Archive for the Ron Smoorenburg Category

Ron Smoorenburg is back in Reflex!

Posted in Ron Smoorenburg with tags , on May 3, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

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Anyone who reads this site knows I’ve long been an admirer of Ron Smoorenburg ever since seeing him in Who Am I? and his famous fight with Jackie Chan on that rooftop. Ron has been steady working, but it looks like we’ll really see him pony up in the film Reflex, a mystery action film about a young man who wakes up after losing his memory during experimentation, and finds himself on the run from a host of killers, Ron being one of them. Check out the trailer below, and wait for this film which releases in July 2014. I’ll get a review of it as soon as I can!

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Review: Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (2013)

Posted in Isaac Florentine, Kane Kosugi, Kazu Tang, Mika Hijii, Ron Smoorenburg, Scott Adkins, Tim Man on March 17, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Scott Adkins, Kane Kosugi, Mika Hijii, Patrick Kazu Tang, Shun Sugata, Ron Smoorenburg, Jawed El Berni, Tim Man

Fight Choreography by Tim Man

Directed by Isaac Florentine

The original Ninja film was a breath of fresh air. Not only did it bring the ninja back in a big way (Ninja Assassin notwithstanding), but also continued to upward rise of martial arts star Scott Adkins and helmer Isacc Florentine after the classic Undisputed 3. Afterward came a little Indonesian film called The Raid, that upped the ante for everyone. Now we return to the adventures of Casey Bowman and his now wife Namiko (Hijii), and what ensues is a tonally different film than the comic-book style of the original.

Adkins returns as Casey Bowman, who, since the previous film, has married his deceased Sensei’s daughter Namiko and taken control of the Takeda Dojo. Namiko, who is now pregnant, asks Casey to go to the store to get chocolate and seaweed, and Casey returns to fine Namiko murdered by an assailant with a barbed chain weapon. During her funeral Nakabara, an old friend of the clan (Kosugi) shows up to offer his condolences, and to offer Casey a place to train and clear his head, at his Indonesian Dojo. Casey does so, but not before beating the daylights out of an entire dojo plus two thugs he believes were in on it. The thugs reveal that Boss Goro, a Japanese drug lord in Burma, had murdered Namiko. This takes Casey on a whirlwind trip of revenge, but fight after fight brings him closer to his target, who may not be the only villain responsible for Namiko’s death…

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Ninja 2 is a far darker film that the previous movie, but that’s to the film’s advantage. Scott Adkins returns as a far more vengeful Casey, and his kills are much more brutal than anything he did in the original film. Adkins’ acting is getting better and better with each film, and he does an even better job of conveying Casey’s emotions as his world falls apart. The only thing I miss is the Hugh Jackman Wolverine jacket he wore in the first film! Kane Kosugi does a good job here as well, and I was happy to see Kane in a good film. I hope that he teams up with Florentine again in a film he can star in. Kane’s skills have always been exemplary, but his film choices have left a lot to be desired. Shun Sugata is also good as Goro, and I smiled as he channelled several of Sonny Chiba’s mannerisms into his fight style. If I have a true issue with the film is that there wasn’t enough action with Casey in his ninja outfit.

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The fights by Tim Man is the star attraction here, and rightly so. There are a ton of fights in this film, and each one has a different dynamic and aesthetic, and the first fights involving Patrick Kazu Tang are great, but it’s only a hint at the things to come. A too-short fight that included Ron Smoorenburg (Who am I?) and a great fight between Casey Bowman and a fellow student Lucas (el Berni) leads to the two big fights in the film: Scott Adkins vs Tim Man, in a stunningly great looking fight, full of acrobatics and martial arts mastery, but the best is truly saved for last. Scott Adkins vs. Kane Kosugi is one of those fights I’ve always wanted to see (check that off my bucket list!) and it does not disappoint! Both men bring their all to the fight, and is a showcase of their martial arts at their prime. Can we please get Kane Kosugi into a film of his own?

Ninja 2 leaves Casey Bowman in a strange place. His wife and her father are gone. Casey, the man without a family, has lost his. What comes next? It will be fun to see where Casey the ninja goes from here.

 

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

Full of exciting fights and Scott Adkins at his best, the showdown versus Kane Kosugi is worth the price of admission alone!

Review: Who Am I? (1998)

Posted in Jackie Chan, Kwan Yung, Ron Smoorenburg with tags , on September 23, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Jackie Chan, Ron Smerczak, Ron Smoorenburg, Kwan Yung, Michelle Ferre, Mirai Yamamoto, Ken Lo, Kane Kosugi, Ed Nelson

Fight Choreography by Jackie Chan

Directed by Benny Chan

The 1990’s is really the last major time that Jackie Chan’s cinematic output was really good. There were some pandering to western audiences, even with his Hong Kong output, but his skills were still way up there, even though he was showing small signs of decline. One of his final films before the new millennium would see some of the things that make Jackie Chan films great, and things that ensure that there is no way any of those films would win an award for acting. Such is the case with Who am I?

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Jackie plays, well, Jackie, an agent working alongside an international group of soldiers for the CIA under the command of Morgan (Smerczak), and they are tasked with kidnapping several scientists who are using an unstable new ore to create a new power source. The plan goes well, but the team is betrayed, and all are killed except for Jackie, who finds himself saved by an African tribe, and also suffers memory loss. After living with the tribe for a time, they are able to find the wreckage of his helicopter, and the bodies of his friends. Jackie’s memories are fragmented, but he does somewhat remember them. After joining a road race, and finishing first, Jackie goes on a mission to find out what happened to him and the scientists, which puts him in the crosshairs of Morgan and General Sherman (Nelson), who have their own uses for the scientists. Jackie never knows who to trust, and even the most unlikeliest people pose the greatest threat…

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Who am I? is a really fun, rollicking film that despite its premise is a grand time, and without a doubt one of JC’s best 90’s films. The story is basic and somewhat predictable, but Jackie is able to play the character well, even in the dramatic moments, save for a few moments where he tries to go “Academy Awards” and winds up going all Darth Vader “Noooooooooooo!” on us. But I have to say, while the acting in his films has been passable, there are two actors who were mind-stabbingly bad. That would be Mirai Yamamoto and Michelle Ferre, playing the female leads respectively. Gorgeous women to be sure, but both of them were nails-on-a-chalkboard terrible. In the case of Michelle Ferre I get that as she actually WAS a reporter, and not an actress, so I’m more forgiving of her part. JC was wrong to put her in the film regardless of how much he liked her or how cute she was. Ron Smerczak was really good as Morgan, creating a more serious foe for JC than he’d had in a while. What bothered me about his performance is that there are several lines where you know he was dubbed for some odd reason. That actually goes for other characters in the film in some spots. It just pulled me out of the film.
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The fights and the stunts are the things to see here, just like in the best of Jackie Chan movies, and there is no lack of it here, with car stunts, avoiding getting crushed by a piano stunt, and the terrific slide down the side of a skyscraper with no wires (try that, Tom Cruise). The choreography is well done, and start off small but they end in what is one of JC’s last truly great fights:

Jackie Chan versus Ron Smoorenburg and Kwan Yung.

This rooftop fight is absolutely fantastic, with both men specializing in arts the emphasize fists for one and feet for the other. Ron Smoorenburg is terrific here, and takes his place alongside some of the best super-kickers to ever fight Jackie Chan going all the way back to Hwang Jang Lee. If there is a particular reason I could give you to see this film, this is it. The fight is fast, furious, funny, and just plain epic.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8.5

A good James Bond-esque adventure that features some truly terrible acting but one of the best onscreen fights of Jackie’s 90’s output. I recommend it! 

Scott Adkins vs. Kane Kosugi! The Trailer for Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear!

Posted in Kane Kosugi, Mika Hijii, Ron Smoorenburg, Scott Adkins with tags , on September 9, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

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Scott Adkins, how we’ve missed you! While we all await Undisputed 4 (if it still happens) we return to one of Scott’s other popular characters, Casey the Ninja, who looks to have settled in with Mika Hijii from the events of the previous film, but you know in action hero realm that means the family has gotta get jacked up so the hero can return to action, and he does so here. The action looks less comic-booky and more Ong Bak-ish than the previous film, but you’ll get no complaints from me. Adkins looks to be in fine form. Toss in a fight with Ron Smoorenburg (Who Am I?) and what looks like a bigger budget, and we have the makings of a great martial arts film! Check out the trailer below!