Archive for the Benny Urquidez Category

Review: Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)

Posted in Benny Urquidez, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Matthias Hues, Michel Qissi, Sasha Mitchell with tags , on September 23, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sasha Mitchell, Dennis Chan, Peter Boyle, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (CHT) Matthias Hues, Michel Qissi, Vincent Murdocco, Gene Lebell

Fight Choreography by Benny” The Jet” Urquidez and Jim Nickerson

Directed by Albert Pyun

For whatever reasons, after Jean-Claude Van Damme had his hits films in Bloodsport and Kickboxer the producers were hellbent on selling the rights off to whomever would buy them, and were successful, if not incredibly stupid for doing so, and rather than getting a new JCVD sequel, we get a film directed by B-movie director Albert Pyun (Cyborg, Captain America, the crappy one) and written by future superhero writer David Goyer (The Blade films, Dark City, and Batman Begins) for whom this was his second film, and starring newcomer Sasha Mitchell, famous at the time for starring in the American TV series Step by Step, and was a kickboxing champion.


The film begins as we meet David Sloane (Mitchell), youngest brother to Kurt and Eric from the first film, who has been running their gym a few years after both Kurt, Eric, and Mylee were all murdered at gunpoint by Tong Po after the events of the first film. David is a good man, and takes care of the gym as best he can, but is having problems as the gym doesn’t have enough money to stay open, which had been kept open by the Sloane brothers by the winnings from their fights. The problem is David no longer fights, seeing fighting as the reason his brothers were killed, and has adopted a more zen way of thinking, and fighting. David gets an offer from kickboxing mogul Justin Maciah (Boyle) who wants David to become his main fighter and spokesman, but David refuses, but Maciah is able to convince his star pupil Brian to fight for him. As the bills pile up, David unknowingly sets off a chain of events by challenging Maciah’s fighter Neil Vargas (Hues) to a match, which David wins. Maciah’s business partner from Thailand, Sanga (CHT) has David injured and burns down his gym in order to get Kurt Sloane’s master from Thailand, Xian (Chan) to come to America, and Sanga sets a plan into motion to have David and Xian come face to face with Tong Po, and Sanga will attempt to regain his people’s lost honor…

The film has a decent story, if a very straightforward good versus evil story. David Sloane doesn’t get to go on a journey of discovery the same way that Kurt did, primary because the budget of the film was so low they couldn’t leave Los Angeles, so the scope of the film is limited, and the rest of the film follows suit, even down to the songs, which had to get a guy who sounded a little like Stan Bush to do the music.

Understand the implication of this: they had to get a guy who was a cheap knockoff of Stan freakin’ Bush. Yes, Stan “You Got The Touch” Bush.

That’s how low-budget this film was, but to his credit Albert Pyun didn’t waste whatever dime he had to make the film with. Sasha Mitchell was pretty good as the last Sloane Brother, even if the acting was stilted in places, more blame to the script written than anything else. Peter Boyle was sufficiently slimy as Maciah, but of course classic baddie of the 80’s and 90’s Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa stole the show as the main villain, and Tong Po, for whatever reason, actually looks far more intimidating here than he did in the original film, a good job by Michel Qissi, but he doesn’t appear until nearly the last fifteen minutes of the film. Dennis Chan is as good as ever as Xian, but taking him away from the Thailand setting was a bit disconcerting, but any amount of Dennis Chan as Xian is good enough for me. Look for the legendary Bruce Lee grappling trainer Gene Lebell as the referee, Benny Urquidez as a corner man, and Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills 90210) as a punk kid getting schooled by Mitchell.

The fights may have been well done, but it was hard to tell, because the fight choreography is lost among too many close-ups, slow-mo, quick edits, and some long shots that are too far away from the action. Benny Urquidez and Jim Nickerson look as if they did a good job, but it was too hard to tell as the editing and Pyun’s directing (no, he doesn’t know how to properly direct a martial arts fight scene) bring it all down, except in the final fight, which has better editing and camerawork than any other fight in the film.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6

A sequel to Van Damme’s film that while showcasing a new talent in Sasha Mitchell, and bringing back Dennis Chan, fails to live up to the first film’s action and training sequences. 

NEXT: Marc Dacascos and Scott Wolf search for the Double Dragon!

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Review: Dragons Forever (1988)

Posted in Benny Urquidez, Billy Chow, Corey Yuen, Dick Wei, Jackie Chan, James Tien, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah with tags , on March 2, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Dick Wei, Billy Chow, James Tien

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung and Corey Yuen

Directed By Sammo Hung

For years Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao have dazzled us with onscreen stunt work and fantastic fight choreography, and after starring early on in quite a few wildly successful films together, they decided to go their separate ways, but before doing that they wanted to tackle one last film together, and bring out every actor, stuntman, and Peking Opera School buddy they’ve ever worked with to go out on a high note.

What a note they hit!

Jackie Chan plays, well, Jackie Lung, a successful lawyer who also seems to have gotten a degree in douchbaggery, as he’s a womanizing asshat who works for Hua Hsein-Wu, who owns a local factory that is being sued by Miss Yip, a strong woman who owns a fishery nearby, whose accusation is that the waste runoff from the factory is hurting her business. Jackie tries to warm up to her best friend and confidant Nancy, who isn’t smitten by Jackie’s charms at first. To ensure his client wins the case, Jackie hires his buddy Luke (Hung) to spy on Miss Yip, but doesn’t tell Luke that he’s also hired his two-fries-short-of-a-happy-meal pal Timothy (Biao) to plant a bug in Miss Yip’s house.  Jackie’s plans fall astray as Luke falls in love with Miss Yip and mistakes Timothy for a burglar, and they both get into a scuffle, and before long Jackie must referree both of his friends as well as try to win the heart of Nancy, all the while trying figure out what the men he’s working for are really up to.

Good lord, where to start. Rarely in the Halls of AssKickery has there been a film like this. Jackie Chan is as great as always, and here he really cuts loose with fantastic moves especially during the boat attack and the final fight in the factory, first with the thugs and then a fantastic rematch with Benny “ The Jet” Urquidez (Wheels on Meals). Sammo Hung is his funny yet serious self as Luke, and gets some fights but not that many, but with so much butt-kicking goodness I didn’t mind. Yuen Biao has some absolutely jaw-dropping scenes, first with his acrobatics throughout the entire film, and then the factory finale where he takes on the always great Billy Chow. Yuen Wah is hilarious as the cigar-chomping baddie, and it’s impressive he can still puff away–even when cartwheeling or somersaulting around.

The three-way fights that occur twice in the film involving Jackie, Sammo and Yuen Biao are comedy gold, and really show that they have done this with each other their whole lives, and they actually have. Their movements and timing with each other is classic, and can never be duplicated. That chemistry onscreen is rare, and has to be celebrated whenever we see it. Jackie’s fight with Benny The Jet is the crowning achievement of the film, and these two really know how to move with each other. Benny has the speed and power to give Jackie a hard time, and on-screen it shows. Benny makes a great villain, and really gives Jackie a run for his money. Their fights are brutal, more so than most of Jackie’s onscreen duels.

The story is fluffy and sweet, and exists to make room for the fighting and comedy, but somehow it all works. The three leads are the glue that holds everything together. They all play to their traits at the time: Yuen Biao is usually the crazy one, Sammo the amoral one except when it comes to his friends, and Jackie the good-hearted but womanizing jerk who always does the right thing. The camera work is dynamic for the fights, and it’s pure perfection. The pacing is well done, and each fight gets bigger and more complex. The Factory fight as a whole is an amazing finale of martial arts, filmed by the best the industry had to offer at the time. It rarely gets better than this!

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best):

CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) Every fight catered to the strengths of its actors and what they can do, and Sammo used it to the fullest to get every drop of cool that could be had. The Jackie/Urquidez fight isn’t as good as Wheels on Meals, but it’s close. The boat fight is one of Jackie’s best.

STUNTWORK: (10)  Sweet Beejeezus did the stunt men get their asses kicked. Some of the falls and bounces off furniture they took were downright criminal, and the splits Billy Chow had to do? They had better had paid him well for that one. I think that might’ve cost him the ability to have children. Yikes. The stuntmen really brought it for this one, and they really sell every fight scene.

STAR POWER: (10) Everyone was at the top of their game. Damn near every badass on-screen at the time was in this! As a last hurrah for some of the members of the 7 Little Fortunes (Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Corey Yuen, and Yuen Wah) they chose a damn good way to close out their collaborations!

FINAL GRADE: (10) Dragons Forever is one of the classics of kung-fu films, with stunning fights and slapstick comedy that marked the end of the Jackie Chan/Sammo Hung/Yuen Biao films, but they went out with a bang!