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Thursday, February 28, 2013

MARK MUSASHI: A Stuntman's Path


THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME


Chances are if you are a Tokusatsu fan, you have probably heard or read the name, Mark Musashi (or マーク武蔵 if you are Japanese). But don't be fooled too much by his last name, or even his convincing looks. Although born in the city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate, Japan, and having also lived in Shimokitazawa , much of Mark's history is rooted in the rural town of Buckfield, Maine.

"Growing up in Buckfield is probably similar to growing up in any town of 2,000 people located in a very rural area.  In many ways, it reminds me of the saying that 'it takes a village to raise a child.' The truth of the matter is that I was surrounded by the same group of people from the first days that I can remember all the way through to high school graduation. And while it can be a bit disturbing to think that all the girls you might ask to the prom are the same ones that saw you picking your nose in elementary school, I am grateful for the bond that came from growing up with the same group of friends all the way through my childhood."


Mark grew up in what he described as a "strict" household, with an older sister, two parents, a house full of cats, a dog, a rabbit, and several goldfish. His mother, who is Japanese, was a bank accountant, and his American-born father was a high school Social Studies teacher. Particularly speaking, he was Mark's own Social Studies teacher throughout high school. Moreover, his father's profession is one of many reasons his family relocated to America when Mark was only two.

Being raised in such a descriptively stringent household, however, was never a hinderance to Mark pursuing his dreams.

"Once I became an adult...I learned that much of that strictness came from their belief that that is what parents were supposed to do and say. Although no one in my family has ever had any involvement with the entertainment industry, they have all been very supportive of my choice in careers. I think it ultimately boils down to seeing that it is what makes me happy and that is more important to them than anything else."


Mark also enjoys the finer things in life, like laughter and comedy. Specifically, having been a student of improv in my own life, I understood exactly what Mark was saying when he described his biggest laugh:

"The hardest I ever laughed (or at least that I can remember) was at an improv performance at The Second City Los Angeles. The group that was performing was called Tres (Frank Caeti, Ithamar Enriquez, and Peter Grosz) and the special guest for the evening was Jason Sudeikis.  As is true for most improv performances, if you were to try to explain what they were doing, it probably wouldn't be funny at all, but all I know is that I was laughing so hard I had trouble breathing. There is definitely something special about watching master improvisors doing their thing.  It is the creation of art in the moment which is unlike anything you could recreate with a script."


For Mark, happiness, incorporated with an enduring interest in asian martial arts, ultimately led him on an a unique adventure that took him from his Freshmen Fall membership in the Kung Fu Club at Dartmouth University's phys-ed department through senior year, to training a total of five months in China, between his Fall freshmen semsester and the summer prior to graduating Dartmouth. To date, it is Mark's most colorful and memorable training experience:

"During that time we would spend about six to eight hours a day training, and that was about it. Thanks to the rural area we were staying in, there were very few distractions. It was also during this time that I transferred mostly into doing Wushu. I had done some sparring/self defense in my college Kung Fu classes, but really it was the forms work that I enjoyed.  When it comes down to it, forms and fighting are two VERY different skill sets, so sparring training pretty much went away after that.  Plus, having felt the impact of a spinning back kick to the crotch in my tailbone makes me think that I have gotten all that I need to out of contact sparring."


Mark has trained in a mixture of styles, having dabbled in kickboxing as a regiment for fight choreography training, and also, Capoeira for recreation. His main focus, however, mainly deal with Wushu basics, including practicing his favorite form, which is straight sword. Ironically, he attributes his height as the main reason why most people who are familiar with him largely remember him excelling at spear forms, notably what he illustrates as having a longer spear than most average Wushu athletes.

Having been a stuntman for well over a decade, Mark's training regiment has somewhat changed. He used to get in full weeks with extra sessions. However, because of his work schedule, in addition to having to circimvent his training around some of his old injuries, he now tries to get into the gym four days a week between two and three hours each session, with as much recovery time as possible.

When it comes to dieting and being in such good shape as he is, he does not endulge in any cheat meals, and he largely abstains from junk food, although his weight likely remains the same. He explains:

"I have pretty much always been skinny. I am sure there are plenty of people that would envy the fact that when I stop working out, I lose weight. I am usually around 145 lbs. regardless of what I eat or how I train. If I really work hard, I can get myself up to 150 or 155 (which was the weight I was when I used to compete), but these days that would probably be pretty tough. That being said, I do try to eat somewhat healthy. I don't buy junk food (mainly because it is a waste of money seeing as it doesn't fill you up) and mostly drink water. I also don't drink alcohol, which can also lead to added weight, but I just hate the taste. I would say that the one thing that I feel bad about is when I make the mistake of getting something over at craft services on set. Once you start down that road you find yourself trying every salty/sugary/fatty thing they have by the end of the day."


Also, as a result of his busy schedule, his Netflix queue continues to increase, listing such films as "Beasts Of The Southern Wild", "Life Of Pi" and "Zero Dark Thirty" to name a few. When it comes to favorite actors, Mark names Kevin Spacey and Bruce Campbell. In naming someone who he would love to work if he could only work on one more film in his entire life, he explains :

"I never really thought of it in that way, but given those specific terms, I guess I'd have to say Jackie Chan. That being said, I don't necessarily expect to ever work with Jackie, and it will be fine if I never do.  But if I knew I only had one more film left in my career, I would want that one film to contain a lifetime worth of action in it."


Mark is also a fan of several genres, namely action, comedy and drama. His top five favorite films include The Princess Bride, Drunken Master 2, The Usual Suspects, Star Wars (Episode IV) and Spaceballs to round it off, with The Notebook as a "close sixth".


THE JOURNEY


Shortly after the new millenium, Mark's career path then brought him to Japan where he motion capture work on a womens' underwear commercial. After that, he joined AAC stunts, and built the start of his career in Japan as a tokusatsu stunt and suit acting in shows. He has toured around the world, including as recently as Indonesia having made a high-profile name for himself throughout his career, appearing in such TV shows as Garo, Cutie Honey and Shibuya 15. And in 2008, he established himself once more in the United States, gaining a more versatile role not just as an actor and stuntman for TV and film, but also as stunt coordinator for shortfilms and live concerts.



Not being in the industry myself, I was curious to learn Mark's opinion about whether or not stunt performers had it difficult or easy in this day and age, and of people in his field had limitations when it came to excepting certain gigs:

"With all of the advances in movie technology, I think that in many ways it is a whole lot easier to be a stunt performer now than it was a generation or two ago.  These days we can set things up so that A-list actors can perform a large number of death defying (or at least so they seem) stunts. However, I will also say that it might not necessarily be as easy to get work as it was in the past.  These days the stunt industry is filled with world class athletes, so the competition can be pretty fierce."


On the subject of limitations, Mark expressed more of a sense of mild discretion than anything else:

"The main thing is whether it is something I can do or not. Up until this point I have never been offered a job that I couldn't do or wouldn't have time to prepare for. If someone was to offer me a job doing a 100' highfall tomorrow, I would let them know that they were talking to the wrong person and then give them the name of some friends that I know can do that kind of thing. That being said, there are definitely times when I am being asked to do something that is right around the limits of what I think I can do safely. And then there are the stunts that you know you can do, but are just going to hurt a lot regardless of how well you do them. In that case, a large degree of what makes a good stuntman is that ability to say, "Sure, no problem!" even if it might not be something you want to do. Again, if you know you are going to get yourself hurt, you need to let people know that. But otherwise, a large part of a stuntman's job is to put everyone else at ease even if you might be scared on the inside."


ADAPTATIONS


Chance meetings seemed to be a mild, underlying theme for Mark's career as a stunt performer, in my opinion, as it would only become a matter of time before friends would ultimately convince him to get acquainted with industry stuntman and fight choreographer, Larnell Stovall. That meeting would then land him a gig performing in the upcoming second season for Mortal Kombat Legacy. At the time, his IMDb credit had him appearing in episode one listed as a "Loudmouth Triad", with actor Brian Tee in the role of Liu Kang along with stunt performers such as Sam Looc, Kerry Wong, Bryan Cartago, Stephen Oyoung, and Marc Canonizado. That was, well, at least until his schedule changed for that day:

"Haha, yeah, don't get your hopes up on seeing too much of me in that episode. Originally I was considered for that role, but because I had booked another job on the day that they were rehearsing that scene, I was replaced by Sam Looc (who you can see getting thrown over the bar in the MKL2 trailer). There was some confusion on the call sheet as to who was playing what character and I am guessing IMDb just copied what the call sheet said.  I am in that scene, but I am probably going to be the quietest "loudmouth" you will ever see.



If you are reading this and think you won't get to see Mark in the webseries, do not fret. You will be able to catch Mark this Spring in Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2 performing opposite martial arts stuntman Kim Do Nguyen as doubles for Scorpion and Sub-Zero, played by actors Ian Anthony Dale and Eric D. Steinberg, respectively.

Mark went on later to describe his experience working with Larnell, likening him among all good choreographers as having a "great eye for detail and a very clear idea of what he wants in the action." Mark, then, expanded his thoughts further on the question of who he would want to work with most:

"I can't think of too many people I wouldn't want to work with again. I will say that Brad Allen was really awesome to work with, soI look forward to working with him again one of these days.  Also, the folks at Naughty Dog are really great to work with, so I hope to get called in on their future projects. Just Cause Entertainment is in many ways like a second family to me our here in in LA, so it is always nice when they call me in.  And even though most days on set with Garrett Warren consist of getting repeatedly smashed into hard surfaces, I really love working with him."



Fight choreographer Vonzell Carter is another of Mark's previous working partners, having shared the set on the 2011 standalone sci-fi live action shortfilm game adap, Street Fighter X Tekken which also stars Reuben Langdon, Brendon Huor and Daniel Southworth, with story and script by writer Haile Lee and directed by filmmaker Chris Cowan. When I asked about his thoughts on that particular project compared to other live action film adaps of said game titles, he said:

"Well, having been involved with it, I can't help be a bit biased. That being said, I think that by being fans of the franchises, we did a pretty good job of being faithful to the source material. In all fairness, though, it is much easier to have a faithful rendition when you are only making something that is 10 minutes long. If I was to have a complaint about some of the other SF or Tekken films out there, it seems like they are trying too hard to attract people that DON'T know anything about the games. Unfortunately that leads to the fans of the game not wanting to see the film, and let's be honest, one of the only reasons those titles were chosen was because they had a large fan base."


While prepping the questions for my interview with Mark, I took into account my own history being an action fan who has seen a lot of videogame adaps to film. Some of my own definitive favorites include Mortal Kombat and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (which I remember going to see the following afternoon after I got back from my high school prom that morning - good times ^_~). My *close* second favorites are Street Fighter, Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li and Tekken (and I am sure to have some blogs up explaining all this, lol).

If you are an avid internet user and you watch and read a lot of online content regarding games and film, look at any thread and you are bound to find a LOT of people with highly critical (if not very negative) comments from followers of gaming culture. Do an online search and at some point you will find people with stark opinions on blogs about film adaptations of games, and some of the melodrama trolls express in decrying anything involving "Hollywood screwing up another game property" or something to that affect. And this, speaking from fact, is something I myself used to witness back in 2010 when the U.K. trailer for Tekken (I will be blogging about this film in the near future as well). Plus, in fact, if you look harder, and you will also find bloggers who have top five/ten lists of bad and good films based on videogames.

Having said this, I think it comes as a surprise to a lot of critics and curmudgeons who did not think (and I bet in some cases, did not want) Mortal Kombat Legacy to build the following it has grown since director Kevin Tancharoen began making a name for himself as *the* "go-to guy" for all things Mortal Kombat-related, with the release of his fanfilm "Rebirth".

Machinima's upload of the new trailer for the second season of the hit webseries, Mortal Kombat: Legacy, garnished well over 4 million views on Youtube in less than a week since its debut on February 17, 2013. And MKL fans have been getting only more excited and eager as they await and obsess for news about the upcoming reboot. And with my next question to Mark, I wanted to gain some depth about where his opinion was on the results we have been seeing with Tancharoen's accomplishments so far and how this could affect film studios with future film adaptations of games. I could have probably worded the question better. But seeing as how this was an email interview, I guess I didn't clarify myself well enough right away, which is why he got a little lost when answering my next question, which I shared word for word, so reader can understand the dialogue:

FCSyndicate: Considering how American film productions seem to bode with fans who were disappointed with big screen renditions of Street Fighter, MK: Annihilation, Dead Or Alive, King Of Fighters and Tekken, and given the work of those like directors Kevin Tancharoen who did MK Rebirth and Joey Ansah who is covering bases with the upcoming Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist webseries, do you think the tides are turning for American film studios, if at all?

MARK:
"I'm not sure if I really understand what you mean by "the tides turning." Keep in mind that Warner Brothers is one of the producers of Mortal Kombat Legacy and pretty much everyone involved with both those series is spouting off all of the industry credits they have in order to give their work credibility. Web series creators are rarely working in opposition to the film studios.  If anything, they are usually just forced to do things on their own until a major studio feels they are a safe enough bet to invest in.  What I do see more of now is studios investing in web content because it is a much safer investment than investing in what might be a failed movie or television series. By testing the waters with web content, they can get a much better gauge of how well a franchise will resonate with the audience."


I totally understood his answer when it came to detailing how film studios use the internet strategize their investments into online content. I think it was a smart move to make considering fans have been wanting knowledgeable content creators to take source material seriously to be able to translate to the screen. And it is partly why I eagerly wait until Mortal Kombat comes out, as I have been since MK: Annihilation. I also look forward to Spy Hunter since I am a Corey Yuen fan (even though I am a little apprehensive when it comes to Hollywood's embrace of him (with some exception of some films he has done with Jet Li, Romeo Must Die, Kiss Of The Dragon and The Expendables, and an even closer exception of War).

Unlike me, Mark is an online gamer. So when I asked Mark about any film adaptations he was looking forward to based on games, this is what he expressed:

"I am a HUGE World of Warcraft fan, so I am excited to see how that plays out. I am a little disappointed that Sam Raimi is no longer attached, but I am a fan of Duncan Jones' past films, so I am hopeful."


CINEMA DICHOTOMY


Going back on Thousand Pounds for a minute, I also got to inquire about Mark's upcoming role in the crowdfunded martial arts action webseries, Clandestine Path:

"Honestly, I don't know that much. Thus far the first two pilot episodes have been shot and are in post production, but given that my character does not appear until episode 3 or 4, I have not yet been called to set. I am like pretty much everybody else when it comes to checking out the facebook page and seeing the latest production stills."


Mark also went on to compliment Thousand Pounds for the work they do and expressed his hope that they get to work together again in the future, along with friends and fellow martial arts actors and stunt performers, Reuben Langdon and Daniel Southworth, both of whom he says has "been a HUGE part" of his career since 2008. "I would not be where I am today without their help." he says.

Thousand Pounds is not the only independent film company Mark has applied his talents to. In addition, he also makes appearences at Morphicon events where he, along with other Power Ranger TV Alumni, signs autographs, speaks to devoted fans, and creates comedic action shortfilm skits with high-profile independent filmmakers like Fernando Jay Huerto of Jabronie Pictures, and blogger and writer Keith Hayward of Henshin Justice Unlimited. This is what he had to say when I asked him his opinion how important the independent industry is to the martial arts/action genre:


"I think that these days independent film making is a huge part of the industry regardless of genre. The main difference is that now, thanks to the internet, it is so easy to have your projects seen by an audience. And as we have seen, if something is well made or has something original that audiences want, people with money will soon be investing. The flip side of that is in many ways I think it is harder to be an independent film maker. There is just SO MUCH content being made these days, that sometimes it can be hard to get noticed. And things that may start out slowly and build gradually will often get ignored by the 3 minute or less attention span YouTube viewers."


Mark also gave what I thought were some pretty deep, but simple observations about what defines "achievement" when I inquired if the independent action industry accomplished more in areas where Hollywood films tend to lax.

"Perhaps. But the real question is what constitutes achievement?  If we are just talking about cool action and interesting choreography, then maybe some groups have more of that than Hollywood films do.  But then how many independent action teams can come up with the kind of action sequences that you see in the Fast & Furious, Transformers, or any of the Marvel films? And by the same token, I don't mean to undermine the independent teams, but are they doing anything better than what the professionals are doing in asia? The point I am trying to make is that fighting and physical action works well in the independent world because it is cheap.  And one of the reasons asia is so good at that type of action is because they can't afford to do the kind of action that Hollywood does. However, asia can afford to call in very experienced professionals when it comes to shooting physical action. Also, keep in mind that many of the stuntmen working on the biggest budget Hollywood action movies were once members of independent stunt teams. (Zero Gravity, for example.) While it is true that there will always be people that want to carve their own path and stick to being independent, the road to success in this country generally leads to going Hollywood."


Briefly breaking away from performing stunts, Mark has also begun a mild stint in stepping into the world of cinematography and shooting action shortfilms, most recently in a creative and comedic action sketch called "Mini Fight" with Marisa Labog and Alex Kingi. Mark explains how he feels about his work so far, and how he is using it to apply himself as his career continues to grow:

"Honestly, I think I'm pretty terrible behind the camera. The main reason I started shooting my own stuff was that I just wanted to know how some people can make mediocre performances look amazing. When I was learning how to do stunts, I was always told to be aware of how I look from head to toe. But in the modern way of shooting action, we can mask a lot of the subpar movements with cinematic techniques. I feel that if I do want to work more as a stunt coordinator/choreographer, it is my responsibility to learn all of these tricks to amping up the action. Still, for my own projects I do want to try and strike a balance between keeping things exciting, but still showcasing performances that are worth watching."


Mark also discusses what he would also like to see more of when it comes to martial arts films in all markets-mainstream and independent, as well as in the awards department when it comes to stunts and costumes.

FCSyndicate: As a filmmaker in your own right, what do you hope to see more of in the martial arts action genre, mainstream or independent?

"At the end of the day, I want to see something that is well done. If that something happens to be independently made, that is great, but again those creators are probably not going to stay independent for much longer. And if what the independent filmmakers are doing starts getting attention, I guarantee that the mainstream folks will soon follow suit. (For example, I know for a fact that there are big budget films that are trying to look more the The Raid.)


FCSyndicate: If you could change one thing about any entity of the action entertainment industry, whether its the business end of the camera or signing on the dotted line, what would it be?

MARK:
"I think the one thing I would like to see change is the Academy's idea that stunts isn't Oscar worthy. The argument that I have heard is that stunts isn't art, it is technical execution.  However, when I see all of the imagination that goes into creating new, spectacular action sequences, I can't see how people could consider that just simple execution. Also, I mean no disrespect to costume designers, but I find it a bit odd that almost every year the nominees and winners are for period pieces.  Those wardrobes actually existed as do the techniques for constructing them, so how is reproducing that considered art and coming up with something new considered technical?  Heck, I'd love to see the guy (or girl) that came up with the Iron Man suit get an Oscar for that."



FOR THE LOVE OF IT


When I used to train in shotokan karate a little over 15 years ago, I couldn't get enough. When I couldn't afford it at first, my parents and I met with the sensei and made an agreement that I would clean the dojo regularly and run errands when needed (which even meant doing the sensei's laundry) in exchange for classes until I could. I had some great classmates and I had a very cool teacher my classmates got along with. And the business end of my crescent kick was nothing to mess with.

Back then, I had my good days and bad days. I had days when I had great workouts and days when I didn't do my best because I wasn't into it. Some Saturdays when I had class, I wanted to stay home and watch WMAC Masters and Mortal Kombat: Conquest and I couldn't (of course this was before the station moved the timeslot...bastards lol).

When I trained, there were also days when I took some nasty sparring cheap shots. At one time, I got one in the face causing a bloody nose. Another time, I got dealt an elbow to my right shin while delivering a roundhouse, causing a hairline fracture which prohibited me from training in class until it healed. Moments I did not handle very well at first.

Fun times.

My favorite segments were always in Katas. To be honest, I haven't trained in so long that if you asked me to name them now, I probably couldn't-if anything I would probably botch the first 3 or 4 Kata names I remember, lol. But Katas were always fun. For me, it was a performance where I could show off my technique and coordination. Executing solid movements like that with the energy and power I put in made me feel great about what I was doing. It was a part of what I loved most about training, aside from trying to learn how to defend myself.

At that age, I was also into a lot of hobbies, such as music, dancing and pencil drawing portraits and still-lifes (I won awards for some of those things which got lost over the years). I think in some ways, this mirrors what Mark talks about when I asked him what he loves the most about martial arts:

"There is a certain beauty to dedicating ones self to something and slowly refining your craft over the years. It could be playing an instrument, working with your hands, or any kind of sport or dance. For me, I think martial arts was just the right combination of something I was relatively good at, but something that I wanted to keep getting better at."



Mark's path as a stuntman has proven to have its share of benefits. He stays close to his fanbase as much as possible, and is highly heralded as one of the foremost stunt performers and actors in his field, which is also an exemplary result of his martial arts training dating back to his years at Dartmouth. But his successes do not always bring him resolve, as is the nature of being a stuntman who performs for the camera, and often with the risk of injury. There are highs and lows to being a stuntman, particularly in his life, which he explains below:

FCSyndicate: How has martial arts training impacted your life, in the real world and in the film industry? Any moments of adversity that tested you? Low points? High points?

MARK:
All things considered, I think martial arts training definitely made my life much better. If nothing else, it has given me a sense of confidence and fulfillment that I never had before I started training. Early on, there were plenty of times when I was frustrated with my lack of progress. Later it would be a different kind of frustration when I would see younger kids doing things I couldn't hope to do.Ultimately, though, martial arts training has become such a large part of my life that in some ways it is hard to separate them anymore. That is one reason why things can get pretty grim when a major injury keeps me from training."


FCSyndicate: What has been the easiest thing so far you have been able to achieve throughout your career?

MARK:
"Um, injuries? Maybe a higher pain tolerance? In all honesty, though, I probably have had an easier time of things than many others. I was very lucky to have met some very talented stuntmen early on and they taught me almost everything I know. I see young stunt people in this country trying to get started in the business and I can't help but think how hard it must be to build a solid foundation here."


FCSyndicate...And the hardest thing to achieve?

"Probably contentment, but that is true in all aspects of life.  The fact of the matter is that there is no "happily ever after" in life, so no matter how far I've come, I don't ever think I will truly be content with my career. Whenever I see some amazing action movie, there is always a part of me that gets depressed if I wasn't a part of it. Even if I was starring in the biggest summer blockbuster of the year, I am sure there would still be a part of me that would find something to keep me from being satisfied."


Mark's journey through life sure has its cuts and bruises from time to time, to say the least. But there is no sign of him stopping. From college on through 2013, he is making progress with himself each and everyday, doing what he loves. He has talent and friends a working community he is proud to be a part of, motivating him as he motivates others. In my opinion, that sense endurance of lends itself to the discipline he was exposed to as child, as well as in college while in Dartmouth's Kung Fu club, which explains his answer when I asked Mark what a person should take away the most in learning martial arts:

"Discipline. That being said, it was my elementary school (and later high school) basketball coach that taught me what discipline is. The first martial art I did was Kung Fu. As many Kung Fu students and teachers will tell you, Kung Fu literally means skill achieved through hard work. It does not necessarily have to relate to martial arts. I believe one of the best things in life is to dedicate oneself to something, to push oneself to become better, and to have pride for ones work.  I think the martial arts lend themselves to this type of pursuit, but the same could be said for dance, music, cooking, sports, study, games, or just about anything. And ideally once someone has seen the virtue of this type of hard work in one aspect of life, it will translate to other parts as well."


Lastly, when I asked Mark about how he feels his experiences have molded him to date, he expressed his security in the knowledge he has gained so far, and the skill set he continues to build along the way as he continues to fulfill his dreams on the path he travels:

"After ten years in this industry, the main thing that I have gotten out of all of this is that I have a pretty good idea of what I am good at. There is always a little bit of nervousness when you aren't sure what will be asked of you on any given day, but these days I am pretty certain I will be able to handle anything that comes my way. I can't do everything, but what I can do, I do well."



I have to say, this is one of the longest pieces I have done for this blog. It is also a very special one. When I started my Facebook page, all I imagined was posting and sharing my fandom and my love for the action genre to help build a community around. And to think just months later, I would be able to share dialogue with people who actually work in an industry we observe on big and small screens, including Mark Musashi.

Mark is a cool and honest man, a good actor and performer and his fanbase is proof of that. And with his upcoming stunt performing in Kevin Tancharoen's second season of Mortal Kombat Legacy, I hope to see and hear more and bigger things of him in the near future.

It was a little difficult completing this article, specifically for a number of reasons, which included not getting to watch Japanese T.V. shows since cable and internet were pretty scant for me for a time. This, of course, meant doing some researching along the way...on top of maintaining news content for my blog and the page, in addition to my personal life offline. And all on an internet connection that gets pretty slow on a frequent basis.

But this was a challenge I am glad to have met and conquered. And of course, the big pay-off: getting to share some of Mark Musashi's story on my blog. I want to thank Mark for taking time out of his super-busy schedule to talk and correspond with me and lending me the opportunity to learn more about his industry from his point of view. And Mark, if you are reading this, I hope I did you proud. :-)

To read Mark's 2006 interview with Henshin Justice Unlimited, click here. To watch Keith Hayward and Jabronie Pictures's Fernando Huerto pick a fight with Mark, click here and here, and in *THAT* order. Trust me. :-)

Click HERE to view the trailer for the new season of Garo, directed by A.A.C. Stunts President Makoto Yokoyama.

For all things relevant with the latest news and info about Mark, you can check out his personal blog at the AAC Stunts official website and you can also visit his own official website, MarkMusashi.com.

Well Go USA Brings You MUAY THAI WARRIOR This March


Well Go USA is releasing one of their latest titles, MUAY THAI WARRIOR on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 5, 2013. The film, which was previously released in December of 2010 as YAMADA: THE SAMURAI OF AYOTHAYA, stars Seigi Ozeki, Sorapong Chatree and Winai Kraibutr, with renowned Muay Thai Boxers boxers Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Saenchai Sor. Kingstar, Yodsanklai Fairtex and Anuwat Kaewsamrit, and is produced and directed by Nopporn Watin.

The film is currently available at Amazon or wherever DVDs are sold.

SYNOPSIS via Well Go USA
Betrayed and left for dead by treacherous Japanese forces, young samurai Yamada Nagamasa (Seigi Ozeki) is rescued to a remote village in Siam and nursed back to health among the acolytes in the monastery. Working tirelessly to master the art of Muay Boran (Thai boxing), fearless and brutal Yamada is selected to become a royal bodyguard to King Naresuan The Great. His greatest challenge comes on the day he's forced to fight back against the elite Japanese warriors who left him behind. 

Based on actual events from the 17th century's Ayutthaya period, YAMADA: WAY OF THE SAMURAI combines lush visuals with a cast of Olympic athletes to provide viewers some of the most stunning and realistic Muay Thai techniques ever filmed for the big screen.



NINJA TURTLES Release Date Pushed Back Again To June 2014


Deadline recently reported that the upcoming Michael Bay-produced and Jonathan Libesman-directed reboot of NINJA TURTLES has had its release date pushed a month back from May 16, 2014 to June 6, 2014.

No word yet on who will be cast in the film other than that of Megan Fox, who will portray April O'Neil in the film, which came as a shock to many just a few years after Bay and Fox fell out upon the release of Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.

The film will be based on a screenplay by Josh Applebaum, with production assistance from the original creators of the TMNT franchise, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Stuntman, stunt coordinator, actor and fight choreographer David Leitch will be in charge with directing the action sequences along with stunt group, 87Eleven.

The Full Trailer For KIDS POLICE Is Now Online


Todd Brown over at Twitch has posted a new trailer for the upcoming film Kids Police, a filmic ohmage to 70's classic Japanese action cop dramas with a comedic spin, based on a popular TBS Japanese TV show about a special investigations unit infiltraing a criminal organization called Red Venus, until the team is ultimately ambushed, leaving the Special Investigations branch of the Kanagawa police force operated by children.


The film stars Fuku Suzuki, Miyu Honda, Kaichi Kaburagi, Keito Aoki, Yuga Aizawa and Michiko Kichise. It is directed by Yuichi Fukuda and is set for a Japan theatrical release on March 20, 2013.

SYNOPSIS via AsianWiki:
Detectives in the special investigation team in Kanagawa go after criminal organization "Red Venus," based out of Yokohama. While pursuing the gang, the detectives turn into children due to exposure to a special gas. Dekachou (Fuku Suzuki) and the other detectives continue their investigation via an order from the National Police Agency. "Red Venius" then gives notice that they will they will assassinate the President of Tadzhikistan in Japan .


TRAILER




Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Trailer For Raimund Huber Film DRAGONWOLF


Filmmaker Raimund Huber has a new movie coming out from Epic Pictures, just after the recent release of Kill Em' All. His latest film is called Dragonwolf, a "manga-style" shot action adventure about two assassins of the same company who become bitter rivals when a woman comes between them. The film stars Macha Polivka, writer Johan Kirsten and Kazu Patrick Tang who also serves as the film's action director and stunt coordinator along with Surin Kambooraung.

SYNOPSIS:
The Devil's Cauldron, a city where depravity and violence has forged a society in which only the lethal and callous can survive, two young men who possess the intellect and ferocity to flourish, carve a name for themselves as the most efficient and unstoppable hit men. Side by side, these two brothers are the deadliest killers, feared by even the most evil criminals. But when a woman of rare beauty mysteriously enters the brother's lives she blinds them with her sweet promises and turns them against each other, resulting in an epic battle that threatens to bring the Devil's Cauldron to the brink of destruction.




Raimund Huber's films are distinctive in portraying some dynamic martial arts choreography involving such familiar names as Ron Smoorenburg, Brahim Ackabbahke and Tim Man, all of whom have a had recent involvement in Isaac Florentine's latest film, Ninja 2 starring Scott Adkins, Mika Hiji, Kane Kosugi and Shun Sugata. Huber's films have garnished some mixed reviews on several sites, and even a straightforward critique on editing from industry action director and stunt performer Tim Man, who directed the action scenes for his previous film with Huber, Kill Em' All, in an interview with Dan's Movie Report back in January of 2013.

Hopefully we will hear soon Huber's efforts with Dragonwolf as we approach a news of a release date. Stay tuned.

JIMMY CHHIU: A Classic Example


Jimmy Chhiu, originally from Santa Rosa, California, is a professional athlete, up-and-coming actor, stunt performer and filmmaker, and a regular practioner of Wushu and Taijiquan who occasionally dabbles in other martial arts styles. With just a few years in the industry, according to his IMDb page, Chhiu is already heavy working toward accomplishing his goals on both TV and film, as well as in the independent action film industry.

His efforts have lended him opportunities to share the screen with the likes of, Leo Howard on Disney XD's Kickin' It, a small role in Act Of Valor, and featured roles in independent action films with such martial arts directors as Shaun Charney from Dragon Phoenix Entertainment, Anna Ranoso, Narayana Cabral and Micah Brock from Whirlwind Action. As an actor perfecting his craft, he idolizes Marlon Brando and Jackie Chan and their previous achievents as iconic film figures who have further evolved the film business into what it is today, saying a lot about the high standards he holds himself to as an up and coming performer.

Set to the upbeat tempo and funky sound of "This Head I Hold" by indie electronic pop-rock band, Electric Guest, Chhiu has just unveiled his latest new action reel for 2013, illustrating his physical prowess in martial arts, as well as his own filmmaking abilities as an editor and director. Watch:



Chhiu can be seen starring in the upcoming season finale of the action webseries fan favorite, Slug Street Scrappers 3. You can view the trailer by clicking HERE. And don't forget to subscribe to Chhiu's YouTube channel.

Nina Bergman Kills The Nazis In Jesse Johnson's WONDER WOMAN


I'm noticing a theme this week. Fan-made material appears to be getting a LOT of buzz in the month of February. A new Resident Evil fan film was just made, Infinities Edge Studios unveiled Tomb Raider fan film with another fan tribute along the way, and Eric Jacobus's new Star Wars experimental FPS, Vader Strikes, has garnished over 100, 000 views in just two days on Youtube.

Pan over to Jessie V. Johnson, who has gained well over 20 years of credentials as a stuntman, writer, producer, cameraman, stunt coordinator and action filmmaker, and decided to bring his experience to a new level, with a conceptual approach to a Wonder Woman movie fan trailer, starring Nina Bergman in the title role with Peter Stomare. Time to forward the legal jargon...

DISCLAIMER: Wonder Woman is a non-profit film for private use only, and is not for sale or resale. It is strictly for the promotional use of the filmmaker. It is in NO way endorsed by Warner Brothers or DC Comics nor is it intended to undermine or compete with any existing or forthcoming material. Wonder Woman is created for fun and should not be sold, rented or used for anything of the sort. Station 3 and Jesse V. Johnson make no claim to any of the characters, locations, storylines, props, costume designs, logos, names or situations that are trademarked, copyrighted or otherwise protected by the federal, state, international or other intellectual property law. This film is produced solely for the personal enjoyment of the cast, crew and any other Wonder Woman fans. No copyright infringement is intended or implied.


The folks over at Latino Review got to speak with the director on what inspired this latest move:

It was my manager / producing partner Kailey Marsh’s idea to shoot the trailer. She really believes I should be a studio director, and thought shooting Wonder Woman would be a great way to show off my skills in a fun way that people could get excited about.

This comes almost two years after NBC canceled its Wonder Woman series starring Adrianne Palicki, who will be appearing as Lady Jaye in the new film, G.I.Joe: Retaliation on March 29, 2013.

Click HERE to view the video directly at Vimeo:

Female Super Hero Fan Film from Jesse V. Johnson on Vimeo.


Click HERE to check out a review of Johnson's latest film, The Package. Johnson is expected to return to the set with action powerhouse Steve Austin in Kill Em All, John!.

(This article was updated at 12:38pm EST)

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Trailer For Short Fan Film, TOMB RAIDER: NO ANGEL


Infinities Edge Studios is an independent film company based in Bookham, Surrey, U.K., founded in 2011 and run by cinematographer, writer, VFX editor, director, novelist and independent filmmaker Andrew Dobell. Dobell's previous films include Nahab, Dragonborn, Confrontation and Assassin, two of which he accredits Artyfakes for creating prop weapons and other designs.

Dobell recently unveiled the new trailer for the latest shortfilm, TOMB RAIDER: NO ANGEL, starring Tabitha Lyons as Lara Croft, along with Annabel Bates and Robert Holden, with Jon Hutton, Ross McDowell and Darrell Wilson. Further credits go to hair and make-up artist Kalissa Bentley, boom operator Nic Samiotis, driving and catering by Lorna Lyon-Smith, location Manager Phil Branscombe and costume designer Krystina Kitsis.

SYNOPSIS:
While hunting for an artifact in a cave system, deep in the wilds, adventurer Lara Croft discovers she's not the only person in the caves looking for it. As she moves through the caverns, it becomes clear that she's encounted this person before, on one of her earliest expeditions shortly after the events in the Dragons Triangle, and last time things didn't end well for Lara.
But sometimes, you get second chances...


Watch:



Dobell explains his motivation and some of the creative processes for Tomb Raider: No Angel:

"I wanted to do something that tied into the new game being released, also, I'm a big fan of the character so it was a natural fit for our next project.
I was keen to use both the classic Lara and the new Young Lara outfits, so I chose to use an Adam Hughes-designed classic costume as he's my favorite artist working today who does simply awesome work.
I also wanted to use an actual cave so when I was introduced to Phil at Labyrinthe, I knew we could do something really cool.
I do hope people like it."


Dobell shares a passion for storytelling and making short narrative films, attributing to such genres as action, sci-fi, horror and fantasy, often with strong female protagonists. As such, he recently completed filming and began post-production for his latest and first-ever crowdfunded super heroine action short fan film tribute, Black Cat with UK-based premiere martial arts stage/film stunt team, SG Action, with team member Eleanor Whitfield in the main role.

Dobell is always looking for people to work with in fulfilling the creative process, so to learn more about his work, feel free to contact him through his official facebook page at the top of the article, or visit his official photography website.

Also, subscribe to his YouTube channel, and don't forget to subscribe to SG Action stunt team on Twitter and Facebook.




Stan Lee To Co-Produce 'Perfect Chinese' Superhero Film, ANNIHILATOR

Several reports came out as of last week from a press release about an upcoming new film based on one of Stan Lee's latest comic book creations, Annihilator, which has been in development since 2011. The feature film will be based on a script from screenwriter Dan Gilroy, whose previous works include Real Steel and The Bourne Legacy. It will be produced by Stan Lee alongside Barry Josephson and Magic Storms Entertainment, along with Douglas Falconer and Chinese state run National Film Capital who is also co-financing the film, which will consist of a budget of up to $150 million dollars.


Eric Mika, chief-executive of Magic Storm Entertainment had this to say about the new partnership:
"Barry is the perfect partner at every level to produce a film of this magnitude that targets a global market, including mainland China,

"Barry's talents combined with Dan Gilroy's explosive script makes Stan Lee's treatment extremely powerful and a cornerstone for a unique franchise."

"Annihilator" which Lee describes as "the perfect Chinese 'hero'", tells the story of a young expatriate named Ming, who is forced to partake in a secret US super soldier program involving use of targeted genetic enhancements from various animal species. Having survived the nearly fatal procedure thanks to his family's traditional practice of Qijong and martial arts, he is now tasked with using his newly enhanced skillset to not only confront a formidable old enemy, but face his own inner demons as well.

No word has been given yet on casting or who will choreograph the action or direct the film.

I gotta say...I do wonder if this will begin a new trend of martial arts superhero films...

One can only hope. :-)

QUESTION: Who would you want to see involved in "The Annihilator"? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

New Shortfilm Trailer: FAHRENHEIT


Lunar Stunts is an independent action film team, originally founded and started in 2005 by Eric and his younger brother, Irvin, in Washington state. In the last eight years since, they have collaborated with several independent action filmmakers such as Fernando Jay Huerto of Jabronie Pictures and Eric Jacobus of The Stunt People, and their base of operations is now located in Southern California, with five members skilled in martial arts and performance, including Eric and Irvin, who are trained in Hapkido and Kukkiwon Tae Kwon Do at their father's dojo. The other three members include Zach and Alec Turner who are trained in MMA and Hapkido, respectively, and Andrew Unke who is trained in Brawl-style Karate.


Eric Nguyen has unveiled his latest trailer for the upcoming shortfilm, Fahrenheit, which stars Irvin Nguyen as a man who must find a way to clear his name after being convicted of murder he does not remember committing. The cast also includes Tru Min Do, Lunar Stunts member Andrew, and Eric who a s served as action choreographer, writer and director.

Fahrenheit is expected for a mid-March release. Watch the trailer:



You can find more of their work by subscribing to their YouTube channel, as well as their Vimeo channel. And also, don't forget to LIKE them on Facebook.

Film Of The Week: BROKEN PATH



Synopsis via IMDb :
On an isolated ranch in the desert, one man must protect his wife from a secret past that he is now forced to confront. With the sun towering in the sky overhead, the ranch sits beneath the vast blue, isolated amidst the arid terrain, Though life is certainly evident as a house warming party ensues. Still under renovation, scaffolding and tools are strewn across the ranch, while benches and tables and are set up for the food and beverages. The neighbors chat amongst themselves as the hosts - Jack (Johnny Yong Bosch) and Lisa (Pamela Walworth) - hustle about to keep them entertained. As the evening creeps over the scene, the crowd disperses, and Maddy - the couple's daughter - prepares to leave for her first summer camp. By nightfall, they find themselves alone, the guests gone, on Maddy her way on the road, and the ranch left once again in the quiet. As Jack and Lisa prepare themselves for a summer of settling and renovating, they soon find themselves swept up into a storm of confusion and terror, as a group of ruthless, masked strangers descend upon their home. With the vicious group attacking relentlessly, Lisa watches as her husband reveals an impressive ability to defend and counteract the attack. As they are chased within their own home, struggling to survive, Lisa begins to question her husband, his past, his knowledge and his familiarity with one of their assailants who claims he wants to help them. With their hopeful new life quickly crumbling before their very eyes, the two must not only fight to survive, but also fight to save their own relationship and trust in one another in a whirlwind of action and chaos that stems from Jack's hidden past.


Back in 2008, I used to be on MySpace a lot. I was more used to it than Facebook and I had more "friends" as well. I often uploaded fight scenes from various films I had in my DVD collection. Yeah, MySpace locked my account down from time to time, but it was fun for me. I loved sharing an interest people took to, which is part of why I started up a martial arts cinema blog at the time, which ultimately ended with the free trial I took advantage of after my computer blew up.

*sigh... Good times.

Anyway, back then, I managed to catch a trailer for the film you see at the very top.



The film, Broken Path, to be honest, is anomalous to me. It is a brilliantly action packed martial arts movie, packaged with a great cast led by Johnny Yong Bosch, Pamela Walworth,
Dan Southworth, Makoto Sakamoto, Sonny Sison, Tadhiro Nakamura and Panuvat Anthony Nanakornpanom, and is rock-solid with some of the most plentiful martial arts action sequences ever put on film in the history of films featuring Alpha Stunts, the people behind the Power Rangers television series, and films such as the highly heralded modern-day action classic, Drive, starring Mark Dacascos and directed by Steve Wang.

Oddly however, for some reason or another, Broken Path never made its way to a proper DVD release in the United States. I have tried inquiring to a few people on Twitter before about this film and why it remained so quiet over the years. To say the least, my efforts to learn more about this film's promotional shortcomings have...well, come short.

I guess Mr. Bosch is waiting for an answer too:

Aug 16, 2009

Hey guys, 

I still don't know what they are doing with the film yet but I found this site in Africa. 

http://www.take2.co.za/dvd-broken-path-2008-4232311.html

I know the producers distributed it out there and not here yet. Not too bright, are they? Anyhow, I don't know much about the site but I know some fans have already gotten a copy and are most likely gonna upload it online for all of you. I can't condone that but if the producers don't release it here what do they expect. Hopefully, all the sales out of Africa will tell them something and they'll release it for the rest of us...Africa? What the heck were they thinking.


I personally hope we will learn more in the days, months, and years ahead about this particular title, the process behind its push, the name change as seen on the film's IMDb page, and when, if at all, this film will get a proper DVD release in the U.S. since its availability was made in Africa and the U.K.. Because Broken Path is a true gem for any fan of martial arts action cinema. And if you ask me, this film did not get the proper treatmemt it deserved.

Looking at the end credits, you can tell that this was truly a team effort, done for the love of the art on all accounts. JYB was excellent in this film, and not merely for his over all physical prowess. If you are familiar with his history in the Power Rangers franchise, his voiceover work and other projects like Fast Maxx (which never got off the ground, and I am curious to also learn more about this TV show that never was), then you can tell in the overall look and tone of the film that this is not your average made-for-kids martial arts film. Point in fact, the amount of blood being spilled in this movie speaks for itself.

Dan Southworth, actor, stuntman, motion capture performer and martial artist who also shares a history in the Power Rangers franchise, did a terrific job in both acting as well as choreographing the fight scenes for the film. And pitting both Bosch and Southworth in the film not only helped in further bringing out the best in Alpha Stunts, but also illuminated the type of pure, brutal and hard-core action that martial arts cinema fans LOVE. It makes me wonder why we hardly hear from people like director and Alpha Stunts co-founder Koichi Sakamoto, who is behind some of these amazing fight scenes we have seen on film for so many years.

I certainly hope we will hear from him again REAL soon. Good quality martial arts action cinema like this deserves to be appreciated.

I highly recommend this film to all of you, wherever you live and wherever you can find it. If you have a google account, you can currently rent the movie at Google Movies and TV by clicking here or purchase/rent your digital copy at Amazon Instant Video or wherever digital downloads are available. (If you are a UK resident, you can probably still score a decent DVD copy of the film under the title Broken Fist)

Then again, you could just go be a n00b and look for it someplace where you can download it for free, which helps no one. My point: Don't be a n00b. ;-)

You can currently catch Bosch in the latest film from The Stunt People and Action Pact Entertainment, DEATH GRIP with Eric Jacobus. You can also see some of Daniel Southworth's other choreography in the original sci-fi action webseries, Divergence, with new episodes coming soon. And don't forget to catch Daniel and Eric in the roles of Kenshi and Stryker, respectively, in this Spring's online release of Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 2.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oldie/Goodie Review - Fight Clip: NO WAY OUT (2009)


I recently had the chance to briefly speak to Joey Min, and Jon Truei, who, aside from their current careers, are also oft-partners in independent action filmmaking. Earlier this month, Min uploaded a fight scene clipped from a previously unfinished project with martial arts stunt performer, David Crosby, called No Way Out. The clip was originally shot in 2008 and uploaded a year later and features some truly fast paced, violent Hong Kong stylized choreography set in open field, featuring swordplay, knife fighting, and ultimately, feats of Wing Chun and Tae Kwon Do, from Joey and David, respectively.

The scene also features an intense soundtrack adding a sense of underlying drama to a clip that looks like its part of a much longer story. And in my opinion, it should have been. Joey is a 20-year practitioner of Shaolin Kung Fu, along with some training in Hyakkuken and Kyokushin Karate. His eight years of professional filmmaking after high school lend him much deserved credit as an action performer, as well as choreographer and director. Combined with David's talents, in addition to Jon's own training in Kung Fu, along with 5 years of Tae Kwon Do coupled with his 9 years of experience of independent filmwork, the following clip, although several years old, is exemplary of just how much true fans who love the action genre can generate quality product.

The description comes straight from Joey's old YouTube account for his stunt filmmaking group, Team FistyleZ:

Hey everyone, I haven't updated on here since...2006, my bad. Well, let's just say career paths changes and work got in the way of what we really like to do sometimes. So this was a project that we did last year but we never got to finish it, so I figured I'd show everyone the fight scene at least. We've always done a happy non serious fight but this time around, we tried to incorporate more of a dramatic feel by making the choreography a little more gritty and bloody than our usual upbeat fight scenes, and adding a blue tint to the video making it look washed out.Other things: I tried to make a more cinematic fight with the swords without losing much of the style. A few liberties were taken like having the sliding blocks not actually slide and the fact that we fought with swords to a more HK-styled choreography but over all I was happy with the sword section. Also, those are swords made for the movies, that being they are made with aluminum alloy so they can get banged up over and over again, but never break. They're real swords, full metal and all, just not sharp. Thanks to Mario Perez, he's the one that gave me those swords. The knives part has to be my favorite. We both learned contemporary knife fighting techniques from Frank Crosby, so that was my tribute to him. I mixed both traditional Kung Fu techniques with his teachings to make the knife part really memorable to me. Of course, the hand to hand combat is always fun to shoot. Once again, I take up a more kung fu style but this time, I focused on using Wing Chun and tried applying it to a more contemporary/modern style of fighting. My friend is an excellent Tae Kwon Do stylist as his kicks and technique look very crisp during this fight. So I hope you guys enjoy the Wing Chun vs. Tae Kwon Do hand to hand fight.Please enjoy. I hope that we'll be making more to upload in the future.

Enjoy!

Don't forget to subscribe to Joey Min's new YouTube channel where the NWO fight clip was also re-uploaded. You can also view some of Jon Truei's previous work here, and contact him on Facebook as well.

I sent David Crosby a friend request recently so maybe I will get to learn a little more about him in the near future, with his background in martial arts and his career goals. But not before I make good with my other commitments, lol.

The Stunt People GoPro In VADER STRIKES


Growing up, I had always heard of Star Wars, but I was never too heavily exposed to Star Wars as I was more into films starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. As I got older though, and the more I got into movies, the more I came to understand the culture behind the franchise, especially with the Star Wars prequels that came out in the last 20 years. Around the time the prequels came out, I had a working VHS player and I finally got around to watching all six Star Wars films. To say the least, along with all the other millions of fans around the world, I also enjoyed these films. Specifically speaking, as any action, sci-fi or a Star Wars fan, as much as I enjoy this epic saga of political turmoil, love, tragedy and the extremes of internal conflict, I also love a good lightsaber battle.

The evolution of the internet has provided nearly limitless opportunities for Star Wars fans to invest their share and interest in the cultural unity embodying the fanfare for Star Wars. Virtually anywhere you go online, you will see shortfilm after shortfilm dedicated to promoting independently produced stories and action sequences showcasing a variety of one's own acting skills and martial arts prowess. I even had a friend back in college who also experimented with rotoscoping, as he was also a Star Wars fan (probably still is, lol). The first shortfilm I watched consistently and enjoyed was Duality by Crew Of Two many years ago. It goes to show the kind of quality that can come from doing something you love, especially if you love making movies.

Fast forward to 2013 where the era of independent action filmmaking lives on, and martial arts stuntman, actor and co-founder of The Stunt People, Eric Jacobus, continues to take his 12 years of action movie experience to a whole new level, with the short light saber action piece, Vader Strikes as a Jedi opposite Gary Ripper playing as Darth Vader. Watch:



At first glance, it reminded me of the first person Star Wars arcade game I have only played a few times at theme parks, which involved sitting at a console with a joystick you could operate as anything from an X-Wing Fighter to a lightsaber opposite Boba Fett or Darth Vader, which I loved. The use of the Go Pro camera, in its rising popularity , not only delivers that same innovative effect, but it also brings something different with creating shots for a film, or making shortfilms as a whole. The first-person idea itself isn't really new though, as it was used in other fighting games in the past, as well as on the big screen. But on film, we are now seeing it applied a little more often nowadays, particularly from people including Joey Min who I will be writing about soon. Really, the only difference here, is the technique by which filmmakers are now using to apply the first-person approach to making unique, authentic action sequences come to life. It is helping change the way independent action films are being approached, showing the potential these kinds of films have.


I spoke to Eric Jacobus earlier, who says we can expect some more experimental pieces from the SP crew that will utilize the same thing seen here in Vader Strikes...possibly with some close combat choreography featuring Tron-stylized discs battles. So, Tron fans, be ready. ;-)

Eric is also set to appear in the upcoming second season of Mortal Kombat Legacy, and is also slated to begin production on his new film with Action Pact Entertainment, Marine Core, which is shooting for a 2014 release. So stay tuned.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tempest Academy To TAKEOVER This Sunday


The Tempest Freerunning Academy is an athletic recreational school in California headlined by a team of athletes and instructors that some of the most talented athletes in today's TV and film stunt industry, including Narayana Cabral, Rich King, and Lucy Romberg who will be performing stunts in the upcoming 2014 film, Ten starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Manganiello and Sam Worthington.

On Sunday, Feb 24th, Tempest Freerunning Academy will host the TEMPEST TAKEOVER PRO JAM, a live event tomorrow at 12:00pm featuring performances in parkour and freerunning, as well as exclusive interviews from professional athletes gathered from around the world. Follow Team Tempest using the hashtag #TempestProTakeover to get in on the action. If you wish to contact the team, you can email them here.

ADDRESS/TELEPHONE:
Tempest Freerunning Academy
19821 Nordhoff Place. #115
Los Angeles, CA 91311
Phone #: (818) 717-0525

Be sure to subscribe to their official Youtube channel where you can stream the show live by clicking here. And visit their official website for more on how to get tickets if you wish to see the show in-person before they run out.

NARAYANA CABRAL: Driven To Soar


Narayana Cabral is a natural-born athlete, multifaceted in martial arts, freerunning, gymnastics, aerial body manipulation, and skateboarding. Growing up in Southern California, he has since applied himself from a very young age, working to illustrate his abilities on both sides of the camera, performing stuntwork and comprehensive stunt coordination and fight choreography, teaching, editing, direction and cinematography.

With lifelong dreams of becoming a martial arts action star, inspired by such contemporary action hits such as Ong Bak, The Forbidden Kingdom, The Raid: Redemption, Ip Man 2 and Undisputed 3, his years of incorporating his physical prowess with years of independent filmmaking experience has led him to train and work with numerous people, from Micah Brock, Shaun Charney and Chancler Hayes, to martial arts cinema greats like Erik Betts and Art Camacho. (You can view some of Narayana's training footage with Art Camacho here and here.)


Narayana also attributes the pursuit of his dreams to the exemplary success story of international action star, filmmaker, philathropist and Guiness world record holder, Jackie Chan

"Jackie Chan and his stunt team are what inspired me to want to make my career in the stunt industry. My life-long goal has and will always be to work side-by-side with whom I think is the greatest stuntman in film history, Jackie chan."

Not to be overlooked, as much as Narayana enhances his skills and training in stuntwork, he also prioritizes acting as a necessity. Pivotal to any film project involving stuntwork, he recognizes acting as a major importance for earning better performances on the screen, whether your the hero or the villain, whether the role is a small or a huge one, or if you are performing stuntwork or reciting lines, or a combination of any of these things.

"Acting is a key component in performing stunts. A stuntman may not be verbally acting, but is always physically acting. One must sell the emotion of the character through movement."

Narayana recently unveiled his latest stunt reel on his YouTube channel in which he displays his versatile physical skill set, which he spent years perfecting and crafting into a modern filmic art. Set to the song "Off With Her Head" by Icon For Hire, Narayana Cabral invokes sheer talent with a knack for sticking to what he knows and loves as he continues to evolve toward greatness.

Enjoy the reel:


Don't forget to subscribe to Narayana Cabral's Youtube channel, as well as the official channel for Fight Factory for more of their previous and upcoming projects.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fox And Bay Reunite For The NINJA TURTLES Reboot


Deadline reported on Thursday that actress Megan Fox will join the cast of the the Michael Bay-produced and Jonathan Liebesman-directed reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The news comes long after it became public that the work-relationship between Bay and Fox melted down, leading to a write-out of Fox's characte from the third Transformers movie.

The film is a reboot of the entire franchise, with albeit direct support from the original creators of the TMNT franchise. Liebesman had this to say of his partner and co-creator, Kevin Eastman, who is also working on the vision for the film:
“Whatever mythology we’re building on or expanding is from that guy, Kevin Eastman’s head, who created the Turtles in the first place. And so everything will tie in with the mythology; fans will be extremely excited with what we’re coming up with.  A lot of it is stuff he’s wanted to do for a long time, but just hasn’t had the opportunity because now we have the budget and things on this film to expand it in the right way. And so, I’m happy that everyone is extremely passionate, and they will not be disappointed.  It’s all coming from the best possible place for this franchise.”

A day prior to a Liebesman's statement, co-creator Peter Laird shared his thoughts on the prospects of the new filmic revision of the characters:

"I would actually encourage TMNT fans to swallow the 'chill pill' Mr. Bay recently suggested they take, and wait and see what might come out of this seemingly ill-conceived plan...It's possible that with enough truly creative brainpower applied to this idea, it might actually work. I'm not saying it's probable, or even somewhat likely… but it IS possible."

In August 2012, MTV caught up with Eastman, who went on to add that the film is "...easily the best ‘Turtle’ movie yet." with the promise of ‘Raid: Redemption’-style fight scenes" and "epic ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ sort of effects.".

Amidst all the hype in 2012, a shelved version of the previous script was unveiled to the world last year, to which Mr. Laird, more or less, echoed the sentiments of many fans following the progress of the film's development, calling what he read "Unsatifactory." Since then, the film went back into developmemt with a new script rewrite, and the studio is moving forward with production.

SYNOPSIS via IMDb:
Aliens invade Earth and inadvertently spawn a quartet of mutated reptile warriors, the Ninja Turtles, who rise up against them to defend the world.

About a month ago, martial artist and action performer Chancler Haynes used his Vimeo account to pitch Ernie Reyes Jr. (who starred as the fight double for the character Donatello in the original 1990 film and in the sequel with a new role as Keno) as the fight choreographer for the film. Reyes Jr. later shared the news via Facebook that actor, producer, writer, stunt performer and coordinator David Leitch will be directing the action scenes for the upcoming film, which is set to begin filming in New York City this April, set for a May 16, 2014 release date.