Director: Nick Rowland EXE Producer Michael Fassbender Starring: Cosmo Jarvis, Barry Keoghan, David Wilmot, Ned Dennehy, Niamh Algar .UK. 1h 40m
There’s a point in everyone’s life when their past catches up with them and atonement, regret and a moment of awakening can’t be ignored. But when your past is muddled with the dark underbelly of the Ireland fighting and gang scene this event usually arrives with a shed load of pain and grief and that’s what Arm has to deal with in Nick Rowlands debut movie.
Rowlands career was mostly shorts and TV segments, and I don’t think anyone would have been something this powerful coming next, but Calm with Horses is a masterclass of powerful drama and questionable characters.
Director: Woo Ping Yuen Starring: Yuwn Siu-tien, Hwang Jang-lee, Linda Lin Ying, Yuen Shun-yi, Charlie Shek, Yen Shi-kwan Hong Kong. 1h 31m
Set after the cult classic Drunken Master, the aged fighting master Sam Seed (Yuen Siu-tien) returns home to his wife after many years to discover he has a new son! This outlandish Ku fu movie is one of my favorites for it’s equal measures of clever fighting and cheeky comedy which boils down to hell of a final movie for the legendary actor Yuen Siu-tien, as he passed from a stroke soon after filming. Not only is the humor and fighting well balanced but the characters conjured up are not easily matched, the cast includes the characters, Rubber Legs , Moneybags, Foggy and Sickness Master, who all sound like some Wish version of Wu Tang.
Director: Charlie Ahearn Starring:Nathan Ingram, George David Conzales, Migeul WIllanueva. USA. 1h m
You’ll not find any film as authentic while investigating New York Black and Puerto Rican culture than this collector’s gem. Ahearn had always been in love with the streets and his down to earth and accurate portrayal is extended to this more fictional story surrounding the troubles between a man trying to enjoy his love of martial arts peacefully and those trying to use it to arm their drug runners.
Director: Jesse V Johnson Starring: Scott Adkins, Craig Fairbass, Thomas Turgoose, Leo Gregory, Nick Moran. UK. 1h 30m
Scott Adkins breaks away from Boyka for a moment to seamlessly blend in with the leftover cast from the Rise of the Footsoldier series to take on a slightly different London Gangster/ Prison flick. Casting a few Kung fu kicks into the story of a young gym owner who finds himself slammed into an overly oppressed prisons situation but why?
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)→