Archive for the Tim Man Category

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!

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Review: Kill ‘Em All (2012)

Posted in Erik Marcus Schuetz, Gordon Liu, Joe Lewis, Tim Man with tags on December 21, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

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Starring Ammara Siripong, Tim Man, Gordon Liu, Johnny Messner, Joe Lewis, Erik Markus Schuetz, Rashid Phoenix, Brahim Achabbakhe

Fight Choreography by Tim Man

Directed by Raimund Huber

Kill ’Em All tosses a group of assassins in a Mortal Kombat-style tournament–in a warehouse. As the film begins we get to meet each of the assassins as they carry out their latest jobs, and then we get to see how each of them is captured, and in the case of the assassin known as The Kid (Man) he gets to see his girlfriend killed before he is knocked out. When he wakes up he finds he is in a dingy room with Som (Siripong), a female killer who has a more mysterious reason for being there, Gabriel (Messner) an explosives assassin who is also suicidal, Mickey (Phoenix) a young assassin who has no concept of right and wrong, Carpenter (Lewis) whom they never explain at all, Schmidt (Schuetz), a foul loudmouth, and Takab (Achabbakhe), an all around killer. They are being held by Snakehead (Liu) who works for a crime consortium, who has captured them for sport, and to wipe them out, since they are all seen as the competition. The assassins begin by killing each other, and then team up to take down Snakehead…

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…and that’s it. The story is as simple as it comes, and the premise of a group of assassins having to fight in a tournament is a good plot device, if you have the budget to pull it off, which they did not. The majority of the film takes place in a factory/warehouse setting, and it even seems as if some of the sets repeat themselves. The main problem here is with the characters and actor themselves. The characters don’t have enough character to root for them. Gabriel is suicidal, but why? It’s never explained, and his actions later in the film don’t match the character presented at the start of the film. Som has ulterior motives, but you don’t find out until toward the end of the film, so there is no dramatic impact when things reveal themselves. The Kid has the most sympathetic story, but it’s all surface no substance. I mentioned the other characters, but I really needn’t have. The late Joe Lewis is wasted here, as is Erik Markus Schuetz (Blood Ties). Most of the assassins are killed off within the first fifteen minutes. Gordon Liu (or as we like to call him around here, The Greatness) chews up the screen as the evil villain, and even gives that cool Shaw Brothers villain laugh. The talent assembled for the film has the martial arts skills (except for Messner) but the acting (save for Gordon Lui) just isn’t very good, and not enough to carry this film. I imagine it must have cost a pretty penny to hire Gordon Liu, but I wonder if it would have been better spent on better, varied locations and more time given to punch up the script. Director Raimund Huber (Bangkok Adrenaline) does a competent job, but it’s hard to tell with the budget and acting skills given. He shoots the fights well enough, but they are still edited to hell.

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The fight choreography by Tim Man matches the film, in that it’s a lot a fancy moves, but with the exception of a few moments here and there has no rhythm to it. Except for one part, and that was at the end, which was impressive as he and Siripong (the Mom from Chocolate) took on Gordon Lui. Gordon showed that he can still rock a good fight scene, and does so here. I’m not sure if this was Gordon’s last film prior to his stroke, but he accounted for himself well here despite his age. The late Joe Lewis also showed, for the last time, that he too could go toe to toe with the young’uns.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5

Kill ‘Em All has problems that begin with the script and extends to the budget, and thus cannot escape being a simply mediocre film that wastes the talents used in it.

 

NEXT: Kiai-Kick in 2013…and beyond.