Archive for August, 2015

Review: Wolf Warrior (2015)

Posted in Jacky Wu Jing, Scott Adkins on August 31, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

7J8A3605

Starring Wu Jing, Scott Adkins, Nan Yu, Kevin Lee, Kyle Shapiro, Ni Dahong, Zhou Xiaoou

Fight Choreography by Wu Jing

Directed by Wu Jing

Wolf Warrior heralds the coming together of two martial arts titans: Wu Jing and Scott Adkins, both some of the best onscreen action stars today. But something went terribly wrong here, as the fight of century never actually happens, and, to put their fight best…

…dull.

Wolf Warrior stars Wu Jing as Leng Feng, an expert sniper in the Chinese army who has a tendency to do his own thing rather than take orders, and this comes to bear as he kills a known drug lord during a bust against orders. Rather than toss him in jail for subordination (they actually do) they transfer him to a special forces unit known as the Wolves. Meanwhile, the brother of said drug lord, Ming Deng, plots his revenge against Leng Feng, by hiring a group of mercenaries led by Tom Cat (Adkins) to ambush and kill Leng Feng, regardless of the fact that he’ll be surrounded by an entire military battalion. Of course Ming Deng has more to his plan that he doesn’t even reveal to Tom Cat, who strikes at Leng Feng during a Wolves training mission. What follows is a run-and-gun film as the Wolves take on the mercenaries and brings Leng Feng to a showdown with Tom Cat, but will their battle allow Ming Deng to escape China?

The story here runs at a fast clip, even with the subplot of Leng Deng’s father still coping with having to shoot his own squad mate during a battle long ago, and Leng Deng having to face the same scenario later in the film. Wu Jing is fun to watch here, playing his character not unlike Tom Cruise does in his Mission Impossible films, with a wink and a smile at the ready, which is actually refreshing from many characters he’s played in the past. The one thing that doesn’t work is his flirtations with his commanding officer Colonel Long Xiaoyun (Nan Yu). There isn’t much chemistry, and they spend much of the film separated from each other and only speak by radio. Scott Adkins is formidable as TomCat, but we never really get to know him beyond the fact that he’s a Really Bad Guy. The same goes for the entire mercenary crew.

7J8A0148

Wu Jing directs the film with confidence and energy, and it comes out in every scene..save one. There are some big set pieces and a lot going on, but at no point was I ever confused or disoriented in regards to where everyone is in relation to the action.

The action scenes are top notch, and play out in a classic action military film manner. There is the classic army type characters: the comedian, the lover, the Dad, the gruff but fair commanding officer. Many soldiers bite the dust, and there is suspense from sniper fire and redemptive scenes of sacrifice and honor from the Chinese soldiers. However, what we, the audience really want to see is Scott Adkins vs Wu Jing, as classic a scene as Bruce Vs. Chuck, Jackie Vs. Benny, Sammo Vs Billy, and so many more…

7J8A2021

What we got was as weak as fight as I’ve seen in quite a while. The fight never lasted very long, and what was there just didn’t gel. Both men looked great, but Adkins never cuts loose the way you know he can, and Wu Jing just doesn’t do much aside from a good kick here and there. The knife fight, which you hope brings memories of SPL, is short and not fill of the moves we would expect. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but too much wirework where it wasn’t necessary.

So that brings me to a bit of a conundrum: do I judge the film as a whole or base my judgement solely on the great fight that was touted but failed to deliver?

I think in this case I have to find that middle ground, so…

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5

Wolf Warrior is not a bad film, but it doesn’t have the martial arts scenes you want, which to me is the price of admission, Wu Jing does have a good future as a film director, however.

The film will be released tomorrow from the good folks at Wellgousa! Let me know in the comments what you thought of the film. Do you agree with my assessment?

Advertisements

Donate to Ric Meyer’s Kickstarter for “Films of Fury: The Once & Future Interviews Doc/Book!!

Posted in Eric Jacobus, Ric Meyers on August 20, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

 

I had always thought I knew quite a bit about kung fu films. And I do. But my knowledge pales before that of author/ reviewer/ kung fu man Ric Meyers. If you haven’t read his book Films Of Fury, then go out, buy the book, and come back after you’ve read it. When reviewing older films, I frequently research the background behind these films, and I always look to that book first! Ric also cheered me on when I started this site, so of course I want to do something for him now, and this project is something I hope a lot of you get behind, because it’s worth it.

Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Woo Ping, Ti Lung, Yuen Wah, Raymond Chow, David Chiang, and so many more are not getting any younger, and once they are gone their stories and film memories will be gone forever. Any chance to get that one great interview to delve into their minds about their careers and filmmaking mindsets have to be taken advantage of, and this may be the best time to do it, and Ric is certainly the right person to take this on, and he’ll have help from the great Eric Jacobus, who will surely bring his own experiences to the people he interviews.

Oh yeah, a docufilm version of Ric’s Book Films of Fury is on NETFLIX and HULU. So go watch that, too.

Please support his Kickstarter by clicking here!

 

YEAH! Dragon Dynasty Returns! (Sorta)

Posted in Jet Li, Stephen Chow with tags on August 19, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

dragondynastyheader

Before Wellgousa blew our minds, Dragon Dynasty, owned by the Weinsteins, was responsible for releasing HK action in the states in fantastic DVD’s (many of which I have, and still have yet to review quite a few!) and now thanks to Anchor Bay Entertainment we have the Dragon Dynasty 5- Film Collection! I’m really hoping this is the start of releasing all of their catalogue. There is just too much goodness to be bought by Hong Kong film fans new and old! Just read the goodness below:

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. – August 18, 2015 – Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company are proud to announce the action packed martial arts home entertainment release of the Dragon Dynasty 5 Movie Collection. This classic set features four films from legendary martial arts superstar Jet Li and one film from icon Stephen Chow. In 2006, The Weinstein Company launched the Dragon Dynasty brand in order to showcase classic and contemporary Asian Cinema, particularly films in the action/martial arts genre. An immediate hit with fans and critics, Dragon Dynasty brought home the world’s greatest martial arts and Asian action films, featuring the groundbreaking work of international superstars and legendary filmmakers. Anchor Bay Entertainment is honoring this legacy with the Dragon Dynasty: 5 Movie Collection, arriving on 3-Disc DVD set and Digital HD bundle on October 6th.  

The Dragon Dynasty 5 Movie Collection includes:

 Born to Defense

Born to Defense (1986)

Directed by & Starring Jet Li (Rated R, 91 min.)

Jet (Jet Li) is a WWII soldier returning after the war to find he must continue to fight against abusive Americans now taking advantage of citizens in his hometown.

 defender

The Defender (1994)

Directed by Corey Yuen & Starring Jet Li (Rated R, 92 min.)

Jet Li – the former bodyguard to the most powerful leader in China is hired to protect school teacher Christy Chung after having witnessed a brutal murder.

 fong sai yuk

The Legend II (aka The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk II, 1993)

Directed by Corey Yuen & Starring Jet Li (Rated R, 92 min.)

Having failed a secret mission for the Red Flowers Society, an underground organization dedicated to the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty and restoration of the Ming Dynasty, Fong Sai Yuk must try to get his hands on a special document by wooing the governor’s daughter.

 OUTICA

Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)

Directed by Sammo Hung Kam-Bo & Starring Jet Li (Not Rated, 99 min.)

Wong Fei-Hung travels to the U.S. to visit a martial arts branch that one of his disciples has set up and ends up establishing himself as a respected kung fu master, helping gain recognition for Chinese martial arts in the West.

 Beijing_with_love_1994

From Beijing with Love (1994)

Directed by & Starring Stephen Chow. (Not Rated, 84 min.)

A comedic send-up of Bond’s 007, Ling Ling-Chat is the unlikely pork butcher / superspy sent to Hong Kong to find a priceless stolen fossil. Assassins, spy gadgets, stunts and chases ensue.

 Dragon Dynasty 5 Movie Collection will be available on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment for the suggested retail price of $19.98

 

To learn more about this film, please visit anchorbayentertainment.com.

 

Capital City Black Film Festival 2015

Posted in Kiai-Kick Films on August 17, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Whew! It’s been an amazing last couple of days at the Cap City Black Film Festival in Austin, Texas! I met some really talented people and saw some fantastic films. The pic below is myself, Julius Tennon (aka Mr. Viola Davis lol) and hip hop artist Da’Shade Moonbeam, who provided music for Cornered and had his own project shown, An Anthology of Us, a mixture of martial arts, music video, and spoken word. Really well done.

Me, Julius Tennon, and Da'Shade Moonbeam

Me, Julius Tennon, and Da’Shade Moonbeam

So how did the viewing of Cornered go? It went really well! Some of the cast and crew members were in attendance:

Left to Right: James Thistleton (composer), Michael S Moore, Joe H Lee (DP), Donald Brooks (Adam Matrix) Bobby Hernandez (Richter) and Kerry Ramsay (Deveroux)

Left to Right: James Thistleton (composer), Michael S Moore, Joe H Lee (DP), Donald Brooks (Adam Matrix) Bobby Hernandez (Richter) and Kerry Ramsay (Deveroux)

We did a 45 minute Q&A, which was a first for me in any medium and truly great. We made a tiny announcement (heh) that will be revealed later this year! I can’t wait to share it with you all!

There were so many films shown I don’t know where to start, but the festival ended with the powerful film Freeway: Crack In The System. Check out the trailer below:

and I even got to talk to the man himself, Freeway Rick Ross:

2015-08-15 23.17.30

The film shows his involvement with introducing crack to the United States, and how the Iran/Contra affair is also involved, and the reporter who revealed the truth about the government’s role in all of it. Powerful, powerful storytelling.

2015-08-14 18.24.37

So where else can Cornered be seen? Well, Cornered’s next appearance will be at the Action On Film Festival in Monrovia, California Sept 18-27th! I am trying to make plans to be there, and I’ll keep you all informed! Thanks to Winston Williams and the Capital City Black Film Festival for having Cornered and providing such a wonderful venue! @capcitybff

Stay Tuned! 

Review: Police Story: Lockdown (2013)

Posted in Jackie Chan, Yu Rong Guang on August 11, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

police lockdown1

Starring Jackie Chan, Liu Ye, Jing Tian, Yu Rongguang

Fight Choreography by Jackie Chan

Directed by Ding Sheng

It’s no secret that Jackie Chan is without a doubt my favorite martial arts action star. In my book it’s Bruce, Jackie, Gordon, and everyone else., but JC has always been tops for me. It’s amazing how he’s defied what he should be able to do at his age and keeps on trucking. I was as excited as anyone else when a new Police Story was announced. Much like Chinese Zodiac, Jackie returns to one of the series that made him famous.

This new film is called Police Story, but contains none of the fun of any entry in the series, including New Police Story.

Chan returns not as Kevin Chan or Chan Wing, but as Zhong Wen, a troubled and aging Chinese mainland cop who goes into the club district to meet with his estranged daughter Miao (Jing) and finally meet her boyfriend Wu Jiang, the owner of the Wu Bar. Wen is obviously having issues with her new boyfriend, but that doesn’t compare to what happens next, as Wen, Miao, and a dozen others are taken hostage in the bar by Wu Jiang, who is using Miao to capture Wen. Wu Jiang wants the exchange everyone for a prisoner and as the Swat teams stand by to infiltrate the club-turned-fortress, Wen must find his connection to Wu Jiang, the prisoner, and several of the hostages before the ensuing invasion gets a lot of people killed…

POLICE Lockdown3

The story of Police Story: Lockdown moves at a pace that is odd. Many of the action scenes are actually told in flashback, which is infuriating to say the least, because in Jackie Chan films, the situation is immediate and of the moment, and the flashbacks are a story mechanic that is woefully out of place for a Jackie Chan Police Story film (New Police Story did a flashback, but it came at the end of the film and was an appropriate way to close the story).  Jackie Chan is a very serious and dour character, and this doesn’t change from the start of the film through the end. Jackie plays the character well, but it just wasn’t fun. Liu Ye is great as Wu Jiang, and the emotional rollercoaster ride he takes during the film is believable right until the end, where he becomes an Evil Bad Guy. Jing Tian is good in her scenes with Jackie Chan as his daughter, but her part is still a damsel in distress role, which is just played out at this point.

Police Lockdown

Ding Sheng directs the film as if he didn’t know this was a Police Story film. While some of his shots are really gorgeous, some are confusing, particularly a few action moments. I pretty much expect that from Jackie’s American output, but not from his Chinese language films.

The fight scenes are…ok. Nothing special, which is a cardinal sin for this series. Even New Police Story had the great fight vs Andy On. Here the fights are not shot very well, and what’s there is very, very small. Is this due to Chan’s advanced age? I don’t think so, not in the light of what he does in Chinese Zodiac. They try to take a more realistic approach to the fights, but that’s no fun, not for a series called Police Story. Of course that can be said for just about every moment of this film.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5

Jackie Chan is in need of a snickers bar, ’cause he’s not himself, nor is this a true Police Story Film. If he decides to close the series out, it needs to be with Kevin (Ka Kui) Chan, in a film with a better balance of comedy and action. Actually a lot more comedy, and Maggie Cheung.

Scott Adkins gets into Close Range! (2015)

Posted in Scott Adkins on August 4, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

It feels like it’s been a while since we last got a film starring Scott Adkins, but while we wait for Undisputed 4 and Wolf Warrior, here is a badass-looking film where Scott looks to get his hero on…and beat the tar out of a lot of people. Translation: a good time at the movies!  Check out the trailer below!