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

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

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

RELEASE DATE: December 23, 2014

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

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

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

Pre-order The Traffickers from Amazon.com today!

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

"Ip Man" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Ip Man" Japanese Theatrical Poster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: December 23, 2014

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

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

Pre-order 7 Assassins from Amazon.com today!

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Swelter (2014) Review

"Swelter" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Swelter" Japanese Theatrical Poster

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

By Kyle Warner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 5.5

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

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

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

RELEASE DATE: January 27, 2015

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

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

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

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

"Ghost in the Shell" Anime Theatrical Poster

"Ghost in the Shell" Anime Theatrical Poster

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

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

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

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

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

"Hansel and Gretel" Blu-ray Cover

"Hansel and Gretel" Blu-ray Cover

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

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

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

Order Hansel and Gretel from Amazon.com today!

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

"Mission Terminate" Dutch VHS Cover

"Mission Terminate" Dutch VHS Cover

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

By Paul Bramhall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 7/10

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

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

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

RELEASE DATE: January 6, 2015

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

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

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

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

"As God Says" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"As God Says" Japanese Theatrical Poster

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

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

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

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

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

"The Scorpion King 4" Blu-ray Cover

"The Scorpion King 4" Blu-ray Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Crows Zero" Blu-ray Cover

"Crows Zero" Blu-ray Cover

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

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

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

Order from Crows Zero Amazon.com today!

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American Muscle (2014) Review

"American Muscle" Theatrical Poster

"American Muscle" Theatrical Poster

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

By Dirac

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirac’s Rating: 2/10

Posted in Cults & Classics, News, Reviews | 1 Comment

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

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

7 Assassins | DVD (Lionsgate)

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

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

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

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

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

"Zombie Fight Club" Theatrical Poster

"Zombie Fight Club" Theatrical Poster

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

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

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

Update: Watch the newest trailer for Zombie Fight Club.

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1st trailer for Tony Jaa and Dolph Lundgren’s ‘Skin Trade’

"Skin Trade" Promotional Poster

"Skin Trade" Promotional Poster

THE MOVIE: When a tough-as-nails New York cop finds his family murdered by a drug kingpin, he swears revenge and hops on a plane to pursue their killer to Bangkok. Once in the seedy Thai underworld, he teams up with a local detective to bust heads and right what has been wronged.

While this may sound like a familiar set-up for a buddy/cop movie, action buffs should be pleased to hear that this movie will unite Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) as the NYC cop with Tony Jaa (Ong-Bak) as the Thai detective!

You may recall that Dolph and Tony made something of a deal: Dolph would star in a Thai movie with Tony – the currently filming A Man Will Riseand then Tony would make the trip to America to shoot a movie with Dolph. Now we know that American film is Skin Trade.

Update: Twitch relays news from Dolph’s Instagram account – Beautiful Boxer director Ekachai Uekrongtham will helm Skin Trade. The film is based on a screenplay written by Dolph Lundgren, with another draft from Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning filmmaker John Hyams. | Promotional poster. | Film Combat Syndicate has an interview with Tony Jaa, where he talks about Skin Trade, Tom Yum Goong 2, Fast and Furious 7 and much more! | Michael Jai White (Never Back Down) and Ron Pearlman (Drive) have joined the cast.

There are some circulating reports that Peter Weller (RoboCop) and possibly Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (Mortal Kombat) have joined the cast. Also, check out a photo of Lundgren and Jaa, during a traditional blessing ceremony. | Film Combat Syndicate has a few set action-oriented set photos. | Action shots from the set, which hints that there will be a duel between Tony Jaa and Dolph Lundgren. | More shots from the movie, featuring Michael Jai White. | New teaser montage.

BREAKING NEWS: The wait is finally over. The official trailer is here…!

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Well Go USA releases two more Shaw Brothers titles!

Well Go USA releases two more Shaw Brothers titles!

Well Go USA releases two more Shaw Brothers titles!

Good news for old school martial arts fans! Well Go USA has announced two more additions to their Sword Masters series (Well Go’s own line of classic Shaw Brothers titles):

The first is 1979′s The Shadow Boxing (aka The Spiritual Boxer 2), not to be confused with 1974′s The Shadow Boxer, which was also released by Well Go USA in 2009. Directed by Lau Kar Leung, this kung fu “comedy” stars Wong Yu, Gordon Liu Chia Hui and Lau Kar Wing; The second is Chang Cheh’s Trail of the Broken Blade. This 1967 classic stars Jimmy Wang Yu, Chin Ping, Kiu Chong, Lisa Chiao Chiao and Wu Ma.

You can now pre-order both titles, which will be released on December 9th, 2014.

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The Shadow Boxing | DVD (Well Go USA)

The Shadow Boxing | DVD (Well Go USA)

The Shadow Boxing | DVD (Well Go USA)

RELEASE DATE: December 9, 2014

Well Go USA presents the DVD for 1979′s The Shadow Boxing (aka The Spiritual Boxer 2), not to be confused with 1974′s The Shadow Boxer, which was also released by Well Go USA in 2009. Now’s your chance to own this classic Shaw Brother’s gem!

Directed by Lau Kar Leung (Drunken Master II), this kung fu “comedy” stars Wong Yu (Shaolin Executioner), Gordon Liu Chia Hui (Shaolin Mantis) and Lau Kar Wing (The Dragon Family).

Pre-order The Shadow Boxing from Amazon.com today!

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Trail of the Broken Blade | DVD (Well Go USA)

Trail of the Broken Blade | DVD (Well Go USA)

Trail of the Broken Blade | DVD (Well Go USA)

RELEASE DATE: December 9, 2014

Well Go USA presents the DVD for Trail of the Broken Blade, directed by Chang Cheng (Chinatown Kid, Five Element Ninjas), one of Shaw Brothers Studio’s best known and most prolific film directors!

This 1967 classic stars Jimmy Wang Yu (Man Called Tiger), Chin Ping (Killer Darts), Lisa Chiao Chiao (Seven Warriors), Paul Wei Ping Ao (Way of the Dragon) and Wu Ma (White Vengeance).

Pre-order Trail of the Broken Blade from Amazon.com today!

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Cityonfire.com’s ‘Raw Force’ Blu-ray Giveaway! – WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

"Raw Force" Blu-ray Cover

"Raw Force" Blu-ray Cover

Cityonfire.com and Vinegar Syndrome are giving away 3 Blu-ray copies of Raw Force (aka Kung Fu Cannibals) to three lucky Cityonfire visitors. If you’ve never heard of it, watch the trailer.

To enter, simply add a comment to this post with your answer to the following question: What’s your favorite exploitation/grindhouse flick from the ’70s? Please explain why. We will be selecting a winner at random. Be sure to include your email address in the appropriate field so we can contact you for your home address. Additionally, you must ‘Like Us‘ on cityonfire.com’s Facebook by clicking here.

The Blu-ray & DVD for Raw Force was officially released on October 7, 2014. We will announce the 3 winners on October 20, 2014 and ship out the prizes immediately.

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by October 19, 2014 to qualify. U.S. residents only please. We sincerely apologize to our non-U.S. visitors. Winners must respond with their mailing address within 48 hours, otherwise you will automatically be disqualified. No exceptions. Contest is subject to change without notice.

CONGRATULATIONS: Adam A., Glincy A. and Stefan. You have been notified via email!

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Deal on Fire! The Deadly Duo | Blu-ray | Only $9.99 – Expires soon!

"The Deadly Duo" Blu-ray Cover

"The Deadly Duo" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for 1971′s The Deadly Duo, directed by Chang Cheh (Five Element Ninjas),

It’s the Sung Dynasty versus the Chin invaders as David Chiang (New One-Armed Swordsman) and Ti Lung (The Pirate) truly hit their stride with this crowd-pleasing kung fu epic. When a handsome prince is taken captive and guarded by a martial arts master, it’s up to two powerful patriots to fight overwhelming odds. From the first fascinating minute to the final desperate battle to the death, culminating in an unforgettably evocative conclusion – this duo is dynamic as well as deadly.

Order The Deadly Duo from Amazon.com today!

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The Expendables 3: Theatrical & Unrated | Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

The Expendables 3: Theatrical & Unrated | Blu-ray & DVD (Lionsgate)

The Expendables 3: Theatrical & Unrated | Blu-ray & DVD (Lionsgate)

RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2014

Lionsgate presents the Blu-ray The Expendables 3, which will include the never-before-seen unrated edition of the film – featuring more action, more explosions, more fights – and a higher body count – everything fans have come to love in the franchise!

Extras: Documentary; Featurettes: “New Blood: Stacked and Jacked” and “The Total Action Package”; Extended Scene; Gag Reel; Unrated Edition (131 minutes); and the Theatrical Version (126 minutes).

Pre-order The Expendables 3 from Amazon.com today!

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

Extremely rare ‘The Big Boss Part II’ is coming to Los Angeles

"The Big Boss Part II" Thai Theatrical Poster

"The Big Boss Part II" Thai Theatrical Poster

Unless someone has the movie mixed up with Dragon Lee’s similarly-titled The Big Boss 2 (also known as Dragon Fights Again, which has nothing to do with the original The Big Boss), the search for Lo Lieh’s extremely rare The Big Boss Part II, one of the most sought after kung fu titles ever, may be over.

The Big Boss Part II - a 1976 unofficial sequel to the 1971 Bruce Lee classic, The Big Boss – will be hitting the big screen in Los Angeles, California at Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema on October 14th. In addition to Lo Lieh (Five Fingers of Death), this “lost classic” also stars Bruce Le (Enter the Game of Death) and Michael Chan Wai Man (The Handcuff).

The Big Boss Part II (trailer) will be playing back-to-back with the original The Big Boss. If you live in the Los Angeles area, don’t miss it!  – Thanks to Iron Flag for the story

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Snowpiercer (2013) Review

"Snowpiercer" Theatrical Poster

"Snowpiercer" Theatrical Poster

Director: Bong Joon-ho
Writer: Kelly Masterson, Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Ah-sung Ko
Running Time: 126 min.

By Kyle Warner

In 2013, three of South Korea’s top directors stepped onto a bigger stage with their English-language feature film debuts. Jee-woon Kim (I Saw the Devil) went the big studio route with the Arnold Schwarzenegger comeback actioner The Last Stand. Enjoyable but immediately forgettable, the film barely showed any of the style or verve we’ve come to expect from Kim’s films. Chan-wook Park (Oldboy) went the independent route with the dark drama Stoker. It’s far from one of Park’s best films, but every scene and every frame is unmistakably Chan-wook Park. My favorite of the three, Joon-ho Bong (The Host), didn’t go far from home, as his film Snowpiercer was produced by CJ Entertainment, allowing him more flexibility to make his movie his way outside of the Hollywood system… It was only when the film was ready to make its US debut that it ran into problems.

The Weinstein Company bought the US rights back before the film was finished. When Bong showed them the final product, TWC was suddenly hesitant. It’s a dark, violent, satirical film and it possesses a strangeness to it that apparently TWC felt was difficult to sell. Widely published and almost as widely disputed reports suggested that TWC was afraid the film wouldn’t be understood by the people of Idaho and Oklahoma. They wanted to trim approximately 20 minutes from the runtime in order to make a film that was easier for general audiences to digest. Bong fought for his movie, which was making big bucks overseas, and soon the 2013 US release date was made impossible. They settled on a compromise: the film would go to US theaters intact in 2014 but it would not receive the wide release they’d originally envisioned.

And though it’s a shame that Snowpiercer did not go wide and make a bigger impact on US box offices, I believe this tradeoff was worth it so that we could get the movie as Bong intended.

And what a movie.

Snowpiercer is adapted from the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige. It tells the story of a world frozen by man’s attempts to combat global warming. The last of the human race survive by riding the ‘rattling ark’, a train in constant motion with an engine that can never die.

The train is split into two sections: the elite who live in luxury at the front, and the dirty, desperate ‘little people’ who ride in the tail. The two sides are in constant conflict. The people at the tail want more food and more room, but the people at the front rule over the train with an iron fist, physically maiming those who do not get in line. But the people at the back have had enough. A revolution is ignited under the watchful eye of the elder Gilliam (John Hurt) and his commander Curtis (Chris Evans). They break out of their section and begin their long, bloody march to the front in an attempt to make things better for their people.

Equipped with a bullhorn and an army of thugs, Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton) is tasked with putting an end to the rebellion. Tilda Swinton owns this movie. Her performance is so wonderfully batty that she steals the movie out from under the star Chris Evans. There are so many ideas to her performance, many of which could not have been found on the script’s pages. Swinton becomes one of the best, weirdest things you’ll likely see in all of 2014’s new films.

Snowpiercer is a weird little movie. The setting is oppressive. It’s filmed with dark, moody lighting and the sets are claustrophobic. However, instead of being yet another dank, dreary film about the apocalypse, Snowpiercer is wildly inventive and wickedly funny. If you’ve seen any of Bong’s previous films you know that he is adept at mixing comedy into some incredibly dark situations. His serial killer thriller Memories of Murder reminded me of the Coen Bros. with the way he effortlessly mixed drama and humor, and his monster movie The Host slipped in plenty of laughs amidst the horror and action.

Snowpiercer shows Bong at his most imaginative. The tail section of the train is a slum, but it’s a slum full of character and wonder, looking a bit like how Terry Gilliam might envision Neverland (I would be willing to bet that John Hurt’s character Gilliam is named after the director). The fight sequences are violent, pitting the front against the back in brawls with axes and knives, but they’re so full of black humor and weird visuals (most notably Tilda Swinton standing on a stool with binoculars, smiling while she watches the bloodshed) that the fights manage to feel fresh and – dare I say it – fun.

When you set a film in a dystopian future you’re able to say something about the present without getting preachy. Snowpiercer’s tale about the elite with their boots on the necks of the poor could’ve easily gone wrong. The message is obvious, its parallels are clear. But Bong doesn’t hammer it down. He lets the viewers figure it out. He trusts the audience – an increasingly rare thing in modern film. If you want to analyze the film – and I believe that people will – you’re bound to find even more messages. But you should understand that this is not a message movie. It’s a movie with brains. There’s a difference. There’s meaning, but its delivered with humor, wit, and buckets of blood. And if you want, you can just sit back and enjoy it as an original piece of science fiction and nothing more. It works both ways.

Chris Evans does a good job playing the haunted leader of the armed resistance. It’s a darker, more brooding role than we’re used to from Evans at this point in his career. Second-billed behind Captain America himself is Korean superstar and frequent Bong collaborator Kang-ho Song. Song plays a man who helped design the doors that separate the train cars and thus can help the resistance in their quest to reach the front. He doesn’t go willingly, however, and they must buy his services with drugs made from toxic waste. His daughter comes along for the ride. She’s played by Ah-sung Ko, who also played Song’s daughter in The Host.

The way in which the American cast and the Korean stars interact is interesting. Instead of asking Song to speak broken English or asking Evans to speak muddled Korean, the characters use sci-fi tech to translate their words to each other. It’s a fine solution, allowing both Evans and Song to deliver their lines in a way that’s most comfortable to them.

If there are issues to be found in the film, they can all be found in the first half hour. It’s not long before the film settles into its groove, but I do think the beginning is more cluttered than it should’ve been. And while there are some very fine performances in the film – again, Tilda Swinton is the best of them all – Jamie Bell fails to impress. He’s essentially playing the same character he played in Peter Jackson’s King Kong but he looks uncomfortable here and gives some really bad line deliveries. Bell hurts the film.

Despite some flaws, I think that Snowpiercer is one of the best films of the year. Beyond being an excellent film, Snowpiercer also exists as an interesting example of how Hollywood does things, and how too much originality makes studio execs anxious. TWC thought they had acquired a cool summer movie starring a bankable cast, but they got something a little bit deeper and a whole lot stranger than anticipated. In response, they wanted to suck the brains out of the movie. Thankfully, The Weinstein Company did the right thing in the end, releasing the film in its original form.

One hopes that instead of being afraid of strange new visions, the studios would embrace them. We need more movies like Snowpiercer. Despite the overcrowded dystopian and post-apocalyptic genres in movies today, Snowpiercer manages to feel like a breath of fresh air. It’s a bold film. Flawed and sometimes messy, but brilliant just the same.

I think that people are going to be watching and rewatching this movie for many years to come.

Kyle Warner’s Rating: 8.5/10

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

"Iceman" Blu-ray Cover

"Iceman" Blu-ray Cover

RELEASE DATE: November 11, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Law Wing Cheong’s Iceman, starring International martial arts icon Donnie Yen (Special ID). A remake of the 1989 film Iceman Cometh, Yen plays a Ming era warrior who, along with his three traitorous childhood friends, are accidentally buried and kept frozen in time. 400 years later, they are defrosted and continue their battle in modern times where they left off.

Iceman also stars Eva Huang (Kung Fu Hustle), Wang Baoqiang (Lost in Thailand) and Simon Yam (The Thieves). Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Iceman from Amazon.com today!

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Louis Koo to star in movie version crime series ‘Line Walker’?

"Drug War" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Drug War" Japanese Theatrical Poster

According to Jaynestars, TVB is developing a movie version of the series Line Walker, a crime saga which revolves around a group of undercover police agents that live a deadly double life. The successful TV series – which aired on August 25 and ended on October 3, 2014 – starred Michael Miu, Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Lam and Benz Hui.

The movie version of Line Walker will explore the background of Foon Hei Gor, portrayed by Hui. The big news is the possible addition of Louis Koo (Accident, Drug War) and Guo Tao (Million Dollar Crocodile), who are currently being approached to sign onto the film as new major characters.

We’ll keep you updated on Line Walker as we hear more. Stay tuned!

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Steven Seagal kills crazy in the ‘Mercenary: Absolution’ trailer

"True Justice 4" Japanese DVD Cover

"True Justice 4" Japanese DVD Cover

Steven Seagal’s upcoming film, The Mercenary: Absolution (aka Absolution), will officially mark the 6th time Seagal is working with director/producer Keoni Waxman (Force of Execution). The film is a sequel to A Good Man (2014), which was recently released on DVDThe Mercenary: Absolution also stars Byron Mann (The Corrupter) and Vinnie Jones (Escape Plan).

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

Updates: Watch the trailer for The Mercenary: Absolution.

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Deal on Fire! The Host | Blu-ray | Only $8.99 – Expires soon!

"The Host" Blu-ray Cover

"The Host" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for The Host, directed by Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer). This South Korean Blockbuster won several awards including Best Film at the Asian Film Awards and at the Blue Dragon Film Awards.

A creature plunges from the Han River Bridge into the river emerging on its shores for a feeding frenzy upon onlookers. When a young girl (Ah-sung Ko) is snatched in the melee, her family (headed by Song Kang-ho and Bae Doona) set off to recover her from the monster that the government claims to be a host of an unidentified virus.

Order The Host from Amazon.com today!

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First trailer for Cannon Films documentary ‘Electric Boogaloo’

"Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films" Teaser Poster

"Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films" Teaser Poster

THE MOVIE: From cult film documentarian Mark Hartley (Machete Maidens Unleashed!) comes Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, an upcoming documentary that focuses on Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the two head honchos of The Cannon Film Group.

These two Israeli-born, movie-obsessed cousins launched an indie studio that would produce over 120 exploitation films (from Breakin’ to Kickboxer) from 1979-1989. Their passion for cinema changed the way movies were made and marketed. Unfortunately, that same passion ultimately led to the demise of the company they built together.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is expected to be released in 2014. Until then, if you haven’t seen Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! or Machete Maidens Unleashed!, cityonfire.com urges you to do so!

Updates: The documentary’s official Facebook page teases new interviews with Franco Nero (Enter the Ninja), Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja), Albert Pyun (Cyborg), Sheldon Lettich (writer of Rambo III and Bloodsport), Robert Forster (Delta Force), Lucinda Dickey (Ninja III: The Domination, Breakin’), Michael Chambers (Turbo from Breakin’), Alex Winter (Death Wish 3) and many, many more.

According to the documentary’s official Facebook page, Electric Boogaloo will make its World Premiere on August 2nd 2014, at The Melbourne International Film Festival.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the trailer for Electric Boogaloo.

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