Archive for the Marco Antonio Alvarez Category

Review: Sensitive 70’s Turtleneck Tough Guys Part 2 (2015)

Posted in Edward Kahana Jr., Eric Jacobus, Jose Montesinos, Marco Antonio Alvarez on November 3, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Sensitive 70's 2

Starring Jose Montesinos, Jessica Etheridge, Troy Carbonel, Marco Antonio Alvarez, Sari Sabella, Edward Kahana, Mathew Zipkin, Lucas Okuma, Ray Carbonel, Steven Yu, Eric Jacobus

Fight Choreography by Dennis Ruel, Ed Kahana, Steven Yu, Troy and Ray Carbonel, Lucas Okuma, Sari Sabella

Directed by Jose Montesinos and Brett Stillo

2016 draws near, but before 2015 ends we get another installment of those Sensitive 70’s Turtleneck Tough Guys, after the fun and well made first original, ade

Once again we pick back up on Tough Guy Raymundo Bala, P.I. (Montesinos) as we find him not hanging out with his boys, Cheegan Jones (T. Carbonel) and Frank Cox (Jacobus), but with foxy lady Detective Jo Dixon (Etheridge) as they discuss their feelings, as sensitive 70’s tough people do, and their mutual case, involving drug lord Escobarrrr (Alvarez) a guy with a lot of henchmen and a dog…which needs to be spayed. Dixon tries to get Bala to rejoin the police force, but he’s not taking the bait, and finds out that Dixon is now partnered up with his buddy Frank Cox, and Bala doesn’t take the bait, and in flashback sequences we find out the connection Dixon and Bala have with Escobarrr…

The first entry in Sensitive 70’s Turtleneck tough guys featured a bit more fighting, but this installment concentrates more on Raymundo Bala, and I wonder how Jose Montesinos could keep himself from laughing at the things that come out of his mouth, but he does, playing Bala as straight as possible, even as things get more insane. Jessica Etheridge is also great here as the sultry-yet-badass cop Dixon, who hints at a previous relationship with Bala, and she sells even her frustration at the fact that Bala isn’t getting the hint that yes, she wants to do more than simply discuss their mutual case.

70s Turtleneck 2.1

As always, Troy Carbonel’s Cheegan Jones doesn’t say a word, but sets off the funniest part of the film, involving Escobarrr and his crew of thugs. Speaking of which, they are all good, but Sari Sabella as…wait for it…Worshack Jenkins (even the name makes me laugh!) is the funniest thing about this short, in a moment involving a knife, and his head, and his screams are worth every moment, even his very last moment onscreen made me stop watching until I could compose myself. Marco Antonio Alvarez (Barrio Brawler) plays a great over-the-top Escobarrr (by the way, it’s not a misspelling.) and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for our heroes in the next installment. Speaking of which, you’ll notice I haven’t said much of anything about Eric Jacobus as Frank Cox. Well, there’s a reason for that, and you’ll have to watch to find out why!

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 12.24.28 AM

The 70’s aesthetic is once again done well here, from the film artifacts, to the credits and even the editing all reflect that time period well. Jose has this time period nailed, and knows how to get the comedy out of…tough guys in turtlenecks!

I want to discuss the fight scenes presented here, but I don’t want to spoil it. Suffice to say it’s a lot of fun to watch, and Jessica Etheridge does a good job beating up Edward Kahana, but Troy Carbonel’s fight scene is full of hilarity, not the least of which is thanks to a combination of great reactions from all of the actors, and Sari Sabella’s screams. Please tell me Worshack Jenkins has a twin brother for the next installment!

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8.5

Jose Montesinos and company craft another well done short film as those Turtleneck tough guys kick ass, and Part 3 can’t come fast enough!

Watch it below!

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Review: Barrio Brawler aka American Brawler (2013)

Posted in Dennis Ruel, Edward Kahana Jr., Jose Montesinos, Marco Antonio Alvarez on June 25, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

Barrio Brawler

Starring Marco Antonio Alvarez, Dennis Ruel, O.G Dave Rivera, Morgan Benoit, Steven Yu, Ed Kahana Jr., E. Ambriz De Colosio, Stacey Rose, Justin Perez

Fight Choreography by Dennis Ruel

Directed by Jose Montesinos

Big things…often start small. That’s an adage that is appropriate to this film. Jose Montesinos has been making indie  martial arts films for a bit now, and here he comes with a feature film that FINALLY puts Hispanic-American martial artists front and center, in much the same way that Blood and Bone did the same for African-American martial artists. It’s about damn time, but that doesn’t mean it will be a good martial arts film.

So is it a good film?

Damn right it is.

The film stars Marco Antonio Alvarez as Carlos Castillo, a martial arts teacher who finds himself in rough times: his wife has left him, and they are on the verge of divorce, while the bills start to pile up in his dojo, which just isn’t making enough money. Carlos is also trying pay for his grandmother’s medical bills at the same time. He’s a great sensei and a good man whose life has just taken a bit of a nosedive. He goes to his brother Ricky (Ruel) a ne’er-do-well who works at a bar owned by Morales, a local drug lord who is getting into the unsanctioned underground fight ring. Ricky gets Carlos to enter the fights, and Carlos, who despises such fights, enters them grudgingly, and later to his regret as he finds that Ricky’s problems with Morales quickly become his. Soon Carlos must make a choice between his principles as a martial artist and helping his brother. Can he save Ricky without losing himself? And is Ricky worth saving?

Barrio Brawler 1

Jose Montesinos has a winner here, and it all starts with the cast. Marco A. Alvarez is great as Carlos. I connected with the character immediately, and could sympathize with the hole he found himself in before things get bad. Alvarez plays Carlos as a genuinely good man, and he wears the conflict over his decisions on his face. A great performance, and does well with the fights, but more on that later. Dennis Ruel is perfect as Ricky. He’s a likable character who is just a classic F***up, and we all know a guy like him. He makes bad choice after bad choice, but never did I actually hate the character because of it, and that’s due to Ruel’s performance. O.G. Dave Rivera is an absolute snake as Morales, and plays being such an asshole to the hilt, as is Colosio as Morales’ right hand man Ruiz. The story, while yes, is a tournament-style martial arts film, it tells its story well, and having well-rounded characters can do that, and at no point did any character do something out of character, which I’ve seen in too many films of this type.

Barrio Brawler Dennis Ruel

The fights are all excellently shot, and while the locations could have been better (most of it is in a warehouse, but the final fight is in a really nice location) the fights themselves are great. The choreography is fast and smooth, and combines MMA-style with traditional martial arts much as Donnie Yen did with SPL (Killzone). I cheered during the final fight as I saw perfect examples of limb destruction, rarely seen in modern martial arts films, so kudos to Dennis Ruel on a terrific job!

This film is further proof that a big budget isn’t needed to make a good martial arts film! It isn’t a perfect martial arts film, but nevertheless it’s a damn good one.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8.5

An excellent  film  from Jose Montesinos that kicks all kinds of ass with great martial arts fight scenes and also has a great heart to boot! Alvarez and Ruel are the real deal. 

The film released today. Check your local theaters!