Lôi Báo (2017)

Posted in Reviews
Lôi Báo (2017)

Vietnamese body swap action movie from director Victor Vu, an acclaimed filmmaker known more for his dramatic work. He crafts a convincing thriller, dealt with at times in sombre tones, which is a bit of stretch for a film with the sort of premise that wouldn’t look out of place in an old episode of The Twilight Zone. Chinese fight choreographer Vincent Wang (The Great Wall) brings a grounded realism to the combat scenes – again, slightly at odds with the fantastical story – who turns the film’s star, Cuong Seven (a famous singer and dancer), into a knife-wielding, free-running, …

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The Prey (2018)

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Considering the limitations of putting an action movie together in Cambodia – where fight filmmaking is still very much in its infancy – it is nothing short of amazing that Italian-born writer-director Jimmy Henderson can even get his films made, let alone have them looking so good. With this violent cat-and-mouse tale – which borrows thematically from films like Hard Target, First Blood and Predator – Henderson brings his own flair to a somewhat predictable set-up, running wild in the luscious greens of a Cambodian jungle. But it’s no breath of fresh air; his use of close-up, thudding sound design, and …

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Profile: Alexander Fu Sheng

Posted in Profiles

Date of birth: October 20, 1954 (Hong Kong)

Date of death: July 7, 1983 (aged 28), Hong Kong

Real name: Cheung Fu Sing (Cantonese); Zhang Fu Sheng (Mandarin)

Other names: Fu Sheng; Cheung Fu-sheng; Alexander Seng.

Occupation: With his boyish charms, mop of black hair, wide eyes and great screen-fighting skills, Alexander Fu Sheng would become one of Hong Kong’s most unlikely superstars at a time when the cool intensity of Bruce Lee was all the rage. His naïve, tragicomic film persona would set the template for future action stars like Jackie Chan to follow during the kung fu comedy boom of the late 1970s. Fu Sheng …

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The Art of Self-Defense (2019)

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Riley Stearns’ darkly comic study on toxic masculinity is the sort of strikingly original and unsettling vision that lives long in the memory, destined to become a cult favourite. Like a well-timed leg sweep, the film constantly shocks and surprises. When Casey – an ostracised, terminally single accountant played by Jesse Eisenberg, firmly in his comfort zone – is mugged and beaten on his way to buy dog food for his baby dachshund, he decides to take up karate lessons. Alessandro Nivola plays his sensei in what starts as a somewhat obvious lampooning of the type of ‘McDojo’ enterprises you …

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Furie (2019)

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Vietnamese martial arts film which revolves around a captivating performance from Veronica Ngo. She is exceptional as Hai Phuong (the character name is the film’s original Vietnamese title), a Vovinam-trained former Saigon street punk who falls pregnant and escapes her hoodlum life to raise her daughter in rural isolation. Her fighting skills comes in handy as a debt collector, but her motherly tendencies don’t quite come as naturally; she is ignorant to her child’s pleas to escape her bullied school-life, she burns the dinner and fails to protect her daughter when she is snatched by criminals in the village and …

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The Twins Effect (2003)

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A supernatural kung fu romcom designed as a vehicle for the manufactured pop duo, Twins, made up of singers Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung. Emperor Group bring out the big guns for Twins’ first action outing, recruiting Donnie Yen as co-director and fight choreographer – who gets to channel his experiences on Blade II in another gothic vampire setting – and none other than Hong Kong movie royalty himself, Jackie Chan, who appears in two extended comedy routines and joins Twins to sing the theme tune. The inclusion of both Jackie and Donnie (who had previously worked together in Hollywood …

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Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010)

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A brooding gothic horror dealing in the macabre and the supernatural; a murder mystery akin to Agatha Christie; and a martial arts action movie – all rolled into one. This is Tsui Hark at his most magical, spinning a vivid story reflective of his most excellent wuxia work back in 1990s Hong Kong. Li Bingbing’s icy imperial aide, in particular, is the type of character you would expect Brigitte Lin to have played, while Sammo Hung‘s fight choreography enriches the action with his familiar intricacies. Set in 698 AD in the run-up to the coronation of China’s first female emperor, …

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Warrioress (2013)

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Low-budget British riff on the Boudica story with a bit of Lord of the Rings thrown in, set in a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity has descended into tribalism and ritualistic paganism. A scantily clad warrior called Boudiccu (Fay) from the ‘Danonshee tribe’ acquires the holy swords ‘Opener’ and ‘Dragon Singer’ in open combat and must go on a journey to fulfil an age-old prophecy to fight in the ‘duelling circle’. Along the way she fends off bandits from the evil ‘Falonex tribe’, who appear to be planning world domination from a giant CGI oil rig. The dialogue is impenetrable, …

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KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 42: Mindy Kelly / Janell Smith

Posted in Podcasts

“I will always be evolving and changing and growing. This is only just the beginning.” Mindy Kelly

From the age of four, Mindy Kelly has dedicated her life to the martial arts. Since moving to Hollywood, she has made her name as both a stunt performer and coordinator, working on music videos for the likes of Lady Gaga, Childish Gambino, Skrillex and Metallica, to performing for major action movies like Alita: Battle Angel, The Dark Knight Rises and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Now Mindy has now made her feature film debut as a stunt coordinator – not to mention fight choreographer, martial arts …

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KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 41: Scott Adkins / Mark Strange

Posted in Podcasts

“You can look [at] my trajectory as an actor to see how, pretty much, on every film I have got better. You can see that I am not resting on my laurels.” Scott Adkins

Today we welcome back the martial arts movie star, Scott Adkins, who makes his third appearance on our show. Scott and the director, Jesse V. Johnson, have been responsible for some very impressive work over the last few years, including Savage Dog, Accident Man, The Debt Collector, Triple Threat and their latest, Avengement, which sees Scott provide one of his most intense acting performances. It’s a partnership which allows …

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