an interview with Ben Ramsey, director of BLOOD AND BONE

tn_bloodandboneLast month I ran an interview that david j. moore, author of the upcoming book World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide To Post-Apocalyptic Movies, did with Jesse V. Johnson. Now he sent me an interview with Ben Ramsey, who has been an important figure in my appreciation of DTV because his first movie LOVE AND A BULLET I described as “SURPRISINGLY UN-BAD” in 2002, and for a while considered one of the more impressive DTVs (I’ll have to revisit that some day). In 2009 he earned his place in the hall of fame by directing an all-time DTV/martial arts classic, BLOOD AND BONE. In this interview he talks about making BLOOD AND BONE, why Hollywood is afraid of the DTV stars we love, and how one of my other favorite under-the-radar martial arts stars was supposed to be in BLOOD AND BONE. (read the rest of this shit…)

TC 2000

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: Round 1, Bout 4 results

tn_Super-KumiteHere we have a hell of a matchup: two movies with serious b-movie credentials. Jalal Merhi vs. Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Canada’s Film One Productions vs. Roger Corman’s Concorde, late ’80s-barely-theatrical vs. mid-’90s-DTV, fist vs. talon. And both of them have Billy Blanks in the cast.

 

 

(read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Bloodfist

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…)

Man of Steel

tn_manofsteel(contains THE SPOILERS)

I cannot tell a lie, I was really fuckin excited for the new Superman movie. I went to the midnight show and everything. I showed up way too early. I passed a guy dressed as Superman going into the john and might’ve given him a high five if I knew he’d washed his hands. I’m down for this. I wanted this to be great.

I’m not one of those people who shits on SUPERMAN RETURNS. I liked it, I just didn’t love it, mainly because I think it was shackled by nostalgia, held back by trying so hard to recapture the old Richard Donner movies. I know this is considered blasphemy in many circles (you’re gonna be hearing that a couple more times in this review) but I just don’t like those Superman pictures that much. They were great in the ’70s and early ’80s but to me they haven’t held up the way the Spielberg and Lucas joints of the era still do and will continue to. So as good of a job as Bryan Singer did of imitating that old version of Superman and goofball Lex Luthor and re-using the same font and music and all that, I feel like what I want to see now is start over and do a different take on Superman that’s made for the futuristic year of 2013. That’s what director Zack Snyder, writer David S. Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan have done with MAN OF STEEL and… well, I like not love this one also. But maybe like it a little more. Maybe a smidge closer to love on this one. I don’t feel high off it like I did off the Batman movies. But I am still thinking about it, and already want to see it again, see how it plays without all the baggage of expectations. (read the rest of this shit…)

Equal Impact

tn_equalimpact

vhsThis week in my column at DAILY GRINDHOUSE I take a look at yet another VHS-only martial arts oddity, it’s called EQUAL IMPACT. Hats off if any of you have heard of it. This one stars one-and-done tae kwon do practicing twin brothers Joe and Jay Gates, plus Robert Z’Dar and Joe Estevez. And as I was watching it I was surprised to realize it was filmed in Seattle.

see my findings over on Daily Grindhouse

Vern Tells It Like It Is: Those Damn Vulgarians

VTILIIlogoOne Seagalogist’s perspective on the “vulgar auteurism” debate

Recently, on my FURIOUS 6 review, commenter Jeroen pointed me to an interesting essay in The Village Voice called “Fast & Furious & Elegant: Justin Lin and the Vulgar Auteurs” by Calum Marsh. A buddy of mine who is way deeper in the online criticism circles than I am had mentioned the “vulgar auteurism” term to me once before, but then I kinda forgot about it and didn’t really realize it was a thing. Now I keep seeing debate about it. I bet this is either the first you’ve heard of it or you’re sick of god damn hearing about it. But I feel like it needs to be mentioned here.

According to Marsh, “‘Vulgar auteurism’ is an increasingly popular concept in contemporary criticism, particularly among young critics. Though it’s emerged online and in print over the past several years and has yet to be granted an official definition, the term generally refers to unfairly maligned or under-discussed filmmakers working exclusively in a popular mode—filmmakers like Lin, who, despite an obvious formal command and distinctive directorial voice, are rarely discussed in a serious way.” He goes on to name Tony Scott, Michael Mann, John McTiernan, Paul W.S. Anderson, Neveldine/Taylor and Michael Bay as other alleged vulgar auteurs. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Talons of the Eagle

tn_talonsRound 1, Final Bout, Team Blanks vs. The Red Fist Club

“You’ve got steel balls, but no brains.”

How’s this for a weird twist on the fighting tournament movie: mismatched undercover narcotics agents Billy Blanks (USA) and Jalal Merhi (Canada) train real hard to enter an underground fighting tournament so they can impress crime lord Mr. Li (James Hong). It works, he hires them, and the tournament is never mentioned again.

Up until that point it has all the traditional tournament movie touches, though. The older mentor is Master Pan Quing Fu, a hall-of-famer martial artist who helped the Chinese government catch 23 Triad leaders in the ’60s, appeared in SHAOLIN TEMPLE with Jet Li, and is playing himself in this movie! We know he’s a good dude because when Mr. Li tries to “pay repects” to him with a bunch of cash Master Pan burns it with a torch. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite Round 1, Bout 3, shocking results

tn_Super-KumiteWho the fuck am I fooling, MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE is the winner of this fight. MORTAL KOMBAT: THE ANIMATED VIDEO: THE JOURNEY BEGINS is really, really, really not the winner. Video games go back to the arcade in shame and tears. Goro goes back to Outworld to apologize to his brother who he killed to steal a crystal or whatever.

My friends, this is an embarrassment. I want to apologize for this bout. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Master of the Flying Guillotine

tn_motfgRound 1, Bout 3, Team Video Games vs. The Men From Hong Kong

Fung Shang Wu Chi is the Darth Vader of the Man Chu Ching Dynasty. He’s a blind man who lives on a mountain disguised as a Buddhist lama, but he works for the Emperor, seeking out the last remaining rebels who support the former Ming Dynasty and decapitating them with the flying guillotine, a scientifically questionable but cinematically unparalleled weapon that’s basically a ring on a chain. When he tosses it over someone’s head it unfolds into a basket with a circle of blades inside, then he yanks it and it’s off with their head. And it’s ingeniously designed because the whole thing can fold up into small cylinder about the size of a pocket umbrella. If these things were easier to master then women could keep them in their purses instead of pepper spray, that would be pretty cool. (read the rest of this shit…)