours. It doesn’t need a white guy to “navigate” audiences through that world, and Bruce Lee has explained kung fu in such simple terms that anyone can understand, because that was the point. Bruce Lee introduced Kung-Fu to the western world, and was its greatest ambassador. So far, going by this trailer and comments the director and writers have made, they failed to understand this simple concept, and that gives me pause that this film will be very good.

IF, and I say IF there is a “stand in for us” character needed, why not make him African-American (since “Black” movie theaters were the places where kung fu films were shown and flourished the most in the USA)? Or, in a bolder move, make him Chinese-American? Say someone who doesn’t know much about Kung Fu and that side of their own culture? ( I still think a Bruce Lee film needs to be only about Bruce Lee. Say what you want, but Dragon, The Bruce Lee Story got that part right).

The bottom line is this: Hollywood still believes, even with proof to the contrary, that actors of color can’t open a film to good/big box office. This idea will change and this has already begun, but we still have a long ways to go.

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“To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.”

–Bruce Lee