KFMG Podcast S05 Episode 53: Vincent Wang

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“To get to that level, to become a super movie star, it’s not easy… but at least the stars set a great example to the rest of the world and young kids to try their best and fulfil their dreams.”

When a stunt performer couldn’t get the right shot needed during a 70ft fall on the set of Vietnamese superhero movie, Lôi Báo (2017), the film’s action director, Vincent Wang, made a quick decision. With time running out, Vincent relieved the stunt performer of their duties, strapped himself to a harness and performed the stunt himself – much to the shock …

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Spawn (1997)

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A twisted, grungy CGI experiment gone wrong, this live-action adaptation of Todd McFarlane’s popular comic book is a convoluted nightmare. It was famously killed by the critics, which is a shame considering it features martial arts ace Michael Jai White playing the world’s first African-American comic-book superhero on the big screen. Not that you get to see much of him: White spends most of the film in a gimp-like bodysuit and mask disguising a burned head which resembles a pork scratching. Much of the dialogue – too much, in fact – is instead handed over to John Leguizamo’s relentlessly irritating …

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Bloodfight (1989)

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English-language Japanese film made in Hong Kong which borrows its premise from Hollywood; the master-pupil dynamic and bullying elements from The Karate Kid, mixed with the gruelling training regimes and full-contact brutality of Bloodsport. Actually, let’s take that a step further: the title, the worried girlfriends, the dodgy acting, the power ballads, the urban Hong Kong setting, and even some of the choreography is all lifted from the 1988 Van Damme classic, but somewhat skewed into a new B-movie vision which seems both familiar and alien at the same time. The most obvious reference to Bloodsport is the casting of Bolo …

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Intensive Care (2018)

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Indie action thriller with comedic overtones which acts as a decent exhibition for Hollywood stunt performer Tara Macken. Her first central performance should not only provide enough content for her showreel (including fist fights, falls, and a neat car stunt), but she should also earn bonus points for a fully rounded acting performance. As soldier-turned-day nurse Alex, she is introduced as a meek, live-in carer naively hoodwinked into allowing crooks to steal the fortunes of a dying old lady. Alex is tied-up and held hostage, but not for long. She breaks free and goes rogue, planning her own attack to …

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Profile: Maria Tran

Posted in Profiles

Date of birth: 30 January, 1985 (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

Occupation: Actor, writer, producer, director, martial artist, fight choreographer.

Style: Taekwondo, Hapkido, kung fu, Vovinam.

Biography: Maria Tran is an Australian-Vietnamese actor and filmmaker. Her parents were refugees who settled in Australia following the war in Vietnam. She grew up watching a mix of classic sitcoms and Hong Kong action films, particularly those featuring Jackie Chan, Cynthia Rothrock, Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Khan. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Western Sydney University.

Her journey in the martial arts started in 1998 following a fight at school. Her parents enrolled her in taekwondo classes in Cabramatta …

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Debt Collectors (2020)

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Despite the downbeat ending to 2018’s The Debt Collector – a smart indie action riff on Training Day from the brains and brawn of action star Scott Adkins, director Jesse V. Johnson and writer Stu Small – comes a surprise sequel. The ending of the first film is somewhat brushed-off with tongue firmly in cheek by the two leads. “For a zombie, you look pretty good,” says French (Adkins) to Sue (Mandylor) during one of the film’s many banter-like exchanges, continuing the trait for extended sequences of dialogue which channel both Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie. Once the down-and-out debt collectors hit …

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KFMG Podcast S05 Episode 52: Scott Adkins / Maria Tran

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“If you’re able to cultivate an optimistic and open mind, you will be surprised how many ideas go through your head that could give you an opportunity.” Maria Tran

Tired of scrolling through streaming platforms trying to decide on the next thing to watch during lockdown? Then let the martial arts action star Scott Adkins help you, as he discusses his favourite fight films of all time on today’s episode, including five bonafide classics and five lesser-appreciated head-kickers. During our chat – his fourth appearance on the show – we discover how he almost ended up in the 1997 Gary Daniels …

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The Fate of Lee Khan (1973)

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Another vibrant wuxia film from King Hu, his first Hong Kong picture for Golden Harvest after returning from Taiwan after the commercial failure of A Touch of Zen. This carries all the familiar hallmarks of a King Hu mystery; classy costumes, a stellar cast, sophisticated story-telling, and an ‘inn’ setting, following on from his earlier hits Come Drink with Me and Dragon Gate Inn. King uses the inn as a way of exploring the nefarious figures which make up the jianghu (‘martial world’), and as a way of distilling hierarchy in Chinese society. Compared to his previous films, this includes quite …

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KFMG Podcast S05 Episode 51: Sarah Chang / Vincent Soberano

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“Our first year together was probably the equivalent of many couples’ first five years. It was so intense.” Vincent Soberano

You could say it was Jackie Chan that first brought together the Manila-based martial arts power couple, Sarah Chang and Vincent Soberano. They first met at the Jackie Chan Stuntman Training Centre; a huge complex in Tianjin, used by people from all over the world to train in the martial arts and make it in the movies. Vincent – a former professional fighter and pioneer of mixed martial arts in China, who helped to train the country’s first UFC fighters – …

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Cold Harvest (1999)

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Sci-fi yarn starring Gary Daniels as a gunslinger in a dystopian, Mad Max-style future in which a virus has turned the human race into lawless scavengers. Daniels is notorious bounty hunter Roland Cheney protecting the pregnant widow of his twin brother, whose unborn child holds a resistant gene to the plague, making her the target of Little Ray (Genesse) and his marauding gang of bikers. The film is shot in constant darkness and confined to a number of repeated locations at Nu Image’s South African studio, which gives this straight-to-video film a particularly stagey quality. The apocalyptic premise is very …

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