Tuesday, September 20, 2016
SPEAK OUT: Which Femme Fatales Would You Like To See Starring Opposite Alain Moussi In KICKBOXER: SYNDICATE?
John Stockwell's Kickboxer: Vengeance is now available wherever movies are sold in the U.S. and Canada with other screenings pending. It's a film that otherwise garners caution for fans as a rebooted fanfare that nonetheless has actor and martial artist Alain Moussi leading the action vehicle next to the star of its original iteration, actor Jean-Claude Van Damme.
John Stockwell directed the first film which introduced an array of professional fighting athletes into film - folks like Georges St. Pierre who greets our protagonist at the top of the film just as he attempts to infiltrate the fight camp headed by notorious underground legend, Tong Po, reiterated by actor and martial artist Dave Bautista. Also making their appearances were Cain Velasquez along with Fabricio Werdum, adding to the roster of athletes that are ultimately comprising the new Kickboxer reboot in its current growth as a trilogy.
Thus, the sequel is next on deck under the title, Kickboxer: Retaliation from helmer Dimitri Logothetis who produced the first film and will also direct the impending third, Kickboxer: Syndicate. Much like Vengeance, Retaliation will also join our lead actor with a plethora of athletes, including professional strongman Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson next to the likes of former heavyweight boxing star Mike Tyson and Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho Gaucho.
Also joining in is UFC fighter Roy "Big Country" Nelson whose role in the film grew upon the departure of UFC strawweight Paige VanZant who was initially cast back in May. For this, worth considering at this point is the question of whether or not the trilogy would finally include a female screenfighting presence to balance things out, particularly since former competitive mixed martial artist, actress Gina Carano's role in the first film had been relegated to just a handful of dialogue scenes as much as that of actress Sara Malakul Lane who doesn't share the same screenfighting background her fellow co-star.
Granted, she still may return in the third film considering the character she plays and what happens to her prior to the sequel, although if the fans ever have it their way, at least one prospect among many could hopefully see her on screen next to Moussi in due time. I speak mainly of a comment left on my facebook fan page hinting at the consideration of stuntwoman and actress Jessie Graff who I interviewed in 2013 in the heyday of my launch here at Film Combat Syndicate, and for all intents and purposes, she sounds like a fitting choice.
Graff, who came under my radar many many MANY moons ago has since upscaled in the stunt industry with several shortfilm, TV and feature credits like Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, the Family Guy-inspired action comedy short, Epic Chick Fight, ABC's Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Kevin Smith's latest, Yoga Hosers. Notably, however, is her prominence in the last several years on the hit competition crossover show, American Ninja Warrior where she became the first female contestant to make the qualifying round several years ago and has since made televsion history as the first woman to complete the Stage 1 course as of August.
She's grown herself quite a fanbase and social media following as a result of her efforts and in just the last few days, managed to stunt netizens and folks alike by showing off her stunning red dress upon attending the Emmys red carpet on Sunday. She did a few stunt gems as well just for fun, including a beautiful backflip, and even posing for a sidekick which she graciously shared on her Instagram account.
Clearly, Graff is somebody whose talent doesn't need debating. Hers is the kind of athletic caliber I would welcome in an action movie any day of the year, and it certainly feels like an opportune moment for Logothetis to take notice. That's my opinion there, and so with that in mind, the following question remains: Which female athletes would you like to see starring in Kickboxer: Syndicate? Graff is among many ideas I have in mind, but feel free comment below and share yours, and let us know who you would cast and why!