Justin Lin to shoot unreleased Bruce Lee project ‘Warrior’

"The Big Boss" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Big Boss" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Justin Lin (Fast and Furious) is attached to produce and possibly direct Warrior, a series that Deadline describes as a visceral crime drama that traces the path of a gifted but morally corrupt fighter thrown into crisis after a lifelong quest for vengeance is undermined.

According to FCS, Warrior is based on Lee’s writings which never saw the light of day after his death in 1973, until they were discovered by Shannon Lee, daughter of the iconic film legend.

In addition to Warrior, Bruce Lee fans have much to look forward to, including a new biopic and of course, Donnie Yen’s Ip Man 3, which will utilize Lee’s relationship with the titular character, via CG enhancements. Stay tuned!

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2nd trailer for Johnny Depp’s gangster flick ‘Black Mass’

"Black Mass" Theatrical Poster

"Black Mass" Theatrical Poster

The first trailer for Black Mass, an upcoming gangster-drama starring Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton, is now online. The film is directed by Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) and also stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, Rory Cochrane, Sienna Miller and Adam Scott. Catch it in theaters on September 18th, 2015.

Synopsis: In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Depp) to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the true story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston history.

Updates: Watch the 2nd trailer for Black Mass.

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Has ‘John Wick’ met his match in Eli Roth’s ‘Knock Knock’?

"John Wick" International Theatrical Poster

"John Wick" International Theatrical Poster

Looks like John Wick has finally met his match. Just recently, Eli Roth (Hostel), a writer/director known for his horror productions, released a teaser trailer for an upcoming Keanu Reeves film simply titled Knock Knock, an updated version of Peter Traynor’s Death Game (1977). In a nutshell, the flick is about a pair of femme fatales who wreak havoc on the life of a happily married man. Given Roth’s demented reputation, it’ll be interesting to see what he does with a thriller starring Reeves.

Here’s the film’s partial official plot: Evan Webber (Reeves) is living the dream: a beautiful wife, two wonderful kids, and a stunning house. Things are going so well, Evan doesn’t even mind spending Father’s Day alone while the rest of his family heads out for a beach weekend. And then there’s a knock on the door by two young women (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas)…

Enjoy Knock Knock’s clever teaser trailer, which comes to an abrupt end before you can figure out what’s going on. Stay tuned for its official theatrical release date.

Updates: The 2nd trailer for Knock Knock is now available. Enjoy!

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Soo | aka Art of Revenge (2007) Review

"Soo" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Soo" Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: Yoichi Sai
Producer: Shin Beom-su, Hwang In-tae
Cast: Ji Jin-Hee, Kang Seong-Yeon, Oh Man-Seok, Lee Gi-Young, Jo Gyeong-Hwan, Mun Seong-Geun
Running Time: 122 min.

By HKFanatic

Soo is not a movie I ever hear listed in the same breath as other Korean revenge flicks like Oldboy or A Bittersweet Life. In fact, it’s not a movie that I ever hear listed at all! It’s a shame this film remains so damn obscure. For my money, Soo is one of the best revenge movies out there.

Actor Jin-hee Ji stars as the titular character Soo, who’s one of the top assassins in all of South Korea. Gangsters live in fear of him and the cops whisper his name with bated breath. But the man himself is haunted by a tragic past, until one day he gets the chance to reconnect with a figure from his youth. I won’t spoil the plot at all, but suffice to say Soo is sent on a quest for revenge that has him assuming another man’s identity and targeting an entire criminal organization. What follows is both a dark character study and a mesmerizing bloodbath.

Now, the big complaint I’ve heard about Soo is this: despite Soo being revered as a bad-ass by just about everybody in the film’s universe, and the fact that we clearly see he has an entire arsenal of automatic weapons in his apartment, most of the time he goes after his foes with nothing but a baseball bat or his wits. And he’s not so much a great martial artist as he is a scrappy fighter who won’t stop until he’s won. So, for some viewers this will hurt the realism of the movie; here we have the supposedly top assassin of Korea and he’s not a king of killers, but a messy fighter who won’t quit. This might be part of the reason why the movie maintains such a low rating at places like IMDB.

Personally, I loved this aspect of the movie. The character of Soo is like a mad-dog who refuses to be put down. You can stab him, try to blow him up, or hit him over the head with a baseball bat, and he will still come after you. There’s a saying like ‘you only die when you give up on living’; if that’s the case, then Soo is one tough bastard who refuses to draw his last breath. The action sequences in this movie aren’t your typical heavily-choreographed fights; they’re bloody brawls and stabbings that the characters barely crawl away from. The ending is one of those big “attack on the bad guy’s base” set-pieces you don’t see much outside of a John Woo movie, this time set to Italian opera. It’s spectacular.

I’ve probably made this movie sound like nothing but violence, but at 122 minutes there is a good deal of plot, character analysis, and strong performances from the two leads. Superb photography and a haunting soundtrack also help make Soo one of my favorite Korean films. Sometimes it’s not about striding into battle in slow motion and never once getting hit; sometimes it’s about picking yourself up off the floor and keeping your guts in your stomach with your own hands as you throw yourself at the bad guy once more. Soo is that kind of movie. Highly recommended for fans of gritty, violent films.

HKFanatic’s Rating: 9/10

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And they thought a ‘World War Z’ sequel would be ‘Impossible’

"World War Z" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"World War Z" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Deadline reports that Paramount and Skydance have signed Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) to direct a sequel to World War Z, with a script by Steven Knight (Locke). At this time, there’s no official word on the return of Brad Pitt. Deadline says “there’s no real road map for this yet and that will have to be solved on the page before anything else happens.”

The original film was directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) and definitely had its share of production hell (over budget, massive reshoots, etc), but despite its problems, World War Z became both a critical and financial success.

Updates: According to sources, the World War Z sequel has a release date set for Summer of 2017. No plot details have been unveiled, but according to scriptwriter Steven Knight, they’re approaching the sequel with a “clean slate”.

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Is the ‘Crow’ remake getting a female for ‘Top Dollar’?

"The Crow" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Crow" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Relativity Media has been trying to get a remake of Alex Proyas’ 1994 cult classic The Crow off the ground for what feels like years now. The project has burned through numerous directors (including Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and F. Javier Gutiérrez) and actors (Bradley Cooper, Mark Wahlberg, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston, Normal Reedus and Luke Evans).

Of course, many fans of the original film who still mourn the tragic loss of star Brandon Lee feel that this is a franchise best left in our memories.

Updates: Variety reports that James O’Barr, creator of the original The Crow graphic novel, is on board as a consultant for the reboot. “I believe that this movie will stand alongside Brandon and his film as a valid work of art, and I look forward to collaborating on the project,” said O’Barr.

James O’Barr chats with Total Film in their latest issue: Here’s an excerpt: “It was his [Javier Gutierrez] idea to go right back to the source material and essentially shoot it shot-for-shot, as in the book, but with a little more backstory for some of the characters,” says O’Barr. O’barr also states that Gutierrez wants to be “as faithful as possible, even down to all the visual metaphors of trains and horses.”

In a recent interview with creator James O’Barr, The Crow remake will be closer to a John Woo film. Here are more details: “We’re not remaking the movie, we’re readapting the book. My metaphor is that there is a Bela Lugosi Dracula and there’s a Francis Ford Coppola Dracula, they use the same material, but you still got two entirely different films. This one’s going to be closer to Taxi Driver or a John Woo film, and I think there’s room for both of them – part of the appeal of the Crow comics after all is that they can tell very different stories after all.”

Deadline reports that Relativity Studios has hired short-filmmaker Corin Hardy to direct the Crow remake. Javier Gutiérrez bailed out, in favor of a new Ring sequel. Want to see one of Hardy’s short films? click here. Also, according to Den of Geek (via Collider), Luke Evans is having second thoughts: ““It’s not, no. No at the minute The Crow is not, not for me, I think it’s a little… I mean, I’m sure it’s going to go ahead at some point, but I have other projects that are greenlit and ready to go and projects that I’m very interested in and you know, I can’t wait much longer! [laughs]“ | The script will be written by Cliff Dorfman (Warrior).

According to The Wrap, Luke Evans has officially left the project to pursue other roles. Rest assured, The Crow remake is still happening, because Corin Hardy will continue searching for a new Eric Draven after his film, The Hallow, debuts at Sundance.

FCS (via Dread Central) reports that Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) is confirmed as the lead for The Crow, which starts production in the spring.

BREAKING NEWS: Deadline reports that Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion) is in talks to play Top Dollar (the film’s main villain) in the The Crow remake. Michael Wincott previously played the role in the 1994 film.

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Are Steven Seagal and Warner cookin’ up an ‘Under Siege 3′?

"Under Siege 2" Japanese DVD Cover

"Under Siege 2" Japanese DVD Cover

The man, the myth, the mystique that is Steven Seagal began in 1988′s Above the Law and peaked with 1992′s Under Siege. Now, nearly 20 years after 1995′s Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, the actor wants to reprise his role as Casey Ryback, the former Navy SEAL operator turned chef who became famous for the line “I’m just a cook.”

During a recent interview with TBI, here’s what Seagal had to say about his plans for wanting to set Under Siege 3 in Russia:

“It seems like Russia has been Hollywood’s default bad guy forever. I sorta think the opposite. I think that America and Russia should be great allies and great friends. And can be. What I want to do is write a movie, which I’ve sorta already done, where Russian special forces and American special forces work together to combat terrorism.” Seagal continues, “I’m trying to do Under Siege 3, which is the plot that I told you. I’m trying to do some martial arts films in China. I have a lot of different scripts and ideas.”

I admit, the possibility of an Under Siege 3 is intriguing, but I’m not sure how I feel about Under Siege 3 being a straight-to-video title, which inevitable, considering Seagal’s track record. Regardless, I’m definitely rooting for it.

Updates: In a recent interview with JoBlo, Steven Seagal once again mentioned the possibility of an Under Siege 3: “I’d like to do [another] sequel to Under Siege. I’d like to do Under Siege 3 and everyone wants to see that. We’d love to do that. The reason why we didn’t do it for so many years was because there was a [feud] going on between Warner Bros and – there was a rights dispute I should say. But that’s been cleared up now so we could, in theory, make that.” Additionally, Seagal noted Donnie Yen as the “best action guy out there”. The Aikido master also hinted that he has a Kurosawa-esque script completed titled Attrition that he’s interested in filming.

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Is ‘VIRTUS’ Louis Koo’s answer to ‘Edge of Tomorrow’?

"VIRTUS" Teaser Poster

"VIRTUS" Teaser Poster

Tom Cruise, eat your heart out! Louis Koo (Accident) is doing the powered exoskeleton thing with VIRTUS (aka Mao Dun Zhan Zheng), an upcoming sci-fi action flick that may possibly be Hong Kong’s answer to all that Halo, Robocop and Edge of Tomorrow stuff.

Chinesemov lists Koo not only as star, but also as director. But according to FCS (via OverDope), Benny Chan (Shaolin) is attached to direct.

Whatever the case, the newly released teaser trailer is guaranteed to impress with its Hollywood-like special effects, courtesy of The FatFace Production FX Team.

Stay tuned for more updates regarding VIRTUS.

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Michael Dudikoff fights for survival in ‘Navy Seals vs. Zombies’

"American Ninja" Theatrical Poster

"American Ninja" Theatrical Poster

Whether you want another zombie flick or not, here’s the scoop on Navy Seals vs. Zombies, the upcoming directorial debut of NASCAR driver/stuntman Stanton Barrett, whose stunt credits include Looper and Terminator Genisys.

Navy Seals vs. Zombies stars Stephanie Honoré (13 Sins), Molly Hagan (Cheater, Cheater) and everybody’s favorite American ninja, Michael Dudikoff (Avenging ForceAmerican Ninja) – not to mention real-life Navy SEALs and other military personnel.

Navy Seals vs. Zombies is expected to be released in time for Halloween 2015 – be sure to check out WAFB’s coverage.

A trailer for the film should be hitting soon – stay tuned!

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New trailer for Chen Kaige’s ‘The Monk’ with Wang Baoqiang

"The Monk" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Monk" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Acclaimed director Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine) is currently shooting The Monk, a Chinese martial arts film that stars Aaron Kwok (The Monkey King), Wang Baoqiang (Fire of Conscience, Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu and the Donnie Yen flick, Kung Fu Killer), Lin Chi-ling (Red Cliff), Wang Xueqi (Bodyguards & Assassins) and Fan Wei (Back to 1942). Martial arts choreography is being handled by Ku Huan-Chiu (14 Blades, The Expendables 2).

The Monk is based on Xu Haofeng’s best-selling novel A Monk Comes Down the Mountain. It should be noted that The Monk marks Columbia Pictures’ second production in Mainland China, following Gone with the Bullets. The Monk will be released in China on July 3.

Official plot synopsis: In the film, when a young monk (Baoqiang) is forced to leave his impoverished monastery, he relies on his martial arts skills to survive in the outside world. In search of a mentor, he crosses paths with a Kung Fu master who is in possession of a book, which reveals the lost art of the deadly Ape Strike Kung Fu technique. The rare book is coveted by a sinister father and son who will go to any extremes to obtain it. The monk finds himself immersed in a deadly battle to protect both the book and his master.

Updates: 1st teaser trailer.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the newest trailer (via FCS).

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‘Blade Runner 2’ gets ‘Skyfall’ cinematographer Roger Deakins

"Blade Runner" Japanese Promotional Poster

"Blade Runner" Japanese Promotional Poster

THE MOVIE: Ridley Scott and Hampton Fancher, director and writer, respectively, of the original Blade Runner, are currently working on the follow up to the ground-breaking 1982 science fiction classic, which will take place some years after the first film concluded.

Harrison Ford is officially returning as Rick Deckard and filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy) is taking over directing duties for Scott.

Updates: Rope of Silicon reports that the upcoming Blu-ray for Prometheus clearly shows (screen shot at link, originally from Reddit) that there is a connection between the Blade Runner and Prometheus (which technically means the Alien franchise is also connected). The connection is a dictated message by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) that implies an obvious reference to Dr. Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel) from Blade Runner and his creation of Replicants. Of course, this may have an effect on the upcoming sequel to Blade Runner. | THR reports that Michael Green, writer of 2011′s Green Lantern, is in negotiations to work on Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner sequel.

In a recent interview, Empire asked Ridley Scott about Blade Runner 2, and this is what he had to say: “Yeah, we’re working on [Blade Runner 2] right now – that will happen sooner or later.”

According to Variety (via MTV), Ridley Scott says the screenplay is not only “written and ready to go,” but that Harrison Ford loves it: “I sent him this (script) and he said, ‘Wow, this is the best thing I’ve ever read,’ so it’s very relevant to what happened (in) the first one,” Scott told MTV News. “I’m not just doing a sequel with lots of action and see how far we can go with the special effects because you can’t really. ‘Blade Runner’ kind of landed on a somehow very credible future. And it’s very difficult to change that because it’s been so influential with everything else.” | According to sources, Ryan Gosling (Drive) is in talks to co-star in Blade Runner 2. No other details about his potential character are available.

BREAKING NEWS: Sources report that ace cinematographer, Roger Deakins (Skyfall), will be re-joining director Denis Villeneuve for Blade Runner 2. The two collaborated on 2013′s Prisoners.

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Big Match (2014) Review

"Big Match" Theatrical Poster

"Big Match" Theatrical Poster

Director: Choi Ho
Producer: Park Sang-Hyun
Cast: Lee Jeong-Jae, Shin Ha-Gyun, Lee Sung-Min, BoA, Kim Yui-Seong, Bae Sung-Woo, Son Ho-Jun, Kim Yun-Sung, Choi Woo-Sik, Park Doo-Sik
Running Time: 112 min.

By Paul Bramhall

Director Choi Ho is certainly not someone you could say is afraid of working at his own pace. Since his feature debut in 1998 with the youth drama Bye June, skip forward 16 years and Big Match is only his fifth movie, with perhaps his most famous being the 2006 effort Bloody Ties, an action thriller which starred Ryoo Seung-beom and Hwang Jeong-min. While none of his movies have been runaway box office success stories, he’s a director who is still able to attract big names, as his latest production Big Match proves with a cast headed by Lee Jeong-jae and Sin Ha-gyoon.

Jeong-jae and Ha-gyoon also shared the screen together in the 2012 blockbuster The Thieves, in which Ha-gyoon has a cameo as the rich businessman that Jeong-jae steals a rare antique from to kick things off. Since then Jeong-jae has been on a roll, with starring roles in the gangster thriller The New World, and The Thieves director Choi Dong-hoon’s The Assassination. Ha-gyoon hasn’t been quite so lucky, and Big Match marks his first return to the big screen since the poorly received 2013 production Running Man, which thanks to Fox International Productions has its place as the first (and last?) Korean movie to be completely financed by a Hollywood studio.

The plot of Big Match could well have been thrown together during a night of heavy intoxication. It takes the ‘Simon Says’ elements of movies like Die Hard with a Vengeance, mixes them with the illegal betting syndicates seen in the likes of Bangkok Knockout, and hopes for the best. We’re quickly introduced to Jeong-jae’s character, Zombie, an MMA fighter who wanted to be a soccer player, but since he played a match which saw him beat the daylights out of everyone on the opposing side, his brother decided that MMA was a better fit. His brother is played by regular supporting actor Lee Sung-min, and it’s not long into the movie we discover he’s been kidnapped by Ha-gyoon. The only way for Jeong-jae to get him back, is to play a dangerous game of cat and mouse around the city, having instructions fed into his ear by Ha-gyoon of where he should go and what he should do.

That’s the extent of the plot for Big Match, I’m not really sure I could add anymore to it even if I wanted to. Ha-gyoon cruises around the city in a blacked out van surrounded by monitors and touch screen displays, extravagantly gesturing and yelling out new bets and challenges that Jeong-jae has to complete, and then it’s Jeong-jae’s job to make sure he completes them. On paper, Big Match looks like a half baked concept. Ripping off two genres that aren’t even popular at the moment, it’s almost a given that most people who want to check it out will likely have low expectations and not be hoping for much. It is then, perhaps for this very reason, that Big Match turns out to be a surprisingly entertaining time at the movies.

From the get go Ho ensures that this is not a production which is looking to take itself seriously. Jung-jae and Ha-gyoon might as well be playing a pair of cartoon characters – Jung-jae as the quick tempered MMA fighter running around the city, and Ha-gyoon as the villainous mastermind laughing it up from behind closed doors. Big Match also earns points for keeping things humorous throughout, there are plenty of sight gags, and the dialogue is often on the ball as well. Clearly not afraid of coming across as absurd, in one scene Ha-gyoon tells Jung-jae that the ankle bracelet he’s wearing is a bomb, and outlines the conditions that will set if off. Jeong-jae proceeds to break down into histrionics, only instead of begging for his life, through a maniacal grin he yells “This is great! I’m so excited I could shit myself!”

These laugh out loud moments punctuate the runtime of Big Match, which includes probably the most unique karaoke rendition you’ll see in a movie. The breakneck pacing in maintained for the entire 110 minutes, never stopping for any overly long exposition or meaningful moments, and unlike so many Korean comedies, it doesn’t betray itself by turning everything on its head in the finale and pouring on the melodrama. Ho’s intention seems to have been to create a fun flick from start to finish, and in that regard, the movie is a success.

Big Match is at its core though, an action flick. From the moment Jeong-jae finds the door of the prison cell he’s in being remotely opened thanks to Ha-gyoon, he’s pitted against police officers, gangsters, MMA fighters, and even K-pop star BoA is thrown into the mix. Many of the action scenes are played for laughs, which perfectly fit in with the overall tone, however we do get treated to some surprise set pieces that are likely to satisfy action fans.

In particular, at the 40 minute mark Jeong-jae finds himself in the traditional OldBoy style predicament – a corridor, he’s standing at one end of it, and a group of armed gangsters standing at the other. It’s a great scene, and just like Gareth Evans has proved to us with The Raid and its sequel, it shows that it is possible to have an action sequence in which the camera is constantly moving, and still be able to see everything. All of the angles work perfectly, adding impact, complimenting the moves, and most importantly of all, capturing everything that’s going on. The fact that it gets quite bloody is just a bonus.

The lack of reliance on CGI for many of the stunt scenes is also a bonus worth mentioning, which means that sometimes it’s possible to see Jeong-jae’s double ducking out the way of a speeding car, or being thrown across a room. In an age in which CGI has become the quick and easy solution to create almost anything, essentially robbing audiences of the excitement of seeing an actual stuntman perform his craft, it adds a nice old school charm to proceedings to see doubles still being used for stunt work.

Some may dismiss Big Match as an overly simple exercise in genre film-making, and to some degree it would be difficult to argue with them. It doesn’t offer anything new, and the whole thing is a decidedly one dimensional affair, however what it does do is offer something old. Old school CGI free action, old school plotting which doesn’t feel the need to throw in a twist ending, and old school characters that might well be nothing but caricatures, but at the end of the day, who doesn’t look at a caricature and find it even a little bit amusing?

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 7/10

Posted in Korean, News, Reviews | Tagged | 1 Comment

New trailer for ‘SPL 2′ starring Wu Jing and Tony Jaa!

"SPL 2: A Time For Consequences" Teaser Poster

"SPL 2: A Time For Consequences" Teaser Poster

THE MOVIE: A $23 million prequel to SPL or Sha Po Lang is in post-production. The original, which was released in North America under the title Kill Zone, helped provide a boost to Donnie Yen’s and Sammo Hung’s popularity before they collaborated again three years later on 2008′s Ip Man. Despite a Category III rating (essentially the Chinese equivalent of the NC-17), SPL proved successful in Hong Kong theaters.

Updates: Donnie Yen will not be in SPL 2. The film is being helmed by Soi Cheang (Motorway) with Wilson Yip (Ip Man 1 and 2) serving as producer. Tony Jaa (Skin Trade), Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior), Louis Koo (Flash Point), Simon Yam (Cyprus Tigers) and Zhang Jin (Rise of the Legend) make up the film’s leading cast.

According to Film Business Asia’s Kevin Ma, SPL 2′s plot involves “a Thai prison guard who needs to free an undercover cop who can save his daughter’s life.” | According to THL, the full title of SPL 2 will be SPL 2: A Time For Consequences. Here’s the main cast that was showcased during a recent press conference: Tony Jaa (Tom Yum Goong 2), Louis Koo (Flash Point), Wu Jing (SPL), Simon Yam (Fatal Move), Zhang Jin (The Grandmaster) and Babyjohn Choi (Black and White). Click here to see press release photo. | 1st trailer. | 2nd trailer.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the new trailer for SPL 2: A Time For Consequences (via FCS).

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Cityonfire.com’s ‘Taking of Tiger Mountain’ Blu-ray Giveaway!

The Taking of Tiger Mountain | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

The Taking of Tiger Mountain | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Cityonfire.com and Well Go USA are giving away 3 Blu-ray copies of Tsui Hark’s The Taking of Tiger Mountain to three lucky Cityonfire visitors. To enter, simply add a comment to this post and describe, in your own words, this video.

We will be selecting a winner at random. Be sure to include your email address in the appropriate field so we can contact you for your home address. Additionally, you must ‘Like Us‘ on cityonfire.com’s Facebook by clicking here.

The Blu-ray & DVD for The Taking of Tiger Mountain will be officially released on June 1, 2015. We will announce the 3 winners on June 1, 2015 and ship out the prizes immediately.

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by May 31, 2015 to qualify. U.S. residents only please. We sincerely apologize to our non-U.S. visitors. Winners must respond with their mailing address within 48 hours, otherwise you will automatically be disqualified. No exceptions. Contest is subject to change without notice.

Posted in News | Tagged | 16 Comments

Watch the newest trailer for Marko Zaror’s ‘Redeemer’!

"Redeemer" Theatrical Poster

"Redeemer" Theatrical Poster

Chilean martial arts star Marko Zaror (Kiltro, Machete Kills) is reuniting with director Ernesto Díaz Espinoza (Kiltro) for the 4th time in a Spanish action film titled Redeemer. The upcoming movie is being produced by XYZ films (The Raid, The Raid 2)

Here’s the official plot: Former hitman Nicky Pardo (Zaror) has made a deal with God. Pardo will begin every day by holding a gun to his own head and pulling the trigger. And every day he does not die he will take it as a sign that he is meant to continue hunting down the men he used to work for.

Updates: Dark Sky Films will be releasing Redeemeron June 12. Check out its accompanying new trailer, courtesy of FCS.

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Deal on Fire! The Guillotines | Blu-ray | Only $5.88 – Expires soon!

The Guillotines | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

The Guillotines | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for The Guillotines, directed by Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs). The story revolves around an elite crime-fighting unit that relies on flying swords to defeat their enemies. The film is a homage to the classic Guillotine movies of the 70s (i.e. The Flying Guillotine, Master of the Flying Guillotine).

The Guillotines stars Huang Xiaoming (Ip Man 2), Ethan Juan (Wu Xia), Shawn Yue (Initial D), Li Yuchun (Bodyguards and Assassins) and Jimmy Wang Yu (Man from Hong Kong).

Order The Guillotines from Amazon.com today!

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Move over Donnie Yen! Enter ‘The Monkey King’s Daughter’!

"The Monkey King" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Monkey King" Chinese Theatrical Poster

US’s ANA Media and China’s Chunqiu Time Culture Company are joining forced to bring The Monkey King’s Daughter to the big screen. Although the story is based on the hugely popular Chinese legend, The Monkey King’s Daughter is not a sequel, spin-off, nor is it related to Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons or The Monkey King. Instead, the film is based on the young-adult book series by Todd A. DeBonis, who is also writing the screenplay.

Accoring to VarietyThe Monkey King’s Daughter follows Meilin, a California high school sophomore who knows nothing about her father’s true Chinese heritage. On her 16th birthday, her genetic make-up activates, transforming her into an extraordinary, super-heroine and thrusting her into the magical realms of the past to battle monstrous demons from ancient China. With the help of her father, the Monkey King , she must save her mother and friends from certain death.

As of right now, there are no directors or actors attached to The Monkey King’s Daughter. The film is scheduled to shoot in December in China and Canada. Stay tuned as we hear more!

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It’s Donnie Yen to the ‘Big Rescue’ for a kung fu road movie!

Donnie Yen Promotional Poster

Donnie Yen Promotional Poster

Currently in post-production is Big Rescue, an upcoming “family film” starring Donnie Yen (Kung Fu Killer) and directed by Liang Ting (producer of Yen’s 14 Blades and The Lost Bladesman).

According to Variety, Big Rescue tells the story of a group people who embark on fun-filled cross-country road trip but are captured by an evil villain. They are rescued by a team of kung fu fighting dogs who save them in the nick of time.

In addition to Big Rescue, Yen fans have Ip Man 3Iceman 2 (post-production), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 (post-production) and Noodle Man (pre-production) to look forward to. As always, we’ll keep you in the loop on all these projects!

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Absolution | Blu-ray & DVD (Lionsgate)

Absolution | Blu-ray & DVD (Lionsgate)

Absolution | Blu-ray & DVD (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2015

Lionsgate presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Steven Seagal’s The Mercenary: Absolution (aka Absolution), directed by Keoni Waxman (Force of Execution). The Mercenary: Absolution also stars Byron Mann (The Corrupter) and Vinnie Jones (Escape Plan).

When an ex-operative is recruited by his old boss to assassinate an Afghan drug dealer, he begins to suspect a link between a drug smuggling operation, a sex trafficking ring and the US Government. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Absolution from Amazon.com today!

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles | Tagged | Leave a comment

‘Fury Road’ sequel to be titled ‘Mad Max: The Wasteland’?

"Mad Max Fury Road" Theatrical Poster

"Mad Max Fury Road" Theatrical Poster

Based on the positive reception of George Miller’s Mad Max Fury Road, a sequel is definitely in the air. According to Miller himself (via The Playlist), the follow-up already has a screenplay, a novella and a title: Mad Max: The Wasteland (formerly Mad Max: Furiosa) – all developed while Fury Road was delayed from its original 2013 release date.

Earlier reports suggest that Tom Hardy is obligated to play Max Rockatansky for two more movies. Charlize Theron’s involvement, however, is questionable, considering her heated feud (via Esquire) with Hardy: “We f*ckin’ went at it, yeah. And on other days, he and George Miller went at it. It was the isolation, and the fact that we were stuck in a rig for the entire shoot. We shot a war movie on a moving truck – there’s very little green screen. It was like a family road trip that just never went anywhere.”

So far, Mad Max Fury Road has won over critics and audiences alike, but has it made up enough money for the studio to warrant sequel? Only time will tell. Until then, if a follow-up is truly in stone, we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!

Posted in News | 14 Comments

1st set image of Donnie Yen and Mike Tyson in ‘Ip Man 3′

"Ip Man" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Ip Man" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Ip Man 3 is currently filming – in 3D! Star Donnie Yen will return in the titular role, alongside director Wilson Yip. This time around, Ip Man’s most famous pupil – Bruce Lee – is set to have a much larger role in the story. “What is certain is that the film will begin with Bruce Lee becoming Ip Man’s disciple,” says screenwriter Edmond Wong.

Producer Raymond Wong claims the film will feature a much larger budget than the previous two films, with special 3D effects incorporated into the fight scenes, courtesy of the legendary Yuen Woo Ping.

So far, here’s what you can expect from the cast: Lyn Hung, Zhang Han, Max Zhang, Patrick Tam Yiu Man, Karena Ng, Kent Cheng, Louis Cheung and Leung Kar Yan (Beardy).

Update: In addition to Ip Man 3, here’s a list of titles Yen is currently working on: Iceman 2 (post-production), The Master (pre-production), Dragon City (pre-production) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 (post-production) and Noodle Man, his first starring role in a U.S. production.

According to Screen Daily, Well Go USA has already picked up U.S. rights for Ip Man 3, which begins shooting early 2015. “This film focuses on the master-student relationship between Ip Man and Bruce Lee… it also portrays Ip Man at a stage when he is searching for the real meaning in life,” says Ip Man 3 writer, Edmond Wong.

Donnie Yen has confirmed that Ip Man 3 will start shooting in March of 2015. Here’s what Yen told Flicks and the City (via EP): “We’re starting next March… it’s going to be my last time around playing Ip Man. I think the fans have been waiting for quite a few years. And I kind of didn’t want to take on this role again, and I was onto experimenting with different characters, different roles, until I’m ready. And now, I feel like I’m ready, so we’ll see. I’ll try do the best I can. And hopefully I can top the first two.”

Wushu practitioner Max Zhang (The Grandmaster) has supposedly joined the cast of Ip Man 3. It’s also said that that Zhang will have a duel with Donnie Yen. This news comes from Maz (KFC).

The much anticipated Ip Man 3 is due to commence shooting in 2 weeks, local media has reported. Donnie Yen will reprise the role that has made him an international superstar, and discloses that the film’s director Wilson Yip (who worked with Yen in SPL, Dragon Tiger Gate, Flash Point, Ip Man and Ip Man 2) has asked him to lose 30 pounds (approximately 14 kg) for the role. “This is mission impossible. I now weigh 145 pounds (approximately 66kg). I am worried I’ll end up in hospital after losing that weight. I may even die,” he tells the Hong Kong media. - Thanks to Sam the Man

For some time, Donnie Yen has been talking about it (see Special ID 2), but now the idea is a full blown reality: According to THR (via FCS), Mike Tyson will join the cast of Ip Man 3. The former heavyweight boxing world champion will take part in “some intense fighting” when he goes toe-to-toe with Yen: click here to watch the Tyson vs. Yen promo. And just when the Ip Man 3 updates couldn’t get any more interesting: the unnamed actor portraying Bruce Lee will be laced with CGI enhancements to bring Lee’s on-screen image alive.

During a recent press conference (via DiP), Donnie Yen announced that Ip Man 3 may be the last action movie of his career. According to Jaynestars, this is what Yen told reporters about the future of his involvement in action movies: “Right now, the most important question for me is not whether or not my body can handle it, but whether or not a movie has creativity… thus, Ip Man 3 may indeed be my last action film.” May being the key word. We seriously doubt this.

According to THR, Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC (BLE) – owner of all intellectual property rights related to Bruce Lee, including worldwide rights relating to the his name, image, likeness, persona, signature, voice, attributes, marks, logos, symbols, works, photographs and writings – is seeking to stop the icon’s image from appearing in Ip Man 3. BLE’s COO, Kris Storti, stated that the estate is “justifiably shocked” to learn that the image of Bruce Lee in Ip Man 3 is “completely unauthorized.” The producers of Ip Man 3 have the cooperation of Robert Lee, Bruce Lee’s brother; however, BLE contended that “Robert Lee does not own or control any intellectual property rights associated with Bruce Lee, including, without limitation, any rights to Bruce Lee’s name, likeness and image.” In the meantime, Ip Man 3 producer, Raymond Wong, says the matter will be handled by lawyers. | First set images of Donnie Yen and Yuen Woo Ping in Ip Man 3. | First official still of Donnie Yen in Ip man 3.

A press conference for Ip Man 3 was held today in Shanghai, where Donnie Yen and Mike Tyson finally met each other in person. The two will be shooting their scenes together this month. Click here for their photos (via DiP).

BREAKING NEWS: Here’s a Ip Man 3 set image (via HKTop10) of Donnie Yen, Mike Tyson and Yuen Woo Ping, along with a photo of Tyson’s finger, which was accidentally fractured by Yen during filming.

Posted in News | 21 Comments

Police Story: Lockdown | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Police Story: Lockdown | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Police Story: Lockdown | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2015

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Jackie Chan’s Police Story: Lockdown (aka Police Story 2013).

In Police Story: Lockdown, a man looking for the release of a long-time prisoner takes a police officer (Chan), his daughter, and a group of strangers hostage.

Police Story: Lockdown is directed by Ding Sheng (Little Big Soldier) and co-stars Liu Ye, Huang Bo, Jing Tian, Zhang Lanxin, Wang Zhifei, Zhang Xiaoning, Guli Nazha and Aaron Aziz. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Police Story: Lockdown from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Asian Titles, DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles | Tagged | 1 Comment

Exclusive: Interview with the author of the upcoming Alexander Fu Sheng book ‘The Biography of the Chinatown Kid’

Alexander Fu Sheng: The Biography of the Chinatown KidAnyone familiar with the Shaw Brothers studio will no doubt be aware of Alexander Fu Sheng. A charismatic performer known for his mischievous persona and physical dexterity, he quickly became a favorite of both Chang Cheh and Lau Kar Leung, starring in such classic slices of Hong Kong cinema ranging from kung fu epics like Five Shaolin Masters, to comedies such as Hong Kong Playboys.

His life was tragically cut short at just 28 years of age, however his legacy has endured thanks to his many memorable performances. To add to his legacy, screenwriter and kung fu movie enthusiast Terrence J Brady has spent the last couple of years deep in research to create the definitive biography of the star. Looking to debunk the many myths about his life, as well as sharing a wealth of new information and anecdotes, the tentatively titled Alexander Fu Sheng: The Biography of the Chinatown Kid is shaping up to be a must-have for any fan of both Fu Sheng, and the Shaw Brothers studio in general.

"Chinatown Kid" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Chinatown Kid" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Cityonfire was recently able to conduct an exclusive interview with Terrence, who took a break from his busy schedule to answer our question on what, and when, we can expect his book.

1. When you consider all the legends of Hong Kong cinema, Fu Sheng may not necessarily be the first name that springs to mind when you think who could be the subject for an upcoming biography, what gave you the idea for the book?

The idea started back in 2007 when I planned an article in observation of the 25th year of his passing. Life though interceded and it got put on the back burner. Three years later, I traveled to Hong Kong with some friends and one of our primary objectives was to visit Alex’s burial site and pay our respects. Prior to that day, he was simply a two-dimensional image on a TV screen but now, being there in his presence, he became very real. Someone who possibly walked the same streets we did while exploring Hong Kong.

I felt he needed a proper tribute and that meant rethinking my article. But why stop there? Why not a book-length biography? The information on many of these Shaw stars comes in scattered bits and pieces and there are truly few books dedicated to a specific individual. Alex was one of the most popular actors of his time whose life was snuffed out prematurely. He was the genuine article and never thought of himself as a movie star. An everyman kind of fellow. I’m sure he would even be a bit embarrassed of the thought of someone writing a book about him.

David Chiang, Fu Sheng, Chang Cheh, Chen Kuan-Tai and David Chiang.

David Chiang, Fu Sheng, Chang Cheh, Chen Kuan-Tai and David Chiang.

We have seen many books on Bruce. On Jackie. Now its Alex’s time. I hope my efforts will do him justice and that his family, friends and fans will enjoy this biography as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing it.

2. There seems to be a substantial amount of information out there already on Fu Sheng, such as him graduating in Hawaii and living in Bruce Lee’s house at the time of his death, what would you say is the appeal of your book to those fans out there who already know all these things about him?

I think there is a good deal of (mis)information out there on Alex. Rumors and hearsay that have been repeated over the years to the point where it becomes an assumed fact. Take for example the story of Bruce Lee’s home. People like the allure that these doomed men shared the same domicile. It links them to a common destiny of two martial arts action stars whose lives were taken in their prime. It makes for good storytelling; a movie-of-the-week! Truth is, reality is boring and for a few dollars to the HK Land Registry, one would discover that Bruce’s old Cumberland Road home has been owned by the same company since 1974.

"Boxer Rebellion" Promotional Still.

"Boxer Rebellion" Promotional Still.

As for Alex? He was staying with his brother in Mei Foo Sun Chuen, a housing estate in Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon, at the time of his fatal accident. I know, not as enthralling, but that’s reality. The other urban myth we continue to hear is Alex graduated from a high school in Hawaii. I have even seen some places on the web list the name of this school; Roosevelt High School in Honolulu. I obtained a copy of the RHS Class of ‘71 yearbook and strangely enough, not a single photo of Alex. I then proceeded to speak with a member of the ‘71 graduating class who also happens to run the RHS class reunions since the early ‘90s. She contacted several of her classmates and they do recall seeing Alex – in the theater. “We used to all watch those movies and we would have known that he was one of ours. Local media are big on touting our “local talent” or if they ever lived on the island of Oahu. I don’t ever remember anything in the local press about him ever having lived here,” she stated.

The Cheung family valued education and three of Alex’s brothers went on to become doctors but Alex? Alex was the least educated of his siblings, dropping out of school at 15. Despite his lack of a formal education, he proved that one could still be a success even without a diploma. Of course if he had followed in his brothers’ footsteps, I probably wouldn’t be writing this biography. I considered myself a knowledgeable fan of Alex before starting this book but what I knew at the start pales in comparison to what I know now. This book will be enlightening to even Alex’s biggest fans.

Fu Sheng in "My Rebellious Son"

Fu Sheng in "My Rebellious Son"

3. You’ve clearly done a lot of legwork on getting the truth about Fu Sheng’s life, what’s been your favorite moment so far during the time you’ve been researching the book?

The band Deep Purple once sang, “It’s not the kill but the thrill of the chase.” My research on this project has become quite addictive. I have spent upwards of two years researching material and have worked with three different Hong Kongese translators. These native speakers have provided me with a treasure trove of material that, as an English speaker, I would not have been able to acquire alone.

Some of the most satisfying moments though have been following a simple clue on my own, which revealed new clues, which then revealed even further clues. It’s the journey “down the rabbit hole” which has lead me to many dead ends but also has provided some true nuggets of gold.

The historical significance or the real-life events that some of Alex’s films were based on has been an eye-opener to China’s history that was previously unknown to me. I could devote an entire chapter or more, for example, to the 1976 war film The Seven Man Army. This movie is one of my personal favorites and my research has helped me better understand the battles that ignited the Second Sino-Japanese War, those who commanded the field and even led me to the grandsons of the one member of the “seven” who was the only known soldier in this film (the identities of the other six, including Alex’s character, are unknown and the names used in the film are fictionalized).

Fu Sheng on the set of "Marco Polo" with Richard Harrison and Carter Wong.

Fu Sheng on the set of "Marco Polo" with Richard Harrison and Carter Wong.

Of course, meeting and/or interviewing some of the stars that worked alongside Alex has also been a highlight. I’ve got to know Alex through the eyes of Robert Tai, Kara Hui, Lo Mang, Chu Ker, Chen Kuan Tai and several others.

4. Fu Sheng obviously had a wide appeal in his prime, what do you think it was about him that gave him such a connection with the audience of the time, and indeed ensures he still has a fan base even today?

Alex was the complete package. He had the looks, charisma, sex appeal, comedic timing and a vivacious screen presence. Women adored him. Men emulated him. He could act … sing … dance … and most importantly, fight. Though sometimes he would behave like the fool, his martial skills were clean and flowed with a matter-of-fact tone. He was versatile and employed a wide range of characterizations; funny, charming, psychotic, deadly. When he was on the screen, one could not help to focus their gaze on him and forget everything else transpiring.

As for a fan base today? When a person of fame dies at an early age, it seems that their following surges. Some even become the stuff of legends; Bruce Lee, John Lennon, Mozart, Billy the Kid, etc. The same can be said about Fu Sheng. His celebrity status continues to grow despite his passing over 30 years ago. Facebook pages, YouTube tribute videos, web articles, even a bronze bust was recently created and donated to the Martial Arts History Museum in Los Angeles. Hopefully this book will only bolster Alex’s fan base and help find a whole new generation of readers who will be introduced to his films for the first time.

The charismatic Fu Sheng.

The charismatic Fu Sheng.

5. What’s your personal opinion on Fu Sheng’s place in Hong Kong movie history?

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see his name on Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars but since I’m unfamiliar with the criteria for nomination, I cannot judge too harshly. Shaw Brothers is the most famous of the film studios to operate in the Pearl of the Orient and Alex was certainly one of their shining jewels. I’m not sure where I would place Alex in the overall picture of Hong Kong cinema as I’ve only experienced a small portion of it.

However, when I think of Shaw’s Movietown, many who worked there seemed to agree that Alex’s presence, both on screen and off, made it a memorable place to be. He was a down-to-earth person who didn’t get caught up in all the glitz & glam that show biz would bring. His idea of entertainment would be to bring his dogs to the studio which would always liven things up. He had a unique camaraderie with the highest directors to the lowest set construction workers. Dedication to his craft, tomfoolery, random acts of kindness. This was Fu Sheng. To those folks that worked alongside him, he will always have a special place in the history of Hong Kong cinema.

6. What’s your personal Fu Sheng performance and why?

Surprisingly I don’t think I have one. Last year I watched all 43 of his films in production order and it was amazing to watch Alex mature as both martial artist and cinema star. I got to revisit some of his films I had only seen once before and there were four which were a first time viewing for me. The Chinatown Kid will always be a favorite because it’s one of his films I saw back in the 80s but his performance in Sung Chung’s The Avenging Eagle certainly stood out during this marathon as it was his first film with a director other than Chang Cheh. A little trivia here. Most believe it was Chang who gave Alex his start but this is incorrect. It was actually Sun who cut him his first break. Details in the book…

Fu Sheng in "Wits of the Brats"

Fu Sheng in "Wits of the Brats"

7. A lot of people like to speculate on where Bruce Lee would be today if he was still around, do you think Fu Sheng would have potentially rivaled Jackie Chan for the king of kung-fu comedy throne had his career not been cut short so tragically?

Good question. And I’m sure many might be disappointed to hear this but I don’t believe he would have rivaled Jackie as the king of kung fu comedy. No, not because Jackie was more skilled. Au contraire. It was Jackie who mimicked Alex.

But Alex’s misfortunes on the set, his moving towards working behind the scenes and lastly his own admission pretty much ends any speculation: “No. I am not particularly interested in acting in films. It’s mainly because I make a living at it is all. Since I left school, I have never asked my family for money. I don’t want to rely on my family for my whole life. To be independent and make a living, I chose shooting films, but this is temporary. I won’t stay in the industry for the rest of my life.” While discouraging those words might be to his fans, Alex was not one to sugarcoat things. He spoke his mind and despite his future plans to leave the industry, he has left us with an exciting collection of films to explore.

Chang Cheh and Fu Sheng.

Chang Cheh and Fu Sheng.

In the book, I will take an in-depth look at each production, those who worked on the films and provide many colorful conversations from behind the scenes. While Wits of the Brats was Alex’s first film as director, there was at least two other productions in the pipeline that he was going to helm plus other films he was slated to appear in but did not do so for various reasons. I will also explore the unfinished Chor Yuen crime caper The Mark of The Eagle featuring Ti Lung which was shelved due to his Black September injuries.

8. Most importantly of all, when can we expect Alexander Fu Sheng: The Biography of the Chinatown Kid to be hitting the shelves?

I’m working on the second draft at the present, and would love to see this in the hands of Hong Kong cinema fans in 2016.

If anyone has any questions they’d like to ask Terrence regarding the book, he can be contacted at fusheng@teako170.com.

Posted in Features, News | 5 Comments

1st trailer for Lundgren-Rourke Nazi-killing flick ‘War Pigs’

"War Pigs" Theatrical PosterSince there can never be enough movies about good ol’ Nazi killers, get ready for War Pigs, an upcoming action-war flick directed by Ryan Little (Saints and Soldiers series), about a rag tag unit of misfits known as the War Pigs, who must go behind enemy lines to exterminate Nazis by any means necessary.

War Pigs stars Expendable cast members Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke. Joining them are Luke Goss (Tekken), Ryan Kelley (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Noah Segan (Django Lives!), Chuck Liddell (Cradle 2 the Grave), Jake Stormoen (Cyborg X) and Steven Luke (Dust of War).

Updates: Three character posters, featuring Dolph Lundgren, Luke Goss and Mickey Rourke, courtesy of dolph-ultimate.com.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch film’s 1st trailer (via FCS). War Pigs has a release date set for this year. Stay tuned!

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Deal on Fire! Special ID | Blu-ray | Only $9.96 – Expires soon!

Special ID | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Special ID | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Clarence Fok’s Special ID (read our review) which stars Donnie Yen (Kung Fu Killer), Jing Tian (From Vegas to Macau), Andy On (Zombie Fight Club), Zhang Hanyu (White Vengeance), Ronald Cheng (Legendary Assassin) and Collin Chou (Flash Point).

A cop (Yen) and his team of comrades go undercover in one of China’s most ruthless underworld organizations to stop a gang leader, only to put themselves in great danger after being exposed one by one.

Order Special ID from Amazon.com today!

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Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson to reunite for ‘Shanghai Dawn’?

"Shanghai Knights" Japanese Theatrical Poster

It’s been over ten years since the release of 2003′s Shanghai Knights - and, indeed, it’s strange to reflect back on a time when Donnie Yen’s most high-profile gigs included a cameo in a Jackie Chan Hollywood movie – and rumors of a sequel have been long dormant.

The franchise, which saw Jackie Chan’s Imperial guard teaming up with Owen Wilson’s laconic outlaw, was always viewed as something of an Old West take on the popular Rush Hour formula (i.e. pair Jackie Chan’s fists of fury with a fast-talking funnyman).

Well, perhaps MGM has taken Rush Hour’s revival as a television series as a sign that they should reconsider a potentially hot property.

Screen Crush reports that the studio is keen on green-lighting a sequel, tentatively titled Shanghai Dawn. That title has been around for some time, and way back in ’03 Owen Wilson had told Empire Magazine he thought a third film in the series might see him and Jack head to Egypt. Who knows if that particular plotline will survive, but the question remains: would you be interested in seeing Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson team up one last time to close out the Shanghai Noon trilogy?

Posted in News | 1 Comment

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981) Review

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne "Blu-ray" Cover

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne "Blu-ray" Cover

Director: Walerian Borowczyk
Writer: Walerian Borowczyk, Robert Louis Stevenson
Cast: Udo Kier, Marina Pierro, Patrick Magee, Gérard Zalcberg, Howard Vernon, Clément Harari, Jean Mylonas, Eugene Braun Munk, Louis Colla
Running Time: 92 min.

By Kyle Warner

Walerian Borowczyk’s 1981 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a graphic and savage take on the classic story. While it features a doctor who transforms into a madman, the film does not share much else in common with the Jekyll/Hyde story as I remember it. I guess you’d call it a reimagining. Still, it has a strong cast and the film often looks beautiful. For a moment there I really thought I was going to like it… But that moment passed.

Udo Kier plays Dr. Jekyll. He invites friends and colleagues to his mansion for a dinner party to celebrate his engagement to the lovely Miss Fanny Osbourne (Marina Pierro). The party is interrupted when a lunatic starts attacking the guests and the mansion goes into lockdown.

It’s almost like a game of Clue. It even features a similar cast of characters—the doctor, the priest, the decorated soldier, the maid, and the psycho killer. Except here there’s no mystery about who’s behind the madness. We know it’s Hyde, who is also Jekyll, and so the film takes on a strange kind of slasher movie quality. What’s puzzling is how many of the characters disappear for long periods of time without people taking notice, and only on rare occasions do the characters wonder where Dr. Jekyll is during the attacks. Also, why didn’t anyone try to leave the house? They’re in control of their own fates and could very easily flee for their lives, but instead the men give the women morphine and send them to bed while they try to trap the murderer within the house. Characters behaving like morons is something that some viewers seem willing to forgive in horror movies, but I can only take so much of it. Here, idiotic choices by the characters are one of the only things that keeps the story moving.

What makes this take on Jekyll and Hyde different than many of the others is that Jekyll enjoys his time as the monster. As Hyde he is free to be an animal, to perform heinous acts for pleasure’s sake, and be granted anonymity behind the face of another man. While Hyde is perfectly fine strangling and stabbing people, he much prefers raping his victims to death (both women and men) with his dangerously long and pointy manhood…

As an exploitation film, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne might be considered a success. As a horror film, not so much. The film doesn’t try to scare you or conjure up dread, it’s more interested in just going for shock value. And 30+ years after its release, some of the images remain shocking as it mixes violence and pornographic images.

The best example of the film going for shock value comes early on in the picture. Up until this point I thought it was a good looking film with some potential to go to interesting places later on, then this scene came along and I knew I was in for some trouble. The sequence I’m talking about is the dinner, where everyone’s sitting down and engaged in high-class conversation. In the middle of the conversation we are treated to three images from later on in the film—a violent stabbing, the pointy penis, and a naked black woman hung upside down, her crotch bloodied. None of these images have anything to do with the dinner conversation. The quick shots give you a jolt because you’re not expecting them, but it has the same artistic merits as those internet videos that were everywhere ten years ago— those videos where you’re lulled into a state of calm by images of an idyllic countryside then suddenly assaulted by a screaming crazy person on screen. Sure, it gets the shock that it’s after, but it never aims much higher than that.

The film looks very good, though. There’s a haze and sparkle to the picture, making it seem like a dream at times. The film I was most reminded of (in a good way) was Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. Like that film, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne gives us a dreamlike reimagining of a classic horror story. And like Coppola, director Borowczyk had an interest in the tricks of early cinema. The result is a stylish and handsome looking film about some very ugly incidents.

Arrow Video gave the movie a full restoration for its Blu-ray release. Having not seen a previous edition of the film I cannot compare it to how it used to look on home video, but I thought the picture on this disc was very nice. The Blu-ray is loaded with special features, including interviews with Udo Kier and Mariana Pierro, two short films, featurettes about the director and his career in animation and his love for classic (often silent) cinema, and a commentary compiled of interviews with the cast and crew. It’s an impressive collection of extras that should make fans of the film happy.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne looks and behaves a bit like a dream that slowly turns into a nightmare. And like most nightmares, I just wanted to wake up and be done with it. I mean, hey, it’s an arthouse slasher horror film with a killer that murders people with his pointy penis. It’s not going to be for everyone.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 4/10

Posted in Cults & Classics, News, Reviews | 2 Comments

Nick Cheung’s new thriller proves he’s a ‘Keeper of Darkness’

"Keeper of Darkness" Teaser Poster

"Keeper of Darkness" Teaser Poster

Looks like a certain someone feels right at home on the dark side: Nick Cheung’s (Helios) new thriller, Keeper of Darkness, will be screening at at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. In the film, Cheung plays a streetwise exorcist (Cheung) who becomes an overnight sensation when his extraordinary exorcism goes viral online.

Keeper of Darkness is Cheung’s sophomore directorial follow-up to last year’s Hungry Ghost Ritual. The movie is written by Sin Ling Yeung (The Bullet Vanishes) and stars Amber Kuo (Triumph in the Skies), Louis Cheung (The Legend is Born – Ip Man) and Sisley Choi (Overachievers).

A trailer should be hitting soon – stay tuned!

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Jackie Chan and Ding Sheng reunite for ‘Railroad Tigers’

"Little Big Soldier" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Little Big Soldier" Korean Theatrical Poster

Jackie Chan is gearing up for a $50 million project titled Railroad Tigers, an action comedy that reunites the legend with director Ding Sheng (Little Big Soldier, Police Story 2013) for a 3rd time.

According to THR (via FCS), Railroad Tigers is set in wartime China in 1941 and features Chan as a railroad worker who leads a team of freedom fighters who use their knowledge of the train network to disrupt Japan’s wartime engine and steal food for the starving Chinese population.

Railroad Tigers starts shooting in October, with a tentative release date set for October 2016. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more – stay tuned!

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Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

"Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal" Theatrical Poster

"Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal" Theatrical Poster

RELEASE DATE: August 4, 2015

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, (aka Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal) directed by Tianyu Zhao (Deadly Delicious) and starring Chen Kun (Young Detective Dee), Li Bingbing (Detective Dee & the Mystery of the Phantom Flame), Winston Chao, Yang Zishan and Bao Bei’er.

Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal also features the skill of Academy Award-winning director, cinematographer, and visual effects artist Peter Pau. Watch the trailer!

Pre-order Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Asian Titles, DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles | Tagged | 2 Comments