Archive for the David No Category

Review: Savage Dog (2017)

Posted in Cung Le, David No, JuJu Chan, Marko Zaror, Scott Adkins, Uncategorized with tags on August 29, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror have a really, really bloody rematch! And Keith David!!

 

Starring Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror, Cung Le, Keith David, Juju Chan

Fight Choreography by Luke LaFontaine

Directed By Jesse V Johnson

Savage Dog is a period film set shortly after the French Indochina War in 1959 tells the story of Martin Tillman, an Irishman and displaced soldier, spending his days as a prisoner of Von Steiner, a sadistic jailer who pits Tillman into a series of martial arts fights with various opponents for money. When not fighting, Tillman spends his time in prison being visited by a local flower girl, Isabelle(Chan). When pressured by a British government official, Steiner releases Tillman, but since Tillman is still a wanted man, he chooses to hide out at a local bar run by Valentine(David) and also the home of the flower girl, where a romance blossoms, but as it happens in action films, Steiner brings Tillman back, but when Steiner and his henchmen go after his love, Tillman goes on a rampage to ensure Steiner never bothers anyone ever again…

It’s nice to see Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror leave their comfort zones and do a period film, and the production values looked great on what had to be a small budget. The story is well done, with, for a change, the villain Steiner being a more well rounded character, with his own motivations, and surprisingly, regrets. Scott Adkins is good here, but, from an acting standpoint, isn’t much of a stretch from most of the characters he plays. The same goes for Marko Zaror, but he is actually a more chilling villain here than in his other bad guy roles. He’s a real bastard here, and I want to see more of him in this mode. Keith David is KEITH MOTHERFU&@!ing DAVID! He’s the spice that makes ANY film better, and he brings his patented coolness here as both the star and narrator. He’s so cool he gets to dispense with a solid rule of cinema that isn’t supposed to be broken. But he can do that, ’cause he’s Keith Motherf&%^!ing David. Cung Le is okay here, but his character gets to real development until his final lines in his fight with Adkins. It made me wish the film had done more than mention his viscous general’s backstory.

The fights here…Let’s get to that.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s brutal. Like they watched the The Raid 2 and said “Hold my beer.”

The blood flows like a river in this film, and I have to admit I’ve never seen the like. You know, like watching a guy get shot with a shotgun in the face point blank. Twice. Or even what Scott Adkins does to Marko Zaror at the end…I can safely say I’ve never seen an action star at ANY level do what he does! It was shocking, but really hearkens back to the title of the film.

The fights are technically well done toward the beginning, but with the exception of a quick fight with stuntman/actor David No, I was really marking time until we get to the main event: Scott Adkins versus Cung Le and Marko Zaror. The Cung Le fight is short, but Le acquits himself well here as the choreography matches his strengths as a martial artist but not at the expense of having Adkins take the petal off the gas, so to speak. It’s a good fight that’s only marred by how cheaply the film ends it, but now we come to the true event, the Undisputed 3 rematch between Adkins and Zaror, and it’s great. First with weapons, both men show why they are awesome, moving fast but their movements are precise, and that knife Marko had…I would NOT want to get stabbed with that sucker. But then the weapons go away.

And then it gets REAL.

The director knows what you want. The fight choreographer knows what you want. Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror sure as HELL know what you want. And they made sure you get it! The fight is everything I was wanting it to be. So help me they put on a clinic in beautiful kicking of every kind. And the music with the furious violin playing during it? Holy hell they hit the sweet spot. The fist work was well done, and the fight lasted exactly as long as it needed to given the story and characters.

Bravo, Jesse V Johnson. Bravo. Now do it again!

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8.5

One of Scott Adkins’ best films. Marko Zaror establishes himself as a great villain, and Keith David does Keith David things. Bring on the sequel!

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Review: Blindsided (2017)

Posted in Clayton Barber, David No, Eric Jacobus, Roger Yuan on February 28, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Eric Jacobus, Roger Yuan, Nicolas Verdi, Brett Sheerin, Khalid Ghajji

Fight Choreography by Roger Yuan

Directed by Clayton Barber

I’ve been gleefully awaiting anything from Eric Jacobus ever since we saw him in Rope-A-Dope 2, and now this filmmaking/martial arts/stuntman badass returns in a film that pays great homage to all of the blind martial arts onscreen fighters over the years, so how does his newest short hold up to everything including his own work?

In short: this is Mr. Jacobus’ best film yet. And that’s really, REALLY saying something.

The film opens as we meet Walter, a blind man with a bit of a problem: he needs milk to go with his apple pie (which looks like the best apple pie I’ve seen in a long time), and goes to his corner market. While shopping there the shop owner (played by the great Roger Yuan!!!) is accosted by a group of thugs, and well, you can probably guess what happens next. I’m not giving it away!

Eric, as always, shows that comedy is his strong suit, and proves it again here, not so much with the character himself, but with the early part of the fight scenes, which remind me of some of Jackie Chan’s best fight scenes using a prop, which in this case is his cane. Roger Yuan looks like he’s having a blast watching the proceedings, and since he’s also the fight choreographer, isn’t that an awesome thing?! The direction by Clayton Barber is spot on, and everyone does a great job packing a lot of character into a very short amount of time. The production values are fantastic as they aways are with Eric’s work, and the fights!

Let’s have a word about that.

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There is only one fight scene in the film, but covers a lot and since weapons are involved it looks technically difficult to shoot, but the quality is there as we see some amazing movements, parries, blocks and strikes are fast and furious, but the excellent camerawork makes sure you know what’s what and who is where at all times.

If I had any real issue with the film is that I wanted more of everything! But that’s for a sequel, isn’t it? And be sure to stick through the credits as you see what training Eric went through to accurately portray a blind gentlemen. Dedication to craft, everybody!

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9.5

Eric knocks this one out of the park–again–and Roger Yuan’s fight choreography is on point! This film comes on Youtube March 1st, and I HIGHLY suggest you watch it! So where’s my feature film with Walter? 

You can watch the film March 1st here.