Van Damme talks ‘The Eagle Path’ and Jackie Chan!

"Full Love" Theatrical Poster

"Full Love" Theatrical Poster

If you’re a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme, chances are you’ve heard of The Eagle Path (aka Full Love). The 2010 action drama is Van Damme’s first directorial effort since 1996′s The Quest and the movie he chose to make rather than appear in the first Expendables movie. The project was shot on a budget of about $5 million on location in Thailand and eventually screened out of competition at Cannes.

Audiences at its 2010 screening offered a mixed reaction. There were even some critics who compared the film’s more ‘out there’ sequences to 2001: A Space Odyssey or Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life. Fans had to wonder: had Van Damme gone arthouse?

Unfortunately, American audiences have been unable to discover The Eagle Path since Van Damme was reportedly unhappy with his final cut. Rumors suggested he wouldn’t release the movie in the West, even on DVD, until he was able to do another edit.

According to Impact, producer Moshe Diamont (The Black Dahlia, Universal Soldier: Regeneration) came onboard to help initiate reshoots, which were meant to help clarify the story and characters for the audience and beef up the action sequences.

Recently, Van Damme took to Facebook to assure fans of the status of the film: “The Eagle Path took longer than what I have expected but that is because I did some recent re-shooting with more ACTION scenes! The movie is going to be re-titled to SOLDIERS. Thank you for your patience… soon, wait for its huge première! — JCVD

Updates: The Eagle Path, apparently now titled Soldiers, has been the most tumultuous film of Damme’s career – and hardly anyone has seen it yet. For whatever reason, this film is taking longer than usual to put together. However, we have long heard that this is one of Van Damme’s most personal projects. Bear in mind, JCVD helped finance Soldiers with his own money and wrote the screenplay, besides directing and starring in it. Regardless of the rumors and the long wait, it sounds like Van Damme is working on something that has the potential to be more than just another martial arts flick.

Here’s some footage: 2010 trailer |  Clips 01 | Clips o2 | Van Damme’s 2010 screening intro | Check out the latest clips (sorry, video has been removed), which feature new re-shoots and action sequences that look like they might have been inspired by Garath Evans’ The Raid.

Here’s a brief on-screen clip from Soldiers (aka The Eagle Path). When will we finally get to see Soldiers? The word is it’s completed and fully edited. Now that Van Damme is done filming Pound of Flesh, he can put more focus on finally releasing Soldiers. Rest assured, City on Fire will keep Van Damme fans updated on the status of this long-in-development film.

Apparently, Soldiers is now changing back to its original title, Full Love (aka The Eagle Path). Full Love (click here to see the poster) will make its premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival. “I just watched my film with final mixing. This is the fresh made film poster…” says Van Damme. I will be in Shanghai International Film Festival to share this film with you.”

In our last update, we reported that The Eagle Path’s title was reverted back to Full Love. But now, according to the SIFF schedule, looks like it’s back to being called The Eagle Path. Whatever the case, The Eagle Path / Full Love / Soldiers is still premiering at the SIFF on June 20th.

BREAKING NEWS: In the last several days, Van Damme has been promoting The Eagle Path at the SIFF. During this time, he took the stage with Jackie Chan (video) and also gave this interview (video), where he talks about his career, The Eagle Path and the possibility of working with Chan.

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

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

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

RELEASE DATE: September 2, 2014

Anchor Bay presents the Blu-ray and DVD for 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.

14 Blades 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). Watch the trailer.

Pre-order 14 Blades from Amazon.com today!

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Watch the second trailer for Steven Seagal’s ‘A Good Man’

A Good Man | DVD (Lionsgate)

A Good Man | DVD (Lionsgate)

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: After an illustrious special ops career ends in disaster, Alexander (Steven 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; forcing him to not only defend the family, but bringing him face to face with an old foe, and giving him one more chance to reconcile his past.

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. | A Good Man hits DVD this August 19, 2014. Watch the 1st trailer!

BREAKING NEWS: The second trailer has been released. Enjoy!

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John Woo’s ‘A Better Tomorrow’ to be fully restored in 4K

"A Better Tomorrow" Japanese DVD Cover

"A Better Tomorrow" Japanese DVD Cover

According to China Daily, the Committee of the Shanghai International Film Festival has announced that 1986′s A Better Tomorrow will be restored in 4K in 2015. The restoration process will be completed at Cineteca di Bologna with the financial support of Swiss watch maker Jaeger-LeCoultre.

A Better Tomorrow is the film that single handedly rejuvenated the career of director John Woo (Bullet in the Head), and gave Chow Yun-fat (Hard Boiled) a best actor trophy. Shattering all previous box office records, this top grade production features superbly edited action sequences, a stirring theme song, excellent characterization and strong melodrama.

A Better Tomorrow also spawned two sequels (A Better Tomorrow II and A Better Tomorrow III), countless rip-offs (Return to a Better Tomorrow), a Korean remake (2010′s A Better Tomorrow) and even started a brief fashion trend in Hong Kong.

We’ll keep you posted on possible A Better Tomorrow theatrical re-release dates or upcoming Blu-ray editions. Stay tuned!

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Cityonfire.com’s ‘Rigor Mortis’ Blu-ray Giveaway! – WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Rigor Mortis | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Rigor Mortis | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Cityonfire.com and Well Go USA are giving away 3 Blu-ray copies of Juno Mak’s Rigor Mortis to three lucky Cityonfire visitors.

To enter, simply add a comment to this post telling us what your favorite horror movie is (from any country), along with a brief explanation of why it’s your favorite. 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 Rigor Mortis will be officially released on July 8, 2014, so we will announce the 3 winners on July 9th!

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by July 7, 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.

WINNERS: Congratulations to M. H. Boroson, Will and Ron. You have all been notified via email.

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Third time’s a charm for Takashi Ishii’s ‘Gonin Saga’

"Gonin" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Gonin" Japanese Theatrical Poster

In the mood for more Yakuza action? Well, so are we. Takashi Ishii (Freeze Me) is currently filming the third entry to his violent Gonin series. But before we talk about that, let’s take a look at the first two films:

1995′s Gonin revolved around a disco owner who convinces 4 other guys to go along with him in a planned heist of the local Yakuza thugs for over 100 million yen. The heist is successful, however, the Yakuza, obviously perturbed at the theft, send out 2 hit men (one of which is played by Beat Takeshi) to kill the five.

Gonin 2, which came out in 1996, followed Masamichi Toyama (Ken Ogata), a married man who gets into a bad gambling debt he cant pay back. As a result, Yakuza gangsters track him down, beat him to a pulp and rape his wife. Now, the only thing Toyama will pay back is bloody revenge!

According Film Business Asia, Gonin Saga (aka Gonin 3) follows an investigative reporter who meets the sons of the gangsters involved in the aftermath of the original heist. The film stars Masahiro Higashide (Crows Explode), Kenta Kiritani (Outrage Beyond), Anna Tsuchiya (Kamui Gaiden), Tasuku Emoto (A Story of Yonosuke) and Masanobu Ando (Battle Royale).

Filming for Gonin Saga is expected to finish up by the end of the month with a 2015 release date. As soon as a trailer pops up, we’ll be sure to fill you in.

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Ringo Lam’s new action movie does the ‘Hustle’ with Louis Koo

"Hustle" Chinese Promotional Poster

"Hustle" Chinese Promotional Poster

Hong Kong legend Ringo Lam, the action director behind gritty classics like City on Fire, Full Contact and Full Alert, is set to make his first film since 2007′s Triangle, which was a collaboration with Tsui Hark and Johnnie To.

The upcoming project is called Intoxicated City of Mazes, which will begin production in June, following a Summer 2015 release. Nothing is known of the plot, but it is an “action film” starring Daniel Wu (Shinjuku Incident) and Shawn Yue (The Guillotines). “I’ve always wanted to work with Lam, so I’m very happy that he asked me to be in his film. I hope we can start filming soon so I can learn from him,” Yue told Apple Daily.

Updates: Ringo Lam’s Wild Secrets of the Past (aka Intoxicated City of Mazes?) has recently started production in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The cast (see on-set photos) includes Shawn Yue (From Vegas To Macau II), Taiwanese singer Joseph Chang (Missing), and veteran actor Jack Kao (Full Alert). It was previously reported that Daniel Wu would be a part of the cast, but now it looks like that may not be the case. - Thanks to DiP, hktop10 and Film Combat Syndicate

BREAKING NEWS: Wild Secrets of the Past has a new international title: Hustle (view poster). Also, Louis Koo (Flash Point) and Mainland TV actress Tong Liya have been added to the cast. - Thanks to DiP!

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Ong-Bak Trilogy Collection | Blu-ray & DVD (Magnolia)

"Ong-Bak and Ong-Bak Trilogy Collection" Covers

"Ong-Bak and Ong-Bak Trilogy Collection" Covers

RELEASE DATE: July 29, 2014

Magnolia presents the Blu-ray & DVD 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.”

Magnolia is also re-releasing the original Ong-Bak as a standalone Blu-ray or DVD.

Pre-order the Ong-Bak Trilogy today!

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Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog (1978) Review

"Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog" Chinese DVD Cover

"Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog" Chinese DVD Cover

Director: Karl Maka
Writer: Karl Maka, Eric Tsang
Producer: Sammo Hung, Lau Kar Wing, Karl Maka
Cast: Sammo Hung, Lau Kar Wing, Chin Yuet Sang, Huang Ha, Chung Fat, Lee Hoi San, Jason Pai Piao, Dean Shek Tien, Peter Chan Lung, To Siu Ming, Cheng Hong Yip, Fung Hak On, Hsiao Ho, Mars, Meng Hoi
Running Time: 97 min.

By Matthew Le-feuvre

It is no secret that portly legend, Sammo Hung has maintained a keen interest – even a preoccupation – with historical Chinese figures, particularly Leung Yee Tai, Leung Jan, Wong Fei Hung and recently, Yip Man: not solely for their distinct and revered fighting methodologies; but, in addition to character traits commonly inherent often expressing morality, a patriotic code as well a high degree of social upstanding. It was these attributes which prompted Hung too ask questions, to explore what cultivated the inner motivations of a hero (or an anti-hero for that matter); an integral facet he noticed was constantly absent from the Hong Kong film industry as opposed to exacting vengeance on a scale so enormous, believability was abandoned while empathetic audiences cheered loudly at what imagery they viewed without really understanding the core objective or the reasons for their collective enthusiasm. Hung, like Bruce Lee, hoped to change this perspective.

Although it took many years to accomplish, Hung’s eventual desire for flexibility first surfaced in his directorial debut, The Iron Fisted Monk (1977) where drama (or comedy) and graphic violence seemingly walked hand-in-hand, thus the ‘vengeance’ elements were reduced to a secondary (script) unit; a template he was able too replicate time and again for future successes, such as Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son, twin examples of excellent character development in unison with the accurate depiction of Wing Chun Kung Fu.

However, Hung wasn’t just interested in acting, choreography or direction; he was also a pivotal influence in cross-breeding genres: something he easily acclimatized too even if the layman didn’t originally grasp the nature of his cinematic cocktail, blending slapstick comedy with balletic kung fu arrangements and/or fantasy horror. Both, by definition, became the backbone of his repertoire throughout a decade which was slowly waning in terms of box office appeal. Ironically, the cause; in part, was still due to Bruce Lee’s death.

Despite this ripple effect, Hung forged much of his best work during the late 70′s/early 80′s, before a recession collapse: in this instance it was Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog – an underrated cult oddity which initially saw the triumvirate talents of Hung, Lau kar Wing and actor/director, Karl Maka amalgamating dynamism under their own ‘Gar-Bo’ motion picture standard for an inventive, wacky co-production written by Eric Tsang (Blockhead from the Lucky Stars series), who himself would become an important tour-de-force producer/film-maker after toiling for many years as an unlikely, yet efficient, stuntman.

Indeed, a radical departure from playing formulaic minor supports (Hapkido) or obnoxious villains (Shaolin Plot), Hung stars opposite Wing as the second [of] titular character. Ostensibly, he was more than happy to be a celluloid victim, counterbalancing Wing’s laconic and devious bounty hunter, Tiger – who from the outset is hired by Frog’s elderly domineering spouse to recapture her toyboy husband after he deliberately absconds (to live a lucrative lifestyle) with a priceless heirloom – the invincible armour. Basically, a chain-mail vest designed to withstand blades and spears.

Once the two main protagonist are introduced via a sequence of hilarious set pieces, the madcap premise divertingly focuses on the invincible armour, which itself transforms from being a superficial accoutrement into as much a screen fixture as Tiger and Frog’s inimical relationship or Hung’s trademark self mockery – notably in reference to his weight. Soon everyone from opportunists to lowly criminals (the obligatory Dean Shek in brain damaged overdrive ) desire the armour for their own agenda – including a con woman (Meg Lam) with detachable limbs that has to be seen for pure entertainment value – until the real antagonist, White Crab (Li Hoi San), intercedes ownership of the armour with intentions of subjugating the martial arts world. This scenario forces an uneasy alliance between Tiger and Frog, each creating tactics to disarm Crab of his prized possession… Who will win?!

In spite of harsh criticism, both locally and internationally: Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog was at the time, a picture that surprisingly took the mickey out of the whole martial arts genre; an alternative angle Maka personally liked to dally around with, especially being NYU educated. His favoured motifs was to parody the contrasts between each characters’ situations in such an opaque manner, the end results always looked refreshing and original even though Maka was directly inspired by western paradigms, not generally recognized nor understood in the east, which is probably why much of his work often appears out of place from the traditional mindset. Nevertheless, ‘bravado’ – an ingredient Chinese audiences were more attuned to in the 70′s, had no relative importance throughout Maka’s sustained idiosyncratic career. It was all about ‘banter’ before ‘brawling’: a nonconformist attitude that attracted both Wing and Hung in consequence to a steady workload of blood, gore and protracted fight choreography.

Verdict: Unlike its follow-up successor The Odd Couple (1979), a weapons-laden masterpiece pre-dating Liu Chia Liang’s Legendary Weapons of Kung Fu (1983): Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog is a highly imaginative distraction conglomerating Laurel & Hardy-type humour with Three Stooges-influenced physicality.

Matthew Le-feuvre’s Rating: 8/10

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

"The Wolverine" Blu-ray Cover

"The Wolverine" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for The Wolverine, directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma). This epic action-adventure takes Wolverine, the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. When Wolverine is summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, he is embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons.

The Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee (Four Assassins), Brian Tee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai), Rila Fukushima and James Fraser. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order The Wolverine from Amazon.com today!

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Cityonfire.com’s ‘Kung Fu Movie Bundle’ DVD Giveaway! – WINNER ANNOUNCED!

Cityonfire.com and Mill Creek Entertainment are giving away a 74-film ‘Kung Fu Movie Bundle’ to a lucky visitor. The 74-film bundle includes the following DVD sets: Great Impersonators, Way of the 5 Finger Death Strike and Iron Fist Frenzy.

To enter, simply add a comment to this post telling us what your favorite old school kung fu movie is, along with a brief explanation of why it’s your favorite. 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 DVD sets for Great ImpersonatorsWay of the 5 Finger Death Strike and Iron Fist Frenzy are also available for purchase. We will announce the lucky winner on June 27th.

CONTEST DISCLAIMER: You must enter by June 26th 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.

WINNER: Congratulations to Danny Sierra-Santana. You have been notified via email.

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Final trailer for ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’!

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" Theatrical Poster

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield). The film stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Enrique Murciano, Kirk Acevedo and Judy Greer.

Updates: Twentieth Century Fox will release Dawn of the Planet of the Apes worldwide on July 11, 2014. | Fox is keen on making the franchise into a trilogy. | Collider (via MTV) has an interview with James Franco where he explains why he won’t be in the sequel. | First trailer. | New TV Spot. | New trailer. | New Japanese trailer. | New poster. | New trailer which explains what took place between Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the final trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

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Steven Seagal says he wants to set ‘Under Siege 3′ in Russia

"Under Siege 3" Japanese DVD Cover

"Under Siege" Japanese DVD Cover

The man, the myth, the mystique that is Steven Seagal began in 1988′s Above the Law and peaked with 1992′s Under Siege. Now, nearly 20 years after 1995′s Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, the actor wants to reprise his role as Casey Ryback, the former Navy SEAL operator turned chef who became famous for the line “I’m just a cook.”

During a recent interview with The Big Issue (via Film Combat Syndicate) here’s what Seagal had to say about his plans for wanting to set Under Siege 3 in Russia:

“It seems like Russia has been Hollywood’s default bad guy forever. I sorta think the opposite. I think that America and Russia should be great allies and great friends. And can be. What I want to do is write a movie, which I’ve sorta already done, where Russian special forces and American special forces work together to combat terrorism.” Seagal continues, “I’m trying to do Under Siege 3, which is the plot that I told you. I’m trying to do some martial arts films in China. I have a lot of different scripts and ideas.”

I admit, the possibility of an Under Siege 3 is intriguing, but I’m not sure how I feel about Under Siege 3 being a straight-to-video title, which inevitable, considering Seagal’s track record. Regardless, I’m definitely rooting for it.

In the meantime, Seagal has a pack of films coming out, including A Good Man, which hits DVD this August 19, 2014; and Gutshot Straight, which hits DVD on September 1st, 2014. He’s also currently filming a sequel to A Good Man, titled The Mercenary: Absolution. As for Under Siege 3, we’ll keep you updated!

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Plot details and press photo for Jackie Chan’s ‘Dragon Blade’

"Dragon Blade" Promotional Poster

"Dragon Blade" Promotional Poster

In addition to Skip Trace, looks like Jackie Chan has another project in the works called Dragon Blade, a period piece that sees a Roman Legion getting caught up in an adventure in China where they cross paths with a Chinese hero played by Jackie Chan. They are forced to join forces to battle an even greater foe that threatens the whole world.

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

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

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

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

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

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Asami is a naked killer (literally) in ‘Gun Woman’

"Gun Woman" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Gun Woman" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Former AV model Asami (The Machine Girl) is gearing up to promote her newest film, Gun Woman. The film, which is directed by Kurando Mitsutake (Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf), makes 1992′s Naked Killer look rated-G in comparison. According to Twitch, Gun Woman made its premier at the Texas Frightmare on May 2nd-4th, 2014, with both Asami and the director in attendance.

Here’s the official plot: Gun Woman brings Asami to a new level of action film achievement. Starring as a mute girl who is transformed from a sex worker into a hard-as-steel assassin, Asami spends much of the film nude and covered in blood in her quest for revenge on behalf of her master, a psychopathic doctor whose family has been slaughtered.

Gun Woman will be getting a domestic release on July 19, 2014.

Updates: 1st trailer | 2nd trailer. – thanks to Film Combat Syndicate

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Chen Kun leads fantasy actioner ‘Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal’

"Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal" Teaser Poster

"Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal" Teaser Poster

Currently in production is a 3-D action fantasy film titled Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, directed by Zhao Tianyu (Deadly Delicious) and starring Chen Kun (Young Detective Dee) and Li Bingbing (Detective Dee & the Mystery of the Phantom Flame). Additional cast members include Winston Chao (1911), Yang Zishan (So Young!), Bao Bei-er (The Four) and recording artist Jike Junyi (The Voice of China).

Here’s the plot, according to THR: “Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal tells the story of legendary Chinese anti-hero Zhong Kui, a young man endowed with mysterious powers who is forced into a battle among the realms of Heaven, Earth and Hell in the course of his attempt to save his countrymen and the woman he loves.”

Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal is set for a domestic release on February 19th 2015, Chinese New Year. We’ll keep you updated with the latest regarding this project. Stay tuned!

Updates: Here’s a few more promotional images from Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal.

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Edition | Blu-ray & DVD (MPI Media Group)

"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary" Theatrical Poster

"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary" Theatrical Poster

RELEASE DATE: September 16, 2014

MPI Media Group presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Tobe Hooper’s 1974 cult horror film Texas Chain Saw Massacre. In this new 40th Anniversary Edition, the classic film has undergone a new 4K restoration by NOLO Digital Film. In other words, get ready to see it as if it were filmed yesterday – check out the amazing detail in the new trailer!

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Edition is being released in three different versions: Standard Blu-ray Edition, a 2-Disc Blu-ray Special Edition; and on DVD.

Pre-order The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Edition from Amazon.com today!

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Other Notable Titles | 1 Comment

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) Review

"Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Tsui Hark
Writer: Chen Kuo Fu, Tsui Hark
Cast: Mark Chao, Feng Shaofeng, Kenny Lin Geng Xin, Kim Bum, Angelababy, Deng Chao, Carina Lau Kar Ling, Hu Dong, Chen Kun, Sheng Jian, Ma Jing Jing
Running Time: 133 min.

By Paul Bramhall

Tsui Hark has long been one of Hong Kong’s most prolific creative forces. He’s directed countless movies which are considered Hong Kong classics, from the excess of Zu: Warriors from Magic Mountain to the re-invention of Wong Fei Hung in the Once Upon a Time in China series, to unintentionally creating a Spanish speaking Brazil in Time & Tide. However out of all the genres he’s worked in, the one that he keeps coming back to is the wuxia. His breakout movie in 1979, The Butterfly Murders, was a wuxia styled murder mystery, it could be argued that the whole wuxia new wave of the early 90s was kicked off by his movie Swordsman in 1990, before he returned to effectively de-construct all that had come before with 1995’s The Blade, and then again returned to a more grounded and earthy wuxia world with Seven Swords, made a whole decade later in 2005.

It seems the post-2010 Tsui Hark has returned to the genre he clearly has a lot of love for. After a number of misfires, the release of Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame saw him return to solid commercial film making, and the result was a resounding success. Hark seemed to forego his usual genre hopping habits, and returned in 2011 with another wuxia, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, a re-make of the 1992 New Dragon Gate Inn of which he was the producer, which itself was a remake of the King Hu original. The re-make of a re-make was a solid effort, with Hark making effective use of 3D, and further continued the refreshing tone that was set by his previous effort of being an unpretentious action romp, free of the usual naval gazing that most wuxia’s had embraced in the post Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon world.

Unusually, Hark decided to stick with wuxia for a third time in a row with the release of 2013’s Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, a prequel to the Andy Lau starring 2010 production. It’s a movie to be approached with caution by the more traditional minded Hong Kong movie fan. Hark has never been shy of using new technology, and both Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame and Flying Swords of Dragon Tiger Gate made liberal use of CGI, sometimes it was remarkably effective, sometimes Hark’s ambition went beyond his budget and things got a little video gamey. However while both of those efforts were anchored by mega stars Andy Lau and Jet Li respectively, here Young Detective Dee is portrayed by the relatively unknown Taiwan star Mark Chao.

So, with the promise of an action adventure filled with CGI and 3D, it’s a safe bet that the majority of HK fans who like their movies free of any visual trickery or gimmicks won’t even give this one a second glance. I confess to being a member of that majority, however I’m glad that I did decide to check out Hark’s latest vision. While his previous two efforts were solid but not without their hiccups, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon proves that Hark has found his rhythm with this new wuxia world he’s trying to create. Or perhaps ‘new’ is not quite the correct word to use, rather those wild and adrenalin fuelled wuxia movies of more than twenty years ago have effectively been brought into the 21st century. The energy that was created with the over the top wire work is still there, however it’s now ably backed up with, and sometimes replaced by, CGI, and somehow the combination works.

The cast definitely help proceedings, while filling the shoes of the Detective Dee that Andy Lau created should be an intimidating task, Mark Chao makes the character his own, as a younger but seemingly no less confident Dee, who has just taken up his role in the Justice Department. While at this point in most wuxia tales a plot will be introduced involving some kind of mysterious character attempting to take over the martial arts world, here we have a much more refreshing and unconventional problem. Authorities believe that there’s a sea monster on the loose, and it’s up to Dee and his Justice Department cohorts to get to the bottom of it. Of course, somewhere along the way it’s revealed that there is a mysterious character, and this being a 2013 movie, it should be no spoiler to mention that instead of trying to take over the martial arts world, their goal is to take over China.

Hark thankfully is a skilled enough film maker to make these details throw-away, at no point does the movie steer into China flag waving, and it all fits in with the plot in a way that feels natural and doesn’t ruin the flow. Yuen Woo-ping should probably have taken a few notes from Hark before making True Legend. Of course, such a detail could also be classed as being throw-away based on the fact that the movie is called Rise of the Sea Dragon. This is a wuxia movie, so of course a sea monster doesn’t typically fit into the type of environments that lend themselves to this kind of storytelling. But this is also a Tsui Hark movie, and as a result, we are indeed given a fully realized, suitably epic sea monster, and it provides a satisfyingly thunderous conclusion. For anyone with home theatre systems, Young Detective Dee gives the sound system a mighty fine work out.

It would be unfair to give all the credit to Hark though, because as with his previous two efforts, he brings back Yuen Bun as action director. Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon not only sees Hark fully realizing the potential of how to use the latest technologies, but Yuen Bun also seems to find the balance here of how to create an effective action sequence without going overboard. While the fight in the sandstorm tornado that was supposed to be a highlight of Flying Swords of Dragon Gate ended up coming across as cartoonish and fake, here Bun reigns things in and keeps the action fast, fluid, and entertaining, while never taking things too far that it looks like a bunch of pixels flailing at each other. There is a real feel in Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon that both Hark and Bun are in full control of what they’re creating onscreen, and as an audience, this translates into two hours of solid entertainment.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 8/10

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

The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray & DVD (Sony Pictures)

The Raid: Redemption Blu-ray & DVD (Sony Pictures)

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for The Raid: Redemption (aka The Raid). You’ve seen The Raid 2: Berandal, now it’s time to revisit the original! It’s a rookie (Iko Uwais) and his special forces team vs. every killer, gangster and thief in a fifteen-story apartment block building. This groundbreaking martial arts spectacular is considered one of the best action movies of our time!

Read our reviews for both The Raid and The Raid 2, as well as our exclusive interview with the director behind the brilliant brutality, Gareth Evans!

Order the The Raid from Amazon.com today!

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Jackie Chan to return to the ‘Armour of God’ series with ‘Chinese Zodiac 2′

"CZ12" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"CZ12" Chinese Theatrical Poster

While promoting Police Story 2013 in Singapore last year, Jackie Chan mentioned the possibility of a sequel to 2012’s Chinese Zodiac (aka CZ12), which would technically mean the 4th chapter of the Armour of God series.

Update: Asian Hawk fans, rejoice! Looks like Chinese Zodiac 2 (aka Armour of God 4) is becoming a reality. Here’s some news according to a recent Variety article: “On completion of Dragon Blade, Chan will next shoot English-language actioner Skiptrace before taking the lead role in Chinese Zodiac II, a sequel to the Chan-directed and starring comedy action hit of December 2012.”

There is no word of any additional cast members, or if Chan will be directing Chinese Zodiac 2 himself (all previous Armour of God films were directed by Chan). Obviously, it’s way too early for details, but we’ll keep you in the loop as we hear more news.

In addition to Chinese Zodiac II, there are a number of rumored and in-development Chan projects in the works, including Rush Hour 4, Karate Kid 2, Wolf Flag, Manhattan and even a “silent movie” with Zhang Yimou. - Thanks to Film Combat Syndicate and Super Chan’s Blog for pointing this out!

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Rampage: Capital Punishment | Blu-ray & DVD (Phase 4 Films)

Rampage: Capital Punishment | Blu-ray & DVD (Phase 4 Films)

Rampage: Capital Punishment | Blu-ray & DVD (Phase 4 Films)

RELEASE DATE: 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! Don’t miss the trailer!

Pre-order Rampage: Capital Punishment from Amazon.com today!

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John Woo and Tsui Hark to join forces for an action movie

"A Better Tomorrow 2" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"A Better Tomorrow 2" Japanese Theatrical Poster

In the late 1980s, director John Woo and producer Tsui Hark dominated the heroic bloodshed scene with the classics A Better Tomorrow and A Better Tomorrow 2. Unfortunately, the success of these films led to creative differences between the two. The duo ultimately clashed and went separate ways. Hark took over directing duties for A Better Tomorrow 3 and Woo went on to do The Killer. Their partnership was over.

Now, 25 years later, an article hints that the two have patched things up and may join forces for a new action film. According to kungfucinema’s mark187, who translated the story, this may be a two picture deal between them (i.e. one directed by Woo and produced by Hark; the other directed by Hark and produced by Woo).

The thought of Woo going back to his A Better Tomorrow roots is an action fan’s wet dream. And the fact that Hark is involved makes it even wetter. With Woo, Hark and Ringo Lam (see Lam’s comeback) helming a string of shoot ‘em ups, Hong Kong action cinema will explode in the next few years, just as it did 25 years ago. And who knows… maybe Chow Yun-Fat is more than likely to reunite with the guys that made him an international superstar.

Update: John Woo has just wrapped up his upcoming film, The Crossing. His next film will be Flying Tigers, followed by his remake of Seijun Suzuki’s Youth of the Beast. After Beast, he’ll be going back to his “heroic bloodshed” roots with Tsui Hark. In a recent interview with Jaynestars, here’s what Woo had to say: “Tsui Hark and I both cherish the times when we used to work together and would like to rekindle our working relationship. We’d like to make two films together, in the spirit of A Better Tomorrow. At this point, we’re just thinking about the script and have no concrete dates for shooting. But this is something we’re both looking forward to.”

BREAKING NEWS: In our last update, Woo said that he would like to team up with Hark to do an A Better Tomorrow-type movie. Now it looks like he’s interested in doing a wuxia movie with him instead. Here’s what Woo recently told Yahoo: “I hope to work with Tsui Hark on a Wuxia film… he is a genius at his craft and has a lot of ideas.” - Thanks to DiP!

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Deal on Fire! Alien Anthology + Prometheus | Blu-ray | Only $19.99 – Expires soon!

"Alien Anthology + Prometheus" Blu-ray Covers

"Alien Anthology + Prometheus" Blu-ray Covers

Today’s Deal on Fire is for the Alien Anthology 6-Disc Blu-ray set, which includes Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection plus a log pile of extra features. In addition, you’ll also get the Prometheus Blu-ray! For about $4 a movie, this is one deal you don’t want to be alienated from!

Order the Alien Anthology + Prometheus Bundle from Amazon.com today!

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Watch kung fu movies for FREE right now on ‘Iron Fist TV’!

"Iron Fist TV" Promotional

"Iron Fist TV" Promotional

A couple of weeks ago, the announcement of Mill Creek Entertainment’s Iron Fist TV starting circulating the web. Now, we’re here to remind you just how badass Iron Fist TV really is.

You can access Iron Fist TV on your portable device, your computer, or even in the comfort your living room with a Roku player. Whichever you choose, many action-packed classics are ready to be discovered with a touch of a finger!

Iron Fist TV features an assortment of hard-to-find martial arts, monster films and TV shows from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, featuring selections from Flying Fists of Kung Fu, The Great Impersonators and When Monsters Attack. Also, watch episodes of Fight! Dragon, Iron King, Super Robot Red Baron and Ultraman. Plus, new content will be added regularly!

With Iron Fist TV, you have the option of watching these completely FREE – or – for a low fee of $4.99/month (100% ad-free). For more information, watch the trailer or visit www.IronFistTV.com.

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Lee Jung-Jae is a martial arts star forced to fight in ‘Big Match’

"The Thieves" Lee Jung-Jae Teaser Poster

"The Thieves" Lee Jung-Jae Teaser Poster

Releasing later this year is Big Match, a South Korean martial arts flick from director Choi Ho (Bloody Tie). The film stars Lee Jung-Jae (The Thieves), Shin Ha-Kyun (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), Lee Sung-Min (The Unjust) and BoA (Girls on Top). Here’s the first photo from Big Match, courtesy of filmsmash.

Plot from asianwiki: Choi Ik-Ho (Lee Jung-Jae) is a martial arts star with talent for action and humor. But one day, he is framed for murder. Ace (Shin Ha-Kyun ) is a game planner, who makes a game for the Korean upper class. He is a villain who makes a city into a big gameboard through technology. Ace and Choi Ik-Ho become adversaries as Choi Ik-Ho jumps into the game to save his brother.

Big Match is set to be released domestically in the 2nd half of 2014. - Thanks to Albert V

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Zhang Yimou prepares for action blockbuster ‘Great Wall’

"House of Flying Daggers" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"House of Flying Daggers" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of the Flying Daggers) is preparing to direct Great Wall, a 15th century period flick revolving around the origin and construction of the Great Wall of China. For those expecting a bland historic lesson, think again. Great Wall is being described as a “fantasy epic,” as well as an “action blockbuster” by Zhang himself.

According to Variety, this is what Zhang had to say about Great Wall: “It is an action blockbuster…The story is very important, and I have to do a lot of preparation for the various cultural elements in the film. Then comes the visual effects and action, which I like a lot. It’s very different from my last film.”

As of now, no cast or shoot dates have been announced, but as soon as we fetch details, we’ll be sure to fill you in!

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Here’s your first look at the world of ‘Jurassic World’

"Jurassic World" Promotional Poster

"Jurassic World" Promotional Poster

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Hero" Blu-ray Cover

"Hero" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Zhang Yimou’s 2002 wuxia film Hero, which stars Jet Li (Flying Swords of Dragon Gate), Tony Leung (Bullet in the Head), Maggie Cheung (Police Story), Chen Daoming (Infernal Affairs 3), Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Donnie Yen (Special ID).

Hero revolves around a nameless soldier (Li), who embarks on a mission of revenge against the fearsome army that massacred his people. The film features fight choreography by the legendary Tony Ching Siu Tung (Duel to the Death). Be sure to read our reviews for Hero.

Order Hero from Amazon.com today!

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New international posters for Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Hercules’

"Hercules" International Theatrical Poster

"Hercules" International Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Having enduring his legendary twelve labors, Hercules (Dwayne Johnson), the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.

Opening on July 25, 2014 is Hercules (aka Hercules: The Thracian Wars), directed by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour). In addition to Dwayne Johnson as Hercules, the upcoming film also stars John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes, Rebecca Ferguson, Peter Mullan and Irina Shayk. Watch the first trailer.

Updates: First trailer. | First clip. | Second trailer.

BREAKING NEWS: Two new international posters: 1 | 2 – Thanks to impa.

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Trailer for ‘Ninja Turtles’ historical documentary ‘Turtle Power’

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an upcoming documentary that explores how a bizarre idea went from independent comic book to a global sensation that included cartoons, live-action films, video games and toys.

Written and directed by Randall Lobb, Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja, features interviews with the creators and the affiliates who were there from day one.

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael by catching it on DVD and Digital HD on August 12, 2014. Until then, don’t miss the trailer.

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