Archive for the Tony Jaa Category

Kiai-Kick’s Holiday Gift Guide: WellGoUSA!

Posted in Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa with tags , on December 20, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

well-go-usa-logo

 

Yeah. Yeah. Yes! When it comes to martial arts films, no one is putting out Blu-Rays on the same level of quality that WellGoUSA does. The love they have for martial arts films can be seen in the quality they put into every disc release. Below are the ones you’ll want, but let’s start with the best of the bunch:

image001

Damn Right! If you haven’t seen Ip Man, you need to get this set. If you are curious about martial arts films but haven’t really watched one, you need to get this set. If you own the DVD versions, you need to get this set. If you have never heard of Donnie Yen but thought he was cool in Star Wars: Rogue One, you need to get this set. This is THE gold standard of martial arts films, a gateway drug if you will to a wonderful world, and some of the best modern martial arts films in existence. Donnie Yen truly takes his place next to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li with this series. Here are the extras and details (click on the title to go to my review of the film itself):

Synopsis:

IP MAN

Wing Chun grandmaster Ip (Donnie Yen) cements his reputation after defeating a roving band of kung fu masters who have come to his village to challenge him and the other marshal arts masters. But his devotion to the martial arts results in tension and discontent with his wife. When the Japanese occupy his hometown of Foshan during the Sino-Japan war (1937), Ip is forced to work as a coolie in a factory and participate in brutal sparring matches for the enemy’s amusement. He demonstrates his superior fighting skills by defeating his opponents despite being heavily outnumbered and wins the admiration of the Japanese Colonel, Mr. Miura (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), who challenges Ip to a championship fight. The outcome of the match inspires the Chinese villagers to rise up and defeat their oppressors. 

IP MAN 2 

Master Ip (Donnie Yen), a new arrival in British-occupied Hong Kong, wants to open a martial arts academy to teach his unique Wing Chun style. A corrupt group of martial arts masters, led by Master Hung (Sammo Hung) refuses to allow him to teach in peace until he proves himself as a kung fu master. Ip’s trouble continues when he is forced to enter a brutal “King of the Ring” boxing match against Twister (Darren Shahlavi), a Western-style boxer who insults the Chinese locals, in a East versus West knock-down, drag-out fight to the finish.

IP MAN 3

Donnie Yen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2) ignites the screen in a return to the role that made him an icon – as Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster who mentored Bruce Lee. In this explosive third installment of the blockbuster martial arts series, when a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson) make a play to take over the city, Master Ip is forced to take a stand. Fists will fly as some of the most incredible fight scenes ever filmed play out on the big screen in this soon-to-be genre classic.

Starring: Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Mike Tyson, Sammo Hung

Price: Blu-Ray: $34.98, DVD: $24.98

Yes, it’s offered in DVD format, but trust me, you really want the crystal clear Blu-Ray version. The colors just pop, and the extras are just mind-blowing, particularly the bonus DVD disk with interviews of Donnie Yen, Mike Tyson, Max Zhang, and more.  I wish it had been a Blu-Ray disc as well, but that’s a minor nitpick. This is martial arts set to buy this season, bar none.

Now, the best of the rest. These are my personal favs, and you can’t go wrong with ANY of them. Stocking Stuffers indeed:

Kung Fu Killer

3D-Ocards-KungFuKiller

Staying with the Donnie Yen theme, this film is a complete love letter to all things kung fu films, paying respects to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Golden Harvest, King Hu, and Shaw Brothers cinema and the game changers they’ve been to martial arts cinema. A fun film with great fight scenes. One of Yen’s best. You can read my review here.

Killzone 2

killzone2

After a few setbacks, Killzone 2 finds Tony Jaa and Wu Jing back in top form. Bring in the great Max Zhang (Ip Man 3) and you have a fun filled movie with great fights, but more optimistic than the original. A great film and one of Jaa’s best. You can read my review here.

keyart-406x600_16

One of my all-time favorites. The knife fight at the end is a thing of legend, and the rest of the action is incredible. A great story follow the relationship between a little girl and a retired hitman. If you’ve never seen this film, get ready for a fantastic experience. If you have, buy it on Blu and watch it again! My review is right here.

WellGOUSA has many, many more quality films. I’ve reviewed many of the martial arts ones, but they have much, much more than just that. Please go to their website and look around, and order something! You won’t be disappointed! www.wellgousa.com

Advertisements

Review: Killzone 2 (SPL 2: A Time For Consequences) (2016)

Posted in Jacky Wu Jing, Max Zhang, Tony Jaa on July 19, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

killzone2-2

Starring Tony Jaa. Wu Jing, Zhang Jin (Max Zhang), Simon Yam, Ken Lo, Louis Koo

Fight Choreography by Chi Li Chung

Directed by Soi Cheang

The first Killzone was the first of what would be a run of films that would move Donnie Yen into his rightful place as one of the martial arts’ world’s legendary talents, going right up there with Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Sammo Hung. Now we come to Killzone 2, starring Wu Jing and Tony Jaa, both men needing hits after the nonsense that was Wolf Warrior and The Protector 2 respectively.

Wu Jing stars as Chi Kit Chang, and undercover cop who is close to busting a crime ring run by Mun-Gong Hung (Louis Koo, almost unrecognizable) a drug lord who is in need of a replacement heart, one he intends to collect from a compatible donor, his own brother. Chi Kit is betrayed, and tossed in a Thai prison, where he meets Chatchai (Jaa) a desperate man who needs to get a compatible liver for his young daughter, who will die soon unless she gets a transplant. He discovers that Chi Kit has such a liver. Of course complications occur when Hung’s right hand man Hung Ko (Zhang) is the warden of the prison that holds Chi Kit, and Chi Kits handler  Wah Kwok Chan (Yam) has his niece kidnapped by Hung. Can Chi Kit and Chatchai save both themselves and live long enough to save Chatchai’s daughter?

SPL 2

I was skeptical about how a Killzone without Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung would play out, especially with Simon Yam and Wu Jing, who were in the first film, now playing different characters in the second. I needn’t have worried. Killzone 2 is its own film, but toward the climax, it ramps up the tension, especially if you’ve seen the first film. Many story beats repeat themselves, but the ending of those…you’ll have to see for yourself! Wu Jing is pitiable as the Chi Kit, his situation becoming more and more deadly the further things go. The same holds true for Tony Jaa, who does a good job here, but really the star here is Max Zhang. Proving his star turn in Ip Man 3 was no fluke, he makes a formidable and ruthless prison warden, and his onscreen charisma is evident. I think we may have found the next big Chinese martial arts star! The directing by Soi Cheang is spot on, and he finds the humanity of each character in every frame, and the story maximizes the drama, which is well written here.

Killzone2-1

The fights here are nothing short of brutal…but in the best way possible. It merges what we’ve seen in recent martial arts films with the Thai films of Tony Jaa, and it’s a marriage made in heaven (Tony is still missing Panna Rittikrai). The prison riot is one of the standouts, maybe even besting the prison fight in The Raid 2, but the final fight between Wu Jing and Tony Jaa versus Max Zhang is stunningly great, up there with the best of them. There is a little wirework, but its kept to a minimum.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

Killzone 2 is a great return to form for both Tony Jaa and Wu Jing, in a taunt thriller with great fight scenes and a showstopper of a final fight. (Max) Zhang Jin is a bonafide star, and this film cements it. A very worthy sequel to the original. 

The film is out TODAY from the good folks at Wellgousa!

 

Killzone 2 aka SPL : A Time For Consequences Blu-Ray Giveaway!

Posted in Jacky Wu Jing, Tony Jaa, Uncategorized on June 29, 2016 by Michael S. Moore

killzone2

Huzzah! Time for another giveaway, and this one’s a doozy. I have 2 blu-ray copies of Killzone 2 starring Wu Jing,  Zhang Jin and Tony Jaa to give away thanks to the always good people at Wellgousa! So what do you have do to be the lucky few to get this? I’m in a charitable mood, so I’ll make this really, really easy. Since we are into the social media age, all you have to do is like the Kiai-Kick Facebook page AND follow me on Instagram to get into the drawing, and just to make this even easier, if you have already done so previously OR you are on one and not the other get on that and shoot me an email with your handle/name at kiaikicks@gmail.com. On July 15th I will gather all the names and choose the winners out of a hat. Winners to be announced the next day!  I will pick three names at random. But wait, I just said three, didn’t I?

The third person chosen, while they won’t win the Blu Ray for Killzone 2, they will win a nice blu ray of a previous release from Wellgousa. I’ll even let that person choose the film from a selection of titles!

Wu Jing. Tony Jaa. Free Blu-Ray. What’s not to like?

You can like the Facebook Page on the sidebar, and you can go to Instagram here.

(www.instagram.com/kenjisparks)

This contest is for North American-based folks only.

#wellgousa #killzone2

Review: The Protector 2 (2013)

Posted in Jeeja Yanin, Kazu Tang, Marrese Crump, Panna Rittikrai, Tony Jaa with tags , , on March 11, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Protector 2a

Starring Tony Jaa, Jeeja Yanin, Pechtai Wongkamlao, Marrese Crump, RZA, Patrick Kazu Tang, Jawed Al Berni, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, Theerada Kittisiriprasert

Fight Choreography by Panna Rittikrai

Directed by Pratchya Pinkaew

It’s been well documented through various sources concerning the meltdown Tony Jaa had that occurred during the making of Ong Bak 2 and 3, and his subsequent break from filmmaking. After a time Tony Jaa returned to filmmaking with the announcement of The Protector 2, and would be reunited with his Ong Bak crew and joined by Jeeja Yanin, in a film that once again finds a group of bad guys who haven’t learned not to mess with Jaa’s elephant. A can’t-miss film, right?

Wrong. My worst fear for Tony Jaa became true.

We once again join elephant owner Kham (Jaa) who lives in a small village and takes care of Khorn, now an adult elephant. One day Kham gets a visit from a local elephant wrangler named Suchart who wants to purchase Khorn, but of course Kham refuses the money (did Suchart not know how many asses Kham had to kick to get Khorn back?!), so of course he has to kidnap Khorn, but the reason why isn’t as black and white as believed, as Kham goes after Suchart, and upon breaking into his home Kham finds that Suchart is already dead. Kham gets attacked by his two young daughters who blame him for his death, Ping Ping (Yanin) and Sue Sue (Kittisiriprasert),  and soon Kham finds himself on the run, being chased by his old friend Mark (Wongkamlao), now in Thailand on loan to Interpol, the two daughters, and men hired by gun runner LC (RZA) who have taken Khorn to bring about the assassination of the leaders of East and West Katana, who have gathered in Thailand for peace talks. Kham must evade the police, and find a way for Mark, Sue Sue and Ping Ping to believe in his innocence in time to stop LC and his goons from using a bomb-strapped Khorn to commit an action that will continue a war…

Protector 2b

The story here is utterly ridiculous in how Kham gets involved, and the bad guy LC makes strange decisions, and what little there is in a plot is further hampered by characters whose stories ultimately go nowhere. Jaa returns as Kham, and while he still kicks ass, there is something missing in the performance to make me care. It doesn’t get any better with LC, and the fact that the RZA is playing him, and his acting is far worse than Jaa’s, continue to bring the film down. I wish that Jeeja Yanin would be a saving grace, but she’s not in the film enough to be. I have to say that her part is the most disappointing of all. This film should have presented her and Jaa in much the same way that Supercop presented Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, but here Yanin is a young woman whose martial arts skills are muted, and she gets nothing but beaten up the entire film, even by flunkies. Where is the girl from Raging Phoenix and Chocolate?  Yes, she is playing a different character, but using Michelle Yeoh as an example, she brought her history with her to Supercop as a badass, and Chan never had to “save” her (for the most part), but here Yanin needs Jaa to save her at every turn. They are never equals. There are only two actors here worthy of note. Petchai Wongkamlao is great in his return as Sergeant Mark, even if he isn’t as funny as the first film. He brings better acting to every scene he’s in, and he has to, as he has to prop up every scene with Jaa, and is able to do so. The other person I want to mention is Marrese Crump as Number 2. He brings a genuine imposing menace, and in truth he should have played LC.

Protector 2c

The fights and stunts here are really disappointing, save for two fights. The stunts are more over the top, but with that brings CGI effects and wirework, two things the first film didn’t have. I have an expectation—and I think many of you do too— of seeing Jaa effects-free, and was disappointed to see this film effects-filled. The motorcycle chase/fights are laughable in their impossibility, and for the first time in a Jaa film I constantly wondered if what I saw was real. Let’s not even get into the fight where he once again sets his feet on fire. Only this time the fire is computer-generated. Even the fight choreography of the late Panna Rittikrai was lacking of originality and energy.

The one lone bright spot is the two fights between Tony Jaa and Marrese Crump. Crump is positioned to be a star here (Okay, Marvel Studios, you have your new Blade! Get on that!) and the fight is great between the two men. Of course, this is nearly wiped out by the finale, which involves Jaa fighting RZA, whom I am sick and tired of seeing playing a martial artist when he isn’t one.

At the start of this review I stated that my worst fear for Tony Jaa came true. That fear was that during his sabbatical from film the world of martial arts film moved on without him. While he was gone The Raid raised the bar and became the new gold standard,  Jackie Chan got some of his mojo back, Scott Adkins continued to kick ass, and Donnie Yen was rocking along as well, and even Jeeja Yanin had some hits.

Can Jaa get his mojo back? I’m not sure. The next few years will tell the tale of whether he’s still the successor to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, or if he’s simply a placeholder.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 4

A lackluster sequel with poor storytelling and laughable characters. And far too much CGI for a Tony Jaa movie. So disappointing.

This Month on Kiai-Kick–now on Video! Including a look at my webseries Cornered!

Posted in Dennis Ruel, Michael Jai White, Michael Moore, Sam Hargrave, Sammo Hung, Tony Jaa with tags , on February 1, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

Teaser for Tony Jaa/Dolph Lundgren/Michael Jai White actioner SkinTrade!

Posted in Dolph Lundgren, Michael Jai White, Tony Jaa with tags , on March 22, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

skin-trade

If you’ve been following my facebook page, I ‘ve been updating everyone about the film SkinTrade. I have no idea as to the plot, but know that Tony Jaa looks to fight both Dolph Lundgren and Michael Jai White. Now, MJW we all know, so that should be another fight I can cross off my bucket list, but Jaa versus Lundgren? I’ve never really seen Dolph’s martial arts tested (I mean REALLY tested) but I think we may see it here. This will be Tony Jaa’s first English language movie, so we’ll see. It doesn’t appear to have a large budget, but with Peter Weller and Ron Perlman on board I may be wrong. The trailer looks good enough, but with the Raid 2 coming next week, and will no doubt raise the bar again, I’m a bit worried for Tony. Word is The Protector 2 was a bit of a disappointment, and Tony was already “chasing” the first Raid film, and now he’ll have to contend trying to match Iko Uwais’s work in The Raid 2.

So the question I put to all of you: Do you prefer Tony do a large budget Hollywood film (a la Rush Hour) pairing him with an up and coming A-list talent but provides us Tony-lite action or would you rather him do a small budget American film (Like Ninja 2) that has high B-low A level talent BUT allows Tony to be Tony?