FILM OF THE WEEK (3/25/13): BLOOD AND BONE + FAVELA Updates!
Produced by Nick SImunek, Matthew Binns and Michael Mailer, directed by Ben Ramsey, and starring Michael Jai White, BLOOD & BONE is the story of a mysterious drifter named Isaiah Bone who falls into a mob controlled street fighting ring in the back alleys of Los Angeles.Michael Jai White is one of the most talented men in action cinema to date. While being the first African American actor to star in a leading role as a superhero in the movie, Spawn, along with his build, his look and on-screen image formulating White as a foremost leading man in the action industry, he is also a versatile member of his field as a writer, fight choreographer and director, highly respected among stunt professionals and action stars he has worked with throughout his career, including Jean Claude Van-Damme, Steven Seagal, Scott Adkins and Darren Shahlavi to name a few. Having said this, in my opinion, I kinda never did feel that White had the chance to fully showcase his skills in front of the camera the way I hoped he would be allowed to, despite lighting up the screen in many action sequences in several films. But that all changed with the release of the of the 2009 action favorite, Blood And Bone.
A post-modern Samurai movie, it blends the dangerous world of gangster controlled underground Mixed Martial Arts fighting, with a visually stunning, action packed plot that will transport audiences into the world before "Ultimate" fighting became mainstream.
The film also stars Nona Gaye, Dante Basco, Dick Anthony Williams, Eammon Walker, Michelle Belegrin, Ron Yuan, Bob Sapp, Julian Sands, Matt Mullins and brothers Nicholas Brody and Cody Benjamin Lee, with special appearances by Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano and Bob Wall. And I can't speak enough about how good this particular movie is, and I might have spoiled my thought process by thinking too hard about how to word it all descriptively enough. But I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, for both its story as well as the action.
As usual, some critics are uber-picky about certain elements of this film, even suggesting that it cared more about action and fights than story development, which I humbly disagree with. I loved the characters, loved the story and loved the grit and the style in which the film incorporates modern-day martial arts in an urban setting. There was never too much or too little of anything delivered in the film, and I instantly shared a voice among many wished, and are still wishing for a sequel.
interview with Crave Online while promoting the Blaxploitation kung fu action thriller, Black Dynamite, White offered the following statement about a sequel in the following exchange:
CraveOnline: "What do we have to do to get a Blood and Bone II?"
Michael Jai White: "Well, there is a sequel that is much better than the original. We just have to find the time to shoot it. It looks like there’s a possibility we may be able to do it by the end of the year."
Director Ben Ramsey and writer Michael Andrews crafted an excellent, gritty and memorable piece of cinema that exhumes all the trimmings of a brilliant martial arts actioner that gave Michael Jai White a platform to showcase pure, raw skill and choreography for the screen. This film definitely needs a sequel, and a lot of time has passed since this film was made, I seriously hope it happens. Blood And Bone left a lot of doors open for viewers to learn about Isaiah Bone's past, and the monastic philosophies that solidify the path of justice he seeks.
Whether it happens or not is still in the air, and whether Michael will get to reprise the role or not is also a mystery; if they do choose another actor, then my mind is open to see how the filmmakers behind it can make it work. But in my opinion, if this film is still a possibility, then the smart money says White will be tapped once again to return.
Indiewire brought the scoop on Saturday with a new photo from the set of the upcoming film, along with an official synopsis from Moonstone Entertainment:
The first movie, FAVELA, sees Chapman traveling to Brazil to hunt down his sister's killers, in the process discovering an underground world of drugs, prostitution, and police corruption ruled by the Japanese mafia.
White is also set to reprise the role of Jackson "Jax" Briggs in the upcoming reboot film, Mortal Kombat, directed by Kevin Tancharoen.
Meantime, I highly recommend Blood And Bone as a martial arts action favorite for all fans. You can find the film now at Amazon, iTunes or wherever DVDs, Blu-Rays and streaming videos are sold.
Sure, the film is available online since certain people like to upload them on YouTube and wherever else. But if you actually support the action industry by renting or purchasing these films, it increases the likelihood and budgetary means for sequels and the production of other movies to happen.
Wanna do something cool today? Go and support this movie the right way.
Photo Credits: Indiewire, IMDb, Comic Book Movie
(This post-dated article was updated at 1:35pm EST to correct the name of the director for Favela.)