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Last week was another busy one, so there were definitely about one or two surprises that came about while researching for this week's Hit List, especially in the wake of New York Comic-Con...
...However, those can wait. The Hit List is back and we're starting this off with a fully-loaded playlist of stunt reels. Comprising the playlist are Alex Lopoka, Eclipse's own Alex Chung, Travor Murray, Jonel Earl, Tang Nguyen, Bryan Grogam, Sam Parham, Mark Elefane, Josh Fried, two electrifying reels from stuntman Sato Kenji, a short cut of the latest production reel from Atom Phly Media, and a stellar montage of Star Wars fan film clips from this year's Lightsaber Choreography Contest!
Time for a music intermission, and setting the record straight is recording artist Demi Lovato whose latest, Confident, was released last week. It's nothing short of eye candy for the average Lovato fan unless you like a little extra star power on board, and for this, we get Lovato joined by Michelle Rodriguez, a bearded villain named Jeff Fahey and Chilean action star Marko Zaror, all in the vision of director Robert Rodriguez for good measure.
Gotta love these mini-stories they throw in too!
Moving forward is a new playlist with several tasty new fight shorts also online. Natalie Diaz and James Hutchison set it off as dueling silhouettes swinging broadswords, followed by Shahaub Roudbari's poor passenger ettiqutte, Lawrence Yip's latest fight skit from Cinematic Fight Studio, DPX Entertainment's bo-staff sequence by Shaun Charney and stuntwoman PeiPei Alena Yuan, a quick scrap over cookies by Damian Mavis and Ron Smoorenburg, Red Betta Films's latest test match assembled by filmmaker and oft blog contributor James Couche, and Italy's own D-UNIT collab with Maurizio Meluzzo for The Greatest Tournament!
Time for a brief picture break, and this one comes courtesy of actor, fight choreographer, Hollywood stuntman and filmmaker Aaron Toney with photos of another upcoming fight gem, Primal. He's the same guy working to bring you THIS terrific-looking piece of work as well, so consider yourself greatly advised!
Now we get to the longer-form material for the final round of the Hit List. Finger Fury released their latest bit a few weeks ago based on the third installent of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Sleeping With The Enemy is the name and it's Konami-approved as well, and considering Anthony Rinna's choreography here, I allege fans of Jackie Chan will surely get into the action-comedy element this one puts on sheer display.
The next piece comes by way of The Fighting Journey series from Lunar Stunts. Irvin Nguyen and Mickey Arce lead in collaboration with Darren Holmquist and team regulars from Dardrex Productions in a spin-off inspired by the Uncharted video game from another Lunar Stunts, and there's no question about it here: Wall-to-wall action with a ton of throws and brutal fighting mired in the style of Crows Zero, all which serve a good deal plenty of action to enjoy. Also beneath that is a brand new piece by Holmquist with Leo Zhang in the latest Dardrex shortfilm release, Cops And Robbers!
Television stalwart Eric Dean Seaton took to New York Comic-Con last week to discuss his latest foray into graphic novel territory with Legend Of The Mantamaji, the story of an assistant district attorney who discovers his birthright as the last of a race of mystical knights once sought after as mankind's protectors. As it stands, it clearly has the potential to jump into life as something beyond its printed ink, because Seaton's "And... Action!" Entertainment published a DAZZLING proof of concept back in August with actor Phillip Michael in the lead opposite Dan Southworth, and dare I say, you'd be lying if you said you didn't at least partially agree with me in some capacity.
And finally, we welcome a fantastic new piece by award-winning filmmaker Bao Tran. The Challenger has finally arrived with our contenders Ken Quitugua and Martial Club's own Andy Le, in a story of a young martial artist who challenges his hero in a private match to make a name for himself. There's no dialogue here as the action clearly speaks for itself with each sequence playing out as a cinematic chess match between two very layered characters. Bao accomplishes a grand number of things here with using all but little with just nuances as part of the formula for our actors in their execution. Everything from Le's command performance and Quitugua's choreography to Jeremy Mackie's cinematography and Erik Aho's score makes this little gem absolutely worth the attention deserving of a feature after this.
That's the case I've made and will keep making until this happens. Watch The Challenger right now.
Leave it to last week's daunting Hit List content to satisfy your latent needs until further notice. In the meantime, subscribe to these channels, and if you or someone you know makes kick-ass action projects like these and you feel they should get a spot in our weekly Hit List, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I could go on and on until I'm blue in the face about how excited I am for the new action thriller, Triple Threat. I won't, but I will throw my hat in with some words for seasoned stuntman and filmmaker Jesse V. Johnson who, in the wake of a stagnant directing career salvaged by the appeal drawn from his latest release, Savage Dog, has risen above expectations in opportune fashion.
It truly is something to be proud of... a succession accompanied, no less, by a line-up of some serious, prominent action starpower; Names like Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen as well as Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping and Jeeja Yanin are all but what one would dream of seeing in a single movie together on the big screen, which, at least until starting late last year, almost felt like an impossibility.
Then again, there were people who thought that Jaa would never appear in a movie with Donnie Yen dating back twelve years ago as the Thai action star took the mantle with groundb…
I think it's safe to say you know your movie sucks when you not only screw the rights holders whose name and content you base your unsanctioned film on, but when said rights holders join the chorus of critics panning your movie from literally every angle of the internet. That is the level of achievement you have reached if your name is George Nolfi and you've directed a film called Birth Of The Dragon, long hyped to be a hopefully legendary homage to Bruce Lee, the late founder of Jeet Kune Do and patriarch of American martial arts movie fandom.
You've seen him play the Game Of Death opposite Bruce Lee in the late martial arts star's final film. You've watched him go down in the iconic bar room brawl as "Sticks" in Out For Justice. You might have even caught him in a heartfelt and defining moment in the finale scene of David Mamet's 2008 martial arts drama, Redbelt.
Or, if you're immersed in the martial arts niche enough then you've likely given a glance at martial arts legend, Dan Inosanto, in various viral self-defense videos online or in segments from the many documentaries he's been featured in within the last few decades, namely Jay Ignacio's The Bladed Hand: The Global Impact of the Filipino Martial Arts or Pete McCormack's I Am Bruce Lee. For certain, the actor and ardent teacher and FMA mainstay's relevance is guaranteed this week with the news of a new biopic based on the Guro's little-known life and history which includes helping the Dallas Cowboys win Super Bow…