Archive for Brazilian Jujitsu

Review: Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor (1994)

Posted in John Machado, Rigan Machado, Sasha Mitchell, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 24, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sasha Mitchell, Brad Thornton, Kamel Krifa, Michele Krasnoo, Jill Pierce, Rigan Machado, John Machado, David Efron

Fight Choreography by Burton Richardson and Shuki Ron

Directed by Albert Pyun

Sasha Mitchell returns as the last remaining Sloane after Kurt and his brother basically got killed off in Kickboxer 2. Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor finds David Sloane in prison after the events of Kickboxer 3, and Tong Po, who seems to survive damn near everything, is now living in Mexico as…I can’t believe I’m typing this–a Mexican drug lord. The explanation for this is barely understandable, but anyway, Tong Po, to make sure Sloane suffers, kidnaps his girlfriend Darcy, and keeps her in captivity. Fast forward two years later finds Sloane, still in prison, but apparently receiving photos of Darcy being violated by Tong Po. For TWO YEARS. David, now a brooding figure with a half-assed attempt at a Clint Eastwood growl. After he strikes a deal with the Feds, he gets released with the job of bringing in Tong Po dead or alive, but in order to get close enough to do so he must enter a tournament held at Han’s fortres–I mean Tong Po’s fortress and fight his way to a one-on-one fight with Tong Po, and save his girlfriend…

Okay, right off the bat this film combines Kickboxer, Enter the Dragon and Bloodsport into one film that isn’t remotely as good as any of them. Oh hell, they even copy from American Ninja in one insanely baffling sequence. Sasha Mitchell returns as David Sloane and is pretty much the same as every other film as things go on. He’s still the martial arts teacher, which in a weird way I found endearing. Kamal Krifa is nowhere near what Michel Qissi was, and the fake bald cap and makeup is truly embarrassing to watch. I mean, the acting in this film is pretty atrocious across the board, and Albert Pyun, he of many low budget films that I quite enjoy, can’t make this one interesting, and the story just doesn’t work. There were some nice things. I noted one of the fighters wore a Dacascos KungFu uniform, so that was a nice shout out to the Dacascos family. I wish Mark had been in the film (wish granted; he’s in the next one).

What else I don’t like? I don’t like how women in the film are treated as either sex objects, damsels in distress, and the few who display martial arts are treated as woefully bad fighters and are nearly all embarrassed by the men they fight.

And the one girl who does win her fight gets Kanye-ed by a black dude who just jumps in. Unlike Kanye he gets what he deserves but it’s still embarrassing. And yeah, pretty much every black dude except one just gets owned, except for the Capoeira fighter ( but as usual these dudes can’t win more than one damn fight in a tournament film) It was cool to see the Machado Brothers in the film, but I wish they had more to do.

Speaking of which, the fights in this film actually aren’t bad for an American low budget feature, with the bar fight a funny standout ( the guy who ties to avoid getting punched or kicked through a window was pretty humorous) and the final fight that was basically a lower-budget version of the final brawls in Enter the Dragon. Many different styles get displayed here, from BJJ, Kickboxing, Karate, Capoeira, and more. It’s easily the best stuff of the film, unless it involved any woman not named Michele Krasnoo, but there it is.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 4

The decent fights here are wrapped in a terrible story with equally terrible characters. Unfortunately this is the last film in the series featuring Sasha Mitchell (still looking for him in the new films, with the hope they give him a better final Kickboxer movie)

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Review: Kickboxer 2: Retaliation (2018)

Posted in Alain Moussi, Christopher Lambert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mike Tyson with tags , on March 28, 2018 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Alain Moussi, JCVD, Mike Tyson, Christopher Lambert, Sara Mulakul Lane, Renzo Gracie, Sam Medina, Hafthor Bjornsson

Fight Choreography by Jim Khaowwong

Directed by Dmitri Logothetis

Directed by Alain Moussi returns as Kurt Sloane, now a few years removed from the kumat-the Ques-the–let’s just call it a tournament where he defeated Tong Po. Now having taken Lui from the previous film as his wife, they are enjoying a romantic train ride when Kurt is taken captive, and tossed into a backwater prison run by warden Thomas Moore (Lambert, with the most boring character name ever), who wants Kurt to fight in another match versus his champion, Mongut (Bjornsson)(why do these films have white guys with Asian names? I mean, just call the dude Hafthor. That’s pretty badass too).  In order to help Sloane prepare for the fight, Moore brings in Master Durand (JCVD) but this time with a catch: Durand has been blinded since he last saw Kurt for his being “complicit” in the murder of Tong Po, and tossed into prison by Moore. Now, with both Durand and a new teacher in convict Briggs (Tyson) Sloane must enter the ring for a fight to the death with a killing machine…

Moussi. JCVD. Tyson. Lambert. Bjornsson. For goodness sake why not just make a sequel to Street Fighter instead? Let me have a go at this. JCVD back as Guile, Tyson as Balrog, Bjornsson as Zangief, Moussi as Ken, Lambert taking over as M. Bison. Your welcome, Hollywood.

But I digress. The story here runs a bit overlong for the subject matter, and some better editing may have made this a leaner, faster moving film. Despite this the film has hiccups, where things move fast and then grind to a halt, ramps back up, and goes back down again. Moussi is about the same as he was in the previous film, not bad, but not great either. JCVD seems to like playing the blind man, and makes the most of his screen time, but there is a bit less of him fighting in this film, which is a little disappointing as he still looks great onscreen. Tyson is a LOT better here than he was in Ip Man 3, and brings some humor to the proceedings, but his acting still needs a bunch of work. Bjornsson is just a giant monster here, who spends most of the film growling at everyone. Christopher Lambert looks like he’s having fun as the villain, and it’s a welcome sight to see him back in the world of martial arts action films (The Hunted is still one of my favorites).

The fights in the film vary in quality, some of it due to how it was filmed. There are two scenes where we get a tracking one-shot of Sloane fighting and assortment of baddies as he traverses a building under construction, and then while chasing one of his wife’s kidnappers to the song “Wipeout” (which is as cheesy as it sounds). It’s okay but the choreography is simple and the movements aren’t too exciting, but after watching Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais raise the bar on one take fight scenes, it was underwhelming in comparison. So too was the fight between JCVD and Mike Tyson, which should have been the main event of the film, but here is just a little give and take before they buddy up. There was one fight scene I didn’t know I always wanted to see but did.

Jean-Claude Van Damme vs. Christopher Lambert.  That’s right, OG Sloane versus the God****n Highlander. Swords and kicks rule the day here, and it was great. Great enough that I really want to see a rematch in a film just about those two Frenchmen. Actually if they had just killed off Sloane and made it a Durand vs Moore film I would’ve been in heaven. As it stands, we have a nice fight scene between two screen legends. The other fights where Moussi fights a bunch of cannon fodder is okay and entertaining, but nothing really stands out about them. The final fight against Mongut drags on far too long, and doesn’t have enough excitement to really stay invested, since Sloane gets beaten about a thousand times, and has three or four different “he’s down for the count! But Wait! He’s still got some fight in him! He’s getting up!” Ugh.

Maybe it’s time for Kurt Sloane to stay down.

Oh yeah. Last gripe: No Stan Bush. No Sasha Mitchell.

Once again, no Stan Bush. But never fear, I got ya’ll covered:

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 6

Kickboxer: Retaliation doesn’t really do much for me as a sequel film, but adding Lambert classes up the film nicely. Hopefully part 3 can bring it all together. 

 

 

Check this out: You Can’t Hear Me, You Can’t See Me!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 4, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

All,

I have more reviews coming soon, but I just keep getting inundated with such cool stuff (and that is in no way a complaint!). Like this, from Andrew Suleiman, a member of the ZeroGravity Stunt Team. He is currently shooting the feature You Can’t Hear Me, You Can’t See Me in Indonesia, and it looks terrific. The stunts look great, and the film combines many styles of martial arts, like Brazilian Jujitsu,  Capoeira, and more grappling arts, which is something you rarely see in martial arts films anymore (Except for Special ID, but that’s another matter). Check out the teaser proof of concept trailer, and then the stunt rehearsals after that. The fight choreography looks great. These guys look like they are having a blast doing what they love. I’m looking forward to seeing the film and whatever else they have cookin’!

I’m just going to predict right now that 2014 is going to be a banner year for Independent martial arts films!

Review: Tekken (2010)

Posted in Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Cung Le, Cyril Raffaelli, Gary Daniels, Jon Foo, Lateef Crowder, Reviews, Roger Huerta with tags , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Jon Foo, Ian Anthony Dale, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (CHT), Kelly Overton, Gary Daniels, Lateef Crowder, Roger Huerta, Cung Le, Tamalyn Tomita and Luke Goss

Fight Choreography by Cyril Raffaelli

Directed by Dwight Little

Tekken is yet another stab at adapting a fighting video game into a movie in the mold of Mortal Kombat, once again using a relative unknown in the main role and surrounding him with a mix of decent actors and martial artists. Directed by Dwight Little (Rapid Fire) Tekken does a much better job in many areas than MK did.

The film begins sometime in the future, where large multinational corporations pretty much take over the world and run things. This group is known as the Iron Fist, which really should have set off warning bells in a bunch of folks, but for whatever reason didn’t. The United States is ruled by the Corporation Tekken, whose CEO, Heihachi Mishima (CHT), holds a tournament once every few years, the King of the Iron Fist Tournament, or Tekken, ‘cause the name sounds badass. Outside of Tekken City itself is known as the Anvil, where the majority of people live day-to-day, and the gangs rule all (kinda like Detroit. Just kidding, Detroit-ians!) Here is where Jin Kazama (Foo) works as a courier for the resistance, delivering high-tech equipment he’s probably had to steal, but he’s good at martial arts and parkour, so he usually survive his excursions, in a job that doesn’t sit well with his mother Jun (Tomita) who wants her son to think of other things besides earning enough money to live in Tekken City. Her wishes will fall to dust when she is killed in a Jackhammer raid by Heihachi’s son Kazuya (Dale), an ambitious man who feels his time has come to take over the company, and holds a dark secret.  Jin, with the help of fight manager Steve Fox (Goss) enters the tournament in order to fight his way to Heihachi and Kazuya, so he can take his revenge, but standing in his way is the current champion Bryan Fury (Daniels) a half-cyborg who hides this fact so he cannot be disqualified from the ring, and uses his superior body to mow his way through all opponents. Soon Jin finds that there is much more at stake than his thirst for revenge, as an entire nation looks to him for salvation…

Tekken succeeds in many respects where MK failed by having all of the fights be traditional martial arts contests, with no special effects and few wires. They didn’t feel the need to make sure each character pulls off their signature moves from the game, and while the game story is simply there to give some background between fights, Tekken does a good job of adapting that story within the context of a film.

Jon Foo does a good job as Jin. If you’ve seen him in his fight versus Tony Jaa in The Protector (he was the swordsman in the temple fight) you know he’s good, and he doesn’t disappoint. His acting starts off clunky, but improves as the film goes on. His acrobatics is fantastic, and he brings his all to each fight scene, of which he has many. He’s still a young man, and I expect greater things from him down the road. He’s got the looks and the martial arts skills and acrobatics. He just needs the right starring vehicle.

CHT is his royal evilness as always, and it’s funny that he’s played the main villain in the two major fight video game adaptations, this and Mortal Kombat. The man likes his video games! Gary Daniels does a great job as the arrogant jackass Bryan Fury, and even at his age can still bring the goods. Between this and the Expendables it’s been a pretty good run lately for Daniels. Cung Le also stars in what I believe is his first film, and he does a good job in a limited appearance. He’s currently working on his first full-on martial arts film, and his appearance here bodes well for that film. Luke Goss brings a cynical edge to the film as Steve Fox, and Ian Anthony Dale is a menacing Kazuya.

My lone problem with the film is that there are still too many actors who play fighters who in reality don’t know any martial arts. While Dale plays a good Kazuya, he doesn’t know any martial arts, but he is the dramatic final fight of the film, and the most disappointing.  The women are all there merely as eye candy, and none of them seem to know anything, even though Cyril Raeffaelli (District B-13) does a good job making them look as if they do. Dammit, since Cyril did the choreography, would it have been too much to ask for him to be a fighter in this film?  Lateef Crowder is showing up everywhere nowadays, but can he not get his ass kicked in every film he appears in? Here, Undisputed 3 and The Protector, he just gets owned, even thought he does get to pull off some awesome capoeira moves.

Tekken does a much better job in many respects than Mortal Kombat, but still suffers from having too many characters that need to have their “scenes” and the film has moments where are some quick-cut edits of fights, which drives me insane! Other than that, a fun b-movie style fight film.

(on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (8) Cyril does a good job with everyone, especially during the Jin versus Rojas fight, and the fight between Jin and Bryan Fury. He does an even better job with the non-martial artists. He could have had even more elaborate fights if not for that.

STUNTWORK: (7) They did a good job, especially making a lot of folks look good.

STAR POWER: (7) Jon Foo, Cung Le, CHT, Gary Daniels, Luke Goss, Lateef Crowder and more really prop this film up. Jon may be poised for great things, and the same can be said for Cung Le and Roger Huerta. This grade could go up in the future.

FINAL GRADE: (7) A bit better than Mortal Kombat, this is a fun b-movie film that does a good job adapting a video game, which is an accomplishment all on its own. The sky’s the limit for Jon Foo.