Suspect, The (2013) Review

"The Suspect" Korean Theatrical Poster

"The Suspect" Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: Won Shin-Yeon
Writer: Lim Sang-Yoon
Producer: Shin Chang-hwan
Cast: Gong Yoo, Park Hee-Soon, You Da-In, Cho Seong-Ha, Jo Jae-Yun, Kim Sung-Kyun, Park Ji-Il
Running Time: 137 min.

By HKFanatic

When The Bourne Supremacy first hit theaters back in 2005, the close-quarters handheld camerawork and rapid editing during action sequences had some film-goers claiming they experienced motion sickness rather than popcorn thrills. Soon afterwards, the term ‘shaky cam’ began popping up in critical reviews, and became something of a kiss of death for any martial arts film that wanted to be taken seriously by fans. Many wondered what had become of the wide shots and more classical editing style favored by the great Hong Kong movies of yesteryear.

Fast forward to 2014 and shaky-cam has persisted long enough to become something like its own genre; the technique even gained some legitimacy when it was utilized in a James Bond movie (Quantum of Solace). Thus, it’s safe to conclude that shaky-cam is here to stay, whether some fans want it to or not. It’s a style, and like any style it can be utilized well or poorly by filmmakers. It’s how you use it.

All of this to say: if you don’t like ‘shaky cam,’ then the 2013 Korean action/thriller The Suspect is not a movie that will change your mind. While the film is loaded to the gills with plenty of hand-to-hand combat and car chases, they’re delivered in a somewhat claustrophobic, quick-cut style that harkens back to movies like The Bourne Ultimatum and that other recent Korean spy vehicle, The Berlin File.

While this chaotic style may not do the best job of adequately conveying all the time and effort that the fight choreographers no doubt put into the film, the photography and editing in The Suspect certainly do communicate the adrenaline and disorientation the characters must be experiencing – as though the viewers themselves are hurtling over a rooftop alongside lead actor Gong Yoo in one of the film’s many chase sequences

Speaking of Gong Yoo, the actor was greeted with suspicion (no pun intended) upon being cast in the film. As Yoo is considered more of a romantic and comedic leading man, some audience audience members expressed doubt that he was suited for the role of a super serious spy. If this is your first introduction to Gong Yoo, I don’t think you’ll raise an eyebrow; the actor acquits himself nicely by looking as intense as required during dramatic scenes, and suitably ripped for his shirtless torture sequences.

In The Suspect, he plays a North Korean spy who years ago was betrayed by his government handlers. Concealing the deep wounds of his past, his now spends his day as a high-end chauffeur in the South – until a massive political conspiracy puts him in the crosshairs and sends him back into action. From there, The Suspect rarely slows down, as Gong Yoo works to uncover those pulling the strings and stay one step ahead of the government goons and sleeper agents out to silence him.

The Suspect may not exactly innovate this well-worn formula, but it certainly manages to deliver more thrills than, say, 2012′s Damon-less The Bourne Legacy. It’s only during the final act that the film truly falters, as the story keeps going…and going, right as the credits should have rolled. It’s also a shame that the second half of the film finds so little to do for actor Park Hee-soon, who plays the grizzled bad-ass out to catch Gong Yoo – he’s the Tommy Lee Jones to Gong’s The Fugitive, if you will. Unfortunately, the actor is almost too good at his job; about halfway through the picture, it’s as though the filmmakers sensed Hee-soon was stealing the spotlight from their leading man Gong Yoo and decided to sideline him for the remainder of the movie.

Still, for the majority of its runtime, The Suspect is a damn entertaining time at the movies. If it doesn’t reach the heights of some of the other movies of its kind – for instance, the modern Korean classics The Yellow Sea or The Man From Nowhere - it’s likely the fact that it’s a bit too derivative for its own good; even the soundtrack sounds like a riff on John Powell’s score for The Bourne Identity.

And it must be said: sure, the frantic camerawork and editing are all well and good at connoting the hyper-kinetic situations our hero finds himself in…but at the end of the day, us martial arts buffs would rather be able to catch every single blow. Don’t blame us: it’s just the way we’re wired.

HKFanatic’s Rating: 7/10

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Himizu | Blu-ray & DVD (Olive Films)

Himizu | Blu-ray & DVD (Olive Films)

Himizu | Blu-ray & DVD (Olive Films)

RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014

Olive Films presents the Blu-ray & DVD for 2011′s Himizu, directed by Sion Sono (Cold Fish, Love Exposure).

Based on Minoru Furuya’s best selling manga of the same name, Himizu follows two teenagers (Shota Sometani and Fumi Nikaido) living a dystopian existence in post-tsunami Japan who embark on a campaign of violence against evil wrong doers. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Himizu from Amazon.com today!

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Deal on Fire! All Men Are Brothers | Blu-ray | Only $9.96 – Expires soon!

"All Men Are Brothers" Blu-ray Cover

"All Men Are Brothers" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for 1975′s All Men Are Brothers (aka Seven Soldiers of Kung Fu), directed by Chang Cheh (Five Element Ninjas).

This sequel to the The Water Margin sports an all-star cast that includes David Chiang (Taxi Driver), Ti Lung (Five Shaolin Masters), Chen Kuan Tai (Young People), Danny Lee (I Love You, Bruce Lee), Michael Chan and many more! If you want a blood-drenched classic by one of the best filmmakers that ever lived, seek this out.

Order All Men Are Brothers from Amazon.com today!

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R.I.P. Panna Rittikrai, action choreographer, director

1984's "Born to Fight" Poster

1984's "Born to Fight" Poster

Media outlets are reporting the death of Panna Rittikrai, who left behind an impressive film resume, most notable, his groundbreaking choreography work in Ong-Bak (2003), which is considered one of the finest martial arts movies of all time. According to sources, Rittikrai passed away, due to an unnamed disease, including liver failure, on July 19, 2014, at the age of 53.

During his integral contribution to the Thai film industry, Rittikrai staged the action in films like Born to Fight (2004) and Chocolate (2008); acted in the original Born to Fight (1984) and Dynamite Warrior (2006); and even helmed Bangkok Knockout, as well as co-directing Ong-Bak 2 (2008) and Ong-Bak 3 (2010), with Tony Jaa.

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

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Constable, The (2013) Review

"The Constable" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"The Constable" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Dennis Law
Writer: Dennis Law
Producer: Dennis Law
Cast: Simon Yam, Lam Suet, Maggie Siu, Sam Lee, Lo Hoi Pang, Ken Lo, Niu Meng Meng, Maggie Li, Nick Zy Yi, Mia Chan Jing Yi, Eddie Cheung Siu Fai
Running Time: 96 min.

By Paul Bramhall

Everyone who’s a Hong Kong movie fan remembers the golden age of the 1980s. The decade was almost like a storm in a teacup, a relatively small area of land in China which was under British rule, somehow capable of churning out a seemingly unending amount of movies spanning everything from hard hitting action, to spooky horror, to triad dramas. Most of the post-2000 era has been spent with the fans of these movies wistfully hoping that one day that quality, even if it’s not quantity, of movie will return, and that same sentiment also happens to be shared by property investor turned film director Dennis Law.

Law felt that since the post-1997 handover of Hong Kong back to China, Hong Kong movies were losing their sense of identity. So with the best laid intentions, he essentially went on a one-man mission to make movies that bring it back. His filmography reads like a checklist of HK genre favorites – Fatal Contact and Bad Blood provide the straight up modern day kung-fu fix, Womb Ghosts dishes out the black magic horror tropes, ‘Fatal Move’ is the violent triad epic, and Vampire Warriors is the kung-fu horror comedy. Or at least, that’s what they’re all supposed to be.

The main problem with Law, both as a director and a writer, is that he’s not particularly good at either. His scripts are clunky and laden with unnecessary exposition, and his direction is usually flat and lifeless. Thankfully in most cases though, the subject matter is just enough to override the technical incompetence, with an impressive fight scene or an undead baby never too far away to distract us from the fact that what we’re watching is, in fact, pretty bad.

Law had his hand in making movies back to back from 2005 to 2010, however after that things went quiet, until 3 years later he re-emerged with his latest effort – The Constable. Once again Law is both writer and director, and as with his previous efforts, he fills the cast with plenty of familiar HK faces. Simon Yam plays the title of the piece, backed up by the likes of Lam Suet, Sam Lee, and Ken Lo. Surprisingly, The Constable, despite its title, is neither an action movie nor a triad thriller. Instead, we get a HK cop drama, following the life of Yam’s constable as he balances his daily routine of being a single father looking after a son who has downs syndrome (plus a hole in his heart, just for good measure), with his duties as a cop in the transportation department.

This might not sound particularly engrossing, but then, have you ever tried to sell a movie like Chungking Express to someone by describing the plot? Probably not, and many consider it to be the best HK movie ever made. The secret to a good drama is the execution, but of course no one is ever going to confuse Dennis Law with Wong Kar Wai, and this becomes evident very quickly with The Constable. Very, very quickly. Despite having Yam in the titular role, the idea of Law directing a drama he wrote himself was always going to be a losing battle, a bit like asking a 5 year old to compose a classical masterpiece. Sure enough at the end of the first half hour not much has happened except for a series of drawn out shots involving Yam catching a bus, sitting on the bus, getting off the bus, preparing a meal for his son (that involves a series of never ending static shots watching him chop up vegetables), brushing his sons teeth etc. etc. It goes on and on.

This plotless meandering can be pulled off under the skillful direction of someone like Wong Kar Wai or Ann Hui, but here the details are dull and meaningless, the lack of anything really being said by the scenes only drawing more attention to the lack of talent behind them. Somewhere in-between an attempt at a flimsy plot is introduced, the carer who looks after Yam’s son has a boyfriend, played by Sam Lee, who gets caught up with some gangsters led by Ken Lo, who turn out to be planning (surprise, surprise) a bank heist. Of course Yam gets involved somewhere along the way, and things plod lifelessly towards one of the most unexciting shootouts committed to film in recent years.

Throughout the movie Yam’s character is unwaveringly perfect, to the point where a more fitting title would have been The Saint. Cops on the beat stop in awe when he prevents a girl from being mugged, proclaiming “Could a traffic cop be that brave?” Not soon after this incident, he walks into a public toilet and stumbles upon yet another crime in progress, giving him another chance to do good and pull off some sub-par HK style choreography. It’s like crime simply finds Yam’s character of the constable, or it could just be that lazy scripts have a tendency to find Yam the actor. In another example of poor execution, a junior cop watches Yam running around a track to get fit and shooting off some rounds. In the next scene, the junior cop is doing exactly the same in almost identical shots. We get it, he’s been inspired by Yam’s shining determination to be the best cop he can be, but does it really need to be this blatant?

The brief sudden bursts of action only serve to drive home what a misguided effort The Constable is. Mid-way though there’s a foot chase involving Yam & Suet in pursuit of a thief and what’s believed to be the thief’s victim. The chase ends up on the edge of a rooftop for no conceivable reason other than for Yam to prove how far his character is willing to go in pursuit, while amusingly the hefty Suet is given an elevator fight scene with a woman in high heels. While the outcome of both Yam and Suet’s scenes point to something interesting being developed for the story, especially with the appearance of a bag filled with cash, as soon as the scene finishes it’s never touched on again and seemingly forgotten about.

There’s really not a lot to recommend The Constable. It gets points for being a Cantonese spoken movie in the ever increasing Mandarin mainland market, and its setting of Shenzhen, out near the borders of the New Territories, give the movie a refreshing look over the countless HK central set action movies that seem to dominate the big releases these days. However these are small glimmers of light in an otherwise painfully dull 100 minutes, and ultimately if Law is going to keep on making movies, he’d be better off filling them with fight scenes and hopping vampires, which while not particularly high brow, are at least entertaining.

Paul Bramhall’s Rating: 3/10

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Deal on Fire! Romeo Must Die | Blu-ray | Only $8.48 – Expires soon!

"Romeo Must Die" Blu-ray Cover

"Romeo Must Die" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for 2000′s Romeo Must Die, starring Jet Li, Aaliyah, Isaiah Washington, Russell Wong and Delroy Lindo.

Romeo Must Die is not only Jet Li’s first starring role in a Hollywood movie (after portraying the impressive portrayal of villain Wah Sing Ku in 1998′s Lethal Weapon 4), it’s also Andrzej Bartkowiak’s (Exit Wounds) directorial debut, who is mostly known for his cinematography work in films such as 1981′s Prince of the City and 1994′s Speed.

Order Romeo Must Die from Amazon.com today!

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New poster and pack of kickass photos of Tony Jaa in ‘Sha Po Lang 2′

"SPL 2" Promotional Poster

THE MOVIE: A $23 million sequel to SPL or Sha Po Lang, is in pre-production. The martial arts film was released in North America under the title Kill Zone and helped provide a boost to Donnie Yen’s and Sammo Hung’s popularity, before they collaborated again three years later on 2008′s Ip Man.

Despite a Category III rating (essentially the Chinese equivalent of the NC-17), SPL proved successful in Hong Kong theaters.

Updates: Film Business Asia reports that SPL 2 has been granted a greenlight by the Chinese film board. The film is now allowed to enter production. All that’s known is that the movie is a ‘thematic sequel.’

Donnie Yen will no longer be in SPL 2. The movie is now also being helmed by Soi Cheang (Motorway) with Wilson Yip (Ip Man) serving as producer. For now, Sammo Hung, Wu Jing, Andy On and Francis Ng may still be onboard.

Twitch reports that SPL 2 will star Tony Jaa opposite Wu Jing. Dion Lam (Red Cliff) will be involved in the stunt work and Terrence Cheung (taking over for Soi Cheang) will be directing the feature with Wilson Yip’s involvement. Shooting begins in Thailand, China and Hong Kong in early Spring of 2014. Film Combat Syndicate has a video with Jaa having fun with the SPL 2 team.

According to Film Business Asia’s Kevin Ma, SPL 2′s plot involves “a Thai prison guard who needs to free an undercover cop who can save his daughter’s life.” | Simon Yam will be back as the same character from the first film. John Zhang Jin (The Grandmaster) has also been added to the cast. | SPL 2 is expected to start principal photography in the beginning of May in Hong Kong. | Set photo of Tony Jaa in uniform. | 2nd promotional poster, thanks to Keung.

According to THL, the full title of SPL 2 will be SPL 2: A Time For Consequences. Here’s the main cast that was showcased during a recent press conference: Tony Jaa (Tom Yum Goong 2), Louis Koo (Flash Point), Wu Jing (SPL), Simon Yam (Fatal Move), Zhang Jin (The Grandmaster) and Babyjohn Choi (Black and White). Click here to see press release photo. - Thanks to hktopten

BREAKING NEWS: Actor Wu Jing recently tweeted this new poster for the film. | Also, you can enjoy a pack of new photos of Tony Jaa from Sha Po Lang 2, courtesy of Film Combat Syndicate.

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Krull | Blu-ray (Mill Creek Entertainment)

Krull | Blu-ray (Mill Creek Entertainment)

Krull | Blu-ray (Mill Creek Entertainment)

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2014

Mill Creek Entertainment presents the Blu-ray for 1983′s Krull, directed by Peter Yates (Bullitt). This British-American, fantasy-science fiction film follows a prince and a fellowship of companions who set out to rescue his bride from a fortress of alien invaders who have arrived on their home planet.

Krull stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Freddie Jones and an early appearance by Taken’s Liam Neeson. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Krull from Amazon.com today!

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Gary Daniels’ ‘Bullpen Fight Club’ is now called ‘Rumble’

"Bloodmoon" DVD Cover

"Bloodmoon" DVD Cover

Gary Daniels (Tekken) fanatics must be creaming their pants by now. The martial star has a string of upcoming films that include Tekken: Kazuya’s RevengeSkin Traffik, Zero Tolerance and Misfire. Today, we announce yet another action film titled Bullpen Fight Club.

Bullpen Fight Club revolves around an aging and injured former MMA champ (Daniels) who is forced back into a deadly Mexican underground fight circuit to save is girlfriend who is kidnapped by a mysterious cartel leader and criminal mastermind. Watch the teaser trailer.

Update: The film is now called Rumble, thanks to Film Combat Syndicate.

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Blue Thunder | Blu-ray (Mill Creek Entertainment)

Blue Thunder | Blu-ray (Mill Creek Entertainment)

Blue Thunder | Blu-ray (Mill Creek Entertainment)

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2014

Mill Creek Entertainment presents the Blu-ray for 1983′s Blue Thunder, directed by John Badham (War Games). Roy Scheider stars in this action thriller as a police officer pilot battling government fanatics planning to misuse an experimental attack helicopter (a high-speed, high-tech chopper that can see through walls, record a whisper or level a city block).

Blue Thunder would later inspire a 1984 TV series of the same name. The film stars Roy Scheider, Warren Oates, Candy Clark, Daniel Stern, Paul Roebling and Malcolm McDowell. Watch the trailer!

Pre-order Blue Thunder from Amazon.com today!

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The Naked Face | Blu-ray & DVD (Kino Video)

"The Naked Face" Japanese VHS Cover

"The Naked Face" Japanese VHS Cover

RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2014

Kino Video presents the Blu-ray & DVD for 1984′s The Naked Face, directed by Bryan Forbes (1975′s The Stepford Wives). For some inexplicable reason, a Chicago psychiatrist (Roger Moore) is the target of a gang of sinister killers. As his assailants move in for the kill, the doctor finds that he must face his adversaries alone in a deadly final showdown.

In between Octopussy and A View to a Kill, Moore took a break from the James Bond franchise to star in this violent murder mystery from Cannon Films Group. Watch the trailer.

Stay tuned for pre-order information.

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Batman: The Complete TV Series | Blu-ray & DVD (Warner)

Batman: The Complete TV Series | Blu-ray (Warner)

Batman: The Complete TV Series | Blu-ray (Warner)

RELEASE DATE: November 11, 2014

Warner presents the Batman: The Complete TV Series (1966–1968) on Blu-ray & DVD (see photo). Wealthy entrepreneur Bruce Wayne (Adam West) and his ward Dick Grayson (Burt Ward) lead a double life: they are actually the crime fighting duo Batman and Robin. A secret Batpole in the Wayne mansion leads to the Batcave, where Police Commissioner Gordon often calls the Bat-duo with the latest emergency threatening Gotham City!

Also included are the Batman/The Green Hornet cross-over episodes, featuring Bruce Lee and Van Williams (details here).

Pre-order the Batman: The Complete TV Series from Amazon.com today!

Posted in DVD/Blu-ray New Releases, Other Notable Titles | Tagged | 9 Comments

Meteor | Blu-ray & DVD (Kino Lorber)

Meteor | Blu-ray & DVD (Kino Lorber)

Meteor | Blu-ray & DVD (Kino Lorber)

RELEASE DATE: September 16, 2014

Kino Lorber presents the Blu-ray & DVD for 1979′s Meteor, directed by Ronald Neame (The Poseidon Adventure). Sean Connery (Goldfinger) leads a team of asteroid-battling astronomers in Meteor, one of the last and most unusual examples of the disaster movie craze of the 70s. In this one, a killer asteroid named Orpheus threatens to collide with the Earth, and Connery must come up with a plan to stop it.

Meteor also stars Karl Malden, Martin Landau, Natalie Wood, Richard Dysart, Henry Fonda, Hank Fonda and Trevor Howard. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Meteor from Amazon.com today!

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‘Death Race 2′ director helms RZA’s ‘Man with the Iron Fists 2′

"Man with the Iron Fists" Japanese DVD Cover

"Man with the Iron Fists" Japanese DVD Cover

RZA’s long-in-the-making kung fu homage The Man With the Iron Fists was a divisive film for action buffs, to say the least. Needless to say the general consensus is that the movie did not live up to its potential – and RZA is a better director than he his actor.

If you thought that RZA showed potential as a filmmaker, you may be in luck. Impact suggests that Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand sales on the movie have been solid, despite a poor performance in theaters. This has re-ignited Universal Pictures’ hopes for a possible direct-to-DVD (and On Demand) sequel, which the ending of the first film certainly left room for.

BREAKING NEWS: According to Impact (via KFC), a sequel titled Man with the Iron Fists 2: The Sting of the Scorpion has been shot. RZA is back as the star and scriptwriter, but this time around, Roel Reine (Death Race 2) is taking over the director’s chair. Dustin Nguyen (Once Upon a Time in Vietnam), Cary Tagawa (Tekken), Carl Ng (The Viral Factor), Ocean Hou (Man of Tai Chi) and Simon Yin (Supercapitalist) all have roles. Andrew Lin and Grace Huang are returning as the “Gemini Twins” from the original The Man With the Iron FistsMan with the Iron Fists 2: The Sting of the Scorpion is set to be released at the end of the year. We’ll keep you updated!

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009-1: The End of the Beginning | DVD (Tokyo Shock)

"009-1: The End of the Beginning" Japanese DVD Cover

"009-1: The End of the Beginning" Japanese DVD Cover

RELEASE DATE: October 28, 2014

Tokyo Shock presents the DVD for 2013′s 009-1: The End of the Beginning, directed by Koichi Sakamoto (Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Everyone, Space Is Here!). Marking the 75th anniversary of his birth, Shotaro Ishinomori’s classic spy heroine manga, 009-1, has been adapted into a live-action motion picture. The story concerns a female cyborg who works as a secret agent.

009-1: The End of the Beginning stars Mayuko Iwasa, Minehiro Kinomoto, Nao Nagasawa, Mao Ichimichi, Shizuka Midorikawa, Naoto Takenaka and Aya Sugimoto. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order 009-1: The End of the Beginning from Amazon.com today!

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Deal on Fire! Chocolate | Blu-ray | Only $9.49 – Expires soon!

"Chocolate" Blu-ray Cover

"Chocolate" Blu-ray Cover

Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for 2008′s Chocolate, directed by Prachya Pinkaew (Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior).

A young girl (Yanin Vismitananda from Tom Yum Goong 2) learns to fight from watching TV and the fighters from the boxing school next door. When she finds a list of debtors in her ailing mother s diary, she sets upon a violent quest to collect payment for medical expenses. Her quest is a dangerous one that ultimately leads her to her father, a gang member of the Yakuza.

Order Chocolate from Amazon.com today!

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Space Raiders | DVD (Scorpion Releasing)

Space Raiders | DVD (Scorpion Releasing)

Space Raiders | DVD (Scorpion Releasing)

RELEASE DATE: September 2, 2014

Scorpion Releasing presents the DVD for 1983′s Space Raiders, directed by Howard R. Cohen (Deathstalker IV: Match of Titans). If you need something to hold you down while waiting for Star Wars: Episode VII, I have two words for you: Space Raiders!

This entertaining cult/sci fi flick features recycled footage, special effects from music from 1980′s Battle Beyond the Stars. Hey, at least they were being resourceful, right? Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Space Raiders from Amazon.com today!

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The sea is killer in the Bong Joon-Ho produced ‘Haemoo’

"Haemoo" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Haemoo" Korean Theatrical Poster

Bong Joon Ho (The Host) lends a producing hand for Sim Sung-Bo’s (writer of Memories of Murder) debut film, Haemoo (aka Sea Fog). Sourced from the 2007 stage play of the same name – which is itself is based on actual events - Haemoo is the story of a Korean fishing vessel and the thrilling events the crew members face while on their deadly journey. If you think it’s just a Korean copycat of The Perfect Storm, think again.

Haemoo stars Kim Yun-Seok (The Chaser), Park Yoo-Chun (Dance Subaru), Han Ye-Ri (Kundo : Age of the Rampant) and Lee Hee-Joon (The Unjust). Watch the trailer.

Haemoo gets a domestic release on August 13, 2014. - Thanks to Asianwiki for the info.

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Osaka Badass | aka Snake of Violence | DVD (Pathfinder)

Osaka Badass | DVD (Pathfinder Home Entertainment)

Osaka Badass | DVD (Pathfinder Home Entertainment)

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2014

Pathfinder Home Entertainment presents the DVD for Takahiro Ishihara’s Osaka Badass (aka Snake of Violence). This crime-filled epic revolves around three troubled youth and their intense history with the Yakuza. Elitsi calls Osaka Badass “A higher class of cinema.”

Osaka Badass stars Tak Sakaguchi (Versus), Takashi Nishina, Kanade Matsuzaki, Takaya Yamaki, Arata Yamanaka and Nanako Kodama. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Osaka Badass from Amazon.com today!

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Osaka Violence | DVD (Pathfinder Home Entertainment)

Osaka Violence | DVD (Pathfinder Home Entertainment)

Osaka Violence | DVD (Pathfinder Home Entertainment)

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2014

Pathfinder Home Entertainment presents the DVD for Takahiro Ishihara’s Osaka Violence. After witnessing a gang murder, 12 year old Masashi asks his father what he’d do if he were killed by a Yakuza. Exact vengeance his father promptly replies. The next day, in an unfortunate turn of fate, Masashi’s father is hospitalized with serious injuries, leaving Masashi on his own. Osaka Violence stars Ryosuke Kimura, Shouji Oomiya, Yuusuke Mizuno, Taro Saba and Hisashi Ueno. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Osaka Violence from Amazon.com today!

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

Moebius | DVD (RAM Releasing) Kim Ki-duk

Moebius | DVD (RAM Releasing)

Moebius | DVD (RAM Releasing)

RELEASE DATE: October 28, 2014

RAM Releasing presents the DVD for Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius. A father driven into desire, a son coveting that of his father’s, and the sorrowful maternity that hovers them into tragedy. Moebius stars Jo Jae-hyun (The Isle), Seo Young-joo (Juvenile Offender) and Lee Eun-woo (A Ghosts Story). Watch the trailer.

“Not for the faint at hearts! A gruesome tale of a bloody, vicious circle of sexual frenzy, jealousy and outrageous violence.” – Dan Fainaru, Screen Daily

Pre-order Moebius from Amazon.com today!

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New TV Spot for ‘Ninja Turtles’ reveals fresh footage!

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Theatrical Poster

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Aliens invade Earth and inadvertently spawn a quartet of mutated reptilian warriors, the Ninja Turtles, who rise up against them to defend the world. Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) is directing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The film stars Megan Fox, William Fichtner, Alan Ritchson, Will Arnett and Whoopi Goldberg. Expect a August 8, 2014 release date.

Updates: AICN reports that Michael Bay has spoken after fans judged him for changing the origins of the turtles from radioactive Amphibians to an an alien race. | AICN has a quote from director Jonathan Liebesman, who states that the expansion of the story (changing the origins of the turtles from radioactive Amphibians) is not Michael Bay’s idea; it’s actually from creator Kevin Eastman’s head.

The title of the film has been shortened to Ninja Turtles. | Despite Paramount pulling out of the project, Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, recently told MTV: “From what I’ve seen, it’s easily the best Turtle movie yet, we’re talking Raid: Redemption-style fight scenes; we’re talking about epic Rise of the Planet of the Apes sort of effects.”

Collider has posted the first photos of Megan Fox as April O’Neil. | Film Combat Syndicate for some photos of the turtles in their pre-CGI renditions. | In an interview with Huffpost TV, William Fichtner revealed that he will be playing Shredder in the reboot.

In a story from Collider, William Fichtner says, “It’s not like any Mutant Ninja Turtles thing you’ve ever seen before. It’s freaky, they’re cool, and they’re mutants and they look awesome. It’s tough and it’s going to be really, really great.” | Want to see what the Turtles and Shredder will look like? Click here.

Sorry folks, nothing sexy, but here is the first image of Megan Fox as April O-Neil, together with and her cameraman, Vernon Fenwick, played by Will Arnett. | First trailer. | Set of teaser posters. | New TV spot, which features a glimpse of Splinter, courtesy of IGN. | Latest trailer. | New photos of Megan Fox and Will Arnett. | Head over to Collider for some new photos Shredder, Splinter, April O’Neil and more. |  5 new illustrated posters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 4 characters posters for Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael. Also watch the newest trailer!

BREAKING NEWS: Watch the new TV Spot, which reveals fresh footage!

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Stunt Squad | aka Elimination Force (Raro Video USA)

Stunt Squad | aka Elimination Force (Raro Video USA)

Stunt Squad | aka Elimination Force (Raro Video USA)

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2014

Raro Video USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for 1977′s Stunt Squad, directed by Domenico Paolella (Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon). Also known as Elimination Force or La polizia è sconfitta, this poliziottesco film stars Marcel Bozzuffi, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Riccardo Salvino and Claudia Giannotti. The character of Mezzogiorno is described as “perhaps the most gruesome and ruthless villain of the Italian crime cinema.” Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Stunt Squad from Amazon.com today!

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The Squad | Blu-ray & DVD (Shout! Factory)

The Squad | Blu-ray & DVD (Shout! Factory)

The Squad | Blu-ray & DVD (Shout! Factory)

RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2014

Shout! Factory presents the Blu-ray & DVD for The Squad, a 2011 Colombian action-horror film directed by Jaime Osorio Marquez. When contact is lost with a military base set deep in the desolate plains of Colombia, a special high mountain command unit is sent to check things out. On arrival they find only one person alive and gradually the isolation and inability to communicate with the outside world takes its toll on their sanity. Watch the trailer.

Pre-order The Squad from Amazon.com today!

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That Demon Within | aka Demon Cop (2013) Review

"That Demon Within" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"That Demon Within" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Dante Lam
Writer: Jack Ng, Dante Lam
Producer: Candy Leung, Albert Lee, Ren Yue
Cast: Nick Cheung Ka Fai, Daniel Wu, Andy On Chi Kit, Ken Wong Hup Hei, Deep Ng Ho Hong, Christie Chen Si-Xuan
Running Time: 111 min.

By oneleaf

Hong Kong action auteur, Dante Lam (Unbeatable), is back in the director’s chair with That Demon Within, which he also co-wrote. Very early on in the film, the audience is treated to an extended shootout sequence in the middle of the afternoon, between deity-masked wearing robbers and the Hong Kong police.

With his trademark ballet of bullets and slow motion close up shots, there is no mistaking this is a Dante Lam uber-violent action flick. That Demon Within, however, is not Lam’s usual action drama. It is a taut psychological crime drama that is very different from what we have come to expect from Lam.

Daniel Wu (The Last Supper), the Berkeley born Chinese-American architect turned mega-popular Hong actor, stars as Dave Wong. Wong is a psychologically imbalanced, self-flagellating beat cop wracked by guilt after inadvertently saving a hard core criminal Hon Kong (Nick Cheung of Nightfall).

Wu, normally a clean-cut, suave and dapper protagonist in most of his earlier films is drably attired and carries a dull demeanor throughout most of the film in keeping with his character. As Wong’s psyche slowly unravels, dark circles and a semi-menacing glare begins to appear as he crosses over from a straight and narrow, law enforcing police officer to a vigilante-mindset hell bent on justice at which time the lighting hue and mood turns dramatically darker.

Tormented by guilt and shunned by most of his colleagues as he slowly disintegrates psychologically. Wu’s catatonic-like characterization of Wong is believable, effective, and somewhat creepy. It is interesting to note that to date Wu (who does not read Chinese) has to have his whole script read to him in Cantonese by his assistant where he would practice enunciating and pronouncing some of the dialogue while making personal notes.

Cheung, as Hon Kong, is equally excellent as the soul-less antagonist to Wong. He is never better as the ever-smiling, charming, and sadistic criminal who kills at the slightest provocation. Lam, at a press conference for the film early this February in Berlin, called Cheung a “devil actor”. That was meant as a compliment as to why he casted Cheung, a frequent collaborator in many of his previous films. Cheung has the charisma and the “devilish” look of a villain, according to Lam, in reference to the non-handsome visage of Cheung. Cheung had previously worked with Lam way back in 2005 on The Beast Stalker and won his first Best Actor Award. Not a bad collaboration over the years for both parties!

The veteran supporting casts are also very good. Standouts are veterans Ka Chi Liu and Kuan-Chun Chi. Ka Chi Liu (The Viral Factor) portrays Broker, the conniving shady funeral home owner and criminal with no loyalty or conscience as he readily betrays friends or foes, is a joy to watch as he goes about his devious schemes.

The charismatic Kuan-Chuan Chi (Five Shaolin Masters), the Hung Gar martial arts expert and frequent collaborator with legendary Shaw Brothers director Chang Cheh in many classic kung fu films from the heydays of the 70s and 80s, does an excellent turn as Wong’s father. Chi, however, does not get to flex his muscles in this movie, but serves as a conscience barometer for the ever-vacillating and confused Wong.

And then there is the very busy and ubiquitous Andy On (Special ID) continuing his streak as a bad guy. On is spot on as the soft-spoken, innocent looking officer, always ready to lend a hand but he is not who he appears to be. Lam misfired here. On deserves more screen time.

Cinematographer Kenny Tse does an excellent job of making the film look very good. The lighting, sound, directing is top notch. The bright and colorful lighting changes, as the mood progressively got darker. Lam’s directing and pacing is good.

The script, however, at times gets very confusing and convoluted with the frequent use of flashbacks. The multi-layered film sometimes gets mired in too many details and Lam seems to be going off tangent trying to deal with too many elements and not being able to stay focused on the main plot and characters. A revision or two of the screenplay would have been nice. Plot and script weakness aside, Wu and Cheung’s acting makes up for it.

A Dante Lam movie wouldn’t be complete without the requisite pyrotechnics and explosions seen in the final sequence of the film. In spectacular fashion, several vehicles are engulfed in flames as a gas station blows up in smoke, taking along a couple of light poles with it.

That Demon Within is quite intense, dark and doesn’t let up until the last few frames of the movie. The violence is quite extreme and carnage depicted in the beginning sequence and may turn some people off, but it serves to set the mood for what is to follow. The audience is pulled into a quasi-parable of good vs. evil, yet ironically, good is a gradient of gray and not pure white as embodied by Wong, who possesses both virtues of good and the vice of evil as he succumbs to the dark side.

The film is highly entertaining if you are willing to overlook some plot holes and plausibility issues. Recommended.

oneleaf’s Rating: 7/10

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Mortal Kombat: Legacy II | Blu-ray & DVD (Warner)

Mortal Kombat: Legacy II | Blu-ray & DVD (Warner)

Mortal Kombat: Legacy II | Blu-ray & DVD (Warner)

RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014

Warner Bros. presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Kevin Tancharoen’s Mortal Kombat: Legacy II (aka Mortal Kombat: Legacy – Season 2). Featuring Casper Van Dien as Johnny Cage, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung, Eric Jacobus as Stryker, Michelle Lee as Mileena, David Lee McInnis as Raiden, Ian Anthony Dale as Scorpion, Samantha Tjhia as Kitana, Harry Shum, Jr. as Kuai Liang (Sub-Zero’s younger brother), Brian Tee as Liu Kang, Mark Dacascos as Kung Lao, Kim Do Nguyen as Ermac, and Daniel Southworth as Kenshi.

Pre-order Mortal Kombat: Legacy II from Amazon.com today!

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Baby Blues | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Baby Blues | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

Baby Blues | Blu-ray & DVD (Well Go USA)

RELEASE DATE: September 2, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Baby Blues, directed by Leong Po Chih (Hong Kong 1941). When a young couple moves into a home, they find a doll that changes their lives forever (and not in a good way). Originally released in 3D during its 2013 theatrical release, Baby Blues is bound to please The Ring and The Conjuring fans.

Baby Blues stars Raymond Lam (Saving General Yang), Kate Tsui (14 Blades), Karena Ng (Hotel Deluxe), Lo Hoi Pang (Rigor Mortis) and Janelle Sing Kwan (Z Storm). Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Baby Blues from Amazon.com today!

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Found | DVD (Xlrator)

Found | DVD (Xlrator)

Found | DVD (Xlrator)

RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2014

Xlrator presents the DVD for Scott Schirmer’s Found. Marty is the ideal fifth grader. He gets good grades, listens to his teachers, and doesn’t start trouble in class. But a darkness is beginning to fall over his life. Classmates won’t stop picking on him, his parents don’t understand him, and now Marty must grapple with a terrible secret that threatens to destroy life as he knows it — his big brother is a serial killer!  Found is known of its gore and disturbing subject matter. Nevertheless, it’s critically acclaimed for being a work of cinematic art! Watch the trailer.

Pre-order Found from Amazon.com today!

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First poster for Alexandre Aja’s supernatural thriller ‘Horns’

"Horns" Theatrical Poster

"Horns" Theatrical Poster

THE MOVIE: Alexandre Aja’s (Piranha 3-D, The Hills Have Eyes) Horns will be released in the UK on October 13, 2014 (a U.S. release date has yet to be announced). Based on Joe Hill’s novel of the same name, Horns is about a man (Daniel Radcliffe) who sprouts horns on his head soon after he is accused of raping and killing his girlfriend. Horns also stars Juno Temple, Sabrina Carpenter, Heather Graham, David Morse, Kelli Garner, James Remar, Max Minghella and Kathleen Quinlan.

Updates: Daniel Radcliffe is now the lead in Horns. Shia LaBeouf was originally attached to the role. | Watch the first clip. | Watch the trailer.

BREAKING NEWS: Check out the new poster.

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You don’t want to miss our new Blu-ray/DVD list for July!!!

Once Upon a Time in Vietnam | DVD (Lionsgate)

Once Upon a Time in Vietnam | DVD (Lionsgate)

Summer is officially in full force! After a scorching long day in the sun, there’s no better way to cool off than to lounge on your sofa, switch on the A/C, and catch up on some new movies! For those of you looking to add a number of exciting Blu-ray & DVD titles to your collection, get ready for our latest list of new releases handpicked by cityonfire.com!

The month of July is one of the HOTTEST months ever for Asian action, Martial Arts, Kkaiju and other cult gems/classics that are just waiting to be discovered!

Titles include The Raid 2, Protector 2 aka Tom Yum Goong 2, The Suspect, Rigor Mortis, Destroy All Monsters, Deadly Eyes, Southern Comfort and many more! These titles are just the tip of the iceberg, so be sure to scroll down so you don’t miss anything!

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

Once Upon a Time in Vietnam: July 1, 2014

Lionsgate presents the DVD for Once Upon a Time in Vietnam (aka Lua Phat), directed, written by and starring Dustin Nguyen (The Rebel). On a mission to retrieve fugitives from the Emperor in Vietnam, Dao, a commander in the Emperor’s army, is assigned to protect a peaceful small town from being taken over by a crime boss. Soon, Dao’s past catches up with him, threatening to destroy the town and the woman he has come to love. This vietnamese martial arts film also stars Thanh Van Ngo (Clash) and Roger Yuan (The Perfect Weapon).

Escape to Athena: July 1, 2014

Henstooth Video presents the DVD for 1979′s Escape to Athena, directed by George P. Cosmatos (Rambo: First Blood Part II). Roger Moore took a break from the James Bond franchise (between 1977′s The Spy Who Loved Me and 1979′s Moonraker) to film this action gem about a group of World War II POWs who plan to escape from their Nazi captors and retrieve valuable stolen art at the same time. Escape to Athena also stars Telly Savalas, Stefanie Powers, Claudia Cardinale, Richard Roundtree, Sonny Bono and Elliott Gould. Still not sold? Then watch the trailer!

Southern Comfort: July 8, 2014

Shout! Facory presents the Blu-ray & DVD for 1981′s Southern Comfort, directed by Walter Hill (The Warriors). When nine National Guardsmen enter the Louisiana swamp for routine training, they come across some angry Cajuns who know the territory like the backs of their hands. Armed with a precious few bullets, and confused by the dimly lit, moss-covered maze into which they ve stumbled, the innocent guardsmen know they’ll be picked off one-by-one. Starring Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe and Peter Coyote.

Rigor Mortis: July 8, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Rigor Mortis, directed by Juno Mak (Dream Home). This atmospheric horror film from Hong Kong revolves around a public housing tenement that’s plunged into a dark storm of supernatural chaos. Rigor Mortis is a nod to the Mr. Vampire series. In fact, it features many actors from that classic title: Chin Siu-ho, Anthony Chan, Billy Lau and Richard Ng. The film also stars Chin Siu-ho, Anthony Chan, Kara Hui, Lo Hoi-pang and Paw Hee-ching.

The Raid 2: July 8, 2014

Sony Pictures presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2 (read our review). This action-packed martial arts epic will include the following bonus features: “Gang War” Deleted Scene, Ready for a Fight: On Location; Violent Ballet: Behind the Choreography; English dub and original language version of the film, director commentary with Gareth Huw Evans; The Next Chapter: Shooting a Sequel; Cinefamily Foundation Q&A with Gareth Huw Evans, Iko Uwais and Joe Trapanese.

Deadly Eyes: July 15, 2014

Shout! Factory presents the Blu-ray & DVD for 1982′s Deadly Eyes (aka The Rats), directed by Robert Clouse (Enter the Dragon). Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest studios teams up with Warner Bros. to produce this cult thriller about a scientist who genetically alters a colony of super rats. As they breed and multiply, they must seek ever increasing amounts of food. They soon find a new source of nourishment – human flesh. Deadly Eyes features a memorable scene where the deadly rats attack a movie theater while a Bruce Lee film is being shown.

Action Adventure Movie Marathon: July 15, 2014

Shout! Factory presents the Action Adventure Movie Marathon. These sets bring back the good ol’ memories of going to a video rental store; only now you can see these obscure titles without adjusting your tracking. The Blu-ray version includes 1973′s I Escaped from Devil’s Island and 1982′s The Final Option (aka Who Dares Wins); in addition to the films just mentioned, the DVD version also includes 1959′s Shake Hands with the Devil and 1983′s Treasure of the Four Crowns. As the trailer states, it’s more groundbreaking than Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Arc combined.

James Clavell’s Shogun: July 22, 2014

Paramount Pictures presents the Blu-ray for James Clavell’s Shogun. This 1980 mini-series (on 6 Blu-ray discs) focuses on John Blackthorne (Richard Chamberlain), an English ship pilot, whose vessel wrecked upon the Japanese coast in the early 17th century. He is thrown in the midst of a war between Toranaga (Toshiro Mifune) and Ishido (Nobuo Kaneko), who struggle for the title of Shogun which will give ultimate power to the one who possesses it. By no means is Shogun a martial arts adventure, but it does have snippets of chanbara bloodshed within its beautiful plot structure!

Destroy All Monsters: July 22, 2014

Tokyo Shock presents the Blu-ray for 1968′s Destroy All Monsters (aka Charge of the Monsters), the 9th in Toho Studios’ Godzilla series. Directed by Ishirō Honda with special effects by Sadamasa Arikawa (supervised by Eiji Tsuburaya). The plot involves aliens who take control of Earth’s monsters and begin using them to destroy the human race.

Godzilla vs. Megalon: July 22, 2014

Tokyo Shock presents the Blu-ray for 1973′s Godzilla vs. Megalon, directed by Jun Fukuda (Godzilla vs. Gigan). Godzilla vs. Megalon is the first and only Godzilla film to feature Megalon and Jet Jaguar, star of the Godzilla video games. Considered the most elusive and sought-after Godzilla film. Features never-before-seen extras including trailer and gallery.

The Suspect: July 22, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for The Suspect. Directed by Won Shin-yun (Seven Days, A Bloody Aria), this high-octane Korean film follows a North Korean secret agent who is betrayed by his government. On a mission of revenge, he heads to the South and cuts a warpath through deadly assassins and rival agents, all the while trying to unravel the conspiracy he’s found himself in the middle of. The film stars Gong Yoo and Park Hee-soon.

Destroy All Monsters: July 22, 2014

Tokyo Shock presents the Blu-ray for 1968′s Destroy All Monsters (aka Charge of the Monsters), the 9th in Toho Studios’ Godzilla series. Directed by Ishirō Honda with special effects by Sadamasa Arikawa (supervised by Eiji Tsuburaya). The plot involves aliens who take control of Earth’s monsters and begin using them to destroy the human race.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance: Ultimate Revenge Edition: July 22, 2014

Palisades Tartan presents the Blu-ray for Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance: Ultimate Revenge Edition. Directed by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is not an easy film to watch, but it’s well-crafted masterpiece! The film follows a recently laid off factory worker (Shin Ha-kyun) who kidnaps his former boss’ daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister’s kidney transplant. His plan goes haywire and unleashes a series of savage events. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance also stars Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer) and Bae Doona (Cloud Atlas).

Ong-Bak Trilogy: 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.

Dragonwolf: July 29, 2014

Well Go USA presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Dragonwolf, directed by Raimund Huber (Bangkok Adrenaline). The Devil’s Cauldron, a city where violence has forged a society in which only the lethal and can survive, two young men who possess the intellect and ferocity to flourish, carve a name for themselves as unstoppable hit men. But when a woman mysteriously enters their lives, she turns them against each other, resulting in a battle that threatens to bring the city to the brink of destruction. The film stars Kazu Patrick Tang, Johan Kirsten and Macha Polivka.

Protector 2 | aka Tom Yum Goong 2: July 29, 2014

Magnolia presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Prachya Pinkaew’s Protector 2 (aka Tom Yum Goong 2). Once again, Kham’s pet elephant (Tony Jaa) has been abducted and he must fight anyone in his way to find him. Protector 2 features amazing choreography by Panna Rittikrai (Ong Bak). Also starring is RZA (Man with the Iron Fists), Mum Jokmok (Ong Bak), Yanin Vismitananda (Chocolate), Petchtai Wongkamlao (The Protector), Marrese Crump (G.I. Joe: Battle for the Serpent Stone).

Legendary: Tomb of the Dragon: July 29, 2014

Lionsgate presents the DVD for Legendary (aka Legendary: Tomb of the Dragon). Travis Preston (Scott Adkins) assembles his team for an expedition to a remote region in China’s hinterland, where a wild animal that the locals believe to be a primeval monster they call the “Shocate” is said to roam free. Travis’s nemesis Jim Harker (Dolph Lundgren), a merciless trophy hunter, has already set up camp. A race against time ensues, and Travis and his team will have to pool all their resources if they want to capture this legendary creature alive. Note: Even though Adkins stars, be aware that this is not a martial arts movie.

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