Bare Knuckle (2018) Director: Duncan Napier-Bell Starring:Stu ArmstrongJ oe Brown, Jim Freeman USA. 1h 20m
Bare Knuckle fighting, possibly the oldest form of one on one combat, has always struggled with its seedy history and gruesome reputation, but with the rise of UFC and it’s contaversional and multi talented fighters, Director Duncan Napier-Bell casts an insightful eye to the roots of combat, but without detailing at historical icons, he instead looks at the current bare knuckle fighting scene as it emerges from it’s gloomy backstreet habitat and reveals a bold attempt at adapting for a bigger and brighter future.
Director: Partick Alan Starring: William Aabka, Michael Bernardo, Maryam d’Abo, Martin Kove, Bolo Yeung, Edward Albert. USA. 1h 40m
Slightly lesser known but wildly loved, Shootfighters plays on a few fight to the death tournament tropes but there’s a lot of genuine talent, not much love interest based distraction and tongues of sweaty muscles and heart, just like it should be!
Starting out with a disgraced fighter being kicked out of a legal fighting ring, Mr Lee (Kove) then travels from the Far East to Tiuana and starts up a similar righting ring but the winner of each match is only crowned when one man is unconscious or dead. Mr C (Albert) is a sly fox sidekick to Mr Lee and his job is to entice down and out fighters with bills to pay into the tournament with the promise of winning big, he manages to rope Ruben (Zabka) into the next tournament and his best friend Nick (Bernardo) tags along to keep an eye on his friend during this dangerous fight game. Somewhere back home there’s a couple of love interests but they really don’t add anything to the guy action packed adventure.
Director: Simon McQuoid Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanad, Chin Han, Nathan Jones, Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamara, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim, Mechad Brooks, .USA. 1h 50m
Despite the long running time, just shy of 2 hours, McQuoid and his team didn’t managed to fill in enough story to fully rewrite the Mortal Kombat universe, however they did manage to cobble together a film just entertaining and intriguing enough to keep a viewer or two entertained for the duration.
AKA Mortal Kombat, The Return of the Five Deadly Venoms
Director: Chang Cheh Starring: Philip Kwok, Chen Kuan Tai, Chiang Sheng, Kuo Chui, Lo Mang, Lu Feng, Wang Lung Wei .Hong Kong. 1h 40m
Just when I was positive that the Five Deadly Venoms was the best 70’s martial arts film, it turns out that the (lose) sequel actually outdoes the cult classic. In a similar vein the film runs through a deadly storyline featuring a diabolical jaded kung fu master and a group of unlikely heroes.
When a brilliant wealthy fighter’s family is brutally attacked, his wife left slaine and his son now armless, the Tiger expert finds a way to restore his son’s arms with mechanical extensions but now with a blackened heart he bullies and terrifies his hometown. Finding pleasure in crippling those to cross his pat, Four of his latest victis form a bond and seek revenge, A hawer, who has been blinded, a blacksmith, made mude and deaf and a drifter whose legs are cut off all attempt to band together with a fighter who is known as tier “idiot friend”. While finding ingenious ways to overcome their disabilities they conjure a cunning plan to take on the evil gang and the four are tested time and time again and demonstrate strengths and abilities.
Director: Fruit Chan Starring: Jin Zhang, Anderson Silva, Kevin Cheng, Suet Lam .Hong Kong. 1h 25m
The UFC is an absolute goldmine not only does it make super fighters, but it and generally if you can nurture a dynamic Hong Kong action movie with at least one big name you’ll take in cash.. But blend the two poorly and you’ll end up with this disjointed mess, that feels as if the producers knew what they wanted to do, but wrote any bull in to make it happen.
What starts as a really engaging crime thriller following a determined gun happy cop, Officer Kowloon (Jin) who opens the film boiling in a cooking pot, in a seedy backstory restaurant, Lam Suet taunting him as the two compare Dragon tattoos, fortunate that our hero has a better back story featuring an adorable (brightly coloured cgi) Dragon that he met as a child…after the bonding he shoots Lams hand off in a function room and gets suspended, this becomes a trend with Kowloon even while investigating a spate of murders targeting female police officers he manages to fudge the operation, not only letting the only suspect go, but losing his fiancee\fellow officer. Continue reading The Invincible Dragon (2019)→
Director: Mike Slee Starring: Mark Stong, Jock McLeod, Joan Gregson, Ian Downie .UK/Canada. 1h 30m
It’s often quite typical for a mockumentary to just detail a single little project or some kind of investigation using the found footage format to make the most of a small budget and hopefully to give chills and thrills for its audience, however The Great Martian War goes a step beyond to rewrite human history with a War of the Worlds fashioned World War.
The team has model their creative documentary with the flare of the (Sky) History Channel and goes as far to have the logo in the corner and a lot of the formatting looks quite genuine although it is lost halfway through the movie for some random effects that I’ve never personally seen any type of TV documentary but maybe this is artistic flare? It does hold up to the high standard of a professional job and it doesn’t go out of its way to explain certain details in the same way that a normal history show would expected it’s audience to have a grounding knowledge around the subject which is quite a clever stance. Continue reading The Great Martian war 1913-1917 (2013)→
There comes a time in a person’s life when they have to think about how they wish to be buried, cremated, sent off, returned to their ancestors! This is usually a somber time but one where someone’s true beliefs in the after life and their burial must be honored and treated with utmost respect.
What comes after the burial is sometimes utter turmoil for the family who are often more concerned with the family wealth, but the sparks begin to fly with this prestigious Nigerian family before their patriarch, The Loin, is in the ground and things only get hotter. Continue reading Against The Wish (2020)→
Director: Justin Timpane. Starring. Cory Eskridge, Okouchi, Daniel Ross, Dan Guy, Carla Okouchi, PJ Megaw. USA. 1h 26m.
Independent cinema is a minefield to navigate sometimes, there are bad films and bad bad films and good bad films, but those gems which really capture fan attention are those which no matter how bad they appear, there is a clear attempt do make something to the best of one’s abilities here and to have fun while doing it and that just might be the charm which makes this a unusual cut above the rest.
This is definitely a homemade, call in the help of some buddies and maybe a local band to get this project off the ground; but in all fairness without the years of classical training and millions of bucks it’s quite an accomplishment, although on par with the video segment from VHS 2.5. It’s strange how we take some projects to heart and ignore others, luckily though it’s small cult following there have been a few follow ups. Continue reading Ninjas Vs Zombies (2008)→
Director: James Mangold Starring:Christian Bale, Matt Damon, .USA. 2h 15m
For someone who isn’t into cars or racing all that much I have really enjoyed the small number of racing biopics that have hit the big screen in recent years. With so much energy from director James Mangold as he explores the run up to Le Mans 66 and the epic battle between two powerful car manufacturing giants from either side of the pong, he digs deep into the psyche’s of the less credited geniuses behind their success. Maybe it’s the drive and passion behind the vehicles which is more cerebral than the end race but I feverishly awaited this after enjoying Rush (2013), both movies are handsome looking and thrilling in their humanity but for die hard fans of the racing world, there’s nothing much new to enjoy but for the outsiders looking in, the film kicks into top gear and does a good job in keeping it there through to the bitter end. Continue reading Ford vs Ferrari (2019)→
This epic mini series was made in honour of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Manga Ashita no Joe. It closely follows the often tragic story of Junk Dog, a young fighter who has been picked up by a trainer, Gansaku Nanbu who has fallen from grace and uses the kid to fix fights to raise money to pay off his debts.
In this future era there’s a classic sci fi set up, there are two distinct classes, citizens and non citizens, Junk Dog is of the lower cast, a non citizen who fights in the outskirts of a mega city but he dreams of making it into the Megloboxing ring as a citizen to fight the number one ranked fighter, Yūri. Who, through a series of unfortunate events turns up in Junk’s ring and the two battle it out, Junk Dog gets his ass handed to him but the young kid never gives up and this intrigues Yūri, who leaves the fight but urges the “Stray Dog” to com and fight him in the big ring. This really awakens something and soon he encourages Nanbu to help him fight in Meglabox. Nanbu is pretty useless but he strikes an all or nothing bargain with the man he already owes money to, the pair arrange for a fake citizen card for Junk Dog who renames himself Joe, and they enter him into the games. Continue reading Meglobox (2018)→