Archive for the Matt Mullins Category

Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Matt Mullins and Cynthia Rothrock!

Posted in Cynthia Rothrock, Don"The Dragon" Wilson, Joe Lewis, Matt Mullins with tags , , , on May 3, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

The trailer goodness continues here on Kiai-Kick with White Tiger, a film that’s been rumored for years is finally here! Cynthia Rothrock returns, and we see the great Joe Lewis one last time! The film’s story looks generic, but the action looks to be slick, and everyone looks great. Check out the trailer below. It’s good to have everyone back!

 

 

 

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Review: The Wrath of Vajra (2014)

Posted in Matt Mullins, Steve Yoo, Xing Yu, Yasuaki Kurata with tags , on March 18, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Xing Yu, Steve Yoo, Ya Mei, Matt Mullins, Yasuaki Kurata

Fight Choreography by Sammo Hung and Zhang Peng

Directed by Law Wing Cheong

Xing Yu is an actual 32nd Generation Shaolin monk who has co-starred in many great films like Kung Fu Hustle, Flashpoint and Ip Man, and has played second fiddle to other action stars. I thought he had enough screen charisma and martial arts talent to actually star in a film, and wondered if he would ever get his shot at the big time.

Well, he has now received his shot. And I was right! He’s got what it takes to be a star.

The Wrath of Vajra begins as we learn about the Hades sect under the leadership of Amano Kawao (Kurata), a Japanese martial arts organization that aided the Japanese armies during their attempted conquest of China, but were disbanded once their goals clashed with that of the military. The Chinese people are now revolting in the provinces that Japan controls, and needs the Hades sect to return to help quell the revolutions. To do this, Kawao, from jail, reinstates his lead student Kurashige to restart the Hades sect, by stealing children and forcing them to learn martial arts and become killing machines. Soon this comes to the attention of K-29 (Xing Yu), now practicing as a Shaolin monk after escaping the Hades sect. He was one of their greatest students, and they want him back, for either the purposes of joining them or being killed by them. At the same time a group of Chinese fighters consisting of a few Americans, particularly Bill (Mullins) are take prisoner and forced to fight until they die or join the Hades group. As the story unfolds you’ll find that Bill and a few others are well familiar with what Hades has to offer. K-29 finds that one of the Shaolin children has been taken by the sect, and he returns to Hades base/arena to fight his way to destroying them once and for all.  Can he use his lessons as a Monk to save the child, the rebels, and himself once he enters the darkness of Hades?

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I really enjoyed this film immensely. Xing Yu very much has the determined hero look down pat, but he also does a good job as showing his conflicted emotions at certain moments. Matt Mullins does a great job as Bill, but I wish there had been more scenes with him and Xing Yu, to examine their relationship since they both escaped from Hades. Yasuaki Kurata doesn’t get to fight in this one, but exudes menace as Kawao.

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Steve Yoo is great as Kurashige, and plays him perfectly as a man who doesn’t believe that what he’s doing is evil as its all he’s ever known, and feels betrayed by K-29 for choosing to stand against him. Especially at the end, when he gazes out and sees Hades falling apart, and the disbelief on his face, is just well done by Yoo. The story itself is well told, and each character has a fitting, even somewhat operatic ending. I thought for sure this would be a Heroic Bloodshed film, and was actually surprised that it wasn’t, but in no way disappointed in that. That would have been an easy way to end the story. I’m glad they didn’t take it.

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The fights in this film were a joy to watch. Since Sammo choreographed it, I would expect nothing less! It was all well-shot, with a mixture of traditional kung-fu and a little bit of wirework, but nothing that distracted or took away from the performers. My favorite fight is when K-29 fights Crazy Monkey, a crazy kung-fu fighter who uses an array of styles and parkour to evade and attack. The fight starts on the ground, then on a bridge, and then to the top of the concrete bridge arches, and down, and back up, and then into the water. The music here is also good, and I hope more films follow it musically. There is a Xing Yu versus Matt Mullins fight that I wish had been a lot longer, but Mullins gets his moments during the final scrum at the climax of the film (in fact, some of it reminds me of Enter The Dragon in a strange way). The final fight itself in the rain between Xing Yu and Steve Yoo is gorgeous to look at and is well done. Their fight really displays the powerful strikes within the karate and kung-fu disciplines. The scenes switch between their fight and the soldiers fighting the Hades disciples, and it all comes together beautifully.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

I really had a great time with this movie, and I’d like to introduce everyone to Xing Yu: Kung Fu Star. His time has finally come in a film that properly introduces audiences to a man who may very well be the next big thing!

The Wrath of Vajra was released today on DVD and Blu-Ray from WellGO USA (Good Job, Ya’ll!) . I HIGHLY recommend you pick this one up!

So why isn’t Matt Mullins playing Johnny Cage?

Posted in Larnell Stovall, Matt Mullins with tags , on February 22, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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Put simply? The powers that be at Warner Bros f**ked this up. I contacted Matt and he told me that, basically, he wasn’t a big enough “name actor” (because Casper Van Dien is such a big star, right?). Never mind that he fit the part, and more importantly, IS A REAL MARTIAL ARTIST. Now we can put away any thought of a possible rematch with Michael Jai White (they fought at the end of Blood and Bone). I know it’s a business, and as Matt said, it’s tough out there, but dammit, they made such great moves, getting Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa back as Shang Tsung, reminding Marc Dacascos that he actually knows martial arts (I jest, sorta) and casting him as Kung Lao, but this is a bad misstep that wasn’t necessary. Properties like Mortal Kombat don’t need “name” stars unless they come from the martial arts world. Season 1 got by without a big name star, and Van Dien, no offense to him, isn’t anywhere near that. I doubt most kids even know who he is. I can only hope Larnell Stovall can dip into his magic bag and make CVD look good on screen.

For now, though, we won’t have Matt, but you know what? You can catch Matt starring opposite Michael Jai White, Darren Shahlavi and Scott Adkins in the Metal Hurlant Chronicles, and White Tiger, a film with Cynthia Rothrock and Don “The Dragon” Wilson (I’ll have more on this film later), and he’s also in the upcoming film King of Vajara. In other words, Matt’s keeping himself busy!

-Michael

 

Review: Blood And Bone (2009)

Posted in Bob Sapp, JJ Perry, Kimbo Slice, Matt Mullins, Michael Jai White, Robert Wall, Ron Yuan with tags , , on April 28, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Michael Jai White, Eamonn Walker, Nona Gaye, Julian Sands,

Dante Basco, Bob Sapp, Kimbo Slice, Matt Mullins, Ron Yuan

Fight Choreography by JJ Perry and Fernando Chien

Directed by Ben Ramsey

Michael Jai White is one of those mysteries that Hollywood hasn’t figured out yet, but fans and martial arts enthusiasts have been waiting for “MJW” to finally star in a film of his own, and somewhere out the there martial arts gods were listening to us, and gave us Undisputed 2, which finally gave MJW the starring film he deserved. It was a huge success on DTV, and MJW follows it up with this film. Can he keep the momentum going?

To quote one random line from the film, “That Bones is the truth!”

The film tells the story of Bone (MJW), a man just released from prison, whom we know from the first fight at the beginning of the film that he’s a martial arts badass who can beat the tar out of Kimbo Slice and a group of unfortunate henchmen who weren’t aware that attacking Bone meant losing both their dignity–and their teeth.

He soon arrives at a boarding home, where he is taken in by Tamara (Gaye) and it’s apparent that he’s there for a reason that won’t be explained until much later. That night he attends an underground fight tournament where he sees a fighter named the Cowboy getting his butt whipped by the HammerMan (Sapp), and Bone uses the beat down to get Cowboy’s promotor Pinball (Basco) to get him into a fight, where Bone obliterates his opponent, and brings him , and after a few fights is brought to the attention of The Hammerman’s promotor James, a street kingpin who is looking to move up to a group called the Consortium, of which his boss Franklin McVeigh (Sands) is a member. And yes, they sound like James Bond villains, but never mind that. Of course, I always viewed Julian Sands as a Bond villain. Score one for MJW’s crew for figuring that one out first!

This is what Bone wants, although it will be midway through the film before we see why, which actually helps keep the story interesting. Bone is offered to join James, by fighting in a special bout financed by the Consortium against their best fighter, Pretty Boy Price (Mullins), considered to be the best in the world. Bone has other plans that involves James’s girl Angela, who has a secret connected with Bone that not even she is aware of until later.

Soon all of Bone’s plans come to fruition, and he had foreshadowed this to James earlier in the film when he quoted Genghis Khan:

I am the punishment of God. And if you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.

Now that is some badass shit to say, ‘cause Genghis Khan was the original badass who said it, and you better be one to use it. Unfortunately James didn’t really put this bit of logic together, else he would have retired early, say, to Siberia.

Bone finally faces off with Price, and James has one last confrontation with Bone, and the results are not what you might expect…

Blood and Bone is a fun film that somewhat hearkens back to the heights of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s popularity, and share some story beats with his own film Lionheart.  MJW owns this role, exuding a great deal of screen presence along with some well-acted scenes. He never portrays Bone as some sort of unstoppable badass, but as a very intelligent man who has a plan, and intends to keep his plan and his promise to a friend. He has a spirituality to himself that is shown in his martial arts, as he never applies more force than what’s necessary to defeat his opponent. In a great montage scene of his fights he also shows that he knows Tai Chi, and it is this form he uses to defeat James at the end. Eamonn Walker also does a fantastic job as James. He plays him as a sociopathic street kingpin with delusions of believing that he is above the thugs he employs, but in reality is a worse monster, and there are some really good moments where he states that he doesn’t curse because it makes man barbaric, but then curses a bunch toward the end when things start to unravel. He becomes what he thought he wasn’t. All of the rest of the cast, particularly Dante Basco as Pinball and Ron Yuan (yep, little brother of  Roger Yuan (Shanghai Noon)) add some hip-hop flavor to the proceedings.

The fights are stand out here. The first few fights show what is in Bone’s mind, how he sees his opponent, and his fight against the Hispanic gang that won’t pay up is fantastic. The 4-man jump kick was astounding. I don’t know how MJW does it. No one that big should be able to do that, but he can. His fight with Bob Sapp is also good, but quick, which is appropriate given the circumstances and his opponent, and holy crap is Bob Sapp scary! The final fight between MJW and Matt Mullins is fantastic, as each fighter sizes up the other, and the choreography is fluid and smooth, and really allows both men to shine.

Ben Ramsey does a great job staging the fights, keeping the camera at good angles so we can see the action, and not quick-cut editing the film to hell. The film also has some good references for those who love martial arts films. In the final fight look for Robert Wall (Enter the Dragon) as one of the Consortium members throwing MJW a sword as McVeigh yells out his name “O’Hara!” I actually laughed out loud at that scene. Sands does a great Shih Kein impersonation!

Blood and Bone is a fun martial arts film that finally allows MJW to cut loose and show us what he can do, and he puts it all together here, the acting, the fighting, the humor. It’s all there, and well worth watching. Also, watch the credits at the end to see James meet a fate that may be worse than death…

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

CHOREOGRAPHY: (8) JJ Perry and Co do a great job staging these fights, and they have a good mix of MMA and traditional martial arts. The final fight between Bone and Price is fantastic. Matt Mullins and MJW really get a chance to show off  their stuff.

STUNTWORK: (8) Good stuff from everyone involved, especially the other fighters, whom I believe are all the real deal.

STAR POWER: (10) Michael Jai White really gets to put himself out there, and it works. Since then his slate has gotten really, really full, so good on him! Eamonn Walker, Bob Sapp  Matt Mullins, Dante Basco, Ron Yuan , Julian Sands and Kimbo Slice all give good contributions to a good film. Hey, so does Robert Wall!

FINAL GRADE: (9) MJW delivers another great martial arts film. I’m glad he’s taken his career into his own hands. Now how about a sequel? Bone did tell McVeigh he would see him later…