Cityonfire.com’s ‘Iceman’ Blu-ray Giveaway!

"Iceman" Blu-ray Cover

"Iceman" Blu-ray Cover

Cityonfire.com and Well Go USA are giving away 3 Blu-ray copies of Donnie Yen’s Iceman to three lucky Cityonfire visitors.

To enter, simply add a comment to this post and describe, in your own words, this clip (yes, you read that right). 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 Iceman will be officially released on November 11, 2014. We will announce the 3 winners on that day ship out the prizes immediately.

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by November 10, 2014 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.

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Final trailer for Donnie Yen’s latest flick ‘Kung Fu Jungle’

"Kung Fu Jungle" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Kung Fu Jungle" Chinese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Kung Fu Jungle (aka Kung Fu KillerOne Person’s Martial Arts Circle; or The Last of the Best) is the title of an upcoming project from martial art sensation Donnie Yen. This high-octane action thriller will reunite Donnie Yen with his Bodyguards & Assassins director Teddy Chen as well as his Iceman Cometh 3D co-star Wang Baoqiang.

Plotwise, the movie follows Donnie Yen as a top-notch martial arts instructor at the Hong Kong Police Academy who is imprisoned for accidentally killing a man. Yen may not be able to stay behind bars for long as shortly after his arrest, a deranged killer (Wang Baoqiang) begins targeting the best and brightest martial arts fighters in Hong Kong.

The premise sounds ripe for yet another rip-roaring Donnie Yen picture in the vein of Flash Point. Color us excited!

Update: Here’s the first teaser poster (then-titled Last of the Best) for the film to celebrate the fact that the movie has entered principal photography while Donnie is on a break from shooting Iceman Cometh. | Head over to HKSAR for a pack of photos of Donnie Yen in action. | Promotional poster.  | In addition to Yuen Bun (Legend of Zu, The Blade) serving as co-action choreographer with Donnie Yen, it’s been announced that Fan Siu-wong (Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, Ip Man) and Xing Yu (Wrath of Vajra, Flash Point) will be making special appearances. | Kung Fu Jungle’s official plot, click here!

Guess who’ll have a fight with Donnie Yen? The answer: Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan (writer of Yen’s 1998 film Ballistic Kiss). In fact, as Matt Oldham and DiP pointed out, this marks the 3rd time Logan and Yen will go toe-to-toe in a movie. Their first onscreen encounter was in 1994′s Circus Kids, then they went at it again in the last episode of 1995′s Fist of Fury TV series. Here’s a behind-the-scenes photo of Logan getting tatted up. | 1st trailer! Also, the film’s release date has now been set to October 31. | New trailer for Kung Fu Jungle, thanks to M.A.A.C. for the heads up!

Watch a new featurette for Donnie Yen’s Kung Fu Jungle, featuring Wang Baoqiang and brand new clips, courtesy of Film Combat Syndicate. | New trailer. | Two new posters, featuring the characters portrayed by Yen and Baoqiang. | New featurette, featuring Baoqiang, thanks to DiP! | Yesterday, we added this new action featurette; today we have added yet another one. | 3rd trailer is now available. | New featurette, which revolves around “Donnie Yen vs Wang Baoqiang” | Latest featurette, courtesy of DiP!

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the final trailer, thanks to Film Combat Syndicate.

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Pre-order ‘White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom’ at DDDHouse

"The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom" Theatrical Poster

"The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom" Theatrical Poster

DDDHouse.com now has Jacob Cheung’s (A Battle of Wits) wuxia-fantasy 3D film The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom available for an October 24th pre-order.

Penned by Liang Yusheng (The Bride with White Hair), the film revolves around a pair of star-crossed lovers – a devilish outlaw (Iron Man 3′s Fan Bingbing) and the righteous Taoist leader (Ip Man 2′s Huang Xiaoming), and their love that could change the fate of the nation.

The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom also stars Vincent Zhao (True Legend), Wang Xuebing (The Lost Bladesman), Yan Kuan (Big Shot), Du Yiheng (Let the Bullets Fly) and Nicholas Tse (The Bullet Vanishes).

Keep in mind that the DVD version is Region 3 coded, so you will need a multi-region DVD player to view the movie. Fortunately, the Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray versions are coded for region A, so they’re good to go on your current North American Blu-ray hardware.

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Robot Jox | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

"Robot Jox" Japanese DVD Cover

"Robot Jox" Japanese DVD Cover

RELEASE DATE: Summer 2015

Before Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim… Before Michael Bay’s Transformers…

Shout! Factory presents the Blu-ray for Robot Jox. Directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), Robot Jox reveals a world where nations settle their territorial disputes by a single combat between two giant machines. Piloted by national heroes Achilles (Gary Graham) and Alexander (Paul Koslo), the robots meet in Death Valley to fight for the greatest prize of all: Alaska. Watch the trailer.

Stay tuned for pre-order information. Until then, be sure to check out Shout! Factory’s Giant Robot Action Pack, featuring Crash and Burn and Robot Wars. Out now!

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

Cityonfire.com’s ‘Kundo’ Blu-ray Giveaway!

Kundo: Age of the Rampant | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Kundo: Age of the Rampant | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Cityonfire.com and Well Go USA are giving away 3 Blu-ray copies of Kundo to three lucky Cityonfire visitors.

To enter, simply add a comment to this post and describe, in your own words, Steven Seagal’s clothes in this clip (yes, you read that right). 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 Kundo was officially released on October 21, 2014. We will announce the 3 winners on October 30, 2014 and ship out the prizes immediately.

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by October 29, 2014 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 | 18 Comments

Marko Zaror kicks oppression in its a$$ with ‘Zambo Dende’

"Mandrill" Japanese DVD Cover

"Mandrill" Japanese DVD Cover

Chilean martial arts sensation Marko Zaror (Kiltro, Machete Kills) is set to star in Zambo Dende, an action film based on Nicholas Rodriguez’ Colombian comic book of the same name. Darren Shahlavi (Tactical Force) and Michelle Lee (Blood and Bone) are also in talks to join the film.

According to Film Combat Syndicate, here’s what you can expect from the plot: “The character is based on real life events about a child named Azuk who would rise from oppression to become a fighting force for the oppressed slaves of Latin America, ultimately foreseeing his royal destiny preset by the assassination of his mother.”

Until then, look out for Zaror’s next film, Redeemer, which is just around the corner. He’s also tied to One Good Thing, directed by Kimo Stamboel (Macabre). Stay tuned!

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Samurai Cop | Blu-ray (Cinema Epoch)

Samurai Cop | Blu-ray (Cinema Epoch)

Samurai Cop | Blu-ray (Cinema Epoch)

RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2014

Cinema Epoch presents the Blu-ray for 1991′s Samurai Cop. Detective Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) and Joe Marshall (Matt Hannon) team up to take on the Yakuza in this 1991 cult classic. Watch the trailer.

Directed by the late Amir Shervan (Killing American Style), Samurai Cop found a whole new audience during its midnight theatrical circuit and film festival re-release. Its resurgence prompted producers Rich Mallery and Gregory Hatanaka to start production on an upcoming sequel, Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance.

Pre-order Samurai Cop from Amazon.com today!

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

Donnie Yen to do Chinese version of ‘The Expendables’?

"Founding of a Republic" UK DVD Cover

"Founding of a Republic" UK DVD Cover

Imagine if Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat, Sammo Hung, Andy Lau, Yuen Biao, Lau Ching Wan, Ti Lung, Jimmy Wang Yu, David Chiang, Simon Yam and Tony Leung got together for a Chinese version of The Expendables? Cool thought, huh?

Well, there’s a slight possibility that a Chinese Expendables-type project may happen one day. While promoting his latest film, Kung Fu Jungle, Donnie Yen revealed that he has casually brought the idea up to Jackie Chan.

Here’s what Yen told Flicks and the City (via EP): “Months ago, I had a conversation with Jackie and I kind of brought the idea up: ‘You know what, why don’t we make our own Chinese Expendables,’ and he told me: ‘Talk to Jet Li. If you convince Jet Li, [I’ll] do it.’ It was just a casual conversation and was never really a serious follow up project we were aiming at. But, who knows…I think it’s brilliant idea.” When Yen was asked who he’d like to team up with, he said: “Everybody under the sun. Every Chinese action guy in film. That would be very fun.”

Hey, anything is possible, right? Stay tuned.

Posted in News | 5 Comments

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

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

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

RELEASE DATE: December 23, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Kim Hong-sun’s The Traffickers.

This Award-winning South Korean crime thriller takes place in six hours on a passenger boat with an ongoing black-market organ-trafficking operation, and a desperate husband out to find his missing wife.

The film stars Im Chang-jung, Choi Daniel, Oh Dal-su and Jo Yoon-hee. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order The Traffickers from Amazon.com today!

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

Donnie Yen confirms that ‘Ip Man 3′ shoots in March 2015

"Ip Man" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Ip Man" Japanese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Ip Man 3 is in the works – 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.

Update: Contrary to previous reports, JayneStars says the reason that Ip Man 3 has been delayed/put on hold is because of Donnie’s busy schedule. Producer Raymond Wong remains hopeful that Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen will start Ip Man 3 in 2014.

Film Combat Syndicate shares an interview (via South China Morning Post) where Donnie Yen talks about reprising his role as Ip Man: “I’ll leave that to fate, but I’ll definitely play Ip Man again,” he says. “I won’t be doing it any time soon, though, because there are so many Ip Man [movies] around. You are Ip Man! He is Ip Man! Everyone is Ip Man! Even the audience is getting bored at the moment.”

Media Asia Chairman John Chong has officially confirmed that Donnie Yen, Edmond Wong, Wilson Yip and Raymond Wong are again on board as star, screenwriter, director and producer, respectively. Budgeted at over $30 million dollars, Ip Man 3 will be released in late 2015, just in time for the Christmas-Chinese New Year season.

In addition to Ip Man 3, here’s a list of titles Yen is currently working on: Iceman 2 (post-production), Kung Fu Jungle (post-production), The Master (pre-production), Dragon City (pre-production) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 (pre-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.

BREAKING NEWS: 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.”

Posted in News | 18 Comments

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: December 23, 2014

Lionsgate is set to release the DVD for Eric Tsang’s 7 Assassins on December 23rd. When a Kingdom’s royal gold goes missing, a group of elite royal guards are tasked with recovering the riches, but they quickly realize the missing gold is part of a larger rebel defiance, made up of a group of assassins who have banded together to rid the government of corruption.

Directed by both Tsang (who also stars) and Hung Yan Yan (action director), 7 Assassins stars: Felix Wong, Ray Lui, Guo Tao, Kara Hu, Well Lee, Michael Wong, Fung Hak On, Waise Lee, Leung Kar Yan, Ken Lo, Mars, Jason Pai Piao, Ti Lung, Dick Wei, Simon Yam, Yu Rong Guang and many others! Watch the trailer!

Pre-order 7 Assassins from Amazon.com today!

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

Swelter (2014) Review

"Swelter" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Swelter" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Director: Keith Parmer
Writer: Keith Parmer
Producer: Eleonore Dailly, Chris Ranta
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Josh Henderson, Brad Carter, Alfred Molina, Lennie James
Running Time: 120 min.

By Kyle Warner

Okay, this one’s kind of silly, but I’m not gonna lie, I enjoyed it.

The film begins with a Vegas casino robbery. Four members of a five man crew are captured before they can make off with the loot. The fifth man takes a bullet to the head, but survives and wanders out into the desert with ten million dollars under his arm. Fast forward a decade. The fifth man has a new name and a new job, serving as the Sheriff of the little town he wandered into all those years ago. He has no memory of his criminal past, thanks to that bullet that still resides within his brain, and claims no knowledge of the millions he supposedly hid. That’s a problem because his old crew is out of prison and they’re looking to collect.

With me so far? Yeah, it’s one of those movies where you have to suspend some disbelief… and it has some ideas that feel awfully familiar to films like A History of Violence and High Noon… but for the most part it somehow works, thanks to a quirky script and some likable performances.

The film is being sold as an action movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. He stands front and center on the DVD cover with a shotgun and a scowl and you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’s the Sheriff at the center of the film. Instead that role belongs to English actor Lennie James, who’s made a career out of playing world-weary Americans on TV in such shows as The Walking Dead, Jericho, and Low Winter Sun. The role of a Sheriff who used to be a criminal but can’t remember shit because he’s got a bullet in his head asks a lot of any actor. Because, I mean, let’s get real: this is just goofy. But James plays it straight, anchors the film in something akin to reality, and keeps the story from falling into parody.

Another actor who helps the film a great deal is Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), here playing the town’s boozing doctor. In what could’ve been lame comic relief or just another tired retread of a worn-out stock character actually becomes the highlight of the film thanks to Molina’s screen presence and comic timing.

Sadly, Van Damme is largely wasted in the film. He plays little more than a henchman in the crew and is never given much to do. It’s unfortunate. I expect most people who will decide to watch Swelter will watch it for Jean-Claude Van Damme. But his role could’ve been played by just about anyone.

When the bad guys show up in the Sheriff’s little town, our amnesiac hero doesn’t recognize them, but he recognizes a threat easily enough. Still, it takes a long time for things to get going. In some quirky, harebrained way things do manage to connect by the end, but it could’ve used a faster pace.

Still, for all the easy things that the movie does wrong, Swelter does some of the hard things right. The performances are good. The dialogue is snappy and sometimes quite funny. The camerawork is interesting. And when the credits rolled at the end, I found that I had enjoyed myself.

In addition to Van Damme not being the star, I feel the need to make one more thing clear: Swelter is not an action film. Sometimes it’s not even much of a thriller. It’s a crime drama… or you might even call it a modern day western. But make no mistake, if you’re going into the movie expecting shootouts, fight scenes, and explosions, you’re going to be disappointed.

Swelter may disappoint with a story full of plot contrivances and by wasting Jean-Claude Van Damme in a throwaway role, but some fine performances and sharp dialogue manage to make the film strangely likable. It’s a B-movie, to be sure, but it’s a B-movie with some style.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 5.5

Posted in Asian Related, Cults & Classics, News, Reviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? | Blu-ray& DVD (Drafthouse Films)

"Why Don't You Play In Hell?" Theatrical Poster

"Why Don't You Play In Hell?" Theatrical Poster

RELEASE DATE: January 27, 2015

Drafthouse Films presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, directed by Sion Sono, the controversial and prolific director behind such Japanese-language films as Cold Fish, Love Exposure and Guilty of Romance.

Why Don’t You Play In Hell? is an over-the-top mix of martial arts, comedy and gore. The best way to describe the gist of the movie is to catch its North American trailer, courtesy of Apple.

Pre-order Why Don’t You Play in Hell? from Amazon.com today!

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

Scarlett Johansson to lead live-action ‘Ghost in the Shell’?

"Ghost in the Shell" Anime Theatrical Poster

"Ghost in the Shell" Anime Theatrical Poster

DreamWorks has hitched Rupert Sanders (White and the Huntsman) to direct a live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, based on Masamune Shirow’s manga/and anime by Mamoru Oshii of the same name. According to Deadline: Fueled by the personal passion of Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks acquired the project several years ago with ambitious plans to shoot it in 3D.

Ghost in the Shell follows the exploits a female cyborg cop who hunts a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.

Ghost in the Shell – along with Robotech and Akira – is one of the many live-action anime/manga projects in development by Hollywood studios. Kite, a live-action version of Yasuomi Umetsu’s anime, will be hitting Blu-ray & DVD on December 4th.

Updates: Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street) was previously in talks to star in Ghost in the Shell, but now, Deadline reports that Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) may be taking her place.

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Donnie Yen to return to Hollywood with martial arts flick ‘Noodle Man’?

"Flash Point" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Flash Point" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Don’t let the silly title fool you: an upcoming film called Noodle Man might just represent Donnie Yen’s return to Hollywood cinema. Action fans are more than likely aware that Donnie made inroads into the American movie industry back in the early 2000′s, lending his talent as an action choreographer to pictures such as 2000′s Highlander: Endgame and 2002′s Blade II.

Yen was also supporting actor in those films, as well as a few others such as Shanghai Knights, before he returned to his roots and re-ignited his Hong Kong acting career with 2005′s S.P.L. (AKA Kill Zone). With Yen more popular than ever as both a performer and action director, many American fans have asked the question: will Donnie Yen ever return to Hollywood before he becomes too old to be a viable screen star?

With Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend revealed to be an English-language production, as well as premiering straight to Netflix, the answer appeared to be “yeah, sort of.” But now Hollywood Reporter is reporting on a new Hollywood film called Noodle Man. The movie is set to arrive from actor-turned-director Daming Chen, who helmed the 2011 Chinese remake of What Women Want, and will star Yen in the role of a former Chinese cop who retires to New York City after his partner is murdered and opens his own noodle shop. Fifteen years later, the very same same drug kingpin who killed Yen’s partner walks into his Chinatown noodle shop…and the quest for revenge begins.

There’s no word yet as to when Noodle Man will begin shooting but rest assured we’ll keep you posted!

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First images from Mark Dacascos’ action flick ‘Ultimate Justice’

"Drive" UK DVD Cover

"Drive" UK DVD Cover

Martial arts star Mark Dacascos (Drive, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Only the Brave) is getting ready to to shoot an action thriller titled Ultimate Justice. The upcoming film will be backed by Mike Leeder’s Silent Partners, a production company also responsible for the recent One Million K(L)icks.

Ultimate Justice, tells the story of a team of former Special Ops elite soldiers, whose friendship was forged in battle and years after they thought they had lain down their weapons for good, they are drawn back into action when the family of one of their own is threatened, friendships and loyalties are tested, battlelines are drawn, and Ultimate Justice will be served.

Joining Dacascos will be Matthias Hues (No Retreat, No Surrender II), Matthis Landweher (Kampfansage) and Mike Moeller (One Million K(L)icks), who will also be handling the fight choreography. The film also stars Sandra Bertalanffz, Wolfgang Riehm, Wing Tsung Sifu Henry Mueller, Yasmeen Baker, Martin Baden, Brandon Rhea and Mike Leeder

In addition to Ultimate Justice, Dacascos has several projects in pre-production/post-production status, including The Extendables, Operation Rogue, Beyond the Game, Mortal Kombat Legacy: Season 3, Garuda 7 and Changing Lives, which he is also directing. – Thanks to KFC, FCS and Impact for the updates.

Updates: Check out a pack of images from the film, courtesy of Mike Leeder: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Posted in News | 1 Comment

‘Star Wars: Ep VII’ a few weeks away from finished filming + leaked images

"The Empire Strikes Back" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Empire Strikes Back" Japanese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Currently in development is the continuation of the Star Wars saga created by George Lucas. Episode VIII and IX are slated to arrive in 2017 and 2019, respectively. The film’s will be directed by J.J. Abrams (Super 8). The movie, which will be released in 3D, opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.

Updates: According to Collider: “The reworked script now has Luke, Han, and Leia (Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are returning ) as the lead characters with their offspring in supporting roles, and J.J. Abrams is eyeing Michael Fassbender, Hugo Weaving, and Adam Driver for other roles.” | Collider reports that Gary Oldman and Zac Efron have met with producers for possible roles. | Collider reports that Adam Driver is apparently close to signing on for a role that would rival the iconic Darth Vader.

Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that the sequel will take place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Filming for Episode VII starts in May! | Lucasfilm confirms that the new Star Wars films will have nothing go do with the “Expanded Universe” (i.e. offshoot novels, cartoons, comic books and video games).

Updates: The offical cast and credits have been announced for Episode VII, courtesy of starwars.com: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film. Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer.

According to AICN (via Collider), the working title for Star Wars: Episode VII is Star Wars: Episode VII: The Ancient Fear, and it refers to Max von Sydow’s character, a villain “who makes Pazuzu [the demon from The Exorcist] look like a pussy!”

Looks like they might be taking an old school approach to Episode VII, which will make J.J. Abram’s sequel mesh with the original trilogy even more. Head over to TMZ to see the non-CG sets and creature design. We’re sure there will be CG, but not nearly as much as the prequel trilogy. | First set photos of the Millennium Falcon, courtesy of Collider.

Last month, it was announced that Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) will be directing the first standalone Star Wars spin-off. Today, there are several reports that Josh Trank (Chronicle) has signed on to do his own standalone spin-off. In other news, J.J. Abrams cheekily responds to all the leaked photos popping up online. Definitely check it out at Collider. | Head over to Collider for interesting interview tidbits with Mark Hamill.

News has broke that Brick and Looper director Rian Johnson has been signed to write and direct Episode VIII. There’s speculation Johnson may also write a script treatment for Episode IX. It looks like this new trilogy will continue the Original Trilogy tradition of having a new director with each film.

A load of Star Wars VII updates: Click here to see what might be Han Solo’s new costume. At the same link is info about Han’s new ship, the Super Star Destroyer (and the whereabouts of the Millennium Falcon). Also, the new villains are now revealed, as well as images of the new Storm Troopers helmet.

First official look of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Ep VII. Look closely… (Note: this is not CGI, it’s an actual model built on set).

BREAKING NEWS: According to Collider, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy says Star Wars VII is within three weeks of finishing filming. Also, if you haven’t, check out a batch of leaked images (beware of spoilers).

Posted in News | 18 Comments

Deal on Fire! Hansel and Gretel | Blu-ray | Only $9.99 – Expires soon!

"Hansel and Gretel" Blu-ray Cover

"Hansel and Gretel" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Hansel and Gretel, written and directed by Yim Pil-sung (Doomsday Book).

When a young man gets lost on a country road, he meets a mysterious girl and is led to her fairy tale house in the middle of the forest. There, he is trapped with the girl and her siblings, who seemingly never age. Soon he discovers that the way out is written in a book that tells his own story!

Hansel and Gretel stars Chun Jung-myung, Eun Won-jae, Shim Eun-kyung and Jin Ji-hee.

Order Hansel and Gretel from Amazon.com today!

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From the director of ‘Blood and Bone’ comes ‘Black Salt’!

"Black Salt" Teaser Poster

"Black Salt" Teaser Poster

Writer/director Ben Ramsey – a talent predominantly known for penning Kirk Wong’s The Big Hit (1998) and directing Blood and Bone (2009) – is back with a new martial arts short titled Black Salt. Based on the indie comic book of the same name, the film stars Kinyumba Mutakabbir as an Interpol agent who is out to save mankind from a global threat!

Black Salt also stars James Lew (The Perfect Weapon), Michelle Lee (Mortal Kombat: Legacy), Arnold Chon (Cradle 2 the Grave), Panuvat Anthony Nanakornpanom (Warrior), Sheena Chou (Slumber Party Slaughter) and fight choreography by Ron Yuan (Black Dynamite).

Don’t miss the trailer, courtesy of Film Combat Syndicate.

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Mission Terminate | aka Return of the Kickfighter (1987) Review

"Mission Terminate" Dutch VHS Cover

"Mission Terminate" Dutch VHS Cover

AKA: Revenge of the Kickfighter
Director: Anthony Maharaj
Writer: Joe Mari Avellana
Cast: Richard Norton, Bruce Le (Huang Kin Long), Rex Cutter, Judy Greene, George E. Mahlberg, Nick Nicholson, Henry Strzalkowski, Dick Wei, Franco Guerrero
Running Time: 90 min.

By Paul Bramhall

My journey that found me watching Mission Terminate was somewhat of an interesting one. Back in 2008, I’d stumbled across an old Tai Seng DVD of a movie called Ninja vs. Bruce Lee. The movie starred one of the many Bruce Lee clones which the studios churned out after Bruce Lee’s death in an attempt to make a quick buck, renaming any actor who had even the faintest likeness of Lee to sound like they could pass for the real deal. This particular movie starred Bruce Le (see what they did there?), however it was the cover of the DVD which had my attention, as it featured a shirtless Le brandishing a ridiculously big machine gun and sporting an expression which meant business (click here to view the DVD cover).

It looked like B-movie gold, a Bruce Lee clone made out to be a kind of Asian Rambo, what could go wrong!? Much to my disdain, the scene off the cover of the DVD appeared nowhere in the movie, so I angrily set about making enquires to find out exactly what it was that I should be looking for. Thankfully some very knowledgeable people confirmed the image was from Mission Terminate, and proceeded to wish me luck at attempting to track it down. After a couple of initial enquiries which turned out to be fruitless, thanks to a combination of such factors like, well, having a life, I gave up my search. Skip forward 6 years later, and thanks to some kind soul having a much better memory than me, I finally found myself in possession of Mission Terminate, under the retitle of Return of the Kickfighter, and prepared myself for the unknown.

Thankfully Mission Terminate is indeed B-movie gold. Directed by Anthony Maharaj, whose filmography contains such other gems as Innocent Adultery, it is in fact filmed entirely in the Philippines, passing for Vietnam, and is everything you’d expect from a mid-80’s Filipino B-movie production. The Philippines had a whole host of American B-movie directors making action and exploitation cheapies there during the 80’s, thanks to the low cost crews and filming locations, so much so that the Filipino action B-movie almost became a genre unto itself.

Mission Terminate does the genre proud, announcing its intentions from the very first piece of dialogue, which takes place between two soldiers and goes as follows: Lieutenant – “I knew we’d get those motherf*ckers!” Marine – “Yeah, bet those suckers never figured we’d trail them back to their mothers wombs!” If only every movie had opening lines like this.

The plot concerns a unit of US marines operating in the Vietnam war during 1970, with the movie opening on a raid in a village. After massacring the villagers, the marines steal the villages gold, much to the objection of their Vietnamese translator and guide, played by Le. Skip forward past the credits sequence; it’s now 15 years later, and members of the unit are getting murdered one by one. This leads to the former head of the group, now a high ranking military officer, announcing that the only person who is up to the job of finding out the identity of the killer is an Aussie, Major Brad Cooper, played by Richard Norton.

Norton is the real deal when it comes to martial arts, and has gone one on one with the best of them, including Jackie Chan in the finale of City Hunter, and Sammo Hung in Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars. Here he’s given a rare lead role as the good guy, and most probably due to him not being able to do an American accent; the colonel explains to some disgruntled marines that “he was only raised in Australia, he’s American, ALL AMERICAN!” Sadly much more than his accent, it’s the fact that Norton sports a rat tail haircut which gives him away as an Australian, an epidemic that still seems to be an acceptable form of antipodean style even in the 21st century.

As mentioned Norton is the main character of the movie, with Bruce Le playing a significant supporting role. Another stalwart from Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung’s movies comes in the form of legendary kicker Dick Wei, who plays Bruce Le’s murderous sworn brother, and is the guy who’s killing off the marines in revenge for their slaughter of the village. It’s Wei’s appearance which indicates that perhaps the plot was just kind of made up on the fly. I mean, his killings of the marines are justified considering what they did, and the colonel is trying to manipulate Norton to find Wei and kill him only because he doesn’t want the stolen gold to be discovered. However it then suddenly turns out that Wei really is a bad guy, and that he’s working as a trainer at a hidden terrorist camp of ski-mask wearing ninjas hidden in a nearby mountain.

It turns out his revenge mission is just a sideline to his full time job as terrorist trainer. The camp seems to be being run by a Middle Eastern terrorist group, indicated only by a guided tour the head of the camp gives to some headscarf wearing gentlemen. Yes the movie contains a whole scene dedicated to a guided tour of the terrorists in training, one of the highlights being that they’re so evil that during combat training they have to use real ammo. If you get shot, it’s because you’re not evil enough and deserve to die, that’s their reasoning, not mine.

Overall Mission Terminate is a lot of fun, mainly because it’s a parody of action movies without being a parody. It displays a level of incompetence which is somehow forgivable thanks mainly to the constant onslaught of hilariously bad lines, and their delivery, and frequent shootouts which never seem to be never more than a few minutes away. Le has clearly had his lines dubbed into English by a local Filipino, and as a result everything he says makes him sound like a constipated Mexican. This is particularly hilarious in his exchanges with the Aussie accented Norton.

By the time the finale rolls around, it’s Norton and Le, backed up by some good guy marines led by Franco Guerrero, himself a Filipino B-movie legend (check out One Armed Executioner!), against Wei and his camp of ninja terrorists. Amusingly before the showdown starts, the head of the camp pulls all the ninjas into a room and tells them that finally he can reveal their purpose, which is to hold a nuclear power plant to ransom. You can’t help but feel that what actually happened is behind the scenes the following conversation took place: Producer – “Ok we’re going to film the finale next… does the audience actually know what the terrorists are training for yet?” Director – “Hmmm. Did we overlook that detail!? (Flicks through script) It appears we did. Damn.”

Once the impromptu terrorist team meeting is over though, the bullets and explosions come thick and fast, with of course some obligatory fists and feet thrown in as well just for good measure. Le and Norton both face off again Wei in a couple of very brief scuffles, but the fun is mainly in watching the endlessly regenerating ninjas get mowed down in hails of bullets. In truth it’s probably the same five guys playing the whole army of ninjas, and it becomes quite fun to see if you can identify if you’re watching the same guy from the previous scene – there’s the guy who always dies by falling down in what can only be described as real time slow motion; the guy who always dies by waving his arms around frantically, even if he’s already laying on the ground; and the guy who always yells at the top of his voice whenever he’s been shot.

If you’re a fan of action B-movies, Mission Terminate does the job, made in an era when the macho action movie was still played 100% straight with no winks to the audience, it’s all the more entertaining for it. Now if only Sylvester Stallone would realize the same thing.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 7/10

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The Sword of Doom | Blu-ray & DVD (Criterion)

The Sword of Doom | Blu-ray & DVD (Criterion)

The Sword of Doom | Blu-ray & DVD (Criterion)

RELEASE DATE: January 6, 2015

Criterion presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Kihachi Okamoto’s The Sword of Doom. Tatsuya Nakadai and Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai) star in the story of a wandering samurai who exists in a maelstrom of violence. A gifted swordsman plying his craft during the turbulent final days of shogunate rule in Japan, Ryunosuke (Nakadai) kills without remorse or mercy. It is a way of life that ultimately leads to madness.

Features: HD digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack (Blu-ray edition); commentary by historian Stephen Prince; trailer; essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order The Sword of Doom from Amazon.com today!

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Trailer for Indonesian martial arts flick ‘Golden Cane Warrior’

"The Golden Cane Warrior" Teaser Poster

"The Golden Cane Warrior" Teaser Poster

Ever since Gareth Evans (The Raid, The Raid 2) shook the world with his game-changing creativity, many of us have had a close eye on the rest of Indonesia’s film output. In addition to the titles we’ve reported – such as Yasmine, The Night Comes for Us, Killers, Duel: The Last Choice, Garuda 7 and The Guardian – we are pleased to spread the word about a film titled The Golden Cane Warrior.

Directed by Ifa Isfansyah, The Golden Cane Warrior is a period martial arts tale featuring action choreography by Hong Kong’s Xin Xin Xiong (best known for playing Clubfoot in Once Upon a Time in China III). It stars Nicholas Saputra, Eva, Celia, Reza Rahadian, Tara Basro and Christine Hakim.

The Golden Cane Warrior will be released domestically on December 18, 2014. You don’t want to miss the trailer, courtesy of Film Combat Syndicate.

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Full-length trailer for Takashi Miike’s Battle Royale-esque ‘As God Says’

"As God Says" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"As God Says" Japanese Theatrical Poster

If you’ve seen the Battle Royale and Hunger Games movies, and you still can’t get enough of teenagers killing one another, then look no further than Takashi Miike’s (13 AssassinsAs God Says (aka As the Gods Will). According to Variety, As God Says revolves around classmates who are forced to play a game whose penalty is death.

As God Says is based on a serialized Japanese comic book written by Muneyuki Kanshiro and illustrated by Akeji Fujimura. The film stars Sota Fukushi (Amachan), Hirona Yamazaki and Ryunosuke Kamiki.

Update: As God Says releases domestically on November 15, 2014. Watch the first trailer. | The second trailer is now available, thanks to Takuma.

BREAKING NEWS: The full-length trailer is here and it’s about as surreal and bloody as one could hope for…

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Real-life fighters run amok in ‘The Scorpion King 4′ trailer!

"Scorpion King" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Scorpion King" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Coming soon to a disc (or VOD) near you is The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power, directed by Mike Elliott (Blue Crush 2) and written by Michael D. Weiss (U.S. Seals II). The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power’s Victor Webster reprises his role as Mathayus (previously played by Dwayne Johnson and Michael Copon, in the original The Scorpion King and Part 2, respectively).

Of special note, The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power features a medley of  real-life fighters: “The Ultimate Fighter” winner Roy “Big Country” Nelson, mixed martial arts legend Royce Gracie, Cage Rage World Champion Antonio “Big Foot” Silva, three-time WKO World Kickboxer Champion Don “The Dragon” Wilson (The Whole World at Our Feet), and three-time WWE Divas champion Eve Torres.

Also look for appearances by Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Michael Biehn (The Terminator), Barry Bostwick (Spin City), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Ellen Hollman (Spartacus: War of the Damned), M. Emmet Walsh (Blood Simple), and Will Kemp (Step Up-2: The Streets).

Here’s the official plot: The deposed warrior king Mathayus (Victor Webster) embarks on his most dangerous assignment ever as he attempts to bring lasting peace to his troubled land. When he is betrayed by a trusted friend, Mathayus must marshal all his strength and cunning to outwit a formidable opponent who will stop at nothing to destroy him in an epic battle to the death.

The Scorpion King 4: The Lost Throne is set for a 2014 release.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the first trailer for The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power (formerly known as The Scorpion King 4: The Lost Throne). The Blu-ray & DVD will be releasing on January 20, 2015. Pre-order today!

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Drafthouse trailer for Sion Sono’s ‘Why Don’t You Play In Hell?’

"Why Don't You Play In Hell?" Theatrical Poster

"Why Don't You Play In Hell?" Theatrical Poster

Sion Sono, the controversial and prolific director behind such Japanese-language films as Cold Fish, Love Exposure and Guilty of Romance, will be reaching a new audience when his 2013 film, Why Don’t You Play In Hell?, gets a limited release by Drafthouse Films on November 7th, 2014.

Why Don’t You Play In Hell? is an over-the-top mix of martial arts, comedy and gore. The best way to describe the gist of the movie is to catch its North American trailer, courtesy of Apple.

Sono’s latest film, Tokyo Tribe, will be getting a North American release by XYZ Films (The Raid 2) in the near future. Sono has also just completed Shinjuku Swan, so look out for a trailer soon… stay tuned!

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Deal on Fire! Crows Zero | Blu-ray | Only $9.99 – Expires soon!

"Crows Zero" Blu-ray Cover

"Crows Zero" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Crows Zero, directed by Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Audition) and based on the manga Crows by Hiroshi Takahashi.

Crows Zero tells the story of characters in Suzuran, a violent high school. A mob boss’s son transfers to the school and teams up with three of his most powerful rivals in a shot to gain power. Roadblocks and tragedy wait along the way, and danger is around every corner.

Crows Zero stars Shun Oguri, Kyosuke Yabe, Takayuki Yamada and Shunsuke Daito.

Order from Crows Zero Amazon.com today!

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Introducing the first official ‘Jurassic World’ poster…

"Jurassic World" Teaser Poster

"Jurassic World" Teaser Poster

THE MOVIE: The fourth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise is titled Jurassic World. Directing the film will be Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed). There are no plot details, but the film has a release date for June 12, 2015. So far, the cast includes Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins and Irrfan Khan.

Chances are his script will bear no resemblance to an earlier one from The Departed‘s Willian Monahan that floated around the web back in 2007. That draft had a soldier of fortune returning to Jurassic Park with the help of some genetically engineered mini-T-Rexes who obeyed his commands like domesticated dogs. We’re not even making this up!

Updates: Nothing ground-breaking but Spielberg has confirmed he will be producing JPIV rather than directing it. He also says it’s too soon to discuss the project. | HitFix relays word that Universal has assigned Rise of the Planet Apes screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver to work on the screenplay.

Universal has announced June 12, 2015 as the official release for Jurassic Park 4, which is officially titled Jurassic World. Also, be sure and watch the “pitch” video. | Deadline reports that Universal is in negotiations with Josh Brolin (Oldboy) to join Jurassic World. | Deadline reports that Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket) will be the film’s main villain. | AICN has some concept art for what the brand new and fully operational Jurassic Park may look like. Sorry – no more cool jeeps, JP fans!

Here’s a new pack of cast photos, featuring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins, courtesy of Collider.

BREAKING NEWS: Take a look at the first official poster.

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American Muscle (2014) Review

"American Muscle" Theatrical Poster

"American Muscle" Theatrical Poster

Director: Ravi Dhar
Writer: John Fallon
Cast: Nick Principe, Robin Sydney, Todd Farmer, Malice McMunn, Malice 666, Trent Haaga, John Fallon, Laban Pheidias, Philip Salick, Laban Pheidias, Joshua Lou Friedman
Running Time: 90 min.

By Dirac

American Muscle is the feel-good movie of the year. That is – if you like headshots, painfully bad dialog, and annoying characters.

This revenge flick chronicles the exploits of John Falcon (played by Nick Principe), a guy who’s just spent the last 10 years in prison. Through flashbacks, we are gradually shown that Falcon and his friends were involved in a botched robbery, after which things went wrong (much like the movie itself). After John gets out of prison he immediately goes to work on finding his girlfriend (Robin Sydney), as well as killing everyone who is responsible for ruining his life. What follows is an hour and a half of headshots, breasts, flashbacks, flashbacks with breasts, a lame plot twist, and guns. And more breasts.

It’s set in unincorporated California, through a series of abandoned homes and dilapidated buildings. It’s actually shot in a way that’s somewhat compelling, with gritty environments that really gave me the feeling of economic desperation and despair. All the other backgrounds and settings are so dilapidated that they didn’t look too different before and after gun battles took place. You could say that the movie succeeds in that way: it makes me fully appreciate the hopelessness of the character and his circumstances. The sound editing and music weren’t bad, just a generic mix of ambient music during flashbacks and “introspective” moments.

The problem is that these things work best with no dialog and no action. The dialog made me cringe, and I was anxious for these annoying characters to meet their end. On the rare occasion there was hand to hand fighting, which was used as a silly plot device. It seemed like the writer wanted John Falcon to be injured at a certain point, so he had him try to take on nameless bad guy #23 with fists. You have a gun, use it! One wonders if their budget allowed a set number of bullets that needed to be used sparingly. The only special effects to speak of are for headshots; it really looks like they were augmented with CGI, which makes the gore look comical at times.

I found myself feeling relief with each one of these headshots not because I’m a lover of violence, but because it marked the end of another inept and annoying bad guy. In good revenge movies there is a sense of satisfaction when the protagonist puts down an enemy, but here I only felt like it moved me one step closer to the end of the movie. Another problem is just a lack of depth in the main character, John Falcon. We know virtually nothing about him other than the fact that he was in prison, and he’s just now getting out of jail.

John starts his killing spree literally the day he gets paroled from prison; that doesn’t make any sense at all!!  If you were wrongfully convicted of a crime and spent time in prison, I doubt that the first thing you’d do after you gained your freedom is commit a bunch of high-profile murders that will send you back to prison immediately. You would probably want to be at least a little bit methodical about it. If the writers had even briefly thought about this, they could have written the character with some more depth; he could get out of prison and try to stay out of trouble, but he reluctantly gets caught up in violence again after he gets word that one of the people who betrayed him has put out a contract on his life.

Any kind of effort at writing a compelling character would’ve added much-needed depth. Also, he steals a really distinctive yellow muscle car in the beginning of the movie, and takes this vehicle on his revenge mission. Once again, this is just stupid; he might as well have stolen the “Pussy Wagon” from Kill Bill Vol. 1. The Blu-ray contains no extra features, lends credence to the idea that this movie was written and filmed over the weekend.

Just avoid this one, which should be easy to do.

Dirac’s Rating: 2/10

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Lionsgate to release ’7 Assassins’ DVD on December 23rd

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

Lionsgate is set to release the DVD for Eric Tsang’s 7 Assassins on December 23rd. The Canadian-American entertainment company is marketing the 2013 Hong Kong production as “The story of brotherhood, loyalty, and the rise of the underdog intersect in this epic movie in the vein of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and 47 Ronin.”

Here’s their official plot description: When a Kingdom’s royal gold goes missing, a group of elite royal guards are tasked with recovering the riches, but they quickly realize the missing gold is part of a larger rebel defiance, made up of a group of assassins who have banded together to rid the government of corruption.

Directed by both Tsang (who also stars) and Hung Yan Yan (action director), 7 Assassins features an all-star cast of old school action stars such as: Felix Wong, Ray Lui, Guo Tao, Kara Hu, Well Lee, Michael Wong, Fung Hak On, Waise Lee, Leung Kar Yan, Ken Lo, Mars, Jason Pai Piao, Ti Lung, Dick Wei, Simon Yam, Yu Rong Guang and many others!

7 Assassins is now available for pre-order. Until then, be sure to check out the trailer!

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‘The Raid’ meets George Romero in ‘Zombie Fight Club’

"Zombie Fight Club" Theatrical Poster

"Zombie Fight Club" Theatrical Poster

Question: What do you get when you mix The Raid with George Romero, and add a dash of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel and David Fincher’s movie? Answer: Zombie Fight Club!

This upcoming martial arts/zombie flick is directed by Joe Chien (Zombie 108) and stars Phillip Ng (Once Upon a Time in Shanghai), Andy On (Special ID), Jessica Cambensy (Double Trouble), Jack Kao (Zombie 108), Michael Wong (Nightfall), Terence Yin (Firestorm), Derek Tsang (Dream Home) and Candy Yuen.

Zombie Fight Club (aka Z.F.C.) will be released Halloween 2014. Until then, feast on the teaser trailer. | 2nd trailer.

Update: Watch the newest trailer for Zombie Fight Club.

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