Archive for the Emmanuel Manzanares Category

LBP Stunts presents: Blind Date!

Posted in Amy Sturdivant, Emmanuel Manzanares with tags , on December 11, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

Emmanuel Manzanares directs Amy Sturdivant (Queen) and Thelkla Hutyrova in another great action short. Just watch rinse and repeat!

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Blu-Ray Review: Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Posted in Alain Moussi, Darren Shahlavi, Dave Bautista, Emmanuel Manzanares, Georges St. Pierre, Gina Carano, Jean-Claude Van Damme, TJ Storm with tags , on November 8, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

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Who’s in this film?

Alain Moussi, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dave Bautista, Darren Shahlavi, Gina Carano, Georges St. Pierre, TJ Storm, Sara Malakul Lane

The Film:

Alain Moussi now takes over the role of Kurt Sloane, who serves as a fight assistant to his successful karate champion brother Eric Sloane (Shahlavi). When mysterious fight promoter Marcia offers Eric a lot of money and the chance to face Tong Po (Bautista), a Kickboxing Muay Thai champion, Eric accepts, much to the dismay of Kurt. Eric goes to Thailand, and Kurt eventually follows, only to see his brother killed in the ring by Tong Po. Seeking revenge, Kurt tries to murder Tong Po, but with the help of a local cop (Lane) he hides at the home of Eric’s trainer, Master Durand (JCVD). There Kurt learns how to kick a ton of ass and finally is good enough to challenge Tong Po to a duel to avenge his brother…

The Review:

The film pretty much follows many of the beats of the original film, except for the beginning, which I won’t spoil here except to say that we first meet Kurt Sloane in a very dark place. There is a little time jumping, and the story doesn’t really allow me to connect to Kurt’s pain over his brother’s death, because their relationship isn’t touched on very much. Also a little baffling was the romance (sex) Kurt has with Liu, the Thai cop. It seems to just pop out of bloody nowhere, and there is no real resolution to it. Alain Moussi does a good job of playing Kurt Sloane, but doesn’t quite have the charisma that JCVD had in the same role. Speaking of which, JCVD was great every time he was onscreen, and in fact so much so I wish Master Durand was simply THE Kurt Sloane retired to train Kickboxers. JCVD even gets into a few scraps that show he’s still got it, but that’s no real surprise. I wonder now if JCVD being in the film hurts it rather than helps it.

The late, Great Darren Shahlavi, in his final role, is far too underutilized as Eric Sloane. I wish the film had not strayed from the original and kept Eric alive, which would have meant seeing a lot more of Darren. Gina Carano is in the film but is a complete waste. Her character could have been played by literally anyone. Sorry, if I see a prime Gina Carano in the credits of a film, I damn well expect to see her kick someone’s ass. The same can be said for Georges St. Pierre, who does have a few fight scenes, but there is one glaring edit of one of his fights— or some incident—that left me baffled as the film makes no explanation as to how he suddenly has  a broken arm after seeing him fairly healthy not many scenes before. Dave Bautista is okay as a much more menacing and intelligent Tong Po, but in the end he’s nothing more than a standard cookie-cutter baddie. Sara Malakul Lane is a stunningly beautiful woman, but her character doesn’t bring much to the story, except to slow things down too much with a useless side story.

The place where Kickboxer: Vengeance truly surpasses the original are the fight scenes, which many, and well shot and edited, and really gives Alain Moussi a chance to shine, but in the wake of Muay Thai films like Ong Bak or The Protector, some of it feels a little derivative. The best fight in the film, to me, is the fight between JCVD and Moussi. JCVD has better choreography here than I’ve ever seen this side of No Retreat, No Surrender.

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The Picture:

It’s a fantastic blu-ray transfer, as nearly all newer films are nowadays, and the colors pop appropriately.

Extras:

The only extras is the usual photo gallery and a commercial behind the scenes. The behind the scenes shows a lot of surface stuff, and doesn’t really go into the actual making of the film. In other words, incredibly disappointing. I would’ve loved to see a BTS of the fight choreography sessions (especially since Larnell Stovall and Emmanuel Manzanares of LBP Stunt Chicago are involved), not to mention maybe more interviews of JCVD or shots of him on set. Heck, even a trailer would have been nice. There were a hundred ways they could have gone with extras, and they really dropped the ball here. I also would’ve liked to hear the actors talk about the late Great Darren Shahlavi and what it was like to work with him.

Final Thoughts:

If you loved the film, or even if you just liked it, you’re going to be disappointed by the lack of extras here. It’s as bare bones as you can get. Here’s hoping the sequel will fare with better extras, ones that fans of martial arts film enthusiasts can get behind.

My original film review score stays the same: 6.5.

Kiai-Kick’s Blu Ray Score: 4

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Not even Gina Carano can save the lack of extras here.

 

How about some previs work with Vlad Rimburg and crew?

Posted in Amy Johnston, Brendon Hour, Bryan Sloyer, Dennis Ruel, Emmanuel Manzanares, Jerry Quill, Shawn Bernal, Vlad Rimburg, Vonzell Carter on October 30, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

If you come to this site enough you know how much I love and appreciate the many martial arts stunt people/actors whom I’ve covered over the years. This video pretty much contains my favorite folks, one and all. They are tremendous talents one and all, in front and behind the camera, and it’s badass to see them together at once, even in a previs. My question is, previs for what? Ah, now that’s a question! Amy Johnston, Dennis Ruel, Vonzell Carter, Bryan Sloyer, Jerry Quill, Shawn Bernal, Brendon Huor, and Sam Puefua rock this all the hell out, with exciting choreography by Vlad Rimburg and Emmanuel Manzanares. Really, so much great work went into this. Check it out, and then watch it again. Great work, gang!

My new question for you, Vlad: So when do we get Part 3 Chapter A?

Review: Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Posted in Alain Moussi, Darren Shahlavi, Dave Bautista, Emmanuel Manzanares, Georges St. Pierre, Gina Carano, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Larnell Stovall, TJ Storm on September 12, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Alain Moussi, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dave Bautista, Darren Shahlavi, Gina Carano, Georges St. Pierre, TJ Storm, Sara Malakul Lane

Fight Choreography by Larnell Stovall

Directed by John Stockwell

This is a particularly difficult film to attempt to review objectively; it’s a remake of the original, with many of the story beats the same, and still stars the main actor now in a supporting role, plus has one of the cheesiest/best dance scenes in the history of ever. Plus, I really liked the original, if for nostalgia’s sake.

Alain Moussi now takes over the role of Kurt Sloane, who serves as a fight assistant to his successful karate champion brother Eric Sloane (Shahlavi). When mysterious fight promoter Marcia offers Eric a lot of money and the chance to face Tong Po (Bautista), a Kickboxing Muay Thai champion, Eric accepts, much to the dismay of Kurt. Eric goes to Thailand, and Kurt eventually follows, only to see his brother killed in the ring by Tong Po. Seeking revenge, Kurt tries to murder Tong Po, but with the help of a local cop (Lane) he hides at the home of Eric’s trainer, Master Durand (JCVD). There Kurt learns how to kick a ton of ass and finally is good enough to challenge Tong Po to a duel to avenge his brother…

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The film pretty much follows many of the beats of the original film, except for the beginning, which I won’t spoil here except to say that we first meet Kurt Sloane in a very dark place. There is a little time jumping, and the story doesn’t really allow me to connect to Kurt’s pain over his brother’s death, because their relationship isn’t touched on very much. Also a little baffling was the romance (sex) Kurt has with Liu, the Thai cop. It seems to just pop out of bloody nowhere, and there is no real resolution to it. Alain Moussi does a good job of playing Kurt Sloane, but doesn’t quite have the charisma that JCVD had in the same role. Speaking of which, JCVD was great every time he was onscreen, and in fact so much so I wish Master Durand was simply THE Kurt Sloane retired to train Kickboxers. JCVD even gets into a few scraps that show he’s still got it, but that’s no real surprise. I wonder now if JCVD being in the film hurts it rather than helps it.

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The late, great Darren Shahlavi, in his final role, is far too underutilized as Eric Sloane. I wish the film had not strayed from the original and kept Eric alive, which would have meant seeing a lot more of Darren. Gina Carano is in the film but is a complete waste. Her character could have been played by anyone. Sorry, if I see a prime Gina Carano in the credits of a film, I damn well expect to see her kick someone’s ass. The same can be said for Georges St. Pierre, who does have a few fight scenes, but there is one glaring edit of one of his fights— or some incident—that left me baffled as the film makes no explanation as to how he suddenly has  a broken arm after seeing him fairly healthy not many scenes before. Dave Bautista is okay as a much more menacing and intelligent Tong Po, but in the end he’s nothing more than a standard cookie-cutter baddie. Sara Malakul Lane is a stunningly beautiful woman, but her character doesn’t bring much to the story, except to slow things down too much with a useless side story.

The place where Kickboxer: Vengeance truly surpasses the original are the fight scenes, which many, and well shot and edited, and really gives Alain Moussi a chance to shine, but in the wake of Muay Thai films like Ong Bak or The Protector, some of it feels a little derivative. The best fight in the film, to me, is the fight between JCVD and Moussi. JCVD has better choreography here than I’ve ever seen this side of No Retreat, No Surrender.

Extra Bits:

The film was dedicated to Darren Shahlavi, and I was really happy to see they did that.

Yes, we are treated to JCVD’s original bar dance again, along with a side by side of Alain trying the same thing during the closing credits. Sorry, but JCVD STILL wins that dance-off, Alain!

What else did this film need? Stan Bush. No, really. Stan Bush for the win.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6.5

Kickboxer: Vengeance has its moments, but reminds me too much of the original, but JCVD shines in a limited role. Alain Moussi grew on me as the film went on. Any chance we see Sasha Mitchell in Kickboxer: Retaliation? I hope so.

Cornered and Michael S Moore at the Action On Film Festival 2015!

Posted in Dennis Ruel, Emmanuel Manzanares, Gui DaSilva, Michael Moore, Richard Norton, Vlad Rimburg with tags on September 24, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Whew! I only spent 3 days in Monrovia, California for the Action On Film Festival, but I had memories to last a lifetime and met so many wonderful people! The festival is held at the Krikorian theater, and let me tell you, its a beautiful theater! The days were hot ( not nearly as hot as Texas was!) but it was just gorgeous outside:

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AOF is in its 11th year, and there are a LOT of films shown, and its a testament to festival creator Del and Theresa Weston that so many filmmakers attend the show! Del is a personality, one so big how could he NOT create a thing like AOF? Such a good guy! He welcomed me with open arms literally the moment I arrived!

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I literally got off the plane early Friday morning, and after a small jaunt to Venice Beach ( hey, it was my first time in Los Angeles) I went to the festival and the whirlwind began! I finally met Kely McClung (Blood Ties) a longtime facebook friend, and now a friend for real, plus his makeup artist Nadia, who will be working with Kely on a short film called Loop. Kely was at the festival as his feature film Altered was showing (it was really good!) I also met a lot of wonderful actors, actresses, directors and producers!

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Left to Right: Kely McClung, Michael S Moore, Actress Jodie Lee, Makeup Artist Nadia Berchtold, and actor Robert Factor.

Saturday Night saw a lot of action, culminating in the screening of UnLucky Stars! My review can be found here, and it was just as much fun watching it a second time around! Unlucky Stars now has distribution, so hopefully you’ll all be able to see it soon! I was finally able to meet the cast and crew, and I was stoked! These are guys I’ve been pounding the drums for nearly since Kiai-Kick’s inception, and here they were! A great group of guys:

Left to right: Vladislav Rimburg, Sari Sabella, Michael S Moore, Emmanuel Manzanares, Dennis Ruel, and Gui Dasilva

Left to right: Vladislav Rimburg, Sari Sabella, Michael S Moore, Emmanuel Manzanares, Dennis Ruel, and Gui DaSilva

If you’re new to the website and don’t know their work, here are a few things to watch:

DAMN RIGHT. I also met Bryan Sloyer, who is becoming quite the filmmaker himself!

So the screening went well, and afterward who should we see in attendance? None other than RICHARD NORTON! (Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars, Mad Max: Fury Road, China O’Brien and so many more!) Such a gentleman and very humble, but the man is a legend of martial arts cinema!

Richard Norton is so cool he gets his own toplight!

Richard Norton is so cool he gets his own toplight!

There were some truly great short films, like Battle of Wills by David Noh (awesome story and ending!), Wrath of God, and The Real Miyagi, about Karate Master Fumio Demura, was tremendously good. I can’t recommend that documentary enough.

I had to leave Sunday night, but my experiences were once in a lifetime. Or was it? Now that Cornered has shown, I have already started work on my next/first feature film. What is it? Well…

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So I’ll see you next year, right?

LBP Stunts Chicago presents Monster!

Posted in Alvin Hsing, Emmanuel Manzanares, Jerry Quill, Jimmy Chhiu, Vonzell Carter on July 27, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

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LBP Stunts Chicago continue their excellent work as we get another jam directed by Emmanuel Manzanares, starring Bryan Sloyer who has doing awesome work lately as a guy who’s being beaten by a group of paid thugs and turns the table on them to brutal effect. It reminds me so much of the kind of action seen in the The Raid and The Raid 2, particularly with the knife and baseball bat fights. Watch the coolness below!

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