Archive for January, 2019

You knew it had to happen! Zombies and Kung-Fu collide with Rampant!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 28, 2019 by Michael S. Moore

The good folks at WellGOUSA come correct with what looks like a great entry into the zombie horror pantheon if Train to Busan is any indication! Details below:

 

PLANO, TEXAS (January 25, 2019) – From the creators of Train to Busan, comes a fresh new take on the zombie-horror genre when RAMPANT debuts on digital, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD February 26 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Set in ancient Korea, the story follows Prince Ganglim, who after returning from a long imprisonment, discovers a bloody rampage spreading across the nation by murderous creatures known as Night Demons. He soon realizes that it will take the strength of his fellow countrymen to stop the Night Demons from overrunning the kingdom. RAMPANT was directed by Kim Sung-Hoon (Confidential Assignment) and stars Hyun-Bin (The Swinders), Jang Dong-Gun (The Warriors Way), Jo Woo-Jin (Inside Men), Man-Sik (Man of Will) and Kim Eui-Sung (Train to Busan). Bonus features include making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Synopsis:
A darkness looms over ancient Korea: murderous creatures known as Night Demons have overrun the country. Returning from a long imprisonment abroad, Prince Ganglim discovers that it will take the strength of his entire kingdom to stop the bloody rampage spreading across the nation in this fresh new take on zombie horror from the studios that brought you Train to Busan.

RAMPANT Debuts on Digital, Blu-ray Combo & DVD February 26

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RED ALERT! It’s time to call in sick for a week! Twitch has a Shaw Brothers Marathon!

Posted in Shaw Brothers on January 28, 2019 by Michael S. Moore

Just read the below. If you come to this site regularly, I don’t need to sell you on this! Maybe ya’ll would like to watch some of this with some commentary…from me?

 

 

GAMMARAY AND CELESTIAL PICTURES TO STREAM SHAW BROTHERS’ KUNG FU MOVIE MARATHON EXCLUSIVELY ON TWITCH

 

44 Full-Length Classic Kung Fu Features Make their Twitch Debut to Global Interactive Audience

 

January 23, 2019 (Los Angeles, CA) – GammaRay and Celestial pictures today announced they will stream a Shaw Brothers movie marathon on Twitch (twitch.tv/gammaray_tv) from February 4 to February 8, 2019. The marathon will include 44 full-length features from the Shaw Brothers’ extensive library of kung fu titles, including iconic films such as King Boxer, Crippled Avengers, and Five Deadly Venoms. This viewing event will be streamed globally and exclusively on Twitch, the leading service and community for multiplayer entertainment, and marks the first time Twitch has featured kung fu films.

 

After the marathon airs from February 4-8, there will be double feature movie nights on Thursdays and Fridays at 5:00 pm PT for four weeks. The marathon is also the first time GammaRay has hosted full-length features on Twitch.

 

“We’re excited to introduce cult classic movies from the 70s and 80s to our fans on Twitch for the first time,” said GammaRay COO Do Duong. “Kung fu has influenced filmmaking, hip hop music, and pop culture, so we’re thankful to Celestial Pictures for access to their Shaw Brothers action titles, and to Twitch for using their service to introduce a larger audience to the kung fu phenomenon.”

 

“The Twitch community has lots of interests, with martial arts and film-based marathons among them,” said Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch. “We’ve seen it in the games they play, their cosplay outfits, and the programming they watch, with the Shaw Brothers’ kung fu films being the perfect pop culture combo of these fandoms. Thanks to GammaRay, we get to livestream over 40 of the Shaw Brothers’ seminal movies with an interactive global audience.”

 

Celestial Pictures is the owner of the Shaw Brothers library of over 760 digitally remastered classics. The custodian of the Shaw Brothers legacy, Celestial Pictures continues to keep the love for peak kung fu cinema alive by presenting it to loyal enthusiasts and new-found audiences across the globe.

 

“We’re thrilled to bring the quintessential Shaw Brothers films to a new generation of fans through this collaboration with GammaRay,” said Agnes Cheung, Executive Vice President of Celestial Pictures. “Interactive streaming will open up a new horizon for the passionate fandom of kung fu cinema. The marathon will allow the audience to be immersed without interruption in the everlasting Shaw Brothers magic.”

 

44 Titles will be featured during the Twitch livestream including the following kung fu classics:

 

  • King Boxer(1972): A student (Lieh Lo) of kung fu meets resistance on his way to a major Chinese tournament.
  • Crippled Avengers(1978): After the death of his wife, warlord Dao Tian-du (Kuan Tai Chen) turns evil and holds a town in thrall to his reign of fear with the help of his sadistic son. Four of the villain’s victims — a blind man, an amputee, a deaf-mute, and an insane fighter — seek the help of a wise kung fu master as they train to eliminate the tyrant for good.
  • Five Deadly Venoms (1978): A dying master sends his last student to check up on five former pupils, who each know a special style of kung fu.

 

Twitch streamers will also be able to co-stream the marathon. Co-streaming is a feature unique to Twitch which allows a streamer to share another channel’s video feed, but with their own commentary and community. The result is a more personalized, social experience.

 

For more information including the full marathon schedule and movie times, visit GammaRay’s Twitch channel page and follow them on Twitter

Donnie Yen Returns in Iceman: The Time Traveller!

Posted in Donnie Yen, Yasuaki Kurata on January 28, 2019 by Michael S. Moore

 

Originally a remake of the Yuen Biao/Yuen Wah film, The Iceman returns in a sequel (I haven’t watched the first film, so I may do a double feature review for both films! ). Add Yasuaki Kurata to this film turns it into a must see for me! Here is the official release info: 

 

PLANO, TEXAS (January 24, 2019) – Iconic action star Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, IP Man franchise) gets defrosted for the sequel to the fantasy-adventure Iceman when ICEMAN: THE TIME TRAVELER debuts on digital, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD February 19 from Well Go USA Entertainment. ICEMAN: THE TIME TRAVELER tells the story of warriors from imperial China who after being buried alive and kept frozen in time for 400 years, are defrosted and must continue the battle they left behind. Directed by Raymond Yip (Bruce Lee My Brother) ICEMAN: THE TIME TRAVELER features a returning cast including Baoqiang Wang (Kung Fu Jungle), Shengyi Huang (Kung Fu Hustle), Kang Yu (Ip Man 3) and Simon Yam (Operation Red Sea) with the legendary Yasuaki Kurata (God of War) joining the sequel.

Synopsis:
During the Ming Dynasty, a palace guard, Ying (Donnie Yen), is buried and frozen in time by an avalanche during a fierce battle. Brought back to life in the present day, Ying embarks on a quest for the only thing that can correct the wrongs of history – The Golden Wheel of Time. Ying sets out on his dangerous journey, never knowing every step he takes is leading him closer to a deadly trap.

Iceman: The Time Traveller drops onto DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital on February 19th!

Review: Two Champions of Shaolin (1980)

Posted in Chiang Sheng, Lo Meng (Turbo Law), Lu Feng, Philip Kwok with tags on January 22, 2019 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Lo Meng, Lu Feng, Chiang Sheng, Qian Xiaohao

Fight Choreography by Philip Kwok, Lu Feng, Chiang Sheng

Directed by Chang Cheh

The Shaw Brothers films, particularly the films of Chang Cheh, loved to cover the battles between the Shaolin and Wu-Tang Clans, and here we have another such film as Chang Cheh continues his ongoing bloody saga with his Venoms (his new stars that were in the classic film Five Deadly Venoms). So how does it stack up with his other films?

Two Champions of Shaolin follows Tung Chien Chien (Lo Meng) known throughout the land as the Shaolin Hercules who seeks out the Wu Tang in order to exact revenge for his masters. He finds them and is quickly injured due to the throwing knives of Li Detong. Tung is taken in by two former Wu-Tang, Chin Tailel and his sister. He soon meets Hu Wei Chien, a fellow Shaolin student, and together they go after the Wu Tang, but revenge is a cyclical thing, and Tung and Hu Wei both are swept up in a whirlwind of death and loss. But their Wu Tang enemies will be swept up as well…

I’ve been watching films with Lo Meng for a long time, but this film really let’s Lo Meng strut his stuff. His acting was never really the greatest, but it never had to be, as he usually plays a variation of the kung-fu macho meathead. He’s still playing this part in this film, but he gets to add more layers to that character type. Chiang Sheng is also playing the playful, silly kung fu fighter he always plays, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I noted that several times throughout the film the name of Pei Mei came up. One of the greatest kung-fu villains ever is never far from Chang Cheh’s mind! The camera work is standard for Shaw Brothers films, meaning everything is clear and concise, and you can absolutely see all of the gorgeous fights with timely editing.

 

The fights are plentiful and well-choreographed, with the standouts being the tournament challenge (which ends with a poor guy getting his balls forcibly removed) and of course the final fights, which are as spectacular and operatic as Chang Cheh’s films normally are (they aren’t called heroic bloodshed for nothing) and the pacing of each of the final three fights compliment each other, and offers a different fight style for each finale, until they join into a bloody yet satisfying ending.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

Chang Cheh delivers another crowd-pleasing kung fu film, and allows Lo Meng the spotlight to shine with great action scenes and an ending worthy of Shakespeare…if he wrote kung fu movies. 

 

Attention Double Dragon Fans: Guess what comes out today? UPDATE!

Posted in Mark Dacascos on January 22, 2019 by Michael S. Moore

UPDATE: The film release date has changed to February 5th!

From director James Yukich (Shawn Mendes: Live at the Greek Theatre), producers Don Murphy(Transformers, Natural Born Killers), Jane Hamsher (From Hell) and Alan Schechter (Showdown), with a screenplay written by Michael Davis (Shoot ‘Em Up) and Emmy® Award Winner Peter Gould(Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad) comes the cult classic movie based on the video game smash hit.
Double Dragon roars to life with amazing special effects, spectacular action sequences, and a knock-about sense of humor. It’s the year 2007, and what remains of LA is now ”New Angeles”, a city ravaged by earthquakes, tidal waves and vicious gangs. The evil tycoon Koga Shuko (Robert PatrickTerminator 2: Judgment Day) is obsessed with finding the two halves of a talisman known as the ”Double Dragon”, which will give him awesome mystical powers. Two teenaged brothers, Jimmy (Mark DacascosJohn Wick 3) and Billy Lee (Scott WolfParty of Five) find themselves in possession of the amulet’s missing half, thrusting them into the adventure of their lives. With the help of Maria (Alyssa MilanoCharmed) and her vigilante group ”The Power Corps”, Jimmy and Billy must summon all of their courage, resourcefulness and martial-arts skills to stop the villain’s malevolent plan.
Eric D. Wilkinson, who oversees the MVD Rewind Collection shares his enthusiasm for this release. “Double Dragon was arguably one of my favorite projects for the Rewind Collection. This release marks the first time Double Dragon will be available on Blu-ray and in HD in North America! Special features producer Richard Schenkman and I worked tirelessly to create some amazing brand new bonus material that includes a feature length “making of” documentary that I know collectors will love. These new bonus features along with some great archival bonus material and the addition of the pilot of the “Double Dragon” animated television series (courtesy of Invincible Entertainment), MVD is proud to present the definitive edition of Double Dragon in a kick-ass (pun intended) Blu-ray + DVD combo pack collector’s set.”
Crackling with the energy and humor of its two heroes, Double Dragon is a high-octane action spectacular.
Bonus Materials
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the main feature
* Audio: English 5.1 Stereo, English 2.0 Stereo, German 2.0 Stereo
* English, French and Spanish Subtitles
* NEW! “The Making of Double Dragon” (full length documentary featuring interviews with stars Scott Wolf and Marc Dacascos, writers Peter Gould & Michael Davis and producer Don Murphy)
* NEW! “Don Murphy: Portrait of a Producer” featurette
* Archival ”Making of” featurette
* Behind the Scenes featurette
* 1993 Double Dragon Animated Series Pilot Episode #101: “The Shadow Falls”
* Storyboard Gallery
* Press Photos, Marketing and Behind The Scenes Photo Galleries
* TV Spots
* VHS Home Video Trailer
* Original Theatrical Trailer
* Collectible Mini-Poster
* Reversible Sleeve Featuring Alternate Artwork

Review: Ninja Assassin (2009)

Posted in Rain, Rick Yune, Sho Kosugi with tags , on January 18, 2019 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Rain, Naomie Harris, Sung Kang, Sho Kosugi, Rick Yune

Fight Choreography by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch

Directed by James McTeigue

In 2009, hot off the the Matrix Trilogy, the Wachowskis decided to apply their aesthetic to the world of ninjas, that old reliable world of the 80’s, and with a new star in South Korean pop singer Rain, they set out to redefine what a ninja movie could be, with a big budget and the latest in special effects…

The film opens with an attack on a local street gang, killed by a single ninja. Later we meet Raizo at a laundromat, who is immediately attacked by an assassin from a local clan, but he wins the battle. Meanwhile, a Europol investigator named Mika (Harris)starts to close in on the ninja clan. Soon Raizo and Mika meet, with Raizo thwarting his own clan in their attempted assassinations, and soon they are out to end his former clan once and for all.

Newcomer Rain does a fairly decent job as Raizo, but doesn’t really imbue the film with the star charisma it needs. Naomie Harris does an admirable job, but the two actors together don’t share any chemistry onscreen, and it hurts evert scene they are in together. Rick Yune isn’t in the film enough to really make an impression, so he is wasted here. Sho Kosugi as Lord Ozunu does standout more than the rest, and gives the film that martial arts “legitimacy” but just like Rick Yune he’s barely in the film enough to get a true sense of his villainy.

The film moves at a brisk pace, and there are problems with this. We never get to truly know Raizo except through flashbacks that don’t allow the audience to really feel anything for him or his plight. In this instance I believe the flashbacks hindered the film. The better choice is to either go linear to tell the story, or just let Raizo’s past be a mystery as we follow Mika on his adventure, with only hints as to the reason why he’s helping her.

So much CGI…too much, in fact. These ninjas look like something a superhero should fight, not someone in the real world regardless of skill. CGI throwing stars flash out like machine gun fire. CGI blood and guts, even CGI ninja movements. Just too much.

The first big fight scene..happens in the dark. No way to see how good the fight choreography is because I couldn’t make out what was happening. This is even more maddening during the Europol Building siege, and some parts are cool, but the camerawork is all over the place, with a deadly combo of quick cuts and shots that are zoomed in too close to truly see the action. It actually gets better when the fight goes into the street, with Raizo avoiding ninjas as well as cars, but it gets ridiculous when ninjas get hit with cars and just keep truckin’ along. The only fight with any real excitement, at least for me was the final fight with Sho Kosugi vs Rain. The background fire and scene framing reminded me of a video game, and the fight was good until Raizo went all Naruto in the fight, displaying a skill the movie had barely hinted at before. It was a silly way to end the fight, even if it was meant as a crowd-pleasing moment.

I get what they were trying to do with this film. They were trying to merge ninja films with modern day special effects, trying to make the ninjas as mystical as they pretended to be to the peasants in ancient Japan, but none of it really works.

Funny enough, there was another ninja movie that came out that year. It probably cost about the same amount of the craft services in this film but is a far superior ninja movie. That would be Ninja, with Scott Adkins…

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5

A middling film that overloads itself with special effects with a story and hero that aren’t very interesting, and Sho Kosugi is truly wasted here in what was a misfire of a film.