Matt Hannon returns in ‘Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance’

"Samurai Cop" Theatrical Poster

"Samurai Cop" Theatrical Poster

25 years ago, they joined forces to take on the Yakuza in Samurai Cop (1991), now Detective Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) and Joe Marshall (Matt Hannon) are teaming up once again in Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance! This time their mission is to solve a series of assassinations being committed by a secret group of female vigilante killers.

The original Samurai Cop (1991), directed by the late Amir Shervan (Killing American Style), is a cult classic that 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 a sequel!

In addition to its returning stars (including Gerald Okamura), Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance will also include appearances by George Lazenby (Stoner, On Her Majesties Secret Service), Seymour Cassel (The Killing of a Chinese Bookie), Kristine DeBell (The Big Brawl), Nicole Bailey and adult film stars, Kayden Kross and Lexi Belle.

Although a good portion of Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance’s budget is already in place, additional funding is currently being accepted via the film’s Kickstarter page. Be a part of the production and contribute today! - Thanks to kungfucinema

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

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

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

RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014

Universal presents the Van Damme 5-Movie Action Pack Blu-ray set, which includes 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 contains the Digital Copy of each movie.

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

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Martial Arts Titles | 4 Comments

Moebius (2013) Review

"Moebius" International Theatrical Poster

"Moebius" International Theatrical Poster

Director: Kim Ki-Duk
Writer: Kim Ki-Duk
Producer: Kim Ki-Duk, Kim Woo-Taek, Kim Soon-Mo
Cast: Cho Jae-Hyu, Seo Young-Joo, Lee Eun-Woo, Lee Eun-Woo, Kim Jae-Rok and Kim Jae-Hong
Running Time: 88 min.

By Paul Bramhall

Kim Ki-duk has remained one of Korea’s most discussed and controversial directors over the last 15 years. His movies usually portray the dark side of human nature with tales dictated by the sex and violence that permeates through them, often taking on subject matter even the most open minded individual would shy away from.

Ki-duk cranked out a movie every year since his debut with Crocodile in 1996, sometimes even two, however things took an unexpected turn for the worse in 2008 when, while filming Dream, actress Lee Na-young nearly died while filming a scene in which she had to hang herself. On top of this, the distributor for the movie which he wrote and produced, Rough Cut, went bankrupt, which resulted in him not making a single dollar from it.

The combination of his guilt over Na-young’s near death combined with the unexpected blow to his finances sent Ki-duk into a 3 year exile. It was an exile which he wouldn’t return from until 2011, with the autobiographical piece Arirang, a documentary in which Ki-duk plays both the interviewer and interviewee, holed up by himself in a log cabin, in his own attempt to come to terms with the time that had passed. Arirang must have served its purpose, because in 2012 he returned with Pieta, which won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival of the same year, a brutal work which follows a ruthless debt collector who is visited by a mysterious woman claiming to be his mother, who abandoned him as a child.

In 2013 Ki-duk followed up Pieta with Moebius, and even before the movie was given a release date, it seemed that the controversy which he became known for with movies like The Isle and Samaria was back front and center. Upon submitting the movie to the Korea Media Ratings Board, it was given a ‘Restricted’ rating for harmful content. While a movie being given an R rating in the US is not such a big deal, in Korea only specific cinemas can show ‘Restricted’ movies, and at the time of writing there are currently none in the whole country, which effectively made it banned on its home soil. Ki-duk found himself in a dilemma, and in interviews openly expressed that he’d do whatever it takes to get the movie released, not least because the cast and crew would only get paid based on the returns the movie received.

In July 2013, Ki-duk wrote a letter to the board in which he explained how the scenes that were being described as harmful played an essential part of the story, and that in the context of which they’re taking place, make sense. In the letter he explained that if the board still refused to tone down the rating, he would pay the cast and crew himself. While it was never made clear if the second time he re-submitted the movie there were any changes or cuts made to it, the presumption is that it remains the original version, and it appears that Ki-duk must have quite a way with words, as Moebius was indeed granted a release domestically.

So, with all this drama playing out behind the scenes, what of the actual movie itself? The plot of Moebius will probably be enough to turn a lot of people off from the word go. It revolves around the family unit of a father, mother, and son. When the mother captures the father cheating on her one evening, something she’d long suspected, enraged she storms into the bedroom where the father is sleeping and tried to castrate him with a knife. He wakes up just in time to foil her attempt, but while he’s recovering from the (understandable) shock, the still enraged mother barges into the son’s bedroom, and castrates him instead. This is all within the first 15 minutes, and really to say anything more about the remaining 75 would be to spoil the experience.

Another crucial thing to mention about Moebius is that it doesn’t contain a single line of dialogue, there’s not a single word spoken during the whole run time. This may sound remarkably grim and depressing, and there’s no doubt that it is, however Ki-duk seems to realise this, and by putting the most shocking events that take place in the first 15 minutes, the rest of the movie takes us into some surprising, and sometimes even touching, situations. For me Ki-duk’s movies are to a degree hit and miss, when he gets it right his movies are remarkably effecting and unsettling, but on more than one occasion I’ve been of the opinion that he can be rather clumsy when it comes to characters dialogue and interactions with each other. He’s a director that works best when he’s using symbolism, and it should come as no surprise that many consider another one of his best movies to also have minimum dialogue, 2004’s 3-Iron.

So to some extent, Moebius represents Ki-duk embracing his strengths in a way he never has before, by doing away with dialogue all together. It’s amazing then, that while watching the movie this isn’t an issue at all, and in fact it’s one of the contributing factors to the brilliance of Moebius, while never being a gimmick or a distraction. The characters interactions with each other, driven by expressions and glances along with the situations which unfold, all happen naturally, and there’s never any scene which feels like words are needed. Remarkably for a Ki-duk movie, and even more so for the subject matter being dealt with, there’s also a degree of black humor running through various scenes. Despite the desperation of the situation, you can’t help but smile at the scenes when the bond between father and son seems to be growing stronger while they browse through penis transplant websites together. It’s absurd, and it’s that absurdity which the movie doesn’t shy away from which makes it such an achievement.

The two actors and actress who make up the main characters of Moebius deserve kudos for their amazing performances. Jo Jae-hyeon as the father is a world away from his role as the father in 2010’s Thai-Korean co-production The Kick. Jae-hyeon frequently collaborated with Ki-duk on his early movies, however this is the first time they’ve worked together since 2002’s Bad Guy. Lee Eun-woo deserves special mention as she not only plays the mother, but she also plays the part of the woman whom the father is having an affair with, and goes on to play a significant character in the story. She is amazing here, coming across as both dangerous and vulnerable, and Moebius is worth a recommendation for her performance alone. It’s Seo Yeong-joo as the son who steals the show though, after capturing people’s attention in 2012’s Juvenile Offender, here he really makes his mark, and delivers an entirely believable, and very brave, performance, all being just 16 years old.

While the subject matter may put a lot of people off Moebius, it would be a shame because it means they would be missing an amazing movie. There is much more going on than just sex and violence here, which no doubt there is a lot of, but to go into it in any detail is a conversation best saved for after viewing rather than before. It’s best to say that rest assured, Ki-duk has created what is arguably his best movie to date in my opinion, and one that is worth watching by anyone who class themselves as a fan of cinema.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 8/10

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

Jimmy Wang Yu 4-Film Collection | DVD (Shout! Factory)

Jimmy Wang Yu 4-Film Collection | DVD (Shout! Factory)

Jimmy Wang Yu 4-Film Collection | DVD (Shout! Factory)

RELEASE DATE: November 18, 2014

Shout! Factory presents the DVD set for The Jimmy Wang Yu 4-Film Collection. This 4 film, 2 disc set includes One-Armed Boxer (1972), The Tattooed Dragon (1973), Beach of the War Gods (1973) and Man Called Tiger (1973).

The Jimmy Wang Yu 4-Film Collection also features James Tien (Fist of Fury), Lung Fei (Master of the Flying Guillotine), Sylvia Chang (Slaughter in San Francisco), Feng Tien (A Better Tomorrow) and Maria Yi (The Big Boss).

Pre-order The Jimmy Wang Yu 4-Film Collection from Amazon.com today!

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

Join Liam Neeson for ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’

"A Walk Among the Tombstones" Theatrical Poster

"A Walk Among the Tombstones" Theatrical Poster

Liam Neeson is back in the kind of mode that audiences have come to love him in: playing a gravelly-voiced tough guy with ‘a particular set of skills.’ This September, Neeson is going for A Walk Among the Tombstones. Despite the Steven Seagal-esque title, this gritty thriller is the latest movie to bring author Lawrence Block’s private detective Matthew Scudder to life. The last Scudder film was 1986′s 8 Million Ways to Die, featuring Jeff Bridges in the role.

Here’s your last bit of trivia: this particular story was almost brought to the silver screen back in 2002 with Harrison Ford in the lead. But the first trailer for A Walk Among the Tombstones is here and it promises plenty of intrigue and atmosphere, which should please Liam Neeson fans who are enjoying the actor’s current renaissance as a man of action. What can we say? Neeson clearly knows how to handle himself in a fight scene.

Updates: Check out the film’s latest poster. It’s sorta like the first poster, only front view.

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Bruce Lee Premiere Collection | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Bruce Lee Premiere Collection | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Bruce Lee Premiere Collection | Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

RELEASE DATE: November 11, 2014

Shout! Factory presents the Blu-ray set for the Bruce Lee Premiere Collection, which includes the following four films: The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972), Way Of the Dragon (1972) and Game of Death (1978). Also included are extra features for each individual title.

Please note: This new set includes only the films mentioned above. If you’re interested in the collector’s book, the documentaries and the Bonus Feature DVD, the Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection is still available.

Pre-order The Bruce Lee Premiere Collection from Amazon.com today!

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

August brings Ninjas, Van Damme, Seagal and Asian classics!

Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge | Blu-ray & DVD (ANconnect)

Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge | Blu-ray & DVD (ANconnect)

For those of you looking to expand your Blu-ray & DVD collection, get ready for our latest roll of new releases handpicked by cityonfire.com!

For the month of August, we have an exceptional list of action, martial arts, old school kung fu and Asian horror titles: Ninjas, Van Damme, Seagal, Kosugi, Japanese horror, old school Hong Kong… they’re all here!

If you’re interested in purchasing any of the titles, we’re hoping you’ll click on our Amazon.com links to show your support towards cityonfire.com.

Ninja Apocalypse: August 5, 2014

Millennium Entertainment presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Ninja Apocalypse.  From visual effects director Lloyd Lee Barnett – known for his digital work in films like Avatar, Speed Racer and Spider-man – comes Ninja Apocalypse. This upcoming martial arts film sports an impressive cast that includes Christian Oliver (The Three Musketeers), Ernie Reyes Jr. (The Rundown), Les Brandt, West Liang, Kaiwi Lyman, Tara Macken, Isaac C. Singleton Jr., Antoinette Kalaj, Mark Heidelberger and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat).

Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge: August 12, 2014

ANconnect presents the Blu-ray and DVD for Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge. Kane Kosugi (Choy Lee Fut, Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear) stars in this prequel to 2010′s Tekken. Joining Kosugi is Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Tekken), Gary Daniels (Skin Traffik) and Ron Smoorenburg (Who Am I?). Like its predecessor, Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge (aka Tekken: A Man Called X) is based on the popular Namco fighting game of the same name.

Eko Eko Azarak: The First Episode of Misa Kuroi: August 12, 2014

Tokyo Shock presents the DVD for 2011′s Eko Eko Azarak: The First Episode of Misa Kuroi. A crisis occurs at a High School when the students fall prey to black magic. A student named Misa (Maeda Nozomi) attempts to help them by battling the dark forces with magic that has been passed down in her family for generations. Based on legendary horror manga Eko Eko Azarak and directed by original author, Shinichi Koga.

Swelter: August 12, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Keith Parmer’s action-thriller Swelter, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Van Damme plays a member of a bank robbing gang that manages to steal a cool $100 million before some of them are apprehended by the police. Swelter also stars Josh Henderson, Brad Carter, Alfred Molina and Lennie James.

Seed of Darkness: August 12, 2014

Tokyo Shock presents the DVD for the 2006 Malaysian-Chinese film Seed of Darkness (aka Nephesh Seed), directed by Michael Chuah (Fist of Dragon). In the tradition of Japanese horror classics The Ring and The Grudge! A woman decides to undergo an “in-vitro fertilization process” in Singapore to have a child of her own. 7 years later, after moving to anew apartment, the child begins to behave oddly and insists she can see the “non-existent” father. Starring Amber Chia, Juin Juin Leong, Vick Teo, Alvin Wong, Sze Sen Wong and Zun Yap.

Martial Arts Movie Marathon Vol. 2: August 19, 2014

Shout! Factory presents the DVD for the Martial Arts Movie Marathon Vol. 2, which contains four classic Golden Harvest movies on two discs. This set includes 1973′s The Fate of Lee Khan with Li Hua Li, Roy Chiao, Feng Hsu, Ying Bai, Feng Tien and Angela Mao; 1974′s The Shaolin Boxers with James Yien; 1977′s The Shaolin Plot with Chan Sing, Cheung Ging Boh and Sammo Hung Kam Bo; and 1975′s The Young Dragons with Cheng Lui, Chiang Nan and Chin Yuet Sang – directed by John Woo!

A Good Man: August 19, 2014

Lionsgate presents the DVD for A Good Man. Steven Seagal re-teams with director/producer Keoni Waxman (Force of Execution) for the 5th time. After an illustrious special ops career ends in disaster, Alexander (Seagal) goes off the grid and attempts to lead a quiet life as a handyman at an apartment complex. But when one of his tenants and her family fall under the thumb of a Russian gangster, Alexander is dragged into an all-out war between rival Chinese and Russian gangs. Tzi Ma (Rapid Fire, Rush Hour, Dark Vengeance), Victor Webster and Massimo Dobrovic also star.

Joker: August 19, 2014

Action Slate presents the DVD for the Kazakh revenge thriller Joker. A man avenges his brother’s death with the help of an otherworldly monk who teaches him the skills to destroy his enemies. Joker stars Vitalij Kischenko, Denis Lituyev and Yerbolat Toguzakov.

Rampage: Capital Punishment: August 19, 2014

Phase 4 Films presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Uwe Boll’s Rampage: Capital Punishment (aka Rampage 2). It’s the return of violent anti-hero Bill Williamson (Brendan Fletcher). This time he has plans to change the world by exacting vengeance on the rich, and ripping Washington apart! Boll has definitely made some horrible movies in the past, but if you’ve seen 2009′s Rampage or 2013′s Assault on Wall Street, Boll has proven himself to be a competent filmmaker. If Martin Scorsese is the master of gangster film, then Boll is the master of making flicks about people goin’ postal!

Triad: August 26, 2014

Well Go USA presents the DVD for 2012′s Triad, directed by Daniel Chan (Young and Dangerous: Reloaded). Triad follows a college-educated young man (William Chan) who decides to give up the straight and narrow for a life in the Triads. He very quickly ascends the ranks, even as he offends his elders by operating extra-circular businesses. But his entire house of cards might come toppling down when he realizes someone close has betrayed him. Triad also stars Michelle Wai (Girl$), Patrick Tam (Beast Cops), Irene Wan and Derek Tsang (The Thieves).

Vengeance Is Mine: August 26, 2014

Criterion Collection presents the Blu-ray for 1979′s Vengeance Is Mine, directed by Shohei Imamura (Black Rain). A thief, a murderer, and a charming lady-killer, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) is on the run from the police. Director Imamura turns this fact-based story—about the seventy-eight-day killing spree of a remorseless man from a devoutly Catholic family—into a cold, perverse, and at times diabolically funny examination of the primitive coexisting with the modern. More than just a true-crime tale, Vengeance Is Mine bares humanity’s snarling id.

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‘Terminator Genesis’ now retitled to ‘Terminator Genisys’

"Terminator" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Terminator" Japanese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Skydance Productions, Annapurna Pictures and Paramount Pictures are currently filming a 5th Terminator movie called Terminator: Genesis. The upcoming movie will be directed by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) and stars Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty).

Updates: According to Empire’s sources, the Terminator: Genesis story bears comparison to Back To The Future 2, which you’ll recall partly involves our heroes rushing ingeniously around and within the events of the first film.

In an interview with Collider, Arnold Schwarzenegger says he’s “honored” that studios have called him back to reprise his iconic roles in movies like Terminator, Legend of Conan and Twins 2. Especially in a world where characters are constantly replaced by new actors (i.e. James Bond, Spider-man). He also says that the new Terminator movie “has the same feel” as Terminator 2 (he’s obviously judging by its script).

According to Metro (via expendablespremier.com), after the first film of the new Terminator trilogy is complete, parts 2 and 3 will be filmed back-to-back in a period of over 9 months. In addition, Dayo Okeniyi (Hunger Games) has signed on to play the role of Miles Dyson (previously played by Joe Morton in T2).

Collider reports that Byung-hun Lee (I Saw the Devil) will play the T-1000. Also, Michael Gladis (Knights of Badassdom) and Sandrine Holt (Once a Thief TV series) have joined the cast. | A couple of photos of Schwarzenegger on the set of the new Terminator movie in costume (well, sorta), courtesy of The Arnold Fans. | Here’s a few set photos from a scene that takes place in 1984, judging from the cars. | New photos of Schwarzenegger as the T-800. | More photos of abattle-scarred Schwarzenegger.

BREAKING NEWS: Terminator Genesis has now been retitled to Terminator Genisys (a play on “Genocide” and “Cyberdyne Systems” perhaps?). Click here for a “teaser” photo, courtesy of the film’s official Twitter page.

Posted in News | 17 Comments

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

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

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

RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray and DVD for the South Korean film Kundo: Age of the Rampant (aka Band of Thieves) on October 21, 2014. This 19th century period action/martial arts film stars Ha Jung-woo (The Chaser) and Kang Dong-won (The X), and directed by Yoon Jong-bin (Nameless Gangster).

Kundo: Age of the Rampant revolves around a group of righteous thieves who steal from corrupt public officials and give to the poor. But things get deadly when the thieves come across a powerful figure. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Kundo: Age of the Rampant from Amazon.com today!

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

Deal on Fire! The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut | Blu-ray | Only $7.88 – Expires soon!

"The Expendables: Extended Director's Cut" Blu-ray Cover

"The Expendables: Extended Director's Cut" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut, which features over 10 minutes of footage not seen in the theatrical version. Read our review.

Sylvester Stallone stars as Barney Ross, leader of The Expendables, a tight-knit team of skilled combat vets turned mercenaries. Hired by a powerful covert operator, the team jets off to a small South American country to overthrow a ruthless dictator. Also starring, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Mickey Rourke.

Order The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut from Amazon.com today!

Posted in Deals on Fire!, News | 1 Comment

Yellow Faced Tiger | aka Slaughter in San Francisco (1974) Review

"Yellow Faced Tiger" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Yellow Faced Tiger" Chinese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Slaughter in San Francisco, Karate Cop
Director: Lo Wei
Writer: Cheung Wing Cheung, Lo Wei
Producer: Leonard Ho, Lo Wei
Cast: Don Wong Tao, Sylvia Chang, Chuck Norris, Chin Yuet Sang, Wong Sam, Yee Kwan, Lam Ching Ying
Running Time: 100 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

Despite of the fact that Lo Wei’s Yellow Faced Tiger was produced in 1974, the film’s origin dates back to 1972, when it was originally planned to be Bruce Lee’s 3rd project following Fist of Fury (1972). However, due to Lee’s much-publicized squabble with Wei, the two went separate ways and Yellow Faced Tiger was indefinitely shelved.

Some believe that Lee refused to work with Wei for a number of reasons. One may have been that Wei, who dubbed himself “Hong Kong’s First Millionair Director,” publicly took full credit for the success of both The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972). Wei even went as far as saying he was responsible for teaching Lee how to fight on camera, which obviously made Lee furious.

Another reason is the two rarely saw eye to eye. During shooting, Lee would often clash with Wei, criticizing him for spending more time in his trailer or off set, and less time overseeing the progress and quality of his productions. When instances like this occurred, it was Lee who took charge and became an informal co-director.

Then there are the rumors: George Tan, a noted Bruce Lee Historian, has said the following about the Wei/Lee feud: “The REAL reason behind the feud was Raymond Chow (founder of Golden Harvest Studios). Chow is the master of divide and conquer. Chow was sleeping with Wei’s wife at the time. Imagine what would have happened if Wei found out at that critical point. What if he told Lee to split and form a new company away from Chow? Chow was/is a true master. Lee was a novice in that arena.”

Whatever the truth may be, anyone who has seen Wei’s non-Bruce Lee films can’t deny that Lee’s presence – both on screen and off – is what made the The Big Boss and Fist of Fury the classics that they’re known as today. The same scenario can be applied to Robert Clouse - just watch any movie he directed after Enter the Dragon (1973).

In 1974, a year after Lee’s passing shook the entire Hong Kong film industry, Chow finally decided to unshelve Yellow Faced Tiger. Determined to find someone to fill Lee’s shoes, Golden Harvest held a talent search in New York where they discovered Don Wong Tao, an avid Taekwondo practitioner who slightly resembled Lee. Impressed with both his looks and his physical ability, Golden Harvest immediately signed Wong Tao for a multi-picture deal.

Golden Harvest also brought back American Karate Champion, Chuck Norris, as the film’s ruthless villain. Norris, who was previously handpicked by Lee for Way of the Dragon (1972), was approached by Wei for the film’s main baddie. According to Norris’ 2004 autobiography, Against All Odds My Story: “When Lo Wei, a Chinese director, asked me to play a role in a low-budget karate movie called Yellow Faced Tiger that he was making in San Francisco, I said, “Sure, why not?” Lo Wei said the movie would be shown only in Asia. I didn’t care; I needed the money.”

Considering Yellow Faced Tiger was shot in San Francisco, California – with a cast consisting of many Caucasian and African American talent - many assume that the film was intended for Western audiences a la Enter the Dragon. Contrary to that belief, the film wouldn’t make its way into America until 1981 for one particular reason (more on that later).

In a nutshell, Yellow Faced Tiger revolves around a Chinese cop named officer Wong (Wong Tao) who’s having a really bad week. After Wong saves his buddy (Robert Jones) from being beaten to death by a gang, he gets kicked off the force for accidentally killing one of the thugs. Wong then takes a job at a Chinese restaurant where he comes across a crime syndicate boss (Norris) who wants to recruit him because of his fighting skills. When Wong refuses, the syndicate makes his life a living hell.

Like many post-Lee, early 70s Golden Harvest films, Yellow Faced Tiger is one dodgy production. It’s what you would expect from Wei: Shaky cameras (unintentionally, not artistically), rushed shots and horrendous acting. But make no mistake, its hilarious imperfections make it a riot to watch. Without doubt, it falls under the cliché ”so bad, it’s good” category.

The film is definitely action-packed, courtesy of veteran fight choreographer Han Ying Chieh (better known as the guy who plays “The Boss” in The Big Boss). If you’re aware of the non-Lee fights Chieh staged for The Big Boss, then you should have a solid idea of what Yellow Faced Tiger has to offer. Let’s just say that the choreography was the typical early 70s, basher-type fights, which were bland, especially compared to the grace and fluidity that Lee had to offer.

Nonetheless, it’s apparent that Wong Tao was choreographed with Bruce Lee’s fighting-style in mind. Lee’s trademark clenched-fist pauses, intense facial features and one punch/kick knockdowns are all here; only problem is Wong Tao isn’t Lee, so the carbon copied movements come across as forced and out of place. Like Lee, Wong Tao is often shirtless and sports a similar hair style. That said, Yellow Faced Tiger should be classified as a Bruceploitation flick.

Unfortunately, after Yellow Faced Tiger failed to bring in box office numbers, Golden Harvest came to the conclusion that Wong Tao wasn’t a bankable star, so after two movies – the other, a partial role in Chinatown Capers (1974) – Wong Tao and Golden Harvest parted ways.

A couple years later, Wong Tao ultimately found glory when he hooked up with Seasonal Films’ Ng See Yuen to appear in a new film, opposite Hwang Jang Lee and John Liu. Instead of trying to make him another “new Bruce Lee,” Yuen was able to showcase Wong Tao in a different light. The result: The Secret Rivals (1976), which ended up being a major hit and has remained a cult classic to this very day.

Also of note in Yellow Faced Tiger is an early appearance of actress, Sylvia Chang (The Lady Killer). Despite her raunchy role (in one fully clothed scene, she gets off by pretending to be raped by two men), Chang went on to become one of the most successful Hong Hong stars, reaching critical acclaim for her acting, writing and directing skills. You have to start somewhere, right?

The bottom line: Yellow Faced Tiger is one of the worst films in the Golden Harvest catalog, but like The Man Called Tiger (1973) and Stoner (1974), it’s highly entertaining because of its flaws and interesting for its historical connection with Bruce Lee.

Footnote: In 1981, during the height of Norris’ Hollywood career, Yellow Faced Tiger was to be re-released as Slaughter in San Francisco to capitalize on his success. Upon hearing of the film being marketed as “a brand new movie starring Chuck Norris,” Norris took legal action and tried to stop it from being released. After all, he didn’t want to ruin is squeaky clean, Good Guys Wear Black (1978) image with a low budget, badly dubbed, Chinese production where he plays a sleazy villain. Clearly, Norris lost this battle.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 6/10

Posted in Bruceploitation, Chinese, Golden Harvest, News, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist | Blu-ray & DVD (Funimation)

Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist | Blu-ray & DVD (Funimation)

Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist | Blu-ray & DVD (Funimation)

RELEASE DATE: October 28, 2014

Funimation presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist. Watch Ken, Ryu, Akuma and many other of your favorite characters from Capcom’s Street Fighter video game come to life! Originally released as a 12-episode web series by Machinima, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist will now be showcased as a 143 minute, full length film, with 13 minutes of bonus footage not seen in the web series.

Why watch the series on your computer screen, when you can watch it in full HD and without interruptions? Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist from Amazon.com today!

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

Newest trailer for Gordon Chan’s ‘Four 3D’!

"Four 3D" Theatrical Poster

"Four 3D" 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!

A new trailer for The Four 3D, the third and final installment of the series – starring Deng Chao, Collin Chou, Ronald Cheng, Anthony Wong and Crystal Liu – is now available to watch!

Film Combat Syndicate has the plot: The reputation of the Four constables survives, but since Emotionless’s departure, there have been changes at the Divine Constabulary. The four Coldblood, Iron Hands, Life Snatcher, rescue Zhuge Zhengwo from An Yunshan’s mountain fortress, then with the Emperor and Di armies, they attack. But An Yunshan absorbs their power, which means the constables and their allies now face their most lethal opponent yet, a nearly invincible kung fu master who won’t stop until he has absolute power…

The Four 3D is getting a domestic release on August 22, 2014.

Updates: Watch the newest trailer, courtesy of Film Combat Syndicate.

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Shock Waves | Blu-ray (Blue Underground)

Shock Waves | Blu-ray (Blue Underground)

Shock Waves | Blu-ray (Blue Underground)

RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2014

Blue Underground presents the Blu-ray for 1977′s Shock Waves, direct by Ken Wiederhorn (Return of the Living Dead II). In World War II, the Nazi High Command ordered its scientists to create a top secret race of indestructible zombie storm troopers. No member of this horrific SS unit was ever captured by the Allied Forces and, somewhere off the coast of Florida, they have survived.

Shock Waves (aka Almost Human or Death Corps) stars Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams and John Carradine. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Shock Waves from Amazon.com today!

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Korea & Kung Fu: A Retrospective on Fire!

"King Boxer" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"King Boxer" Chinese Theatrical Poster

In popular opinion, it seems to have become a common fact that it was Bruce Lee that led to the kung fu movie becoming a massive hit in the US, with his 1973 movie Enter the Dragon. While its influence can’t be doubted, what is often overlooked is that there was a movie released a full year before in 1972 which had already captured the publics’ imagination, filling out grind-house cinemas around the country, and that was King Boxer, or as it was re-titled for its US release, Five Fingers of Death.

Made by the mighty Shaw Brothers studios, even today it’s easy to see why it was a hit, with liberal use of fake blood, eye gauging, head splitting karate chops, beheadings, and people being smashed through tables what seems like every few minutes, it spoke the universal language of action. However far from being made by a Chinese director, the man behind the movie was actually a Korean by the name of Cheng Chang-ho. Having worked in the Korean movie industry since 1951, in the late 1960s he began collaborating with studios in Hong Kong, before in 1968 he was signed up by the Shaw Brothers.

"The Association" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Association" Chinese Theatrical Poster

He stayed in Hong Kong for 5 years, and on top of King Boxer went on to direct well respected kung-fu classics like Broken Oath (1977), to what many people describe as “the first kung-fu soft-core porn” with The Association (1975). Meanwhile during the same period Korea itself was producing a steady stream of its own kung-fu movies. While most were aimed at the Chinese market, some of them did manage to retain a distinctly Korean flavour, such as Black Dragon River (aka Martial Mates) (1976), which tells the story of a Korean martial arts school defending itself against the Japanese. This movie in particular stars three Korean performers who within a couple of years would be household names in the Hong Kong movie scene – Hwang Jang-lee, Casanova Wong and Elton Chong.

Another star of the time was Hwang In-shik, a Hapkido grandmaster who was visited in Seoul by Hong Kong film-maker Huang Feng in 1972. Feng brought along with him rising stars Sammo Hung, Angela Mao, and a young Jackie Chan to train in the art of Hapkido, and he ended up being so impressed with In-shik’s ability that he invited him to come to Hong Kong and star in a movie based around the art itself. Now, Hapkido (aka Lady Kung-fu) (1972) is considered a classic of the genre, and essentially has In-shik playing himself. He went on to star in a number of Hong Kong movies (including The Association!), and had been in discussions with Bruce Lee to play an opponent in what was to be Lee’s masterpiece, Game of Death (release posthumously in 1978), only for Lee to pass away later that same week.

"The Young Master" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Young Master" Japanese Theatrical Poster

In-shik went back to Korea and starred in a number of movies there, before immigrating to Canada with the purpose of opening up a Hapkido school, which he successfully did. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that, having received a beating from Hwang Jang-lee in his first couple of breakout movies, Jackie Chan contacted In-shik to try and coax him out of retirement, with the intent of him playing Chan’s main opponent in the stars first couple of self-directed outings, The Young Master (1980) and Dragon Lord (1982). Chan must have been convincing, as In-shik agreed, and the fifteen minute long fight between him & Chan that closes out The Young Master is considered one of the best fights ever filmed.

On the subject of Bruce Lee, his passing left a huge void in the kung-fu movie world, of which the movie making industry attempted to fill by finding Bruce Lee look-alikes, and carried on making movies while attempting to pass them off as the real deal. Hence the era of ‘Bruceploitation’ was born. There Was Bruce Li, Bruce Le, Bruce Liang, Bruce Ly, Bruce Lei, and the list goes on, even Jackie Chan was originally attempted to be cast in the mould of a Bruce clone. Korea threw their hat into the ring with Dragon Lee, arguably one of the worse Bruce Lee imitators based on the fact that his build was completely different to that of Bruce, being quite stocky and muscular. Nevertheless, Dragon Lee seemed on a mission to overcompensate for his lack of physical resemblance by aping Bruce Lee’s mannerisms with great exaggeration, usually howling and enthusiastically shaking his head from side to side in every movie he was in.

"Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave" US Theatrical Poster

"Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave" US Theatrical Poster

Korea even attempted to make their own Bruceploitation movie, with Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave (1976). Bizarrely, this isn’t really a Bruceploitation movie at all, but the tale of a man who travels to America to try and unravel the mystery of his brothers’ death. So what’s the connection to Bruce Lee? The movie opens with a shot of Bruce Lee’s grave, presumably filmed and tagged on to the existing movie, which is then hit by lightening, causing an unidentified Bruce Lee look-alike to spring out of the ground alive and well, cue the titles. Yes, that’s it.

In 1978, when American director Robert Clouse decided to try and finish Bruce Lee’s last movie, Game of Death, by using the footage already filmed and creating a new storyline to Lee’s original version, it was Korean martial artist Kim Tai-jung who was picked to be the Bruce Lee stand-in for the necessary additional scenes. While the finished movie is a mess, sometimes even using a cardboard cut out of Bruce Lee’s face superimposed onto an actor, Tai-jung’s skills were certainly recognized. So much so that in 1981, when the studio Golden Harvest decided to go ahead and make a sequel to Game of Death, entitled Tower of Death, they cast Tai-jung in the lead. Under the direction of Ng See Yuen, Tai-jung was pitted against fellow Korean super kicker Hwang Jang-lee, and today the movie is considered a camp classic of the genre.

"No Retreat, No Surrender 2" American VHS Cover

"No Retreat, No Surrender 2" American VHS Cover

By the mid 1980s Ng See Yuen was working as a producer with Seasonal Film Corporation, and they signed a deal to make a handful of Hong Kong / American co-productions. Two movies that came as a result of this deal were the Corey Yuen directed No Retreat, No Surrender (1985) and No Retreat, No Surrender 2: Raging Thunder (1989). These movies came to represent the end of an era for the Korean influence in kung-fu movies.

In No Retreat, No Surrender, actor Kurt McKinney plays a teenager who’s family relocates to Seattle, after a bunch of karate fighting gangsters drive them out of their home town. Unable to fit in and with a father who disapproves of his obsession with all things Bruce Lee (including speaking to Bruce at his grave!), McKinney almost has a hilariously acted mental breakdown, only to be visited by the ghost of Bruce Lee. The ghost is played by Tai-jung, and would mark his final film role before he returned to Korea and became a businessman. What was the end for Tai-jung, was the start for a certain Jean Claude Van-Damme, as the movie marks the debut of the Muscles from Brussels, playing the evil Russian out to take over all the karate dojos in America. Tai-jung teaches McKinney how to defeat Van Damme, and the stage is set for a final showdown in the ring.

"Armour of God III: CZ12" Japanese DVD Cover

"Armour of God III: CZ12" Japanese DVD Cover

Both McKinney and Van Damme signed a three picture deal, but after the first movie Van Damme decided to break his contract, and convinced McKinney to do the same, which lead to them rather ungraciously not showing up on the first day of filming for the second installment. Loren Avendon took over in the role McKinney was supposed to play, and Matthias Hues fills in for Van Damme. The story is actually unrelated to the original, this time revolving around the hunt to find the kidnapped Thai finance of Avendon’s character in the jungle of Thailand and Cambodia, while fighting against a Vietcong terrorist group. The leader of the Vietcong is none other than Hwang Jang-lee, but in the movie he’s given little to do, with his one brief fight scene against Cynthia Rothrock having him being embarrassingly kicked around. 1989 would mark Jang-lee’s last year working in the Hong Kong movie industry, before he too moved back to Korea.

While Korea’s influence on the kung-fu movie scene of old is undeniable, even today there still seems to be a place for Korean talent in crossover productions. Most recently Jeong Woo-seong starred in the John Woo directed Reign of Assassins (2010), Jang Dong-gun in Dangerous Liaisons (2012), and Kwon Sang-woo featured in Jackie Chan’s last action hurrah, CZ12: Chinese Zodiac (2012). While the Korean Wave is clearly still going very strong, perhaps it’s not so well known just quite how long it’s been going for.

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The all-female ‘ExpendaBelles’ to start shooting early 2015

"The Expendables" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"The Expendables" Japanese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: The Expendables universe has a new team. An elite group of highly trained female mercenaries are brought together for a covert hostage rescue mission. Once they are behind enemy lines, the women discover that they will also need to topple an evil dictator bent on world domination. The Expendabelles is the ultimate story of female empowerment and kick-ass teamwork.

Robert Luketic (21, Killers) is directing The ExpendaBelles, an all-female, unofficial take on Sylvester Stallone’s successful franchise, The Expendables. The screenplay is being penned by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah (Legally Blonde). It should be noted that Stallone is producing which essentially makes The ExpendaBelles an official spin-off.

An all-female ‘Expendables’ isn’t the only Expendables-type project that’s been floating around. Don “The Dragon” Wilson has been trying to put together his version of The Expendables with the working title, The B-Team, which would star fellow B-movie action stars like Cynthia Rothrock, Michael Dudikoff and Loren Avedon. However, in our recent interview with Wilson, he stated that The B-Team is in political limbo, and he has shifted gears towards a movie called Blood Raid, which will utilize many of his “B” movie star friends.

Updates: Collider reports: At a recent press day for The Expendables 3, producer Avi Lerner provided an update on the upcoming The ExpendaBelles: “We are working on the script. We’ve got lots of ideas about who’s going to be the action movie star. We plan to start shooting at the beginning of next year. And that’s all I can say about this movie right now.” In the meantime, the other “all-female” Expendables-type flick, Mercenaries (with Kristanna Loken, Vivica A. Fox, Zoë Bell, Nicole Bilderback, Brigitte Nielsen and Cynthia Rothrock), is hitting Blu-ray & DVD on October 14, 2014.

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New teaser for Tsui Hark’s ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’

"The Taking of Tiger Mountain" Promotional Poster

"The Taking of Tiger Mountain" Promotional Poster

Tsui Hark’s latest action film The Taking of Tiger Mountain will be premiering at this year’s Marché du Film Cannes Festival. According to Film Combat Syndicate, “the film is based on late author Qu Bo’s first book, the 1957 novel publication titled Tracks In The Snowy Mountain, which centers on the true story of Yang Ziron, a communist soldier who infiltrates a gang of bandits.”

The Taking of Tiger Mountain stars Zhang Hanyu (Bodyguards and Assassins), Zhou Dongyu (My Old Classmate), Gao Hu (The Man From Macau), Tong Liya (Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons), Kenny Lin (Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon) and newcomer Han Geng.

Updates: Promotional photo from The Taking of Tiger Mountain.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the new teaser trailer, courtesy of Film Combat Syndicate (via Twitch).

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Teens turns to violence in Han Yun Sun’s ’18: Eighteen Noir’

"18: Eighteen Noir" Korean Theatrical Poster

"18: Eighteen Noir" Korean Theatrical Poster

For those who enjoy gritty adolescent films, take note of an upcoming South Korean flick titled 18: Eighteen Noir, helmed by first time director/writer, Han Yun Sun.

18: Eighteen Noir follows a high school student named Dong Do (Lee Jae-eung of The Host) who befriends Hyun Seung (Cha Yeop) and his gang of bullies. Their knack for rebellion and violence attracts him, but things get ugly for Dong Do when he falls for Yeon Hee (Seo Joo-ah), a beautiful female that’s claimed by the clique.

Updates: Watch the first trailer. 18: Eighteen Noir opens domestically in August 2014.

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Good Guys Wear Black & Force of One: Remastered | DVD (American Cinema)

Good Guys Wear Black & Force of One: Remastered | DVD (American Cinema)

Good Guys Wear Black & Force of One: Remastered | DVD (American Cinema)

RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014

American Cinema presents the DVD Double Feature for Chuck Norris’ Good Guys Wear Black & Force of One: Remastered. In 1978′s Good Guys Wear Black, an ex-US Army commando (Norris) must find the reason why his comrades from his unit are being systematically murdered before he is next. In 1979′s A Force of One, when the detectives of an undercover police unit are being mysteriously killed by a martial artist, a professional kick boxer (Norris) is hired to assist them. This Double Feature also contains over 2 hours of bonus material. Trailers: A Force of One | Good Guys Wear Black

Pre-order Good Guys Wear Black & Force of One: Remastered from Amazon.com today!

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Deal on Fire! Battle Royale: Complete Collection | Blu-ray | Only $12.99 – Expires soon!

"Battle Royale: Complete Collection" Blu-ray Cover

"Battle Royale: Complete Collection" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is Blu-ray for the Battle Royale: The Complete Collection. With the Japanese currently leading the way in thought-provoking cinematic violence, it’s only fitting that Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale is being touted as A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century!

Battle Royale: Complete Collection is a 4-disc collection that includes Battle Royale (Theatrical and Director’s Cut), Battle Royale 2, The Making of Battle Royale, Battle Royale press conference, Instructional Video: Birthday Version, audition, rehearsal footage and much more!

Order Battle Royale: Complete Collection from Amazon.com today!

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Alien: 35th Anniversary Edition | Blu-ray (Fox)

Alien: 35th Anniversary Edition | Blu-ray (Fox)

Alien: 35th Anniversary Edition | Blu-ray (Fox)

RELEASE DATE: October 7, 2014

Fox presents the Blu-ray for Alien: 35th Anniversary Edition, which will contain two different cuts of Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic! The terror begins when the crew of a spaceship investigates a transmission from a desolate planet, and discovers a life form that is perfectly evolved to annihilate mankind.

Alien stars Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Alien: 35th Anniversary Edition from Amazon.com today!

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New North American trailer for Donnie Yen’s ’14 Blades’

14 Blades | Blu-ray & DVD (Anchor Bay)

14 Blades | Blu-ray & DVD (Anchor Bay)

Get ready for the North American debut release of 2010′s 14 Blades, starring Donnie Yen (The Monkey King) and directed by Daniel Lee (White Vengeance).

14 Blades is a kung fu thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and centered on a secret service agent (Yen) in the emperor’s court who is betrayed and then hunted by his colleagues. The film also stars Zhao Wei (Painted Skin 2: The Resurrection), Wu Chun (Assassin’s Blade), Kate Tsui (Eye in the Sky) and Qi Yuwu (The Founding of a Party).

Plot: Trained in clandestine combat from childhood, the Jinyiwei were masters of the 14 Blades. Above the law and with a license to kill, they devoted their lives and lethal prowess to the service of the Emperor alone.

When the Imperial Court is taken over by evil eunuch JIA, the best of the Jinyiwei, Qinglong is assigned to steal a list identifying those still loyal to the Emperor. Unbeknownst to Qinglong, the Jinyiwei have fallen under the control of Jia, and during the mission he’s betrayed and barely escapes with his life.

Now the most wanted man in the land Qinglong must seek out and rally the loyalists to rise against Jia and restore the Emperor to power. In his way are the deadliest assassins in the land, his former brethren, the Jinyiwei.

14 Blades hits theaters & On Demand on August 22nd, followed by a September 2nd Blu-ray & DVD release, which is currently available for pre-order. Don’t miss the new North American trailer!

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Jason Statham-less ‘Transporter’ reboot is coming in 2015

"Transporter 3" Japanese DVD Cover

"Transporter 3" Japanese DVD Cover

According to THR, Luc Besson’s company, EuropaCorp, is prepping a Transporter 4, followed by two more sequels, if 4 is successful. The new set of sequels will focus on the lead character’s origin story, which not only makes it a reboot, but also a prequel.

However, it has been confirmed that Jason Statham will not be reprising the role of Frank Martin. It wasn’t disclosed why Statham isn’t involved, but it’s safe to say that he’s booked with other projects, such as the upcoming Expendables 3, Fast & Furious 7, HeatSusan Cooper and The Mechanic 2.

Well have more news about the Transporter movies as the news comes. Also, be sure to read about the Transporter TV series, which will be airing on TNT this fall.

Updates: Film Combat Syndicate reports that Ed Skrein (Game of Thones) is filling the shoes for Jason Statham in the series of Transporter films.

BREAKING NEWS: Deadline reports that the film’s North American release is slated for March 6th, 2014. Camille Delamarre (Brick Mansions) handles directing duties. The site also has a plot synopsis, which sounds somewhat similar to the original Statham Transporter – much like in that film, Frank will be going up against some human traffickers. Only this time, they’re Russian human traffickers and ‘ol Frank doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter since the client is holding Frank’s father (Ray Stevenson of Punisher: War Zone) hostage.

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Duck, You Sucker | aka A Fistful of Dynamite | Blu-ray (MGM)

Duck, You Sucker | aka A Fistful of Dynamite | Blu-ray (MGM)

Duck, You Sucker | aka A Fistful of Dynamite | Blu-ray (MGM)

RELEASE DATE: October 7, 2014

MGM presents the Blu-ray for 1971′s Duck, You Sucker (aka A Fistful of Dynamite), directed by Sergio Leone (Once Upon A Time in the West). When an IRA explosives expert meets up with a revolutionary bandit in Mexico, he is persuaded to join their cause. Available for the first time on Blu-ray!

Duck, You Sucker stars Rod Steiger, James Coburn and Romolo Valli, with another excellent soundtrack by prolific composer, Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Duck, You Sucker from Amazon.com today!

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George Miller explains the new Max in ‘Mad Max Fury Road’

"Mad Max Fury Road" Teaser Poster

"Mad Max Fury Road" Teaser Poster

THE MOVIE: George Miller (Mad Max Trilogy) returns to the post-apocalyptic-action franchise that put him on the map. Tom Hardy is taking over the role of Max Rockatansky, formerly played by Mel Gibson. Also starring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough and Hugh Keays-Byrne. Note: this will be the first Mad Max to incorporate CG elements.

Updates: Batch of set photos. | Collider reports that Megan Gale – who almost played Wonder Woman in Miller’s cancelled Justice League film – will finally get to team up with the director in Mad Max 4: Fury Road.

Director George Miller finally revealed something of a summary via this official press release. Quote: “Mad Max (Tom Hardy) is caught up with a group of people fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by the Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). This movie is an account of the Road War which follows.” | New set photos. | The first look at Tom Hardy as Max. | Production video| The Playlist reports that Dutch electronic composer and producer Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg) will be doing the soundtrack.

Dark Horizons reports that Tom Hardy is going back for more filming. Here’s what he told Flicks and the City: ”[The movie]‘s great. It’s a big old piece; it’s a behemoth of a piece. I’m off there next week to do some reshoots, well not reshoots actually, but doing more. We’re building, building more Mad Maxes, even more spectacular and cool stuff.” | According to EW, Mad Max 4: Fury Road is set to hit theaters on May 15, 2015. The new theatrical date makes it 30 years since Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome was released. Let’s hope it’ll be worth the wait.

The Sydney Morning Herald recently interviewed George Miller where he debunked rumors of a Mel Gibon cameo. However, he did mention that Max’s famous Interceptor will appear. As far as the movie, here’s what Miller said: ”Our film, luckily after a ridiculous amount of work, is testing extremely well…We’re very happy. There has been a lot of doubt about it, [people saying] ‘it took so long’, but Warners have delayed it until 2015 to go into the top weekend of the year.”

Director George Miller told EW that the film has very few digital effects, intense action, linear story, very little dialogue and “a chase that starts as the movie begins and continues for 110 minutes.” Check out the latest cover of Entertainment Weekly for a Mad Max: Fury Road image, courtesy of EW (via Collider). | New photos from George Miller’s Mad Max Fury Road: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | First poster is here! In addition, here’s the newest official image of Max. | Feast your eyes on 4 action packed posters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Watch the first trailer.

BREAKING NEWS: So, is Tom Hardy playing the same Mad Max, or is it a completely different and new Mad Max? Here’s what George Miller told Collider: “Yes and no. Yes, of course, it’s based on the same character that Mel [Gibson] played… But naturally, Tom brings his Tom Hardy-ness to it. He brings another quality. And the character is different, to some degree, because the story is different. So, it’s a yes and no answer. Yes, it’s different, but no, he’s essentially grown out of the same material.”

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Deal on Fire! Ong-Bak Trilogy | Blu-ray | Only $20.99 – Expires soon!

"Ong-Bak Trilogy" Blu-ray Cover

"Ong-Bak Trilogy" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray set for Tony Jaa’s Ong-Bak Trilogy. This collection includes 2003′s Ong-Bak, 2008′s Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning and 2010′s Ong-Bak 3. The original Ong-Bak broke new ground when it was released in 2003.

According to filmmaker Garath Evans (The Raid 2): “Tony Jaa is a phenomenal talent. Ong Bak was a major announcement to the industry and to audiences that the martial arts genre was back.”

Order the Ong-Bak Trilogy from Amazon.com today!

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Watch the final trailer for ‘Expendables 3′!

"The Expendables 3" Theatrical Poster

"The Expendables 3" Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: The Expendables 2 earned slightly more money than its predecessor at the global box office, even if it wasn’t as successful in America. Sylvester Stallone is currently prepping the third installment of the action-adventure franchise that follows the exploits of Barney Ross, Lee Christmas, and their associates. The Expendables 3 is being directed by Patrick Hughes (Red Hill). The film is due for release on August 15th 2014.

Updates: Stallone has dropped a bombshell via Twitter – Bruce Willis is out of the cast, possibly due to “laziness” and “greed” (as Stallone hinted on Twitter).

After months of rumors, the official (or is it?) cast has finally been announced on this day (August 19th) of the film’s first production shoot in Bulgaria: The returning stars are Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Arnold Schwarzenegger. New members are Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Kellan Lutz, MMA’s Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell and boxing champion Victor Ortiz. To view a full press release, visit Film Combat Syndicate.

New photos from The Expendables 3 set, courtesy of expendablespremiere.com and Leo Camplone. | Teaser trailer. | Expendables Premiere has a pack of new photos featuring Mel Gibson.

All 16 character posters: (click on their names to view): Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Ronda Rousey, Kelsey Grammer, Victor Ortiz, Glen Powell and Kellan Lutz. | The 2nd teaser trailer.

So much for competing with The Raid. According to Collider, Sylvester Stallone confirmed Expendables 3 will be PG-13: “We want to reach as many people as possible… I think we owe it to the next generation,” said Stallone. | Expendables 3 teaser. | Newest trailer and check out the latest banner poster. | New poster is now available. | New TV Spot.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the final trailer!

Posted in News | 55 Comments

The Last Supper | Blu-ray & DVD (Random Media)

The Last Supper | Blu-ray & DVD (Random Media)

The Last Supper | Blu-ray & DVD (Random Media)

RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014

Random Media presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Lu Chuan’s The Last Supper. The story focuses on the famous Hongmen Banquet, which was held in 206 B.C. by one warlord with the express purpose of assassinating his rival.

The Last Supper features an impressive cast, including Yu Liu (Curse of the Golden Flower), Daniel Wu (New Police Story), and Chen Chang (Crouching Tigger, Hidden Dragon). Watch the trailer.

Pre-order The Last Supper from Amazon.com today!

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

Furious Slaughter (1972) Review

"Furious Slaughter" International Theatrical Poster

"Furious Slaughter" International Theatrical Poster

AKA: Super Dragon
Director: Ding Sin Saai
Writer: Ding Sin Saai
Cast: Jimmy Wang Yu, Sally Chen Sha Li, Tin Yau, Ma Kei, Lung Fei, Yee Yuen, Got Siu Bo, Lee Keung, Chai Hau Keung, Chang I Fei, Cheung Yee Kwai, Chui Lap, Gam Man Hei
Running Time: 84 min.

By Matthew Le-feuvre

From many critics’ perspective, Jimmy Wang Yu has always been looked upon as an anomalous, yet significant presence in the Hong Kong film industry. However, for some he’s a plague – even a bourgeois interference constantly trying too capitalize on past glories. For others, he’s an assiduous personality, eager too please his wide legion of followers with daredevil stunts (The Man from Hong Kong/A Man Called Tiger) or lengthy fight arrangements (Beach of the War Gods) only a select few would endeavour. And still, people repudiate the fact that like his (former) contemporary Lo Lieh, Wang Yu was essentially one of the first martial arts actors to grace the jade screen, literally erupting with sword in hand, hacking away at larger-than-life villains and their dominion with flamboyant aplomb.

Indeed, copious amounts of blood, stained dresswear and a heroic exit were perquisite trademarks that thrilled audiences throughout the mid to late sixties until saturation inevitably took root, forcing Wang Yu to reinvent himself with the awesome trendsetter, The Chinese Boxer (1969): a personal project and a cult sensation often regarded as instigating the ‘art of unarmed combat’ mantle for Bruce Lee’s return to Hong Kong. Despite both a limited acting range and accompanying fighting skills, pomp or political intimations has never been Wang Yu’s forte or interest, even though originally groomed under the patriarchal guidance of Chang Cheh. Understandably, he wished for, and pursued his own expression of idealism, at the expense of Japanese culture.

Sadly, alleged personality clashes with the Shaw Brothers resulted in a contractual penalty when rival production, Golden Harvest, dangled a carte blanche contract in front of him. An intelligent and resourceful man, the former swimming champion accepted. The downside, nevertheless, was the condition of involuntary exile to Taiwan, a place, apparently, even the Shaws’ could not legally impose themselves. Either way, creative freedom, as well as supplemental expenditure from Raymond Chow, did retain merits Wang Yu was previously restricted from, given the Shaws’ totalitarian studio system whereby servitude was paramount before personal consideration.

Taiwan, doubly, did not impede Wang Yu from the additional luxury of manoeuvring between independent studios such as: First Films and latterly Lo Wei’s infamous Motion Picture Co. Ltd.; nor did it prevent him from writing, starring and directing The One-Armed Boxer (1971), an impressive tournament picture, obviously designed as an acrimonious final salute to his former employers by amalgamating elements from his two greatly revered contributions: The One-Armed Swordsman (1967) and the aforementioned Chinese Boxer.

Resoundingly effective in spite of its blatancy to weave escapist fantasy with cartoon violence, The One Armed Boxer stylishly became the template mold for future mono-limbed adventures that heavily relied on graphic visuals, than a cohesive storyline: for example, Master of the flying Guillotine, One-Armed Chivalry vs One-Armed Chivalry, One-Armed Swordsman vs the 9 Killers, One-Armed Swordsmen (reuniting with David Chiang) and Return of the Chinese Boxer – were all variations on a theme, often bloated, hackneyed and technically redundant. All, more or less, contained the same support cast in exactly the same roles – basically acting the same!

As for Wang Yu, his physical craft – usually choreographed by Liu Chia Liang or his younger brother, Lau kar Wing – increasingly transposed from slower balletic movements to the dynamic encapsulating, more breathtaking jump kicks and precarious realism – notably the utilization of close proximity implements: tables, stalls, chop sticks or axes became familiar props as much as commonplace vistas/cinematography of Taiwan’s rolling hills, beaches or quarry canyons. However, in some instances, Wang Yu’s performances sank to the level of caricature. This is to be expected, considering the enormous workload schedule he subjected himself too, and by present standards, would simply destroy the modern action man.

Astonishingly in 1972, Wang Yu starred in thirteen pictures, efficaciously ranging from historical epics (Chow Ken) to the pretentiously irrelevant (The Destroyer). Of these, Furious Slaughter was one of those rare treats, if one looks beyond the veneer of conventionality.

[In] directly influenced by Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, Wang Yu, sporting a hat affectation, mysteriously arrives in a no-named town circa 1930′s, where everyone seems to have their own ambitious pursuits concerning capitalism: be it through exploitation, slave trading, gambling or prostitution.

After demonstrating his aerobic prowess on a thuggish rickshaw gang, Wang Yu; who reveals himself as ‘Ma Yuen Chen’ befriends ‘Fat Teddy,’ a subservient coward to the local gang leader, who spends the majority of (his) time in a self recriminatory drunken stupor. However, in his sobriety, inspired by Ma’s courageous actions, he recognizes a hidden strength within and decides to inform Ma on the heinous elements of the town.

Unimpressed, Ma deliberately and sardonically pivets, punches, chops and kicks his way through an echelon of minions, con-men and bodyguards (naturally Japanese); breaks the gambling house using tactics of assertive stoicism, liberates two women from enforced whoredom and daringly humiliates the chief crimelord, Chow Ping Pai. In retaliation, Boss Chow tries to manipulate Ma, which ultimately sets off a domino effect for a heart pounding, tense finale reminiscent of The Boxer from Shantung (1972).

Directed with electric panache, Ding Sin Saai (A Queen’s Ransom) shells out a panoply of visuals to suit Wang Yu’s likable persona. Cynicism is in constant abundance just as everyone is looking out for their own needs: money, face, reputation and power, even a little boy selling strawberries is not exempt from corruption. But it’s a two sided affair; motive is compulsory factor for survival, something Ma cannot always relate to, and at times is unsympathetic too those who may end up suffering worse because of his noble deeds. Question is: will Ma’s indomitable fighting spirit make a difference in an environment fueled by recycling brutality?

Verdict: Concealing important social issues, Furious Slaughter is a fast paced action classic that is both sublime and thought provoking. Often overlooked, this is Wang Yu’s finest hour – oozing coolness, determination and bravado against a myriad of impossibilities (An unnecessary sequel was produced the same year titled The Rebel Boxer, aka Ma Su Chen).

Matthew Le-feuvre’s Rating: 9/10

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Firestorm | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Firestorm | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Firestorm | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Firestorm, starring Andy Lau (Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame). This high-octane action/thriller is set in modern day Hong Kong. It follows Lau as a senior police inspector out to bring a vicious gang of thieves to justice.

Firestorm (read our review) arrives from screenwriter-turned-director Alan Yuen, whose previous script credits include such titles as New Police Story and Shaolin. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Firestorm from Amazon.com today!

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