Review: Gintama (2018)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 7, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Masami Nagasawa, Masaki Okada,

Fight Choreography by ?

Directed by Yuichi Fukuda

Gintama is an adaptation of a popular Japanese anime and manga about a world in which aliens took over the Earth during the Edo-period, and all swordsmanship has been outlawed. Enter Gintoki and his friends, who are set out to recover a powerful sword that may be able to swing the balance of power once recovered, but find that the mission is far more dangerous than they believe, and they aren’t the only ones looking to possess the sword, and must ultimately defeat the serial killer wielding it…

At least that’s what I think they are trying to do. It’s really hard to tell, partly because this film is really, really bad.

The performances are okay, but even if they weren’t they are the least of this film’s problems.

I’ll admit up front I’ve never seen the anime, so I don’t know how accurate it is. Truthfully it shouldn’t matter. Films should be able to stand on its own two feet, and not dependent on having read or seen anything else (unless it’s part of another film). This film has a group of silly, unfunny characters, an unlikable hero, unnecessary and 4th wall breaking that is really not funny save for one, and only one scene that evokes a Miyazaki film, and tries way too hard to stage scenes and moments right out of the anime, which comes off looking silly.

Someone thought this was a good idea.

There was potential in the story, but too many times the film want to be the Naked Gun of live-action manga films, but first you need to have more successful ones before doing that. The film is mostly a comedy, and there isn’t as much action as you’d think, and what is there isn’t very good, despite being glossed over with special effects. At no level does this film work, not as a comedy and not as an action film.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 2

I nearly gave this film a 0, but fans of Gintama may get more out of it than I did. If you want an offbeat batshit crazy Japanese film, I’d suggest Tokyo Tribe instead.


Sometimes we deserve nice things… Michael Jai White knows this!

Posted in Michael Jai White on March 5, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

While we wait for Black Dynamite 2, MJW is kind enough to bring us another badass character, the Outlaw Johnny Black, in what looks like a remake of Buck and the Preacher, (and I noted a few shots from A Fistful of Dollars and morebut you’ll not hear me complain! It may not have martial arts ( but I’ll bet it does) but I’ll never turn away a MJW film! He could recite Shakespeare and I’d cover it here. Watch the epic trailer below!

The Teaser Trailer for Cobra Kai is here!

Posted in Ralph Macchio with tags on February 15, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Will Daniel get that leg swept again? Whatever happened with anyone from the Karate Kid 2? Will Daniel meet Hillary Swank’s character for a team-up beatdown? At least one of these questions will be answered in the webseries Cobra Kai, and behold the teaser below:


Hmm. I’ve been hesitant about this series ever since I heard about it, but there is a chance to have good drama following these characters again. I can’t imagine these characters will face off again, but who knows? I wonder who the fight choreographer is? What do ya’ll think?

Because we can never have enough Vlad in our lives.

Posted in Vlad Rimburg on January 29, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

So here’s some cool stuff to get the week started. Vladislav Rimburg, fight choreographer extraordinaire, graces us with a prior unreleased little jem he made back in 2010 with Andy Long and some other good folks you may recognize. Enjoy, and happy Monday everybody!

Review: Showdown in Manila (2018)

Posted in Alexander Nevsky, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Cynthia Rothrock, Don"The Dragon" Wilson, Mark Dacascos, Matthias Hues, Olivier Gruner with tags , , , on January 19, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Alexander Nevsky, Casper Van Dien, Tia Carrere, Mark Dacascos, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, Matthias Hues, Cynthia Rothrock, Olivier Gruner, Don ” The Dragon” Wilson

Fight Choreography by Al Dacascos

Directed by Mark Dacascos

After years of watching Marc Dacascos on the big and small screen, he finally steps behind the camera for his first film, produced and starring 3-time Mr. Universe Alexander Nevsky and a whole horde of b-movie stars. So how did his first venture do?

It has moments that aren’t as good as it could have been, but this movie…

… is a LOT of fun.

Alexander Nevsky stars as Nick Peyton, a disgraced Thailand cop who now works as a private detective after he his whole team is killed in a botched raid on a drug den owned by a man known as The Wrath (the CHT!). Two years later Nick and his sex-crazed partner Charlie (Van Dien) are hired by a police sketch artist (Carrere) whose husband, a secret agent, is killed by The Wrath right in front of her. She pays them to bring him to her…alive. Now working in Manila, Nick has a second chance to get revenge for his fallen comrades, but he’ll need some high-powered help to finish the job…

The film, despite the Raid-like opening moves a little slow at the beginning, but picks up steam as the film goes on. While Alexander Nevsky is a little wooden in his acting, which may be a lot better had he spoken in his native Russian dialect, he is aided well by the presence of his co-star Casper Van Dien. They have a good on-screen chemistry with each other that more than makes up for a few weak acting moments from Nevsky, who is a large presence in the film, and the Dacascos family had the good sense to use that largeness for maximum effect. Van Dien does well bringing in the comedy aspects of the film, which helps keep things light and helps propel the film forward in its slower moments. The CHT is as a good a villain as always, but I wish he had been in the film more, but we do get some villainy from the always great Matthias Hues, but here again, I wish we had more of him. The directing by Mark is confident, even in the slower scenes, which I think could have been slightly better with just a little more editing down, but that’s a minor nitpick for the treasure of goods this film delivers, which comes in the form of a boat ride that brings in some of Nick’s friends during the climax of the film: Cynthia Rothrock, Olivier Gruner, and Don ” The Dragon” Wilson.

That’s right, ya’ll. China O’Brien, Nemesis, and Bloodfist show up to kick all kinds of ass 90’s style.

So let’s get into the action side of things, shall we? Early on we get a quick fight scene with Mark Dacascos that shows that the man can still kick all kinds of ass, and we need to see him back in a movie doing so pronto! His fight scene is really quick and far too short, but it looks good and is shot well. Fast forward to the big action finale, and I was transported back to 1992, ya’ll. At first there is a lot of gun play, and while I loved seeing everyone, I came to terms with the fact that they may all be too old to actually do a fight scene anymore, and that seeing them shooting folks will just have to do.

Silly rabbit. I should’ve had more faith in the film’s director. He knows what true fans want to see…

…and eventually the bullets run out.

What follows is an orgasmic cavalcade of action goodness, with Cynthia Rothrock going knives-out, and punching and kicking foes like the good ol’ days! ( Now I want to see what China O’Brien has been up to this past decade!) Don ” The Dragon” Wilson also gets a scene where he gets to show he can still kick with the best of them, and no one looks like they can take a hit and keep fighting like Don, and Olivier looks more brutal than I’ve ever seen him in an action scene. The fights are shot well, showing us the FULL action of what’s happening without quick-cut edits…because what we see on screen is real martial artists doing onscreen what they’ve been doing for decades. Kudos to Al Dacascos for making sure each action scene plays to the strengths of each fighter. I wish we could have had a bigger hand to hand combat scene for Nevsky, but there is so much other cool action happening I didn’t mind this time, but he does mix it up a little with Matthias Hues, and I wish THAT fight had been bigger, but maybe next time?


Look, this film isn’t for everyone. If you want something on the order of Tony Jaa or Iko Uwais, you won’t get that kind of wild action here. But for those of us who grew up on these kinds of films, it’s mana from heaven. Alexander Nevsky and Mark Dacascos did what The Expendables couldn’t do: provide a film that truly showcases what these action stars can still do, and make them look great at doing it. 

Kiai-Kick’s Grade : 8.5

A really fun film that kicks you in the face with nostalgia, and the only thing that’s missing are four people: Jalal Merhi, Billy Blanks, Richard Norton, and the greatness himself, Al Leong. Showdown in Manila 2, perhaps? 

Old School Action: A talk with Alexander Nevsky!

Posted in Alexander Nevsky, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Cynthia Rothrock, Don"The Dragon" Wilson, Mark Dacascos on January 17, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Friday January 19th will see the limited release of Showdown in Manila, marking the directorial debut of Mark Dacascos (Only the Strong, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Drive) and marks the meeting of some 80’s and 90’s badasses: Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (the CHT!), Cynthia Rothrock, Don ” The Dragon” Wilson, Olivier Gruner, Matthias Hues, as well as Casper Van Dien and Tia Carrera. I had a talk with producer and 3-time Mr. Universe star Alexander Nevsky about the film. We had a LOT of fun talking about the film and the stars involved. I hope you all enjoy this!

M: You’ve taken your career into your hands as both the producer and star. What was it like wearing both of those hats on set?

A: First of all let me explain to you why I do this. I really believe that if you want to achieve something you shouldn’t wait; you should do it yourself. Unfortunately right now, when you talk about old fashioned action movies, they don’t make them much anymore. And what of Showdown in Manila? All of those guys, they’re still in great shape: Cynthia Rothrock, Don the Dragon Wilson, Olivier Gruner, Dacascos himself, Casper Van Dien. They’re all in great shape. Right now, what’s going on in international cinema, even at a studio it’s hard to move forward with a movie (like this) . That’s why I make movies which I want to see; I’m a huge fan of each and every one of them. I love Dacascos’ movies, Tagawa’s movies, all of them. So I always wanted to get involved not just as an actor but a producer.

It’s not easy but as a producer you have more control. And if your a good producer you can make sure your film is finished and released everywhere.

M: The scene where you call for your friends and they arrive on the boat: Cynthia, Don, and Olivier, and I nearly jumped out of my chair, because I loved all of them! That final action scenes reminded me of 80’s action films like Commando and Missing in Action. Was that what you were going for?

A: Exactly. I’m just as excited as you are hearing you talk about it! I was excited as I was dreaming the film, shooting the film, promoting the film. I’m as excited as you are about the film! And Oliver Gruner, I love him in Nemesis!

**Okay, ya’ll have to forgive me. Things had to grind to a halt as we extolled our mutual love for the film Nemesis. If you haven’t see it, get on that

We went from an epic discussion of Nemesis, to talking about old school action films, and what it takes to get one made nowadays:**

A: Times change, and I think when a studio like Lionsgate produces John Wick, and it’s also a great film, and Keanu Reeves doing great things, and in every  John Wick they had four months of preparation, and its him fighting and everything, but you can’t compare him to Oliver Gruner, or Don the Dragon Wilson, or Cynthia Rothrock, as they are all martial artists, with all due respect to Keanu as he’s a great guy and artist. With Showdown in Manila, Mark’s father Al Dacascos even went to Manila to support Mark and choreograph all of the fights. So we had many real people on set, and the set we used for Manila is the same set used in Apocalypse Now.

M: How much training did you all have to do for the fight scenes?

A: That’s another thing, even in a movie like John Wick where Keanu had 4 months to prepare, of course we didn’t have that with Showdown for Manila. We just had a couple of weeks. We spent about five weeks shooting it, and then another month in post production. So for the action we trained for a couple of weeks on that, but because we had people like Oliver Gruner, Cynthia Rothrock, Al Dacascos, Mark Dacascos, Don the Dragon Wilson, they all continue to train and are in great shape, also Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, so it wasn’t hard for us to do it all. As for me, I was a boxer before. I did some kickboxing before, but I was a boxer before I started bodybuilding.

Marc as the director gave everyone some screen time, especially at the end in the jungle so you can enjoy Cynthia Rothrock doing martial arts, and Olivier Gruner and the Don the Dragon. It was much easier and everyone knows what to do. It was all real, and I hope it felt real when you watched it. It was tough but it was huge fun.

M: Alexander, I had a lot of fun talking to you! It’s great that your doing it with the love and care your doing it! I wish you great success and I can’t wait to talk with you about Maximum Impact!

A:  Thank you very much, and thank you for your support! Me and you are fans of this genre, and fans of these action stars, so thank you for your support! I’m glad you enjoyed the film!

Talk to you soon I hope!


We had a really great talk, much longer than what you have here! We went to town on all kinds of cool action movies.  Maybe someday I’ll post the audio from the entire interview! Bug me enough and I’ll do it! Look for the the film in limited release stateside this Friday, and look for it Digital HD and VOD on January 23rd. My review will be up Friday!