Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Mark Dacascos makes his directorial debut! Showdown in Manila!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 27, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

I have to say it’s about time! Mark has been around film long enough, and I’m curious to see what he’s like as a film director, and how he chooses to film fight scenes! I’m looking forward to this one! Check out the press release below…

 

ITN DISTRIUBTION KICKS OFF 2018 WITH SHOWDOWN IN MANILA STARRING ALEXANDER NEVSKY, CASPER VAN DIEN, AND TIA CARRERE

LOS ANGELES, CA – November 15, 2017 – ITN Distribution has acquired North American distribution rights to the action thriller SHOWDOWN IN MANILA starring international action star Alexander Nevsky (Black Rose). The film marks the directorial debut of Mark Dacascos (Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”,  “Hawaii Five-0”) with a screenplay by Craig Hamann (My Best Friend’s Birthday, Boogie Boy).  SHOWDOWN IN MANILA also includes Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers, Sleepy Hollow), Tia Carrere (True Lies, Wayne’s World) and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, Memoirs of a Geisha). ITN will release the film in theaters January 19, 2018, with a Digital and On Demand release to follow on January 23, 2018.

The film follows private detectives Nick (Alexander Nevsky) and Charlie (Casper Van Dien) who live and work in Manila. A murder investigation leads them to the jungle camp of an international terrorist called The Wrath. Not trusting the police, Nick and Charlie assembly a team of daredevils to walk straight into the Wrath’s lair and fight an army of his goons.

Nevsky is a former Mr. Universe and an established movie star in Russia. He is based in Los Angeles and his credits include Black Rose, Undisputed, Treasure Raiders, Somewhere and the upcoming film Maximum Impact. Nevsky represents Russia as a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

SHOWDOWN IN MANILA is produced by Nevsky through his production company Hollywood Storm and is executive produced by Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die) and Alexander Izotov (Moscow Heat).

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Review: Savage Dog (2017)

Posted in Cung Le, David No, JuJu Chan, Marko Zaror, Scott Adkins, Uncategorized with tags on August 29, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror have a really, really bloody rematch! And Keith David!!

 

Starring Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror, Cung Le, Keith David, Juju Chan

Fight Choreography by Luke LaFontaine

Directed By Jesse V Johnson

Savage Dog is a period film set shortly after the French Indochina War in 1959 tells the story of Martin Tillman, an Irishman and displaced soldier, spending his days as a prisoner of Von Steiner, a sadistic jailer who pits Tillman into a series of martial arts fights with various opponents for money. When not fighting, Tillman spends his time in prison being visited by a local flower girl, Isabelle(Chan). When pressured by a British government official, Steiner releases Tillman, but since Tillman is still a wanted man, he chooses to hide out at a local bar run by Valentine(David) and also the home of the flower girl, where a romance blossoms, but as it happens in action films, Steiner brings Tillman back, but when Steiner and his henchmen go after his love, Tillman goes on a rampage to ensure Steiner never bothers anyone ever again…

It’s nice to see Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror leave their comfort zones and do a period film, and the production values looked great on what had to be a small budget. The story is well done, with, for a change, the villain Steiner being a more well rounded character, with his own motivations, and surprisingly, regrets. Scott Adkins is good here, but, from an acting standpoint, isn’t much of a stretch from most of the characters he plays. The same goes for Marko Zaror, but he is actually a more chilling villain here than in his other bad guy roles. He’s a real bastard here, and I want to see more of him in this mode. Keith David is KEITH MOTHERFU&@!ing DAVID! He’s the spice that makes ANY film better, and he brings his patented coolness here as both the star and narrator. He’s so cool he gets to dispense with a solid rule of cinema that isn’t supposed to be broken. But he can do that, ’cause he’s Keith Motherf&%^!ing David. Cung Le is okay here, but his character gets to real development until his final lines in his fight with Adkins. It made me wish the film had done more than mention his viscous general’s backstory.

The fights here…Let’s get to that.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s brutal. Like they watched the The Raid 2 and said “Hold my beer.”

The blood flows like a river in this film, and I have to admit I’ve never seen the like. You know, like watching a guy get shot with a shotgun in the face point blank. Twice. Or even what Scott Adkins does to Marko Zaror at the end…I can safely say I’ve never seen an action star at ANY level do what he does! It was shocking, but really hearkens back to the title of the film.

The fights are technically well done toward the beginning, but with the exception of a quick fight with stuntman/actor David No, I was really marking time until we get to the main event: Scott Adkins versus Cung Le and Marko Zaror. The Cung Le fight is short, but Le acquits himself well here as the choreography matches his strengths as a martial artist but not at the expense of having Adkins take the petal off the gas, so to speak. It’s a good fight that’s only marred by how cheaply the film ends it, but now we come to the true event, the Undisputed 3 rematch between Adkins and Zaror, and it’s great. First with weapons, both men show why they are awesome, moving fast but their movements are precise, and that knife Marko had…I would NOT want to get stabbed with that sucker. But then the weapons go away.

And then it gets REAL.

The director knows what you want. The fight choreographer knows what you want. Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror sure as HELL know what you want. And they made sure you get it! The fight is everything I was wanting it to be. So help me they put on a clinic in beautiful kicking of every kind. And the music with the furious violin playing during it? Holy hell they hit the sweet spot. The fist work was well done, and the fight lasted exactly as long as it needed to given the story and characters.

Bravo, Jesse V Johnson. Bravo. Now do it again!

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8.5

One of Scott Adkins’ best films. Marko Zaror establishes himself as a great villain, and Keith David does Keith David things. Bring on the sequel!

Review: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (2015)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 14, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

“No gelflings here, bro.”

Starring Li Bingbing, Chen Ku, Winston Chao

As many of you know, I’m not the biggest fan of wuxia films. I mostly prefer my martial arts films like my phones: Wireless.  Having said that, there is fascinating thing going on with those films: they are becoming a giant special effects extravaganza, not unlike many superhero films today. So how does Snow Girl fare given this new light?

In a word, I’m still not really impressed. Maybe even less so than I was of the genre before.

Snow Girl tells the story of Zhang Kui (Chen Ku), protector of the town of Hu, and is tasked by a Lord of Heaven, Daioxin,  to steal the Dark Crystal, a vessel from Hell that has imprisoned the souls of the populace and may cause the end of the world if activated. Zhang succeeds, causing the Demon King to unleash the Snow Girl to get it back. To prepare Zhang to defeat the Snow Girl Daioxin trains Zhang to harness his energy to turn himself into a powerful creature. Of course the moment Zhang meets the Snow Girl everything becomes much, much more complicated…

The story has moments where I was engaged, but by the third act I knew what was going to happen, and there were some dull stretches here and there. The acting in the film is pretty good, and Li Bing Bing does some particularly good work here, but the effects are the real star of the film, and unfortunately that’s a mixed bag. Most of it is really good, but the moments where we have CG monsters fighting made me feel like I was watching a video game being played, and I immediately checked out of the film during these really LONG sequences. It doesn’t help that the CG animation looks exactly like that, and not realistic at all. The final fight ends with one of those “so if the hero could do this the whole time then WHY DIDN’T HE?”. This is, for me at least, the most irritating kind of climactic finish.

The martial arts are kept on the down low here, except for one brief fight toward the end, which is nothing to write home about but adequate. It really could have used more of this and less of the CG monster fights. The ending of the film is jarring, as I didn’t really understand what Zhang was doing at the end and what it meant.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5

I’ve seen way better Wuxia films, and this one was definitely mediocre. I’d rather revisit Zu, Warriors from Magic Mountain, or the Storm Riders.

Review: Operation Mekong (2017)

Posted in Eddie Peng, Uncategorized with tags , , on June 7, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

Here comes a docu- martial arts competition TV series!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on May 23, 2017 by Michael S. Moore


Okay this is interesting. Not sure how it will do, but color me interested. Can we toss Kanye West in there without the gear? Press release as follows:

LOS ANGELES, May 22, 2017 – Bunim/Murray Productions, renowned world-wide for its hit reality series and Australian-based Company Chiron Global – the founder of combat sport Unified Weapons Master® (UWM) and leader in wearable technologies have joined forces, to develop the world’s first high-tech Martial Arts Experience docu-competition series, Unified Weapons Master: Calling All Contenders. 
Emmy® Award-winning producer Bunim/Murray Productions, best known for the long-running The Real World, Keeping up with the Kardashians and Project Runway, will marry its production expertise to UWM’s technology to create a revolutionary and innovative new entertainment experience for a global audience.

Combining Chiron Global’s advanced technology with traditional martial arts and ancient weaponry, UWM: Calling All Contenders has the features of a live video game, enabling the world’s best weapons martial artists to compete in full contact combat.

Chiron Global has adapted its proven world-first capabilities in building sensor technologies into highly protective body armor that will enable the world’s top skilled weapons martial artists from a wide range of martial arts and cultural backgrounds to face one another in battle for the first time with science judging the winner.

The real-time wearable sensor technology is linked to a medical database that measures the force and location of every strike. The Lorica armor and patented scoring system objectively measures the force and location of strikes to the weapons martial arts competitor in real time, and is able to display the damage that would have occurred to an unprotected competitor on a video screen.

“We believe that UWM has massive international appeal to a diverse audience because it combines so many exciting elements that are really on trend at the moment. It combines weapons martial arts combat and ancient weaponry with leading edge technology and live video gaming features,” said Bunim/Murray Productions CEO Gil Goldschein.

“In addition to the high level of protection offered by the protective Lorica armor, the ability to customize the suits, the CGI scoring system and the cultural backgrounds and histories of the competitors, will make for a rich viewer experience,” added Julie Pizzi, Co-President Entertainment and Development, Bunim/Murray Productions.

“This will be a tremendous opportunity for many of these grand masters to pit their skills and traditional weapons art against other equally historical styles. Imagine, for example, a Nordic Viking pitting himself against a Japanese Samurai. We can’t wait to see the outcome!”

The Lorica armor acts like an extreme form of games console providing actual engagement data on the force and damage from each impact and showing this on the scoring system a bit like a video game.

“One of the key differentiators of UWM is that through the Lorica’s advanced sensor tech, which is connected to a medical database, we are able to offer viewers a fully immersive data-rich experience,” says UWM CEO, Colin Blake.

“The data captured by our scoring system means we are able to show viewers the number of strikes, the force of individual strikes, and damage stats, all while keeping our competitors very safe. We are then able, through CGI, to represent this damage in all sorts of exciting ways including a real-time anatomical version of actual damage to the competitors. Nothing like this has ever been done before.”

Other technologies that are able to be incorporated into the armor include cameras inside the helmets, and two way microphones, to give viewers a first hand experience of what it’s like to compete wearing the Lorica.
 

ITN Distribution, Inc. has acquired North American rights to the action/thriller BLACK ROSE

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on April 6, 2017 by Michael S. Moore

 

HOLLYWOOD, April 5, 2017 – ITN Distribution, Inc. has acquired North American rights to the action/thriller BLACK ROSE, starring international action star Alexander Nevsky  (Showdown in Manila). Written by Brent Huff (Chasing Beauty) and George Saunders (The Hunt for Red October), the film was also directed by Nevky. The cast includes Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), Adrian Paul (Highlander: Endgame), Robert Davi (Expendables 3) and Matthias Hues (Dark Angel).  ITN Distribution will be releasing BLACK ROSE in theaters on April 28, 2017.  ITN Distribution’s President Stuart Alson made the announcement today.

“We’re excited to bring this action-filled thriller to the big screen,” said Alson. “The film leads audiences to many twists and turns, sending them on a thrilling ride.”  

A Russian Police Major (Alexander Nevsky) is enlisted by the LAPD to help solve a series of gruesome murders perpetrated against young women by a sadistic sociopathic killer on the mean streets of Hollywood.

Nevsky is a former Mr. Universe and an established movie star in Russia.  He is based in Los Angeles and his credits include Moscow Heat, Undisputed, Treasure Raiders, Somewhere and the upcoming film Maximum Impact. Nevsky represents Russia as a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

BLACK ROSE is produced by Nevsky through his production company Hollywood Storm and is executive produced by Sheldon Lettich (Max) and Robert Madrid (Half Past Dead 2).  

Alson negotiated the deal on behalf of ITN Distribution along with Nevsky on behalf of the filmmakers. BLACK ROSE is a theatrical box office hit in Russia. CIS, which has the film’s foreign sales rights, has sold BLACK ROSE to 22 countries already.

ABOUT ITN DISTRIBUTION

ITN Distribution, Inc. is a leading independent film distribution company that specializes in high-quality and star-driven independent films for the domestic and international TV, VOD, DVD and theatrical markets. ITN releases more than 24 films per year with ITN’s connection to all major retailers and rentals in North America, such as Redbox, NetFlix, Wal-Mart, Amazon Prime, Best Buy, iTunes and Video-On-Demand (VOD). ITN produces, distributes and acquires films worldwide.