martial arts

We’ve already signed up hundreds of people for FSR Dating – the first dating site for movie fans – and to aid the endeavor to provide all of our readers with that special tingle, we’re tossing out a few ideas (that you can totally claim as your own) for forming dates around this week’s releases. They’re perfect for finding a new flame or for re-wooing your current wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend. This week involves a triple header of a bunch of kids fighting to the death, an Asian action flick where men are trying to kill each other, and an Asian flick where a bunch of kids are fighting to the death. Perfect for romance to bloom. Gather ye rosebuds while you can. Check out these thematic date ideas, sack up, and go ask someone out. Then send us the pictures.

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Merantau was an astonishing achievement in martial arts storytelling. It displayed incredible hand-to-hand combat work while managing to have a compelling story with solid acting. Go figure. Essentially, it made a lot of other action filmmakers look like amateurs, and it looks like Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais are returning with a stripped down flick to repeat the feat. The Raid is currently enjoying praise coming out of TIFF with hyperbole and review titles featuring exclamation points aplenty. Does it earn the hype? The trailer offers one clue, and you can check it out for yourself (if you’re old enough):

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Even giving it action credit, The Expendables wasn’t the men on a mission movie that it could have been. It became the Stallone/Statham show with not nearly enough regard for a talented cast of former steroid users. The sequel could remedy that situation, but it also has to jump the hurdle of, you know, being an action sequel. Fortunately, the good folks over at Twitch are reporting that Donnie Yen – the badass of Ip Man and many more – has been offered a role in The Expendables 2. While this is great news for that particular cast, Yen shouldn’t take the job. Why not? Because he’s a leading man who would be playing second fiddle here – character and action-wise. He’d be given one cool fight scene and be overshadowed for the rest of the run time (even if that one fight scene proves he’s more talented at close combat than anyone else on that roster). Undoubtedly, the pitch here from producer Avi Lerner is a role that would launch Yen into the minds of American audiences. While that may be enticing, it also comes with the possibility of following in Jackie Chan’s footsteps. Chan is a phenom, but his career in the United States morphed so badly into mainstream meaninglessness that he started turning back to China to make the bulk of his movies.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema: we’re on a mission from God. And that mission is to bring you a weekly catalogue of the best of the worst that cinema has to offer you. Broadcasting live from the free Wi-Fi signal we picked up sitting behind that McDonald’s, each week we pick a deliciously awful film and tear it apart piece by piece. But then we remember how much we actually love it, and try, futilely, to convince you why. We’ll top it off with a tasty treat for you to enjoy while watching that will go with the film like peanut butter and ketchup. So grab a spork and let’s get started! This week’s treat? Bloodsport! Bricks not hit back this time!

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema, the weekly feature with that certain je ne sais quoi. No, wait, je sais afterall! That quoi is the nostril singing aroma of fried foods and stale Funyuns. If that’s what you smell too, then you’re in the right place. With the eyes of the film world on France for the annual wine festival armpit hair growing festival Nazi joke festival Cannes Film Festival, we here at Junkfood Cinema decided to set our sights on that classy nation as well. And by “we” I mean I, and by “decided” I mean your regular host, the Duke of Salisbury, is passed out on the floor again. He says it’s another diabetic coma, but I know he’s just faking it. Besides, we all know that diabetes is just a lie the vegans made up to keep us away from things that taste good. As always, I’ve selected a film of somewhat dubious quality but high entertainment value. I’ll begin by smashing it to bits and then taking the bits and smashing those into smithereens, but then I’ll pick up the broken pieces and lovingly put it back together with wood glue and duct tape. As if that weren’t enough, I’ll provide you with a delicious snack to stuff in your gaping maw, satisfying your cravings for bloodshed and trans-fatty hydrogenated oils. Anyway, France! They love food almost as much as we do, and, thanks in large part to guys like Jean-Pierre Melville and Luc Besson, they love […]

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran during Fantastic Fest 2010 coverage, but with True Legend seeing its way into theaters this weekend, we’re seeing our way into re-running it. Don’t be afraid of exploring that Fantastic Fest link at the bottom. Woo-ping Yuen has acted in several Hong Kong films, but he’s a legend in the world of martial arts cinema for his work behind the camera. As a director he’s responsible for Iron Monkey, Tai Chi Master, and more. As a fight choreographer he’s internationally renowned for his work on Kill Bill, Fearless, The Matrix, and more. The guy gets around. And the sixty five year-old is still going strong as his latest film as director shows him uninterested in slowing down or staying conventional. True Legend features blistering action, fantasy sequences, and truly menacing villain. Unfortunately, it also opens with its best scene, features an immediately forgettable middle, and continues for about forty minutes after the movie “ends”…

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Dax Shepard doesn’t know martial arts, but he wants to leave comedy behind in order to reinvent himself as an action star. How? By starring, writing, producing, and executive producing Brother’s Justice. This trailer proves that Joaquin Phoenix shouldn’t have tried to trick anyone with a fake documentary, because this honest look at Shepard attempting to get his fake movie made, getting in fights with Brazilian Jujitsu practitioner Bradley Cooper, and trying to get James Cameron on board looks far more entertaining (even if it might be less thought-provoking). If anything, it’s finally gotten Ashton Kutcher and Tom Arnold into the same flick. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Yuen Woo Ping is a master of martial arts filmmaking, and his latest is True Legend which hits select theaters in May. We got a chance to see it back at Fantastic Fest, where Rob loved most of the movie (except the final 40 minutes). Fortunately, we got our hands on one of the beautifully choreographed scenes of wire work from the film. Unfortunately, grabbing a screencap was insanely difficult because it moves too damned quick. Watch and take notes for the next time you have dozens of sharp objects thrown at your head.

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Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins isn’t just one great movie. It’s two. The first is a reverent, calm look at the brewing battle that delivers a lot of tense moments and a bit of comedy. The second is a blood bath. Literally. There are people actually bathing in blood from thousands of sliced up foes. Those pieces come together to make one incredible movie that absolutely feels like Miike channeling Kurosawa after maxing out his credit card buying karo syrup and red dye. The characters are all compelling, and they’re even more fun to watch while they’re cutting down an army like so much wheat. The action is intense enough to make the audience need to wipe sweat off its collective brow, and the movie is coming to SXSW. To celebrate that, they’ve released a brand new, stylish poster that you can only see here at FSR (until you can see it everywhere else):

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; scientifically proven. This is the weekly internet column with a permanent case of the munchies. Every Friday I serve up a jive cinematic turkey which I then proceed to slap all up and down with snark. But I temper that by showering it with sweet, sweet affection because I am in fact a lover of bad movies. Wow, is it hot in here or is it just…wholly inappropriate. To complete this weird little combo plate, I will then pair the film with a themed snack food item that will judo kick you in the intestines the way the movie backhands your brain. It is February again and, apart from marmots predicting the weather and an onslaught of inedible candy hearts in the forecast, that can only mean one thing: Blaxploitation History Month! As should be readily apparent to everyone at this point, I am something of a fan of various types of ‘sploitations, but my favorite of the lot has to be the incredibly entertaining, if often more-than-mildly offensive blaxploitation. We can argue the merits/problems with this subgenre all day, but the fact is that it produced several certified badass films and propelled to stardom many performers who otherwise may not have had an opportunity to shine. As such, the month of February will be devoted to showcasing four more of my favorite blaxploitation films. Today’s snack: Black Belt Jones

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Words cannot describe the beauty that is the Ip Man series of films, unless you count our reviews for Ip Man and Ip Man 2. While note nearly as complex or empathetic as the first, Ip Man 2 is a Rocky IV-esque tale that sees star Donnie Yen in the title role setting up shop in Hong Kong, battling the town’s masters on table tops to gain permission to open a Wing Chun school, and brawling with a British boxer who storms into town picking a fight with everyone. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Yes, that one shot does make The Warrior’s Way look like a remake of The Birds featuring ninjas, and the rest of it looks like an effects-driven martial arts movie. Sometimes that can be a bad thing, but it honestly feels like the natural evolution from the Wire Fu movies of the past, and here it looks like everything is carefully done. Plus, it’s cowboys vs ninjas. How can that go wrong? Cross your fingers for decent-looking CGI blood (or no blood at all). The film stars Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth, Korean star Dong-gun Jang, and Danny Huston. What do you think?

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If you love martial arts, but haven’t gotten a chance to see Merantau yet, today is a day to rejoice. December 28th will also be a day to rejoice, because that’s the day that Magnolia will release the film on Blu-ray and DVD for consumption in your very own home. Merantau is a shining example of what an action film can be. The fight choreography is world class, and there’s an actual story and character development to keep things fresh when fists aren’t flying (which isn’t often). Read my review to get even more excited and mark your calendars. [Kung Fu Cinema]

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After avenging his slain teacher, kung-fu master Chen Zhen finds himself a marked man. He enlists in the army as a means of escape and ends up in Europe during WWI; serving as part of a suicide squad assigned to deliver ammunition to the front line. When one of his friends dies in combat, Chen Zhen decides to assume his identity and return to his homeland; falling steadily to foreign influence which is ultimately subverting its culture and history. When the tyrannical Japanese government releases a list of detractors that it intends to silence–a death list–Chen Zhen can no longer idle quietly in his comfortable assumed life. He adorns a disguise and sets out to save the patriots of his beloved country before they become the discards of revolution.

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Because we’re all too broke to go to the theater or afford gold-plated rental services, FSR is offering free movies every Monday for the month of September. If this title doesn’t strike your fancy, head to Crackle.com to see what else they have for your viewing pleasure. The selection is great, and even better – the price is right. There’s a lot of talk about what the best martial arts movie of all time is. Do you go classic with Bruce Lee? Do you boldly go modern with Tony Jaa? Do you insist on a Woo-ping flick? While that world is a difficult one to navigate, the genre is one of the easiest to enjoy, and Drunken Master is one of the finest examples of it. Jackie Chan before he was Americanized delivers stunts that would leave Evil Knieval’s jaw on the floor and will leave most of your eyeballs there, too. Plus, it marries two of our favorite past times: getting drunk and fighting. If you love it, you know you want to see it again (even if you use it as an excuse to also watch Snake in Eagle’s Shadow). If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to stop reading my ramblings and go watch it.

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The typical rule for a studio is that when a film bombs, it doesn’t get a sequel. Fortunately for everyone on the planet with eyeballs, Capcom is not a film studio, and they don’t have to play by the rules. After the gut-wrenchingly bad showing that was The Legend of Chun Li, the fine folks over at Capcom have proclaimed that instead of lying back in the sweet arms of defeat, they’ll jump back up and start swinging again for everyone’s amusement. Fingers crossed that they team up with Asylum.

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One of our Most Anticipated of 2010 gives us two more reasons to get excited.

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KungFuKid

Warning: These pictures are not suitable for anyone with OH MY GOD OUTTA THE WAY I’LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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ff-mcteigueinterview

Since Ninja Assassin comes out on Wednesday to slice your turkey for you, I thought you might want to re-read my interview with its director. Sadly for you, it’s on video.

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ff-mandrill

With as lightening-fast as Marko Zaror is, we were incredibly lucky to catch him on camera for an exclusive Fantastic Fest interview. We assume the master martial artist and Mandrill director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza were lured in by the promise of free booze and shag carpet on the walls.

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published: 04.16.2014
B-
published: 04.14.2014
B
published: 04.14.2014
A-
published: 04.14.2014
C

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