THE HIT LIST - December 21, 2015

At long last, we've arrived at the final Hit List of the year and I can't say how fantastic 2015 has been. 2016 also has its share of momentum and prospects and so I go into this article looking plenty forward to what lies ahead, and having said this, I can't thank those of you enough for engaging and sharing these Hit List pieces every week.



So, let's get to this time with a brand new playlist of amazing stunt reels that awaits. Kicking things off is a fresh promo reel courtesy of Jacob Sebastian Malm's European Stunt School, followed by stunt reels from Valisa Tate, Melissa Allen-Weiser, Eric J. Nash, Alice Rietveld, Paul Lacovara, Brittany Christine, Bradley Menyhert, one of my favorite people in the world - stuntman and fight coordinator Anthony Pho, Aaron Hakala and two cool new directing reels from Joaquin Ortega and Jeff Lunzaga (a.k.a. Desciple)!


Next in the Hit List is a playlist of a few trailer goodies and the first looks to pay homage to the 2015 hit, Kingsman: The Secret Service, now in the form of Glen Harris's forthcoming short, Headhackers, which arrives in January. Mike Carr stars as a scientist forced to fend off a gang of mercenaries who steal his latest invention - a govermment-funded mind-control prototype that accidentally sets off.

The second is a trailer for Envizion Films's on-going webseries, The Way: Fighters' Twitch, which focuses on the intertwining drama between several characters forced to take on a mysterious, nightmarish underworld of kidnappers obsessed with their victims' fighting abilities. It's a series that takes some of its cues from The Twilight Zone with a splash of Jeet Kune Do and Bruce Lee philos and still bares potential in an era where Bruce Lee is becoming a bit more relevant on the big screen next to the surge of martial arts on television, leaving plenty of room for The Way as a series that will hopefully gain more footing in time.


The third comes in the form of a Vimeo exclusive for Nico Raineau's Brix And The Bitch, the story of a woman whose only way out of debt to a local crimeboss is to face a line-up of opponents in an illegal underground fight club. That plot doesn't say a whole lot, but it doesn't need to all the same, especially if you watch the trailer below which seethes with the kind of boiling and unmitigated brutality and imagery you may look forward to in a fight drama such as this. Actress Alex Marshall-Brown and action actor Tim Storms join leading lady Dre Swain with featured hard-hitting fight choreography by Leo Kei Angelos, and with several film festival laurels already under its belt AND (full disclosure) having screened it for myself over the weekend, I can wholly sustain that there is reason to believe the hype.

Watch the trailer below and feel free to endulge in the hype for yourselves at the official Facebook fanpage.

Brix and the Bitch - Official Trailer from Nico Raineau on Vimeo.

In the realm of posters and images this week, it was a few weeks ago I posted a one-sheet for director Mikko Löppönen's latest revenge short, Eliza, starring Finnish actress and recording artist Jessica Wolff. Well, I'll have you know that I also had the pleasure of screening this one as well and it was one of the slickest and most blood-lettingly stylish revenge pieces I've ever seen. The editing halfway through felt jumpy a teeny bit, but I loved how crisp it looked from start to finish. It was emotive and driven from the get-go and sets up a more-than-satisfactory story where the means justifies the end. It's a simple revenge plot, and it delivers in beautiful fashion, and save for the prospects of a crowdfunder for a much longer-form project, Eliza is releasing on Wednesday. Until then, here are some EXCLUSIVE higher-def stills and poster work to keep you company until then!

View post on imgur.com

And once more, we now come to the fold with this week's culmimation of new independent action from some of today's inspired creators. I've had the pleasure of sharing the work of many of these people on my blog in Hit Lists before and as always, hopefully you've been keeping track. Thus, in the wake of all the Star Wars hype following the blockbuster success of The Force Awakens, we have at least three fan shorts making the rounds this week in the first embed.

The inital two come as Epic Jedi Fights from directors Tim Newhouse and Kung Fu Heroes's own Wes Scarpias with spectacular performances by Scarpias, KFH fellows Sebastian Castellanos and Mark Poletti, and another one of my favorite people in the world - actress and stuntwoman PeiPei Alena Yuan; The third is the riveting new fanfilm, Out Of Darkness, starring writer and director, actress Philecia Hoffer opposite Aimee Hawkins with stellar choreography by Joseph Le.


The second embed continues the action all the way with Thomas Lorber and a talent French stunt crew test fighting for the first of weekly series, The Fight Week, followed by an Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. fight concept featuring Myron McClure and Joe Chacon with an interesting twist, Matthew Sumner and Brian Lee trading blows in Spatula Battle, two new videos courtesy of Emmanuel Manzanares including a camera test with Alvin Hsing and Bryan Sloyer and Suicide Jockey - a neo-noir action short with Vonzell Carter and Michael Lehr, and a not-so-joyous evening full of beer, cookies, farts and Bourne-style fisticuffs for rising action star Marcus Shakesheff whose Christmas Eve truly goes down the NSFW crapper in The Night I Met Santa!


Lastly, we have two new kung fu shorts now circulating online as well. The first comes from director Kevin Ta with Kung Fu Redemption. Collaborating with filmmaker Ben Letteri and the good folks over at SG Action, the story focusea on a kung fu monk whose new life in London leads to a reluctant career as an enforcer for a local crime boss. There's not much to build off of from a dramatic standpoint but serves a tasty entree of action that showcases actor Ta and our talented stunt folks on hand.


And finally and far from least is a nifty new shortfilm that will undoubtedly whet the appetite for anyone still waiting to see Yuen Woo-Ping's Ip Man 3 which opens in Asia starting this Thursday. Courtesy of filmmaker and co-star Andy Le, the new shortfilm, Ip Man Returns brings you to 1917 Foshan with Daniel Mah in the title role for a riveting kung fu showdown that results in a conclusion that weighs in more on message than method.

The Martial Club team has been busy for some months now having trained with Leo Au Young, martial arts instructor and a friendly face among those as fight coordinator for several Ip Man films on top of having studied under Ip Man's son, Ip Chun. That said, while the Donnie Yen-starring franchise itself takes a few historical liberties, there's no question that the films pay homage to a great man in at least one form or another which is imaginably challenging to do. Ip Man Returns echoes that effort graciously in its own way for fans of kung fu and martial arts, which undeniably serves as a hit in my book.


Be sure to click here with links located at the bottom of each article to surf previous Hit Lists for a TON of more exciting content from throughout the year. And, make sure to email us at filmcombatsyndicate@gmail.com if you have an exciting new action shortfilm, trailer or action reel you think deserves a spotlight on Film Combat Syndicate.

The Hit List returns on January 4, 2016. Happy Holidays!

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