The Night Comes for Us (2018)

Posted in Reviews

A blistering, head-stomping fight film from Timo Tjahjanto, one half of the Mo Brothers. Their 2016 film, Headshot, was a downbeat sucker-punch that upped the gross-out quota established by Gareth Evans in his The Raid films, helping to put Indonesian action on the map. This movie not only meets the high-bar previously set but – certainly in the case of Headshot – takes one jumping flying-kick over it. There are sequences in this film which will stay with you for months, making you gasp and wince all over again. But it is also the subtle touches that help to single-out this astonishing …

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Triple Threat (2019)

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All-star martial arts extravaganza which, by and large, more than delivers on its action-packed promise. Credit should be given both to the film’s director, Jesse V. Johnson, and its editors for somehow managing to showcase the talents of its ensemble cast without scrimping on any individual performance. Although the story positions the Asian leads as the heroes, fans of all involved should come away feeling well-nourished. Kudos, too, to Tim Man‘s excellent fight choreography which does well to identify stylistic differences between the performers as well as playing to their strengths, whether its Tony Jaa‘s powerful Muay Thai strikes, Tiger …

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Showdown in Manila (2016)

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The long shadow cast by Russian hulk Alexander Nevsky looms large over Mark Dacascos’ directorial debut. As the film’s writer, producer and star, he’s a brooding, pervasive presence cornering every aspect of the film, but at least he has the decency to surround himself with great action stars. Nevsky and Casper Van Dien play PIs working in Manila in the formulaic buddy mould and occasionally chauvinistic style of 1980s American cop films. They are hired by Tia Carrere when her FBI husband (Mark Dacascos) is gunned down by a drug gang, led by genre favourites Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Matthias Hues. …

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KFMG Podcast S03 Episode 27: Amy Johnston / Scott Adkins

Posted in Podcasts

“I grew up watching Michelle Yeoh and she started it all for me.” Amy Johnston

To celebrate the UK DVD and digital download release of Accident Man – a British action comedy based on a comic book by the creator of Judge Dredd – we have two of the world’s biggest martial arts movie stars on the show. Listen to my in-depth conversation with one of the most popular female action stars on the planet right now, Amy Johnston, who has gone from being Scarlett Johannsson’s stunt double to leading her own fight flicks with top performances in movies like Lady Bloodfight …

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The Hard Way (2019)

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No-one can quite enter a room, admonish the bad guys and kick their asses quite like Michael Jai White. This is another serving of prime B-movie fodder for the Black Dynamite star, showcasing his unique brand of high-kicking, wise-cracking pugilism; knowing, punishing, and ever so stylish. Frequent collaborator Tim Man (Accident Man, Triple Threat) prepares fight choreography which plays to White’s strengths on the ground and as a master kicker (his fight with ex pro-wrestler Randy Couture is a high-point), and director Keoni Waxman displays the kind of disciplined efficiency that has seen him deliver nine Steven Seagal films in …

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Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

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Future-set sci-fi action based on Yukito Kishiro’s popular manga, brought to the screen with complete CGI, motion-capture fascination by James Cameron. Never one for subtlety, Cameron’s blockbuster visuals overwhelm the screen, leaving the actors to inject as much nuance as possible into a lacking script (stand-out performances include Connelly as a stoic ice queen, Ali as a powerful cipher for a higher power, and Skrein as a Cockney samurai cyborg). If anything, the CGI is too distracting. Rosa Salazar’s Alita is a composite machine-girl with a human brain powered by super-advanced nanotechnology, sporting big obtrusive eyes which resemble an anime …

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Nightshooters (2018)

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A shouty, sweary, surprising delight, and one of those very rare things: a UK action comedy with both good action and good comedy. A crew of bickering, millennial media snowflakes making a zombie flick in a derelict office block witness a murder by a bumbling bunch of violent British gangsters and must fight them to escape. Luckily for the film crew, their stuntman is Jean-Paul Ly (star of Cambodian martial arts film, Jailbreak), who uses his lightening-fast kung fu skills to kick, punch and slice up the bad guys. So it’s part-Die Hard, part-The Raid, part-Guy Ritchie and part-Edgar Wright. But …

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Profile: Dolph Lundgren

Posted in Profiles

Date of birth: 3 November, 1957 (Spånga, Sweden)

Real name: Hans Lundgren

Occupation: Actor, director, screenwriter, producer, martial artist.

Style: Kyokushin karate

Biography: Hans Lundgren was born in Spånga in the city of Stockholm, Sweden, to Sigrid Birgitta – a languages teacher – and Karl Johan Hugo Lundgren, an engineer and economist for the Swedish government. Lundgren has an older brother and two younger sisters. At the age of 13, the family moved to Nyland, Ångermanland, in northern Sweden. His nickname, ‘Dolph’, was given to him by a relative on his mother’s side.

Lundgren has spoken publicly about the mental and physical abuse suffered at …

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Black Water (2018)

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Gone are the days when Hollywood would roll out the red carpet for a Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren double-header. Universal Soldier took $36m at the box office when it was released in 1992. What a difference 26 years can make. JCVD and Dolph can still be found cracking skulls, but to increasingly diminishing returns. This DTV reunion of the high-kicking B-movie power couple – their sixth collaboration but their first as the good guys – sneaked onto streaming services with little fanfare, and with a budget so hamstrung that most of the movie is restricted to a single set. …

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Profile: Cung Le

Posted in Profiles

Date of birth: 25 May, 1972 (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

Full name: Anh Cung Le

Style: Sanda, kickboxing, taekwondo, Sambo, Vovinam, MMA, wrestling.

Occupation: MMA fighter, actor.

Biography: Cung Le was born in Saigon, South Vietnam (now Ho Chi Minh City). Three days before the Fall of Saigon in 1975, his mother managed to escape with the family via helicopter. After spending a few months in a refugee camp in the Philippines, the Le family were sent to San Jose, California.

As a reaction to being bullied, Le became involved in the martial arts. His mother enrolled him in taekwondo at the age of 10. He …

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