Deal on Fire! Hard To Kill | Blu-ray | Only $4.88 – Expires soon!

Hard To Kill Blu-ray (Warner Brothers)

Hard To Kill Blu-ray (Warner Brothers)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Steven Seagal’s 1990 flick, Hard To Kill, directed by Bruce Malmuth (Nighthawks, Pentathlon)

Seagal plays a Detective who falls into a coma after being shot during a fire-fight that kills his wife and son. He reawakens 7 years later for revenge. Hard To Kill co-stars William Sadler (Die Hard 2) and Kelly LeBrock (Weird Science).

Fun Fact: The film was originally titled Seven Year Storm, but Warner thought the film would be more marketable with a more action-oriented title like Hard to Kill.

Order Hard To Kill from Amazon.com today!

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Legend of Wisely, The (1987) Review

"The Legend of Wisely" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Legend of Wisely" Chinese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Legend of the Golden Pearl
Director: Teddy Robin Kwan
Writer: Gerald Liu
Producer: Sam Hui
Cast: Sam Hui, Ti Lung, Joey Wong, Teddy Robin Kwan, Bruce Baron, Blacky Ko, Heidi Makinen, Alan Kuo Yau Lun, Alan Lee, Kim Fan
Running Time: 86 min.

By Matthew Le-feuvre

With an unambiguous career spanning back to the infant days of Golden Harvest, Sam Hui – younger brother of Michael and Ricky – is probably better known internationally for his lengthy partnership with fellow comedy director, Karl Maka. Indeed the outrageous thought of combining these unique, yet converse, talents resulted in an ambitious celebration which doubly furnished south-east (Asians) and trans Atlantic cine-patrons with the popular (and very funny!) Aces Goes Places movies that, throughout the eighties, playfully lampoon the likes of Mission: Impossible, Cannonball Run and James Bond; even the mechanical innovations of (pre-Hollywood) Transformers was not exempt from parody. Still, the wacky capers of King Kong and Kodiak became a box office force to be reckoned with, until, sadly, an inevitable downward spiral.

Singing accolades; a hit television sketch show in unison with his brother, Michael; and the opportunity of socializing/instruction by the late maestro himself, Bruce Lee; weren’t enough for Hui to penetrate the highly competitive ‘kung fu’ market in the manner Samo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao, who were all able to collectively reinvent with kinetic realism, originality and passion.

Although he appeared in a support capacity for a couple of Lo Wei films –  Back Alley Princess (1972), starring Angela Mao Ying, and the Jimmy Wang Yu potboiler Tattooed Dragon (1974) – before achieving monumental acclaim as a novice gumshoe investigator in Private Eyes (1976), Hui was never really a skilled on-screen fighter (wire-work, minimal techniques and carefully paced editing were his secret methodology) unlike his contemporaries; whom often committed themselves to surreal acrobatic displays or complex stuntwork. Alternatively, he downplayed the traditional martial arts formats, and concentrated very hard on ‘promoting’ as well as ‘sustaining’ his comedic persona of the quintessential ladies’ man or a charming rogue. However, he never quite inherited or matched his elder brothers’ flare for deadpan delivery or wry expressionism.

As with most Hong Kong actors, Hui hankered for more effective control over his projects, especially in areas of production, finance, and casting. For direct advice he turned to his old friend, Maka – then, also – an active board member of Cinema City, the same company which invested in the Aces pictures.

Before long, inspiration came in the form of writers: Philip Cheng, Calvin Poon and Gerald Lin for an unusual script – by Hong Kong standards – entitled The Legend of Wisely (aka Legend of the Golden Pearl), a modern day action-fantasy; though, in essence integrates the panoply of science fiction by way of Chinese/Tibetan mythology. Ostensibly, the writers have modeled their concepts on a variety of stimulus: from Indiana Jones to The Golden Child to Jackie Chan’s own jet setting adventurer The Armor of God. In fact, one could say an eclectic stew of cultural references. Still, Hui was not dissuaded at all with the intended scope, quality or Hollywood comparisons of the screenplay which, in some instances, more or less acts like an expensive travelogue, than a studio-based production reliant on intricate set designs or blue screen technology.

Directed with neo-influenced zeal by Teddy Robin (who incidentally co-stars). Externally, The Legend of Wisely is a tightly packaged affair offering exquisite vistas of both the Himalayas and Egypt (specifically the pyramids), adrenalin-paced visuals, pyrotechnic extravaganzas and top notch choreography from Blackie Ho, whose dynamic arrangements equalize with the likes of Yuen Woo Ping and Ching Siu Tsung (A Chinese Ghost Story trilogy). The downside is the plotting, marred by formulaic dialogue and an editing continuity that flits between artistic grandeur and schizophrenia. However, the film’s core premise objectively concerns itself with the myth (or reality?!) of a magical pearl said to contain properties that expands human conciousness, senses and telepathy.

Enter Howard Hope (the late Bruce Baron), an enigmatic businessman who approaches novelist/playboy, Wisely – pronounced in Cantonese as “Wei-Say-Li” (Sam Hui) – with an inducement of tracking down his missing archeologist friend, David Ko (Teddy Robin); he declines. Out of interest, Wisely travels to the splendor of Nepal, Ko’s last known whereabouts. There, he discovers Ko has stolen the legendary pearl from its Tibetan keepers. It also transpires that Ko was secretly employed by a crime overlord named Pak Kei Wei (Ti Lung), who desires the pearl for himself.

After promising the Tibetans to recover the pearl for them, Wisely returns to Hong Kong and once more, Howard Hope reappears expressing an interest in Wisely’s findings, as well as those who actually retain the pearl. Following further confrontations – both physical and vehicular – Wisely persuades Pak Kei Wei’s sister, Sue Pak (Joey Wong), to unite with him and rescue Ko in perilous quest to solve the mystery of the golden pearl. Their journey ultimately takes the trio back to Nepal, via Egypt, with Pak Kei Wei in hot pursuit. Hidden agendas, concealed identities and labyrinth temple passages all await; but the biggest question remains: who is exactly Howard Hope? And what are his real intentions?!

Verdict: In addition to minor inconsistencies (to reveal more would inconvenience potential audiences into a conjectural debate over the complexity of the storyline which, to a point, coalesces with an almost elaborate formality), there are several loose ends that, despite fostering a need for clarity, never quite resolves itself. And to assert “a twist ending” would somehow advertise an intellectual falsity. Clever it is not! Intriguing, yes! But it’s all about spectacle before all else.

Matthew Le-feuvre’s Rating: 7.5/10

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Full trailer for John Woo’s romantic war film ‘The Crossing’

"The Crossing" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Crossing" Chinese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: John Woo’s long-in-development movie The Crossing (aka Love and Let Love) is a lush period romance set during the Sino-Japanese War and was previously known under the title 1949. The film stars Zhang Ziyi, Huang Xiaoming, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Masami Nagasawa, and Song Hye-kyo.

The Crossing may not be the action epic that many of John Woo’s fans were hoping he would do next, but it’s still encouraging to have the acclaimed director back in good health and ready to work.

Updates: The movie has so far been billed as a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story, Chang promises that the historical setting means John Woo will be recreating battles from World War II and the Chinese Civil War. Good thing the film has a budget of $30 million, then!

According to THR, The Crossing is being dubbed the “Chinese Titanic,” in which it “celebrates the power of love” during a difficult period in Chinese history.

Updates: Watch the first trailer.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the first full length trailer.

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Deal on Fire! A Better Tomorrow | Blu-ray | Only $9.99 – Expires soon!

"A Better Tomorrow" Blu-ray Cover

"A Better Tomorrow" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for 2010′s A Better Tomorrow, a Korean remake of the 1986 John Woo film of the same name.

In the treacherous world of the black-market weapons trade, honor and vengeance go hand in hand…

This new take on the Hong Kong gangster classic features an all-star cast including Kim Gang-Woo’s (Marine Boy), Joo Jin-Mo’s (Musa) and Jo Han-Seon. It’s directed by Song Hae-Seong (Failan) and produced by John Woo himself.

Order A Better Tomorrow from Amazon.com today!

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Tom Cruise to play a mentor in the ‘Highlander’ reboot?

"Highlander" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Highlander" Japanese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: A remake of the 1986 action-fantasy flick Highlander is currently in the works. The original film revolved around an immortal Scottish swordsman who must confront the last of his immortal opponent, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled “Prize”.

Updates: Melissa Rosenberg of Twilight fame has been hired to work on the script. Looks like Justin Lin has dropped out as director, and is just serving as producer on the project. Dark Horizons via Deadline added that 28 Weeks Later’s Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is now up for the part of director. | Deadline reports that 28 Weeks Later’s Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is exiting the Highlander remake.

After losing Justin Lin and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Deadline reports that the Highlander reboot has a new director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. The reboot will serve as his directorial debut. Nicolas-Troyan’s previous credits include visual effects supervisor and second unit director for Snow White and the Huntsman.

BREAKING NEWS: The Wrap reports that Tom Cruise is being pursued by the studio to play the mentor role that Sean Connery portrayed in the 1986 film.

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First posters for Dolph Lundgren’s Nazi-killing ‘War Pigs’

"War Pigs" Teaser Poster

"War Pigs" Teaser Poster

Since 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: Here are the first images ( Photo 1 | Photo 2) from War Pigs, courtesy of the movie’s official Facebook page and Luke Goss’ Twitter (via Expendables Premier).

BREAKING NEWS: Check out three character posters, featuring Dolph Lundgren, Luke Goss and Mickey Rourke, courtesy of dolph-ultimate.com.

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Will Schwarzenegger be back for a ‘Running Man’ sequel?

"The Running Man" Theatrical Poster

"The Running Man" Theatrical Poster

Arnold Schwarzenegger will already “be back” for another Terminator, a 3rd Conan and a new Twins (aka Triplets) sequel. Now, there’s another 80s title he may be revisiting: the 1987 Sci Fi action/thriller The Running Man.

During a Q&A event in London, Schwarzenegger had this to say: “It’s an honor to be asked back after all these years, back to the [Conan] franchise. This is really wild… They’re doing a Twins sequel, to be called Triplets. I’ve read the first draft. There’s rumblings of a new Running Man movie, so it’s a great honor to be asked back…”

The original Running Man was based on a story by Stephen King about a futuristic TV show, where condemned criminals are given a chance for freedom by running through a gauntlet of heavily armed killers known as “Stalkers”.

If a new Running Man movie is indeed in the works, we’ll be sure to keep the updates coming. - Thanks to EP.com for the story!

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Chris Pratt is a disturbed assassin in ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’

"Cowboy Ninja Viking" Graphic Novel Cover

"Cowboy Ninja Viking" Graphic Novel Cover

Funny action man, Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), is set to play the lead in Universal’s adaptation of A.J. Lieberman’s graphic novel, Cowboy Ninja Viking. To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s Amazon’s description to the graphic novel:

“It started with Dr. Sebastian Ghislain: rogue psychotherapist/covert op/DJ. Tasked with creating a counter-intelligence unit, he turned to those long thought useless to society… patients with Multiple Personality Disorder. These agents became known simply as Triplets. Misguided? Yeah. Impractical? Sure. But did it work? Absolutely not. Now someone has located each Triplet and created a band of ridiculously disturbed, but highly effective assassins. Our only hope? A Triplet known as Cowboy Ninja Viking!”

No directors are currently in place (World War Z’s Marc Forster was previously attached), but we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as we hear more.

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R.I.P. Ken Takakura, Japanese actor

"Yakuza" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Yakuza" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Media outlets are reporting the death of acclaimed Japanese actor Ken Takakura, who died at the age of 83 on November 10th, due to lymphoma.

Takakura has left behind a memorable body of work, but he is perhaps best known to mainstream audiences for co-starring in Robert Aldrich’s Too Late the Hero (1970), Sydney Pollack’s The Yakuza (1974), Ridley Scott’s Black Rain (1989) and the comedy, Mr. Baseball (1992), opposite Tom Selleck.

Takakura mostly played Yakuza-type characters, due to his brooding, but cool style. Some of his most notable Japanese films include Golgo 13 (1973), The Bullet Train (1975), The Yellow Handkerchief (1977), Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005), and his latest film, Dearest (2012).

Our condolences go out to Takakura’s family and friends.

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Watch the second trailer for Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo’

"Marco Polo" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Marco Polo" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Netflix’s first 10-episode season of Marco Polo will soon be streaming on a TV or device near you. Judging from its new trailerMarco Polo promises the whole package: history, romance, drama, sex, swordplay and even some martial arts!

The series is written by John Fusco (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend) and the first episode is directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales).

The series stars Lorenzo Richelmy, Benedict Wong, Joan Chen, Chin Han, Zhu Zhu, Olivia Cheng, Claudia Kim, Mahesh Jadu, Tom Wu, Remy Hii, Uli Latukefu, and Rick Yune.

In addition to Netflix’s Marco Polo, Rob Cohen (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) has signed on to helm his own version of Marco Polo, which will be a 3D fantasy/action take on the story. There have also been additional reports that Cohen is considering his Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor leading man Jet Li (Flying Swords of the Dragon Gate) for a role.

Countless projects about the Venetian adventurer have been made in the past, but the obvious one that comes to our mind is 1975′s Marco Polo (aka Four Assassins), a Chang Cheh-directed Shaw Brothers film starring Richard Harrison, Alexander Fu Sheng, Chi Kuan Chun, Gordon Liu, Leung Kar Yan and Shih Szu.

Catch Netflix’s Marco Polo on December 12th. Until then, don’t miss the first trailer!

Updates: The second full trailer has been released.

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Arrow delivers two killer Japanese classics for its U.S. debut!

"Massacre Gun" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Massacre Gun" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Good news for those looking to add some Japanese gangster classics to their collection. Arrow Films – a UK-based film distributor that recently announced the expansion of its label into North America – is releasing two Yasuharu Hasebe (Assault! Jack the Ripper) titles to their U.S. debut line up.

The first is Massacre Gun (1967), a thriller about Kuroda (Jo Shishido of Branded to Kill), a mob hitman who turns on his employers after being forced to execute his lover. The second is Retaliation (1968), a tale of gang warfare that also stars Shishido, along with Akira Kobayashi (Battles Without Honor) and Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood).

Along with the Italian Western flick, Day of Anger, these films are part of Arrow’s first wave of North American releases, all of which should hit retailers in early 2015. Stay tuned for pre-order information!

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Park Chan-wook to helm futuristic thriller ‘Second Born’

"Oldboy" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Oldboy" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Visionary director Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) is set to direct Second Born, a U.S. made, sci-fi thriller based on a screenplay by David Jagernauth.

According to Variety, “Second Born takes place in a futuristic world in which neural microchip implants are used to store one’s consciousness, leading to black market body-swapping.”

Park is also attached to a South Korean film called Fingersmith, which revolves around a group of female thieves and their plan to swindle a heiress.

As always, we’ll keep you updated on both Second Born and Fingersmith as we hear more. Stay tuned!

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Order Gordon Chan’s ‘Four 3D’ from DDDhouse.com today!

"Four 3D" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Four 3D" Chinese Theatrical Poster

All the way back when Gordon Chan’s 2012 wuxia picture The Four was announced, the producers were not shy about declaring their plans for a trilogy. Following their delivery of 2013′s The Four 2, Hong Kong cinema buffs should be pleased to hear that they kept their promise with Four 3D.

Now, DDDHouse.com has Four 3D on Blu-ray & DVD. The Four 3D is the third and final installment of the series, starring Deng Chao, Collin Chou, Ronald Cheng, Anthony Wong and Crystal Liu.

To make this news even better, these releases are coded for all region, so they are fully compatible with your North American Blu-ray/DVD players – so play on, player!

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Deal on Fire! Flash Point | Blu-ray | Only $8.81 – Expires soon!

"Flash Point" Blu-ray Cover

"Flash Point" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Flash Point, directed by Wilson Yip and starring Donnie Yen – the talented duo who brought us the legendary Ip Man and Kill Zone.

A hot-headed inspector (Yen) takes on a small but powerful Vietnamese-Chinese gang, after a series of crimes and murder attempts committed and putting an undercover cop and his girlfriend in great danger.

Flash Point also stars Louis Koo, Collin Chou, Lui Leung-Wai, Fan Bingbing and Xing Yu.

Order Flash Point from Amazon.com today!

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Featurette for Jackie Chan’s epic action flick ‘Dragon Blade’!

"Dragon Blade" Teaser Poster

"Dragon Blade" Teaser Poster

Currently in post-production is Jackie Chan’s Dragon Blade, a period piece that sees a Roman Legion getting caught up in an adventure in China where they cross paths with a Chinese hero played by Chan. They are forced to join forces to battle an even greater foe that threatens the whole world.

Dragon Blade will be helmed by Daniel Lee, a veteran Hong Kong filmmaker, mostly known for 1994’s What Price Survival, 1996’s Black Mask, 2010’s 14 Blades, and most recently, 2011’s White Vengeance.

According to Super Chan’s Jackie Chan Blog (via Film Combat Syndicate), Dragon Blade has officially started filming: “Dragon Blade officially got underway today in Hengdian with some battle scenes. Filming conditions were difficult, as a combination of heat, heavy costumes and a long day took their toll on cast, crew and extras alike.”

A new promotional poster for Dragon Blade has hit the net. There have been numerous reports that Mel Gibson is co-starring, but judging from this newly released poster, we’re not sure if it’s official.

Updates: According to Impact, Mel Gibson isn’t in Dragon Blade after all. Instead, we have news that Adrien Brody and John Cusack are joining Chan. There’s also some speculation that Benny “the Jet” Urquidez (Dragons Forever, Wheels on Meals) might be attached as well. We’ll keep you updated. | Set photos of Jackie Chan in Dragon Blade. | New photos of Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody and John Cusack.

New press photo featuring the cast and director: Jackie Chan, John Cusack, Lin Peng, Amanda Wang and filmmaker, Daniel Lee. Also, some new plot details have emerged. According to Film Business Asia: “Cusack plays a Roman General who teams up with a former military commander (played by Chan) to protect the western border; Brody plays the villain who is in pursuit of Cusack’s character.”

Check out a pack of new posters ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 ) | Latest poster from AFM, featuring all three male leads.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch a new featurette. - Thanks to Drunken Monk

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Deal on Fire! Van Damme 5-Movie Pack | Blu-ray | Only $35.99 – Expires soon!

Van Damme 5-Movie Action Pack | Blu-ray (Universal)

Van Damme 5-Movie Action Pack | Blu-ray (Universal)

Today’s Deal on Fire is for the Van Damme 5-Movie Action Pack Blu-ray set, which has the following titles:

John Woo’s Hard Target (1993), Jean-Claude Van Damme’s The Quest (1996), Steven E. de Souza’s Street Fighter (1994), Peter Hyams’ Sudden Death (1995) and for the first time on Blu-ray, Sheldon Lettich’s Lionheart (1990).

The Van Damme 5-Movie Action Pack is a 5-Disc set, which also includes the digital copy of each movie for your handheld devices. For about $7 a Blu-ray title, that’s a Damme good deal!

Order The Van Damme 5-Movie Action Pack from Amazon.com today!

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Raw Force | aka Kung Fu Cannibals (1982) Review

"Raw Force" Blu-ray Cover

"Raw Force" Blu-ray Cover

AKA: Shogun Island
Director: Edward D. Murphy
Writer: Edward D. Murphy
Producer: Frank E. Johnson, Lawrence Woolner
Cast: John Dresden, Cameron Mitchell, Hope Holiday, Jillian Kesner, Rey Malonzo, Geoffrey Binney, Jewel Shepard, Camille Keaton, Jennifer Holmes, Vic Diaz, Rolly Tan, Reymond King
Running Time: 86 min.

By Paul Bramhall

It’s almost become somewhat of a trend amongst genre fans in the US of late to unearth previously forgotten about, or in many cases considered lost, 80’s and 90’s B-movies. Not only are titles dug up out of obscurity, they’re usually given the full re-master treatment along with one-off cinema screenings, regardless of the questionable quality of the movies themselves. Recent examples have been Drafthouse Films’ release of the 1987 ninja flick Miami Connection, and Cinema Epoch also got in on the action with their release of the 1991 oddity Samurai Cop.

The appeal of these movies seem to be in their complete lack of awareness of all involved not realizing how poorly acted, shoddily filmed, and completely incoherent what they’re making really is. Hence, any reviews of said titles inevitably will have the expression “so bad it’s good” coined somewhere along the way. Such movies have to be viewed in a certain context; these titles aren’t the type of viewing experience you’ll watch when in the mood for a quiet night in alone, they’re movies to invite a bunch of friends around, have a fridge stocked full of beer, and leave your brain at the door.

The latest title to be brought kicking and screaming from the vaults, thanks to the guys at Vinegar Syndrome, is Raw Force, a 1982 production that is arguably raw in more ways than the title intended. The plot alone is the stuff B-movie dreams are made of. A couple of guys, who are introduced as being members of a karate club, take a cruise which is scheduled to visit the imaginatively named Warriors Island. Said island is, for reasons never mentioned, the resting place for various disgraced martial arts masters.

These days, the island is inhabited by a group of mysterious monks, who are known to have the power to bring the dead back to life, thanks to their diet of, ummm, young naked women. Barbequed young naked women. The remote island is supplied with these women thanks to a German gentleman sporting a Hitler moustache, who goes around abducting prostitutes while pretending to be a police officer along with his lackeys, and then transporting the scantily clad ladies in a bamboo cage.

That’s pretty much it, except for the small detail that despite only being 85 minutes in length, it takes 55 of these for our karate club members and their stragglers to actually arrive on the island. So what takes them so long? Well, for close to an hour proceedings are dedicated to various happenings on board the cruise ship. Of course it could also be due to the fact that during this time, it’s blatantly evident in every shot taken on the deck that the water is perfectly still. Still as in, the ship is completely stationery and not moving at all. So after 55 minutes of not seeing the ship move a single inch (unless you’re counting stock footage of ships from afar), I guess we should be happy they get there at all.

First time director Edward D. Murphy spends the time on the cruise ship clumsily trying to give the guys, and a couple of other male characters that they meet up with, love interests. Thankfully though, we’re not watching an episode of Love Boat, so what this really translates to in the B-movie world is various scenes of ladies getting naked. These scenes are no doubt supposed to act as moments of titillation for the viewer, however they’re filled with such cringe worthy lines that any chance of arousal is likely to be zero, kind of like when watching a porn and the guys making more noise than the girl. It just kills it.

There’s also a chef who happens to know kung fu and is styled to look and act like Bruce Lee. That’s right, a whole 10 years before Steven Seagal did his thing in Under Siege, a Filipino actor by the name of Rey Malonzo did the whole chef-on-a-boat-who-can-kick-ass routine. Kung fu fighting zombie ass to be precise, which makes Seagal taking on Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones seem dull in comparison. Speaking of the Philippines, Raw Force is another one of the countless Hollywood B-movies produced in the early 80s which was entirely shot there.

In a featurette on the DVD, director Murphy, who comes across as humorous and good natured, explains that he was trying to get a job in Hollywood, and finally after a couple of years, producer Lawrence Woolner agreed to meet him. At the time, zombie and kung fu movies were particularly popular, so Woolner had the idea to combine them both, and Murphy managed to convince him to get the green light and direct the feature, tentatively titled Kung Fu Zombies. As Murphy had shot a few movies in the Philippines before as an actor, he decided to go back there. Woolner had told him he needed to have some recognizable names attached to the production, so he managed to cast old school western star Cameron Mitchell as the ship’s captain, and as at the time Mitchell was in a relationship with actress Hope Holiday, they came as a package deal and she was cast as the manager of the ship.

Raw Force promises to deliver “zombies, cannibals, outrageous action, gore, and copious amounts of nudity,” and while it does deliver all of them in varying doses, for me it just missed out on lacking that special ingredient to push it into the higher echelons of the “so bad it’s good” genre. Raw Force is certainly bad, but it delivers its badness with an unaware charm which tends to bring more smiles than outright laughs. During the 85 minutes, we’re presented with more breasts than a nudist camp, a chef who fights off zombies using nunchucks, a thug whose choice of attire is a yellow plastic construction site helmet, and a group of zombies who are so inexperienced at acting that they self consciously look at the camera as they walk past it.

Which reminds me, I guess I should mention the zombies. It’s safe to say their acting is as bad as everyone else’s, and they only really appear for the final 20 minutes. Amusingly in one scene there are two zombies trying to attack one of the characters, and the zombie behind, clearly wanting the one in front to walk faster, keeps on pushing him in the back to propel him forward. Acting 101 this isn’t. If any of what’s been mentioned appeals to you, then chances are that there’s enjoyment to be had from Raw Force. As the movie comes to a close, the famous words “To Be Continued….” pop up on the screen, promising a second dose of cruise ship frolicking and disgraced martial arts zombies. However director Murphy, amongst much laughter, reveals that it was the producers who stuck that on there, and that there most definitely is no sequel. Depending on who you are, you’ll either be breathing a sigh of relief, or one of disappointment.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 6/10

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New extended trailer for ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’!

"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" Teaser Poster

"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" Teaser Poster

THE MOVIE: In Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Avengers reassemble to battle the sentient robot known as Ultron. Cast members include: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and James Spader.

Updates: The Playlist notes that The Avengers 2 will be in theaters May 1, 2015. | AICN says those rumors about the end of Avengers 2 setting up a Hulk movie based on the comic book storyline “Planet Hulk” are totally bunk. This is due at least in part to the fact that Bruce Banner doesn’t feature at all in the Planet Hulk storyline and Marvel Studios is keen to keep Mark Ruffalo front and center as Bruce Banner for at least five more films.

Jean-Claude Van Damme commented on his official Facebook page: “I read that Chris Hemsworth would like me to costar in The Avengers 2 movie! Well, it would be fun to play one of these types of amazing comic book characters again. By the way, I am a big fan of Marvel’s superhero Silver Surfer (see our latest on the Fantastic Four reboot) and also another heroic fictional character known as Doc Savage – the Man of Bronze!”

Actor Morris Chestnut (Under Siege 2: Dark Territory) has fueled internet rumors that he may be auditioning for the role of the popular Marvel superhero Black Panther for Avengers 2.

According to dramafever.com, Korean actress Kim Soo Hyun (7th Grade Civil Servant) has joined the cast. An official of the film said, “It would be a spoiler, so we can’t tell you which character Kim Soo Hyung will play,” during a telephone call with OSEN. The official also added, “Marvel always prohibits telling too much about the story. Her character is already decided and the scene is already written so we cast Kim Soo Hyun, but we can’t let you know about her character. We only can say that her character is a substantial supporting role.”

The Avengers: Age of Ultron’s titular robot baddie is revealed on Entertainment Weekley’s newest cover, courtesy of Collider. | The teaser trailer (and poster) is here!

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the new extended trailer!

Posted in News | 2 Comments

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!

Updates: Watch the 2nd trailer, thanks to Film Combat Syndicate.

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Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story | Blu-ray (Universal)

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story | Blu-ray (Universal)

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story | Blu-ray (Universal)

RELEASE DATE: February 3, 2015

Universal presents the Blu-ray for 1993′s Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious). Jason Scott Lee stars in this unforgettable glimpse into the life of the legendary Bruce Lee.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is presented in 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. Features include: Commentary with Rob Cohen, Archival Introduction, The Making of Featurette, Behind-the-Scenes Reel, Jason Scott Lee Screen Test, Bruce Lee Interview/Photographs, Storyboards, Production Photographs and Theatrical Trailers.

Pre-order Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story from Amazon.com today!

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Watch the trailer for Takeshi Kitano’s new Yakuza comedy!

"Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Following 2010′s Outrage and its 2012 sequel, Outrage Beyond, Takeshi Kitano is back for another round of Yakuza action. Only this time, it’s a comedy called Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen, which is a playful nod to Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

According to Film Business Asia, Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen is about a retired crime boss (Tatsuya Fuji) who calls up his old gang after he becomes the victim of a scam. The film also stars Masaomi Kondo, Akira Nakao, Akira Onodera, Toru Shinagawa, Ben Hiura, Yoshizumi Ito and Ken Yoshizawa.

Kitano wrote, directed and edited the film. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a solid role, but he does have a cameo appearance. Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen opens domestically on April 25th, 2015. Don’t miss the trailer.

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‘The Rebel’ actress is a deadly Mantis in ‘Crouching Tiger II’

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" Theatrical Poster

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" Theatrical Poster

The Weinstein Company will start production on a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon later this year titled Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny. Yuen Woo-ping (True Legend) is directing, with a script by John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom), which will be based off the fifth book in Wang Du Lu’s Crane-Iron Pentalogy, which is same source material Ang Lee used for the original film.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny will star Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh and Nicholas Tse. Zhang Ziyi is rumored to return.

The sequel will continue to revolve around Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). “This was an opportunity to explore a lifelong passion I’ve had for Wu Xia, and if there wasn’t continuing source material, I would never have gotten involved,” says Fusco.

Updates: According to EW, Zhang Ziyi is in talks to reprise her role as Jen Yu for flashback sequences. | According to Deadline, Donnie Yen has signed with Los Angeles-based CAA (Creative Artists Agency), and his new reps just closed his deal to star in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny.

Charlie Nguyen, the writer and director of The Rebel, will take over fight choreography duties for Yuen Woo-Ping, so the latter can concentrate on directing. Worried Nguyen’s work won’t hold up against Yuen’s? Read our review for The Rebel and gain some confidence.

Turns out, Charlie Nguyen will NOT be the action choreographer for Crouching Tiger 2. Here’s what he wrote in his facebook: “Location Scouting For Crouching Tiger in Aukland – NZ. Correction: I’ll be there mainly as a co-producer and 2nd unit director. Not the action director!!” So now, the question remains: Who is the film’s action choreographer? Cityonfire.com bets that Yuen Woo-ping will be handling the duty. It’s not like the guy never directed/choreographed a film before, right? | Photos of Donnie Yen preparing himself for the Crouching Tiger sequel, courtesy of Donne Yen’s facebook page.

According to Bey Logan’s Facebook page, Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) has a role in Crouching Tiger 2. | Harry Shum Jr. (Mortal Kombat Legacy: Season 2, Revenge of the Green Dragon) has joined the cast as Tie Fang.

According to a press release, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny will hit IMAX screens and Netflix on August 28, 2015, simultaneously. This decision is part of a deal Netflix has made with The Weinstein Co. for its first original movie. Also, we have the first official photos from the production, featuring Donnie Yen and Michelle Yeoh. | Update: Some major theater chains are pulling from the IMAX/Netflix deal.

BREAKING NEWS: It has been confirmed that Vietnamese actress, Thanh Van Ngo (The Rebel, Clash and Once Upon a Time in Vietnam), plays the part of Mantis in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny. We’re not sure how beefy her role is, but let’s hope she has some decent screen time because this girl is a born on-screen fighter! Click here for some photos of her on set with Bey Logan. - Photos courtesy of Logan’s Facebook

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Deal on Fire! The Assassins | Blu-ray | Only $4.99 – Expires soon!

The Assassins Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

The Assassins Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Zhao Linshan’s The Assassins (aka Bronze Sparrow Terrace or Bronze Sparrow Platform). This period actioner stars Chow Yun Fat (Let the Bullets Fly) and is written by the screenwriter behind Zhang Yimou’s Hero.

The Assassins focuses on Cao Cao (Chow Yun Fat), a prominent warlord who became the head of the central government in China towards the end of the Han dynasty. The film explores areas of military tactics, love, and the relationship between father and son. It also depicts two assassination attempts on the warlord.

Order The Assassins from Amazon.com today!

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‘The Raid’ stars to fight aliens in a sequel to ‘Skyline’?

"Skyline" Japanese DVD Cover

"Skyline" Japanese DVD Cover

Ready for some bizarre news? According to Bloody Disgusting’s AMF report (via FCS), The Raid badasses, Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, will star alongside Frank Grillo (Purge: Anarchy) in Beyond Skyline, an upcoming sequel to Skyline.

For those of you who are not familiar with Skyline, it’s that 2010 alien invasion flick that hit the box office jackpot, despite its atrocious reviews from audiences and critics alike.

Visual effects artist Liam O’Donnell – and writer of the original Skyline – will be taking over directing duties for Greg and Colin Strause (aka The Brothers Strause). The sequel is said to take place at the same time of the events in the first Skyline.

No details on who (or what) Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian will be playing in Beyond Skyline, but let’s just hope they’re kicking ass in some way, shape, or form. According to Variety, producer Greg Strause said he tapped the Uwais and Ruhian because, “We’re showcasing a new kind of alien combat, so who better to collaborate with than the most innovative fight team in the world?”

It should also be noted that their co-star, Grillo, is one of the leading men of Patrick Hughes’ The Raid remake, which will feature fights choreographed by Uwais and Ruhian.

Beyond Skyline is either going to be really fun, or like the original, really “SyFy Channel” bad. Regardless, we’ll keep you updated as we hear more. For now, check out the AMF teaser poster for the film.

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Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series | DVD (Shout! Factory)

Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series | DVD | Shout! Factory

Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series | DVD | Shout! Factory

RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2015

Shout! Factory presents the Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series. Produced by Toei and Bandai, Super Sentai Zyuranger aired in Japan on February 21, 1992 to February 12, 1993, with a total of 50 episodes. It was the first Sentai series to be adapted into an American TV show; in this case, the extremely popular Power Rangers series!

For the first time, Shout! Factory is delivering the entire Super Sentai Zyuranger series in its original Japanese language, uncut and subtitled, in this 10-disc DVD set! The series stars Yūta Mochizuki, Aohisa Takayasu, Hideki Fujiwara, Takumi Hashimoto, Reiko Chiba and Shiro Izumi. Watch the TV show’s original opening.

Pre-order Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series from Amazon.com today!

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Second trailer for Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson’s ‘Martial Arts Kid’

"The Martial Arts Kid" Theatrical Poster

"The Martial Arts Kid" Theatrical Poster

Martial arts stars Don “The Dragon” Wilson (Bloodfist) and Cynthia Rothrock’s (Shanghai ExpressMartial Arts Kid is just around the corner. The upcoming film is about a troubled teen (Jansen Panetierre) from Detroit who begins to learn martial arts when he moves to Florida to live with his aunt (Rothrock) and uncle (Wilson).

The Martial Arts Kid also stars newcomer Nassim Faras “Young Dragon” Lahrizi, T.J. Storm (Punisher: War Zone), Matthew Ziff (Six Gun Savior) and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace (The Protector).

Michael Baumgarten (The Guest House) is directing and co-writing along with Adam W. Marsh (Monster Mountain). James Lew (Big Trouble in Little China) will be choreographing the action. Producers include Cheryl Wheeler Duncan (Point of No Return) and James Wilson, former trainer and brother of Don.

Updates: Watch the teaser trailer.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the 2nd trailer, thanks to Film Combat Syndicate.

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Kung Fu Grindhouse Theatre | DVD (World Wide Multi Media)

The Kung Fu Grindhouse Theatre | DVD (World Wide Multi Media)

The Kung Fu Grindhouse Theatre | DVD (World Wide Multi Media)

February 17, 2015

World Wide Multi Media presents the DVD for Kung Fu Grindhouse Theatre, which includes two untitled films.

In the 1st, an escaped convict is out to claim the Sword of Destiny for his own, in order to wield its power, he must defeat the 3 Blind Mice and the beautiful sirens: Dynamite and Butterfly!

In the 2nd, a female Ninja is banished when she opposes the execution of an innocent Ninja. She seeks revenge, but must first battle her way through the ninja’s hierarchy of assassins!

Pre-order Kung Fu Grindhouse Theatre from Amazon.com today!

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Matt Damon will be ‘Bourne’ again for Paul Greengrass in 2016

"The Bourne Legacy" Japanese DVD Cover

"The Bourne Legacy" Japanese DVD Cover

According to Variety, Universal is moving forward with a fifth movie in The Bourne Identity franchise and Jeremy Renner will be returning as Aaron Cross. Justin Lin (Fast & Furious franchise) is directing and Anthony Peckham (screenwriter of 2009′s Sherlock Holmes) has been approached to write the screenplay.

There has been some talk about Matt Damon (who portrayed Jason Bourne in the first three films) teaming up with Renner, but so far, it’s all just speculation. If the fifth movie will have the word “Bourne” in its title, a team up would make sense. Otherwise, they might as well just branch off into a new franchise (i.e. The Further Adventures of Aaron Cross).

Updates: Collider reports that Justin Lin (Fast & Furious franchise) is directing the fifth Bourne movie, which may be based on Eric Van Lustbader’s novel, The Bourne Betrayal. | Deadline reports that the film has an July 15, 2016 release date.

According to Collider, Universal Pictures is currently making deals with both Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to return for another Bourne film. So what about Justin Lin’s Bourne film? Well, here’s the deal: Lin’s Bourne film will be a follow up to 2012′s The Bourne Legacy, and will star Renner. If Greengrass accepts Universal’s offer, then he will make his follow up to 2007′s The Bourne Ultimatum, which will star Damon. So yeah, two different Bourne films.

BREAKING NEWS: During an interview with E!, Damon confirmed another Bourne film: “Yes, we shoot next year. It’ll be in 2016 when the movie will actually come out. Director Paul Greengrass is going to do another one and that’s all I ever said. I just needed him to say yes.”

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Deal on Fire! True Legend | Blu-ray | Only $6.99 – Expires soon!

"True Legend" Blu-ray Cover

"True Legend" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Yuen Woo Ping’s drunken fighting-themed flick True Legend.

According to HKfanatic’s review, True Legend is full of excellent, wire-assisted martial arts battles. The emphasis here is on R-rated blows to the head and lethal stabbings rather than balletic, dance-like moves.”

True Legend stars Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), David Carradine (Kill Bill), Jay Chou (The Green Hornet), Cung Le (Dragon Eyes), and Vincent Zhao (Wu Dang).

Order True Legend from Amazon.com today!

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As the Light Goes Out (2014) Review

"As the Light Goes Out" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"As the Light Goes Out" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Derek Kwok
Writer: Derek Kwok, Leung Lai Yin
Producer: Albert Lee
Cast: Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, Simon Yam, Hu Jun, Patrick Tam, Liu Kai Chi, Andy On, Bai Bing, Michelle Wai, Deep Ng Ho Hong, Jackie Chan
Running Time: 116 min.

By Kyle Warner

There seems to be a shared belief among most filmgoers that firefighter dramas have nothing new to say or do. And while it’s true that As the Light Goes Out does occasionally tread on some familiar ground, it also proves that there are still new ideas for the fireman genre. Derek Kwok’s dreamlike visual style makes As the Light Goes Out a firefighter film unlike any other.

On one hot and steamy Christmas Eve, a Hong Kong firehouse responds to a warehouse inferno. They put out the flames, but their commander Sam (Nicholas Tse) is worried about the natural gas pipes nearby the structure. He’s about to order his men to secure the area when his superior, Yip (Andy On), arrives on scene and tells them not to bother. They’re expecting a visit from the higher-ups and Yip wants his men back at the firehouse to make a good impression.

Of course, the job left unfinished comes back to bite them. The fire reignites and it reaches the natural gas pipes, which lead to the city’s power station, eventually causing a massive blackout on one of the hottest nights of the year. Now Sam and his crew must rush to the power station where the fire rages and attempt to restore order to the city in darkness.

Director Derek Kwok (Gallants) infuses the movie with incredible visuals and a moody atmosphere. The debris and smoke swirls are abstract and the music is often eerie, lending the film an almost supernatural ambiance. The film opens with talk about how breathing in black smoke can lead to hallucinations and death. Occasionally, in the smokiest parts of the film, it’s like the characters are walking through a dreamscape while choking on death. It’s a frightening scenario, but it’s also kind of beautiful in a visual sense.

As the Light Goes Out also has a larger scope than most firefighter dramas. The stakes are high and the city itself feels the impact of the fires, not just those trapped in the building. It’s a big, loud film with some awesome sets and action sequences.

The script could’ve used a bit of work, though. While I responded to the band of brothers’ sacrifice and heroics, I felt the film tried too hard to add more and more drama where it wasn’t needed. One guy’s breaking up with his girlfriend on Christmas Eve, another guy’s dealing with a struggling marriage, and another man is haunted by memories of the son he couldn’t save from a fire. Most the drama between the leads originates from the film’s prologue. Something goes wrong on a call and a review board interrogates Yip, Sam, and the film’s other lead, Chill (Shawn Yue). It’s clear that somebody needs to take the fall for the screw up, so Chill tells the review board he was the one responsible for the mission going off course. A year later and it’s still a source of tension in the firehouse. A bit of conflict between our heroes is all well and good, but we get it in the form of an infodump so early on in the film. It never really connects with the viewer. Instead it stunts the drama, making the conflict between the characters feel more like a distraction than anything else.

Still, the actors do their best to make the strained character relations work. Nicholas Tse is great in a restrained performance as Sam, a man just trying to do the right thing. Shawn Yue is good as the conflicted Chill. Simon Yam plays an aging hero who feels challenged by the Mainland China import Ocean (Hu Jun). Yam’s great, playing the tough guy who’s well past his prime. But it’s Hu Jun who makes the biggest impression, bringing a steely resolve to a character that might’ve been difficult to believe in with a less capable actor. Jun’s Ocean may be the ultimate firefighter, what with his photographic memory of building blueprints, superman strength, and lone wolf survival skills. It’s a big character but Jun’s excellent in the role. Sadly, one can’t throw many compliments Andy On’s way, who fails to bring Yip to life. Andy On also frequently switches from Cantonese to English in the middle of multiple scenes, which I found distracting.

We also get an amusing cameo from Jackie Chan early in the film. He appears in a firefighter recruitment video with his Police Story theme song playing in the background. Jackie says, “The Fire Department needs you!” and the TV spot ends, leading one of the firemen to question the logic of casting Jackie Chan in the recruitment vid. “But isn’t Jackie Chan from Police Story?” It’s a brief but entertaining moment in an otherwise dark and somber film.

Though the character dynamics do not connect the way one might’ve wished, there’s enough beneath the surface to make the film work as more than just ‘style over substance.’ But make no mistake, the reason to see the movie is because of its visual flourishes.

When you get right down to it, As the Light Goes Out is just a cool movie. It doesn’t break any new ground (though, one can see the director was trying), it doesn’t have the deepest story or characters, and it may not unseat Backdraft or Hong Kong’s own Lifeline as the most popular firefighter film. But it’s an impressively made movie, full of suspense, cool special effects, and fast-paced action. I really liked it.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 7/10

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