Maria (2019)

Posted in Reviews

A Filipino fight film from the producers of 2018’s BuyBust which switches the gender roles in the John Wick story, centring on a vengeful female assassin. It also champions indigenous Filipino martial arts, particularly in its usage of bladed weapons; a staple of Sonny Sison’s fight choreography and something which was equally on display in the relentless, claustrophobic chaos of BuyBust. Like Anne Curtis’ uber-killer in Erik Matti’s film, Maria similarly plucks a famous Filipino actor not known for action films – in this case, the popular local star Cristine Reyes – and transforms her into a badass killer. Reyes does …

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BuyBust (2018)

Posted in Reviews

A striking, savage and poignant missive on the Filipino drug wars. Erik Matti confines his action-packed social commentary to the claustrophobic environs of a Manila slum, where over the course of one evening, a microcosm of governmental corruption, societal breakdown and widespread violence erupts when a drug bust goes wrong. Told through the moral gaze of a headstrong supercop called Nina (Curtis), her loyalty is tested as her troop of drug enforcement officers are slowly, and quite gruesomely, picked off by both the crooks and the community. The locals see the cops’ intrusion as an affront to their way of …

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KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 38: Don “The Dragon” Wilson

Posted in Podcasts

“If you do something in sports, everybody likes you… that’s what I had been looking for as a child – acceptance. So I pushed myself harder.”

When Chuck Norris convinced his martial arts buddy – the 11-time world kickboxing champion, Don “The Dragon” Wilson – to consider a career in the movies, he could never have dreamed how quickly his life would transform. A winning audition for the king of exploitation cinema, Roger Corman, led to a multi-picture deal which would see “The Dragon” become the leading martial arts movie star in the highly lucrative direct-to-video market of the late 1980s …

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Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2018)

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Max Zhang’s rival Wing Chun master in Ip Man 3 damn-near stole the show from Donnie Yen. Cheung Tin-chi’s proud quest for kung fu superiority and his subsequent fall from grace was a moralistic lesson in hubris, and although positioned as the villain of the piece, his tale was more cautionary than downright evil. Zhang also demonstrated great poise and presence as an actor, and more than capable to rival Donnie in the stoic stakes. This spin-off – directed by Ip Man 3‘s fight choreographer, Yuen Woo-ping – throws us back into the gloriously romanticised world of neon-lit 1950s Hong …

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Deadpool 2 (2018)

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For anyone who felt the first Deadpool movie lacked depth, this sequel kills off Deadpool’s girlfriend in the opening scenes, sending the gobby, indestructible superhero down a path of self-destruction. That is until a Terminator-style set-up sees Deadpool play protector to a wayward mutant child of whom he saves from instant death at the hands of Cable (Josh Brolin), a fierce robotic death machine from the future. Most of the running time is devoted to violence and wise-cracking, brushing over important details like, who the hell is Cable? Much of the fourth-wall-breaking pot-shots are aimed at Marvel Studios and their X-Men …

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KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 37: Shannon Lee / Andrew Koji

Posted in Podcasts

“He led a very intentional, impactful and inspirational life… [and] he left behind this wealth of information and teaching and learning which can continue to be amplified.” Shannon Lee.

Shannon Lee was only four years old when she lost her father, the international martial arts superstar, Bruce Lee, but her father has continued to have a lasting impact on her life. As the CEO of the Bruce Lee Family Companies and Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Bruce Lee Foundation – a not-for-profit social enterprise – Shannon has been responsible for upholding the legacy of her father through numerous …

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Profile: Joey Ansah

Posted in Profiles

Date of birth: 24 November, 1982 (London, UK)

Occupation: Actor, stunt coordinator, fight choreographer, stuntman, writer, director, producer, second unit director.

Style: Taekwondo, ninjitsu, Capoeira.

Biography: Joey Ansah was born in Hammersmith, London, UK, in 1982, to parents Nicola Ansah from Plymouth, Devon, and the famous Ghanian fashion designer, Kofi Ansah. His uncle is the African filmmaker, Kwaw Ansah, and his older brother is the musician, Ryan Ansah. Joey grew up in Streatham, South London, and attended Oakfield School and later Dulwich College. His interests growing up included acting – which saw him take part in many school productions – and martial arts …

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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)

Posted in Reviews

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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