Deal on Fire! Tom Yum Goong | Blu-ray | Only $9.29 – Expires soon!

"The Protector" (aka Tom Yum Goong) Blu-ray Cover

"The Protector" (aka Tom Yum Goong) Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for The Protector (aka Tom Yum Goong). Tony Jaa reunites with his Ong-Bak director to deliver bone-breaking thrills and amazing gravity-defying action (Daily Star). Packed with incredible fight scenes, mesmerizing muay thai moves, and a jaw-dropping final showdown that pits Jaa against 50 enemies. See it before you see the upcoming Tom Yum Goong 2.

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Arrow Films to release Meiko Kaji exploitation titles on Blu-ray

"Delinquent Girl Boss" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Delinquent Girl Boss" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Arrow Films – a UK distributor known for acquiring cult, exploitation and action titles – will be releasing five classic Meiko Kaji films on Blu-ray later this year. The “Stray Cat Rock” line up includes: Delinquent Girl Boss, Wild Jumbo, Sex Hunter, Machine Animal and Wild Measures ’71.

Arrow Films has received critical praise for their high quality presentations and creative packaging. With titles like The Exterminator, Foxy Brown, Jaguar Lives and Battle Royale under their belt, it’s no wonder why the company is praised by fans and collectors all over the world.

Since Arrow is a UK company, keep in mind that their titles may or may not be region-free, so be sure you have the necessary hardware before purchasing.

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Welcome to the Jungle (2013) Review

"Welcome to the Jungle" Theatrical Poster

"Welcome to the Jungle" Theatrical Poster

Director: Rob Meltzer
Writer: Jeff Kauffman
Cast: Adam Brody, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rob Huebel, Kristen Schaal, Megan Boone, Dennis Haysbert, Aaron Takahashi, Dennis Haysbert, Juan C. Defendini, Kristopher Varenberg, Bianca Bree and Stephanie Lopez
Running Time: 95 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

There are two facts you should know about Welcome to the Jungle before you dive in:

1) It’s not a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. If you’re expecting something like Kickboxer, you’re in for a big surprise. In fact, you may end up hating it.

2) It’s not a Van Damme comedy. It’s more of an ensemble comedy that Van Damme is a part of. If anything, Adam Brody and Rob Huebel have the starring roles. Don’t let the poster fool you.

Rob Meltzer’s Welcome to the Jungle revolves around a group of office workers who find themselves stranded on a desert island when a corporate retreat, led by unhinged former Marine (Van Damme), goes horribly wrong. Now Chris (Brody) and his co-workers must battle nature – and each other – to survive.

Welcome to the Jungle takes ideas from films like Office Space, as well as tidbits from Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now, to make a nicely paced comedy. While decent, it’s no surprise that it didn’t receive a theatrical release. Even if they threw in Seth Rogen and a few million more to the budget, there would still be something missing that would keep it from being a box office contender. But then again, it’s definitely a better movie than The Hangover Part III. Go figure.

As for the Van Damme fans who want to see their hero in a funny movie? I wouldn’t exactly call his comedic talent amazing, but the guy does pull it off naturally. His character is basically a parody of every role he’s played during his heyday. And yes, he does get to show off his martial arts skills, but don’t get up to refill your drink, because you’ll miss it. In the end, kudos to Van Damme for trying something different, as he always does.

As long as you’re okay with the two facts I stated at the beginning of this review, Welcome to the Jungle is worth watching.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 7/10

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Tartan’s beloved ‘Asia Extreme’ label to make a comeback?

"Lady Vengeance" DVD Cover

"Lady Vengeance" DVD Cover

If you’ve been a connoisseur of Asian cinema as far back as 2005, you’re likely to recall the glory days of Palisade Tartan’s ‘Asia Extreme’ label. The beloved DVD series helped introduce a number of now-classic Asian titles – including Oldboy and A Tale of Two Sisters – to the North American market.

Fans were understandably upset when Tartan closed their doors in the States back in 2008. Although the company has issued a few titles on Blu-ray in recent years, including Kim Ki-duk’s The Coast Guard, it’s been nothing like Tartan’s initial deluge, which also gave Shinya Tsukamoto’s 1989 cyber-punk classic Tetsuo: The Iron Man its first proper Stateside release.

Fortunately, it looks like Tartan’s ‘Asia Extreme’ label will be making something of a comeback.

Via Variety, distributor Kino Lorber announced they have acquired North American home entertainment rights to Tartan’s massive library of films, which includes the popular ‘Asia Extreme’ catalog. Lorber plans to exhibit select films theatrically, in addition to proper Blu-ray releases for most titles. Lorber’s deal also includes digital distribution rights, so we may see more ‘Asia Extreme’ titles popping up on Netflix or Amazon. Considering Kino Lorber’s long history of treating genre films with the respect they deserve, this acquisition can only be good news for us Asian film buffs.

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Deal on Fire! The Assassins | Blu-ray | Only $9.96 – 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. This action film stars Chow Yun Fat and is written by the screenwriter behind Zhang Yimou’s Hero. The story focuses on Cao Cao in his old age, exploring the areas of military tactics, love, and the relationship between father and son.

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Asian Crush delivers streaming Hong Kong Retro Cinema

Asian Retro Cinema now streaming on Amazon.com

Asian Retro Cinema now streaming on Amazon.com

Tired of the new and want the old? Currently on Amazon.com is a string of Hong Kong Retro Cinema flicks from Asian Crush – all remastered and subtitled. Titles include John Woo’s Last Hurrah for Chivalry, Lau Ching Wan’s Return to a Better Tomorrow, Stephen Chow’s Fight Back to School and many more!

Asian Crush also has a variety of newer films, including ones from Korea and Japan. Many of the movies are available FREE if you’re an Amazon Prime member (Free trial). To view the full list of films from Asian Crush, click here.

Love it or hate it, streaming movies are here to stay. Of course, there’s nothing like owning hardcopies of your favorite films, so make it a priority to purchase Blu-ray & DVDs every chance you get. End of commercial. =)

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Deal on Fire! Confession of Murder | Blu-ray | Only $9.96 – Expires soon!

Confession of Murder | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Confession of Murder | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Jeong Byeong-gil’s Confession of Murder, available at a special $9.96 pre-order price! The film is about a police officer who is haunted for failing to capture a serial killer 15 years ago, and is back on the case after a novelist publishes the book “I am the Murderer,” claiming responsibility for the crimes. Starring Jung Jae-young and Park Si-hoo. Watch the trailer.

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Watch the trailer for Steven Seagal’s ‘Dark Vengeance’

"Dark Vengeance" Movie Poster

"Dark Vengeance" Movie Poster

Why go straight-to-DVD when you can go straight-to-Redbox? That’s right. Steven Seagal’s Dark Vengeance will be making its debut to Redbox on February 27th. And, not to mislead you, but Dark Vengeance isn’t exactly a new “movie” per se – it’s actually two episodes of Seagal’s TV series True Justice merged together to make a 90-minute (or so) presentation, hence the trailer.

Here’s the plot according to Expendables Premiere: Seattle’s darkest criminals force Elijah Kane (Steven Seagal) and his hard knuckled team work around the clock to track down a meticulous “Black Magic”-practicing killer in the vagrant strip club underworld.

Dark Vengeance also stars Tzi Ma (Rapid Fire, Rush Hour), who will be appearing in Seagal’s next movie, A Good Man.

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Gina Carano wants revenge in the first trailer for ‘In the Blood’!

"In the Blood" Theatrical Poster

"In the Blood" Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: When her husband goes missing during their Caribbean vacation, a woman (Gina Carano) sets off on her own to take down the men she thinks are responsible. In the Blood is directed by John Stockwell (Into the Blue) and stars Gina Carano, Stephen Lang, Luis Guzman, Amaury Nolasco, Cam Gigandet, Danny Trejo, Treat Williams, Ismael Cruz Cordova and Yvette Yates.

Updates: “This role will showcase not only Gina’s fighting skills, but also her acting abilities as her character struggles to reign in her violent past,” Stockwell tells THR. | According to THR, Anchor Bay has North American rights. The film will have a limited theatrical/VOD release on April 4th 2014, followed by a June 3rd Blu-ray/DVD release.

If you’re a Gina Carano fan, be sure to read about her other in-development films, which include an untitled “female Expendables” movie, as well as an appearance in The Silent Flute, which was written by Bruce Lee.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the film’s first trailer!

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Raze | DVD (MPI Home Video)

"Raze" Theatrical Poster

"Raze" Theatrical Poster

RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2014

MPI Home Video presents the DVD for Josh C. Waller’s Raze, a horror/action film, that focuses on a bunch of women who are forced to fight each other using their bare hands. The film stars Zoe Bell (Death Proof, Kill Bill), Rachel Nichols (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), Sherilyn Fenn (Fist of the Warrior) Rosario Dawson (Death Proof) and Tracie Thoms (Death Proof). Watch the trailer. Raze is currently available now through Amazon’s Instant Video service.

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Universal releases 2nd wave of Limited Edition ‘Illustrated’ Steel Book movies on Blu-ray

Universal's 2nd Wave of Limited Edition Steel Book Titles

Universal's 2nd Wave of Limited Edition Steel Book Titles

For DVD and Blu-ray companies, times are getting a little rough. With streaming, cloud storage and digital downloading becoming more and more popular, studios are thinking of ways to give the consumer “extra added value” when it comes to their physical movie catalog. Whether it’s packing a double, triple or quadruple feature onto a single disc or offering extras exclusively on Blu-ray or DVD, it’s apparent they’re doing everything they can to compete with virtual media.

One company is putting a creative spin by offering something that will look just as good on your shelf as it does on your big screen TV.

Back in June 25th 2013, Universal released a series of Limited Edition titles in newly packaged in a Steel Book casing with impressive comic book-like illustrations. Although this wasn’t exactly a new idea, this was the first time it was done to 16 titles on a single release date.

Now, Universal has just announced their 2nd wave of Limited Edition ‘Illustrated’ Steel Book movies on Blu-ray. Click here for the pre-order list.

Some will say this is a greedy move (“double dipping”) by Universal; others – say, die hard movie collectors – won’t think twice about spending money on a movie they may already own. And for those who are buying the movie for the first time, more power to you. Whatever the case, you can’t deny that the artwork is impressive.

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Deal on Fire! Apokalips X | Blu-ray | Only $9.96 – Expires soon!

"Apokalips X" Blu-ray Cover

"Apokalips X" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Mamat Khalid’s Apokalips X. This anticipated Malaysian-made martial arts film – about rival gangs who fight for pride and ego in a world destroyed by chemical warfare – stars Farid Kamil, Peter Davis, Jehan Miskin, Adam AF2, Iqram Dinzly, Pekin Ibrahim, Pyan Habib and Ayez Shaukat Fonseka. Watch the trailer.

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First look at the new ‘Agent 47′ (aka ‘Hitman 2′)

"Hitman" (2007) Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Hitman" (2007) Japanese Theatrical Poster

Deadline reports that Fox is rebooting Hitman, a live action film adaptation of the hit video game, which will be titled Agent 47. Paul Walker (Running Scared, The Fast and the Furious) was previously set to star as Agent 47, but due to his untimely passing, Rupert Friend (Homeland), has been attached as the film’s lead.

Skip Woods (A Good Day to Die Hard) and Michael Finch (Predators) are writing the screenplay. Making his big screen directing debut will be Aleksander Bach, who was hired based on his commercials (see his work here).

According to Wikipedia, the video game series revolves around Agent 47 (usually simply referred to as “47″ or “Mr. 47″), a cloned assassin-for-hire, whose flawless record places him in high demand among the wealthy and elite.

2007′s Hitman movie adaptation starred Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47, Dougray Scott and Olga Kurylenko. Although the film wasn’t a critical success, it grossed $100 million worldwide. | Collider reports that Zachary Quinto, known for playing Spock in the Star Trek reboots, has joined the film.

BREAKING NEWS: Here’s the new Agent 47, as played by Rupert Friend, courtesy of IGN.

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Deal on Fire! True Legend | Blu-ray | Only $9.14 – Expires soon!

"True Legend" Blu-ray Cover

"True Legend" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for the Yuen Woo Ping drunken fighting-themed flick True Legend (read our review), with Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), David Carradine (Kill Bill), Jay Chou (The Green Hornet), Cung Le (Dragon Eyes), and Vincent Zhao (Wu Dang).

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Death Grip | DVD (Osiris Entertainment)

Death Grip | DVD (Osiris Entertainment)

Death Grip | DVD (Osiris Entertainment)

RELEASE DATE: March 11, 2014

Osiris Entertainment presents the DVD for Death Grip. This 2012 martial arts picture stars Johnny Yong Bosch, a former star of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, as well as Contour director Eric Jacobus and Stunt People members Nathan Hoskins, Rebecca Ahn, Ray Carbonel, Chelsea Steffensen, Alvin Hsing, Shaun Finney, and Lucas Okuma. Watch the trailer.

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Deal on Fire! Mulan: Rise of a Warrior | Blu-ray | Only $9.96 – Expires soon!

Mulan: Rise of a Warrior | Blu-ray & DVD (Funimation)

Mulan: Rise of a Warrior | Blu-ray & DVD (Funimation)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (aka Mulan), directed by Jingle Ma. Mulan (Vicky Zhao Wei), a young girl from a military family without a male heir, disguises herself as a male soldier rather than expose her aging father to the horrors of the battlefield. As the invading armies close in, her remarkable courage and insight elevate her to the position of a true leader. Watch the trailer.

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Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock join forces for ‘The Martial Arts Kid’

"The Martial Arts Kid" Teaser Poster

"The Martial Arts Kid" Teaser Poster

Martial arts stars Don “The Dragon” Wilson (The Whole World at Our Feet) and Cynthia Rothrock (No Retreat, No Surrender II) have announced a new project called The Martial Arts Kid, which will also mark the first film of TraditionZ Movie 1 LLC – a subsidiary to Wilson’s TraditionZ clothing line - in association with MASBTV.

Producers for the movie include Cheryl Wheeler Duncan (martial artist noted for her stunt work on Point of No Return and Lethal Weapon 4) and James Wilson, former trainer and brother of Don. Michael Baumgarten and Adam W. Marsh (Monster Mountain) have been hired to write the film.

Shooting is expected to begin around March in such locations as Cocoa Beach, Florida and Los Angeles, California.

Back in 2012, we reported news of another Wilson/Rothrock movie called White Tiger, which also starred Matt Mullins, Thai actress Yui and the late Joe Lewis, which will hopefully be released soon. Another project of Wilson’s is the proposed B-Team, which could be best decribed as a “straight-to-video” Expendables. The two movies that Wilson appears in that are completed (or at least in post-production phase) is the Kazakhstan-produced film The Whole World at Our Feet and the 4th part of the The Scorpion King saga. | Wilson has recently announced that he’s looking into making a historic martial arts movie. Click here for details.

Update: The film’s official plot has been revealed: “A troubled teen from Detroit begins to learn martial arts when he moves to a Florida beach town to live with his aunt (Rothrock) and uncle (Wilson)”. To hear more about The Martial Arts Kid, check out our recent interview with Don “The Dragon” Wilson.

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John ‘Die Hard’ McTiernan is back in action with ‘Red Squad’ – new promo poster!

"Predator" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Predator" Japanese Theatrical Poster

John McTiernan – the legendary action director behind Die Hard, PredatorThe Hunt for Red October and Die Hard with A Vengeance – is currently serving his last month in a federal prison for the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping scandal. Upon his release, he has already landed the duties of directing a mercenary thriller called Red Squad.

According to Variety, Red Squad centers on a former DEA agent with a rogue streak and his select team of mercenaries who descend upon a Mexican border town to neutralize a drug lord. The story is written by Cannon and Jorge Suarez (The Scratch).

No casting information has been revealed, but production is slated to begin this Spring. Now, someone needs to start a petition for McTiernan to direct Die Hard 6!

Updates: Check out the new promo poster for Red Squad, courtesy of Collider.

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Deal on Fire! Little Big Soldier | Blu-ray | Only $8.78 – Expires soon!

"Little Big Soldier" Blu-ray Cover

"Little Big Soldier" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Little Big Soldier, starring Jackie Chan and Leehom Wang. Directed and written by Ding Sheng (director of the upcoming Police Story 2013), Litte Big Soldier (read our review) is definitely one of the most solid Jackie Chan flicks of the last 10 years. I know we’re all sick of period films (especially one titled Little Big Solider), but trust me, this is a great movie!

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Believe what you want, but Steven Seagal really is ‘A Good Man’

"A Dangerous Man" Japanese Poster

"A Dangerous Man" Japanese Poster

Get ready for an upcoming Steven Seagal action flick titled A Good Man (not to be confused with A Dangerous Man). Seagal re-teams with director/producer Keoni Waxman (Force of Execution) for the 5th time. This time around, Tzi Ma (Rapid Fire, Rush Hour, Dark Vengeance), Victor Webster and Massimo Dobrovic are co-starring.

Here’s the official plot: Alexander (Seagal) is the perfect soldier but when a little girl dies while on a mission, he retires. Huang is an enforcer for the Chinese Triad, paying off his little sister Mya’s safe passage to the US. When the nefarious Mr. Chen sets up Huang to take the fall for murders he committed, he also kidnaps Mya and hands her over to the mob. Alexander decides to help Sam get his sister back!

We’re 100% sure A Good Man will be a straight-to-DVD title, so check back with us for the film’s street date, as well as its trailer. Stay tuned!

Update: Just a quick semi-related update. Steven Seagal’s Dark Vengeance will be making its debut to Redbox on February 27th. The film also stars A Good Man co-star, Tzi Ma. For trailer and details, click here.

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New trailer for Ken Watanabe’s Japanese remake of ‘The Unforgiven’

"Yurusarezaru Mono" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Yurusarezaru Mono" Japanese Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Ready for a remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1992 western The Unforgiven? The upcoming remake will star The Last Samurai’s Ken Watanabe, and will be directed by Lee Sang-il, a Korean filmmaker who gained critical acclaim for 2010’s Villain (aka Akunin), which swept the actor awards at the 2011 Japan Academy Prize ceremony. The remake, which will also star Akira Emoto and Koichi Sato, is to be titled Yurusarezaru Mono (Japanese for “unforgiven”).

1992’s The Unforgiven revolves around a retired outlaw (Eastwood) who takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Updates: Watch the first trailer and now the second teaser. | The english-subtitled trailer is now available.

BREAKING NEWS: A new UK trailer has been released.

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Deal on Fire! Bond 50: 23-Film James Bond Set | Blu-ray | Only $119.99 – Expires soon!

"Bond 50" Blu-ray Set

"Bond 50" Blu-ray Set

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Bond 50 Blu-ray Box Set. It comes with every official Bond film made (from Dr. No to Skyfall), plus extras and a nifty book. That’s about $5 bucks a movie. If you prefer to buy the movies individually, many of the titles are currently available at a discount price!

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Deal on Fire! Iron Monkey | Blu-ray | Only $7.96 – Expires soon!

"Iron Monkey" Blu-ray Cover

"Iron Monkey" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Yuen Woo-ping’s Iron Monkey. The film is a fictionalized account of folk hero Wong Fei-hung (Sze-Man Tsang) and his father Wong Kei-ying (Donnie Yen), and their encounter with Iron Monkey (Yu Rongguang). Iron Monkey is ranked in Empire’s “The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema” in 2010. So, what are you waiting for?

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New trailer for ‘Love Like Bullets’ starring Johnny Yong Bosch

"Hellbinders" Movie Poster

"Hellbinders" Movie Poster

A new trailer for the upcoming action film Love Like Bullets, has just been released. The much anticipated film stars martial artist Johnny Yong Bosch (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Death Grip), who also provided the film’s original soundtrack, with his band Eyeshine. Love Like Bullets is directed by David Wald (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Hellbinders), who also happens to be a distinguished action coordinator and stunt man.

Here’s the official description: Love Like Bullets is a stylish and pulse-pounding shoot’em-up in the vein of True Romance meets The Professional. Set in the Los Angeles underworld, a hired assassin risks his life to protect a beautiful young prostitute who has captured his heart.

Thanks to Film Combat Syndicate for breaking the news. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more. Until then, be sure to check out the trailer.

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Brian Trenchard-Smith makes Cusack and Jane ‘Drive Hard’

"The Man from Hong Kong" International Theatrical Poster

"The Man from Hong Kong" International Theatrical Poster

Ozploitation director Brian Trenchard-Smith, known for cult Australian films like BMX Bandits and The Man From Hong Kong, is back with an oddity called Drive Hard.

Surprisingly, this action-comedy stars John Cusack and Thomas Jane – two names you wouldn’t expect winding up in a Trenchard-Smith flick. The trailer for the film is definitely cheese ball, B-movie status; but hopefully, with a skilled cult film director like Trenchard-Smith at the helm, there’s a possibility that Drive Hard might be awesome in its own unique way.

Here’s the official plot: American thief, Keller (Cusack), arrives in a foreign country in need of a getaway driver. Rather than recruit one from the underworld, he takes a driving lesson from ex F-1 champion, Roberts (Jane), now working as a driving instructor. After Keller robs a bank during the lesson, Roberts has no choice, but to use his driving talent to get away from pursuing police and mobsters.

Without further ado, here’s the trailer.

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Sword Stained with Royal Blood, The (1993) Review

"The Sword Stained with Royal Blood" Theatrical Poster

"The Sword Stained with Royal Blood" Theatrical Poster

Director: Cheung Hoi-ching
Writer: Cheung Hoi-ching, Wai San
Producer: Cheung Hoi-ching
Cast: Yuen Biao, Yip Chuen-chan, Sharla Cheung, Danny Lee, Anita Yuen, Elizabeth Lee, Ng Man-tat, Helen Ma, Wu Ma, Elvis Tsui, Pauline Wong, Melvin Wong, Tai Bo, Peter Chan
Running Time: 95 min.

By JJ Hatfield

In a temple along the edge of a quiet river, men have gathered to mourn the tragic death of their beloved leader Marshall Yuen, and to swear vengeance upon all those who plotted his violent demise. Without warning, a flurry of arrows fills the air followed by the screams of the injured and dying. Ambushed and outnumbered, Yuen’s troops fall quickly under the attack until the sudden appearance of a mysterious and mighty fighter, who bears an exquisite sword of unearthly power.

The scene shifts to the young Constable Yuen Ching Shi (Yuen Biao) going about his business when he comes across a mischievous young woman (Cheung Man), who has been caught in highway robbery. Although this was not in his plans, he must escort her to jail and assure she has a fair trial. Being a very dedicated officer of the law, he would do no less. Before they even begin the journey, the air erupts in an enormous battle with combatants popping up everywhere. Opponents that move underground, women who fight with spider hooks and ‘spiderwebs’, a literal army of fighters using every imaginable sort of spear and sword and even the great fighter with the most unusual weapon, Golden Snake Man himself (Danny Lee) are only a few of the colorful characters involved in the frantic conflict. There are so many people fighting in fact it is nearly impossible to determine exactly what is going on, but by the time it is over, Ching Shi has inadvertently come between fierce opposing forces, none interested in justice.

Ching Shi has the most unusual of experiences as he encounters Ha Suet-Yee, the Golden Snake Man and doesn’t die. The fact that he lived was indeed unusual as the Golden Snake Man was not in the habit of leaving those who had seen him alive. Through several encounters, Golden Snake Man begins to develop respect for the honest and sincere server of justice, but remains a dangerous unknown with his magnificent sword his only friend.

Ching Shi and his prisoner make it to Wan castle only to encounter more disturbing events. Wan’s daughter, Ching-Ching, tells them of the terrible state of the castle. Rumors have reached the court the Golden Snake Man is on his way to destroy the Wan family and every one in the Wan castle is anxious and fearful. There are great internal struggles in the family of Lord Wan (Elvis Tsui) and there are even those among his own close relatives who seek to lay the blame of bad fortunes on Lord Wan’s wife Siu Yi (Elizabeth Lee). The situation grows dire as lies and deceit begin to show on all sides surrounding Ching Shi like rising water on an island.

Yuen Biao (Righting Wrongs) as Yuen Ching Shi is onscreen often considering how many actors are in the cast. His fighting is of the fantasy variety and very little of the realistic martial arts and acrobatics, this is a magical realm where characters often have supernatural abilities. Ching Shi is noble, brave, intelligent and excels in martial arts and sword fighting. But he also has a kind and gentle side (he even pets one of Ching-Ching’s birds). He takes his responsibilities as a Constable and bringing those who do wrong to justice quite seriously. But more than that, more than just doing his job, he has an innate and genuine sense of justice. He would fight for the innocent, and against those who would do harm even if it were not his job.

Danny Lee (The Killer)  seems a bit out of his element in the role of the Golden Snake Man, however he has been in fantasy type movies before including Inframan and The Mighty Peking Man. Lee’s portrayal of the deeply troubled martial artist with the amazing sword is strong in places but struggles when it comes to showing normal human emotions. Nightmares from his past haunt him. His rage is barely covered and bursts forth unpredictably. He is unrelenting in his pursuit of retribution and revenge, it is always on his mind his sword ever ready to strike. Golden Snake Man is capable of other feelings but he keeps fury and and never ending thirst for requital close to his heart.

The screen version of the wuxia novel Sword Stained With Royal Blood is one of three movies and four TV series based on the heroic fantasy themed novel by Louis Cha Liang Yong, using the pen name Jin Yong. He founded his own newspaper, the Ming Pao Daily and serialized his work. Wuxia novels or wuxia xiaoshao are enormously popular in China and other Asian countries, and were discovered by western audiences greatly due to the Shaw Brothers in the 1960′s and 1970′s; and the genre is still quite popular with films such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Wuxia are long, involved and with many characters. Most films are loosely based on the original story and because of length cannot include much of the novel. However, that hasn’t stopped movie makers from continuing to use wuxia as essentially plot. Wuxia stories are full of fascinating characters of all sort and prominently feature principles of honor, loyalty, love, as well as revenge, betrayal and hate.

Cheung Hoi-Ching directed produced, and co-authored the script with Wai San. While he did attempt to carry through the story his direction seems to have lost its way. The pace is uneven with a big chunk of action, then sometimes confusing exposition then more action. The editing overall rates less than average to poor. The film is obviously under-cranked in more than a few scenes, the cuts are abrupt and jerky especially when the camera is going from action to drama. Even with the flaws, and there are more than a few, Sword Stained With Royal Blood is a good view. There have been numerous films based on wuxia novels and the early 1990′s was an especially prolific period. With a huge cast of characters, plot twists, multiple sub-plots, changing schemes and allegiances and the focus heavy on heroism, honesty, and the relationship of ‘brothers,’ this wuxia film moves along quickly. Grand themes that are spoken of only briefly at times but are represented by a person, objects, places and in the larger than life sword-fights.

What makes this wuxia worth watching? While most would never give this ten stars, it has such rapid introduction of new characters with different powers, skills, and motives, there is not much time for boredom. A few of the more interesting include the Five Poison Sect, made up of women with Jade Ho (Anita Yuen) as the leader. The sect has such mastery of moving through the air, they can seem almost as if flying. As the name suggests, the women have mastered the use of potions and poisons in many forms. Master Wu is a Manchurian highly skilled with a sword and with other talents as well, help shape the story. A mysterious blind man who appears throughout the movie desperate to complete his mission. Even with all the characters and the near constant, sometimes manic, action; it is the evolving relationship between the Constable and the Golden Snake Man that establishes how strongly ethics and the relationship of ‘brothers’ is to the story. Quick paced wuxia action.

JJ Hatfield’s Rating: 6.5/10

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Zhang Yimou to direct spy thriller from ‘Bourne’ writer?

"The Parsifal Mosaic" Book Cover

"The Parsifal Mosaic" Book Cover

Collider reports that Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of the Flying Daggers) is in talks to direct The Parsifal Mosaic, a spy thriller based off the 1982 novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum (Bourne Identity novel series). At this time, there are currently no other names attached to the project.

Here’s a partial novel description (no spoilers), courtesy of Amazon.com: After Agent Havelock watches his partner and lover – double agent Jenna Karas – gunned down by his own agency, he’s decides to quit the agency. Then, in one frantic moment in Rome, he sees Jenna alive. Racing around the globe in search of his beautiful betrayer, he now finds himself marked for death by both U.S. and Russian assassins.

We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.

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Deal on Fire! The Crow | Blu-ray | Only $4.75 – Expires soon!

The Crow: Deluxe Edition Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

The Crow: Deluxe Edition Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

Today’s Deal on Fire is Blu-ray for Alex Proyas’ The Crow, starring the late Brandon Lee. Visually striking, action packed and ahead of its time, this revenge/love story – based on the James O’Barr comic book of the same name – contains scenes that still bring chills to my spine. It’s no Laser Mission, but it’s still pretty good!

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Malaysian martial arts flick ‘Apokalips X’ gets a Blu-ray release

Apokalips X | DVD (Action Slate)

Apokalips X | DVD (Action Slate)

Film Combat Syndicate (via Twitch) reports that a new trailer for Mamat Khalid’s Apokalips X is now available. The Malaysian-made martial arts film – about rival gangs who fight for pride and ego in a world destroyed by chemical warfare – stars Farid Kamil, Peter Davis, Jehan Miskin, Adam AF2, Iqram Dinzly, Pekin Ibrahim, Pyan Habib and Ayez Shaukat Fonseka.

Action Slate will be releasing the film on Blu-ray & DVD on April 22, 2014. Until then, you can check out the new trailer.

Updates: Amazon now has the Apokalips X Blu-ray and DVD up for a April 22, 2014 pre-order.

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Deal on Fire! Expendables 2 | Blu-ray | Only $7.88 – Expires soon!

"The Expendables 2" Blu-ray Cover

"The Expendables 2" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for The Expendables 2. Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Norris, Van Damme, Willis and Schwarzenegger. It may not be the greatest movie, but with a cast like this, who cares? Besides, this edition is filled with kick-ass bonus features including behind-the-scenes featurettes along with audio commentary with the director, a gag reel, deleted scenes and more!

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