Archive for the ‘Martial Arts’ Category

The Super-Kumite Finals: The Kumite (2003)

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

tn_Super-Kumitetn_kumiteTHE KUMITE is the stupid American title for the 2003 Hong Kong film also known as STAR RUNNER. Thankfully there is a tournament in it, but if you’re wondering, it’s called “Star Runner,” not “The Kumite.” The word “kumite” is never used in the movie, unless you count the BLOODSPORT trailer they included on the DVD. Also, the guy in the cover is not the hero, that’s the guy he has to beat at the tournament. And the tagline “To die is an honor” has nothing to do with the movie at all. Nobody dies.
(read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite finals: Bare Knuckles

Monday, August 5th, 2013

tn_bareknucklestn_Super-Kumite“I’m not interested in champions of the ring. I’m interested in champions of the heart.”

When I found BARE KNUCKLES I wasn’t sure it would even be watchable. It’s recent (2010), I’d never heard of it, it’s not from an established action star or director, and the box mentions serious matters: “Women will go to extreme lengths for those they love, and single mother Samantha Rogers is no exception, being the sole provider for her daughter Mila, a child in need of special care.” That kinda sounds like a recipe for an indie drama about a fighter that’s not really about fights. Then I put it in and the menu and opening credits both of terrible fonts and music, and they put the obviously bogus claim “inspired by a true story” right after the title. This just looks like amateur hour from the get go.

What I’m saying is BARE KNUCKLES was an underdog. A Cinderella story. Cinderella Man, but with a lady… and it makes us all proud. It’s a little ragged and cheesy at times, but it’s a really likable take on alot of the genre tropes, feeling a little different without ever reinventing anything. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Extreme Challenge

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

tn_extremechallengeEXTREME CHALLENGE (2001) is a movie that didn’t come up in any of my extensive internet searches for fighting tournament movies, but I happened to come across it in the Hong Kong section of the video store. Another victory for human browsing. This is a Hong Kong production, a Golden Harvest presentation even, but it’s in English (non sync). Director Tung Wei was usually more of a stuntman and choreographer. He did action direction for HERO and appeared onscreen in HARD BOILED (which character is “Foxy”?) (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Dragon Fire

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

tn_dragonfiretn_Super-KumiteRound 2, Bout 2, Red Fist Club vs. The Men From Hong Kong

When I started The Super-Kumite I was alot greener than I realized, a soft-handed hayseed fresh off the turnip truck, walking through the streets of Manila wearing my Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt, just askin to get my bag stolen. It was naive, but I assumed at least this BLOODFIST series, which always impressed me by having 8 installments on the shelf, was gonna stick with being about fighting tournaments. They have this whole mythology of the Red Fist Club and their Ta-Chang tournament, they have a star who was a real life kickboxing champion, of course they’re gonna keep exploring that, is what I figured. But that’s not how it works in the real world.

BLOODFIST 2 (which I will review separately) continues the story of Jake and his treacherous mentor (or actually the same guy playing basically the same character but with a different name because I think maybe he died at the end of part 1), and it has a great premise where the best fighters of various styles are tricked into coming to Manila, then abducted and forced to fight on an exotic private island. It should be a tournament – his own reworking of the Ta-Chang – but instead it’s just gladiator-style matches. Fun movie, but not eligible for The Super-Kumite. And from what I’ve read it looks like none of the other BLOODFISTs have tournaments until the last one, the Dragon-less BLOODFIST 2050. So that’ll be the round 3 movie if we get that far. In searching for a round 2 substitute I found out that in 1993 director Rick Jacobson (BLOODFIST VI and VIII) directed two different BLOODFIST rehashes (both using basically the same script?). I ordered the one starring Jerry Trimble (FULL CONTACT) but it hasn’t shown up yet, and I was able to rent the other one, DRAGON FIRE. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Angelfist

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

tn_angelfisttn_Super-KumiteRound 2, Bout 1

Team Bolo vs. The Women

ANGELFIST is kind of a rehash of FIRECRACKER, an earlier Cirio H. Santiago joint I tried to use for the Super-Kumite, but this one has an actual tournament in it, so I didn’t have to disqualify it. It’s also kind of the same plot as BLOODFIST, but with ladies. A competitive martial artist in Manila (Cat Sassoon) gets murdered. Her sister Kat in L.A. (also Cat Sassoon) gets the news, flies in and joins the Kubate International Women’s World Karate Championship tournament in order to get closer to everybody and figure out who did it. The guy who vouches for her, stickfight-spars with her and acts as her cornerman (Roland Dantes) is not as intimately involved in her training as Xian in BLOODFIST, but ends up having the same purpose in the story if you know what I mean, spoiler spoiler. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Fearless Tiger

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

tn_fearlesstigertn_Super-KumiteRound 2, Bout 1: Team Bolo vs. The Women

Jalal Merhi (who we previously saw in the similarly animal-titled TALONS OF THE EAGLE) stars as Lyle Camille, a dorky Canadian martial artist who chooses to go into business instead of pursuing life as a true warrior. He’s just graduated with his MBA, he’s engaged to get married to Ashley (model Monika Schnarre) and his dad (Jamie Farr!) got him a job as VP at his credit card company. This moment of achievement and potential could set him up to get the Goose-in-TOP-GUN treatment, the ol’ one-last-job-before-I-retire curse. Instead it’s his brother Lance (Laurent Hazout, whose only other role is “Interzone Boy” in NAKED LUNCH) who bites it, overdosing on a new opium-based “more addictive than crack” drug called “fish food” or “nirvana” (often pronounced “ner-VAN-uh.”) (read the rest of this shit…)

Kickboxer 3: The Art of War

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

tn_kickboxer3KICKBOXER 3 is one of the movies I watched for the Super-Kumite but had to turn it into an exhibition match due to its lack of tournament. This is a pretty enjoyable one though with a weird mix of sports movie and violent shootout movie. Also it deals with sex trafficking just like the last movie I reviewed. (Don’t worry – it’s against it.)

check out my review in this week’s OUTLAW VERN PRESENTS over on Daily Grindhouse.

Ninja III: The Domination Blu-Ray review

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

 

tn_ninjaiiib

NINJA III is one of the only movies to really explore how much ninjas like yogurt

 

One of our nation’s perennial VHS favorites, NINJA III: THE DOMINATION, has recently made the transition to digital and high definition disc type formats courtesy of the heroes at Shout Factory. Check out my review of the new blu-ray over on Daily Grindhouse. If you also want to read a review I wrote of the movie a couple years ago then you can click here.

TC 2000

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
Bolo explains energy transference punches using that desk thing you buy at the Sharper Image

Bolo explains energy transference punches using that desk thing you buy at the Sharper Image

 

It’s back-to-back Blanks! Everything’s coming up Blanks! This week my column on Daily Grindhouse somehow merged with their regular column Videogeddon. I didn’t intend that, but then the world didn’t intend to use up all their resources and have to move all the rich people underground to be protected by Billy Blanks on a motorcycle. These things happen.

That’s right, I reviewed TC 2000 starring Blanks with Bolo Yeung, Jalal Merhi and Mathias Hues, and celebrating its 20th anniversary this August. Click on the title there to check it out.


The Super-Kumite: Bloodfist

Monday, June 17th, 2013

tn_bloodfistRound 1, final competitor, Team Blanks vs. The Red Fist Club

“I didn’t come here to box. I gave that up a long time ago. I came here to find his killer.”

I’m not sure, but could BLOODFIST be the first movie to include sports achievements in the credits? Because it lists the star as DON WILSON – WORLD KICKBOXING ASSOCIATION LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION.”

(Rob Kaman, Billy Blanks and Kris Aguilar get similar credits.)

Of course, we call him Don “The Dragon” Wilson for short, and he stars as Jake Raye, a retired boxer who works pathetically giving faked fight demos for bullied kids at Hal & Jake’s Self Defense in the Valley. He coulda been a contender or whatever but he selflessly donated his kidney to his half brother Mike (Ned Hourani, BLOOD CHASE, BLOOD HANDS, BLOOD RING, FIST OF GLORY, ETERNAL FIST, LIVE BY THE FIST). With only one of those things he could die if he went back in the ring. (read the rest of this shit…)