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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review: THE MARTIAL ARTS KID (2016) Brings Its Message To The Forefront Of Style

In the last eight years, we've been treated to not one but THREE different reimaginings of The Karate Kid: the official one (Karate Kid), the gritty one (Never Back Down), and now we have the family film. Who'd have ever guessed that The Karate Kid would become such a cultural staple?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scott Epstein Sets His Sights On The Fight In The New THE BUTTERFLY GUARD Teaser Trailer

I have to say, dating back to 2011 when I first saw mixed martial artist Scott Epstein in Michael Jai White's Never Back Down 2, I never really pegged him as an actor. He was certainly new to me then, though it appears he's no stranger to the camera having done film and television for close to two decades now, and it serves him well with a notable performance caliber, much to our delight.

Review: Sammo Hung's THE BODYGUARD (2016) Hits Hard And Fast, But Not Often

Ah geez...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Joe Carnahan Goes UNCHARTED To Script The Sony Adaptation

Have you ever seen the 2014 action comedy, Stretch? Yes, the one that The A-Team remake helmer Joe Carnahan directed which fell into release limbo months before finally being granted a Fall opening on VoD and Digital. I'll tell you, if there was ever a film not to overlook in the course of your life and if you're looking for something good, funny, energetic and full of laughs and spectacle, Stretch is something you're going to want to add to your memories as a cinephile.

Hell Is Coming In The New Season Three Trailer For El Rey's FROM DUSK TIL DAWN: THE SERIES

The next chapter is almost here, folks! Two seasons into El Rey's From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series, and a LOT has happened. Politics rule the criminal and supernatural underworld of culebras, and underneath it all, the stories of six people desperate for answers to find themselves between battles is a journey that has thusfar continued with a good number of casualties.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ezra Miller To Reprise His Role As 'The Flash' In SUICIDE SQUAD

Warner Bros. 

Had enough press following last week's pulse-pounding comic con trailer for David Ayer's Suicide Squad? Well, make room for just a little more, because news broke on Thursday of a press kit that just revealed more than one superhero cameo will be in the film.

WARCRAFT Comes Home On Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital & 4K This September

Didn't get a chance to see Warcraft in theaters? Well, neither did I. Thankfully the film is well on it's way to its regularly-scheduled home releases on Digital, Blu-Ray and standard DVD in a few months so you won't have to go without.

Disney's THE ROCKETEERS Now In Development With A Black Female Lead

I thoroughly enjoyed City Slickers and Kevin Reynolds's Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves back in 1991. Unfortunately that wasn't great news for director Joe Johnston a week after that film opened with his own pulp hero adaptation, The Rocketeer - based on Dave Stevens's 1982 independent comic, falling short of expectations at the box office for Disney.

Jackie Chan Actioner, BLEEDING STEEL Gets Its Cast

Renny Harlin's latest, Skiptrace, is off to a good start this past weekend at the box office overseas, which is good news for its lead actor, action star Jackie Chan who is currently scheduled for an In Conversation event at the Syndey Opera House where he will discuss his career in a little over a week. In the meantime, production rolls onward for Chan's new venture in the area, Bleeding Steel, from sophomore director and writer Leo Zhang as of earlier this month and casting news is finally making the rounds.

THE GREAT WALL Stacks Against Fire And Monsters In The First Trailer

Universal and Legendary's latest 3D prospect, The Great Wall, took a bit of time to gather its casting before finally nabbing actors like Matt Damon, Andy Lau and actress Jing Tian who is soon to make her way in Legendary Pictures's Kong: Skull Island next year as well. That said, it's a Damon-loaded week with the actor's latest, Jason Bourne, heading to theaters this weekend, which couldn't be a better time to promote the epic new China-shot 3D fantasy which retells a mythological perspective behind the construction of one of today's biggest landmarks.

Andrew Garfield Fights More Than One Battle In The New Trailer For HACKSAW RIDGE

Actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson may not be without controversy from time to time, but at least one other fact worth pointing out is that he's at his best when on set. This time, The Passion Of The Christ and Braveheart helmer is back and noted behind the camera for Lionsgate's latest release, Hacksaw Ridge, and with nothing short of uproaring responses from earlier test screenings with Andrew Garfield front and center.

VENGEANCE Now Filming In London With Stu Bennett And Gary Daniels

Before we catch outgoing WWE wrestler, actor Stu Bennett in action for James Nunn's Eliminators with Scott Adkins, pan over momentarily to filmmaker Ross Boyask who has made a name for himself among cult fans of the martial arts genre. UK titles like Left For Dead and Warrioress come to mind with the hopeful prospects of a sequel for the 2016 Mike Moeller action thriller, One Million Klicks.

KUNG FU BOYS Kicks It Up A Notch In The Latest Trailer

Every now and then it seems like a lot of new and young faces with the potential for martial arts stardom come and go. As far as Chinese cinema goes, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference much with the vast sea of low-budget action films with actors the rest of us see for two minutes within a trailer and that's it - that's how obscure a lot of these films are which is a little frustrating.

Ben Affleck Tackles Anxiety And Assassins In The New Trailer For THE ACCOUNTANT

Further cementing his action star status, actor Ben Affleck is returning to show moviegoers he can equally kick as much ass outside of a batsuit in Warrior helmer Gavin O'Connor's latest, The Accountant. With a first trailer already in our midst as of a few months ago, a second trailer is now online ahead of its October 14 release in the U.S. and U.K. release in November.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Martial Artist, Actor Paul Mormando Now Filming New Crime Thriller, BOUND BY DEBT

It was a few years ago that actor, Cha Ki Do innovator and independent filmmaker Paul Mormando was on the verge of a new webseries called Double Fist. The project has since moved on to feature film status with a few VoD deals in the works, although post-production issues have tentatively impeded the film's completion.

Review: MILES AHEAD (2016) Is Chromatic Testimony Of Life, Love, Turmoil And Groove

There is an old rumor that Ernest Hemingway could only write when he was in love, and that each of his books represents his love for one woman. It's a nice story, if even only a reverie, and it came to mind while watching Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle's directorial debut of the Miles Davis biopic. The short-lived love affair and marriage that Miles Davis had with Francis Taylor is a referential centerpiece of the film, and is presented as being inexorable to the reason for the jazz musician’s five year hiatus from music, during which he spiraled into drugs and reclusiveness, earning him a historical association with the eccentricities that characterized even Howard Hughes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Missed The Bourne Franchise Any? Watch A New JASON BOURNE Franchise Recap!

Wait...have you been asleep for the last fourteen years? Well, that's certainly longer than Robert Ludlum character Jason Bourne was, but it still doesn't undo the depth and overall carnage that enused after he woke up.

Cine-Asia's Return Signals Benny Chan's CALL OF HEROES For A UK Release

Asian cinephiles in the UK once mourned the loss of popular distributor, Cine-Asia back in 2012. Now, they're re-emerging and are back with their first theatrical release since then amid the currently-running campaign for Benny Chan's latest, Call Of Heroes, now dated for September 2, following its August 12 release in Hong Kong from Universe Films.

Bautista, Brosnan Tally Mann's FINAL SCORE Starting In August

Fans of actor and Marvel prospect Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy 1 & 2, Spectre) aren't too far off for some big screen time; Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion's Bushwick is currently in post-production while Matthias Hoene's Warrior's Gate opens in China on August 12, ahead of Bautista's re-envisioning of classic martial arts villain, Tong Po in Kickboxer: Vengeance on September 2 in the U.S.

Harley Quinn Inspires Fashion Courtesy Of Celebs Clothing

While I don't particularly delve into cosplay, it's certainly understandable how influential it is in today's era of film and television entertainment. Moreover, it also leaves from for matters of fashion, paving the way for business like Celebs Clothing who are currently promoting their line of clothing based on DC Comics properties, namely Suicide Squad which opens in theaters on August 5 from Warner Bros.

Monday, July 25, 2016

THE HIT LIST - July 25, 2016

WOW! It's good to be back, I have to say. I needed the break last weekend following a roaring get together with some friends prior to only about 3 or 4 hours of sleep. To be honest though, I almost didn't get too much into this week's Hit List whilst trying to balance my job and covering everything that's happened at Comic-Con this past weekend.

The Official KINGSGLAIVE: FINAL FANTASY XV Trailer Begins A New Saga!

Straight from the majesty within your gaming consoles, Nozue Takeshi's latest, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, is well on its way to an August 19 select theatrical release. That leaves off less than a month to go, and with this another new trailer has emerged to adhere to your needs with actress Lena Headey narrating the immersive CG world of fantasy action and explosive danger.

[UPDATED] LEAGUE OF GODS Soars Online With A Final Trailer And Music Video

I suppose it's a matter of time now before we learn of a wider release for Koan Hui's latest, League Of Gods. The film opens in Asia this Friday and much to the avail of Jet Li fans despite his role unlikely being written for action. Still though, you get all the spectacle and majesty you could possibly want for as long as this film's been developed as another milestone step forward for China's growth into more VFX-heavy cinema.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

SDCC 2016: BLACK PANTHER Cast Danai Gurira, Character Details And More

Yes, we still have more Comic-Con news, and yes, that means more comic book movie coverage, particularly in the wake of the Russo Bros.' Captain America: Civil War which first introduced us to actor Chadwick Boseman in the role of Black Panther. Marvel has dated a standalone film for its installment into their third leg of the MCU with a release set for February 16, 2018, and with all things Comic-Con this weekend from Marvel, more casting news came in the form of a tweet from Boseman revealing The Walking Dead co-star Danai Gurira as part of the cast.

SDCC 2016: Meet Your New Carol Danvers For CAPTAIN MARVEL In 2019

Blink and you might forget that actress Brie Larson stars in Jordan Vogt-Roberts's latest, Kong: Skull Island. Otherwise, if you're all about the Marvel hype this weekend, it doesn't matter if you blink or not with word from this weekend's Hall H panel (or Larson's Twitter account depending on where you're looking) of her latest attachment to star in the new film, Captain Marvel

SDCC 2016: The New Trailer For DOCTOR STRANGE Transports You Into World-Bending Inception

...And because you can't have San Diego Comic Con without more than one comic book film studio present, Marvel Studios was on hand this weekend to present fans with their latest jewels, one of which includes the new comic con trailer for Marvel property, Doctor Strange. The very first teaser unveiled back in April and was an impressive feat with actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role - a doctor who goes on an epic journey of self-discovery and purpose following a horrific car crash that severely injures his hands.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

SDCC 2016: The New KONG: SKULL ISLAND Trailer Is No Joyride!

Far and away from its origins established in 1933 and echoed years later in Peter Jackson's own remake, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts delivers his own take on the King Kong mythology with the new film, Kong: Skull Island. The first official trailer surfaced at Comic Con International at San Diego over the weekend and as the first of a reportedly hopeful progression into a franchise that could see our very leading royalty go toe-to-toe with Godzilla, this effort doesn't seem to disapppoint.

SDCC 2016: KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD Gets Medieval In The New Comic-Con Trailer

Having undergone somewhat of a name change in the past few years during production, Guy Ritchie's latest, King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword now comes to the fold once more. Warner Bros. was on hand this weekend at Comic Con International: San Diego with actor Charlie Hunnam front and center, and for the unveiling of the first trailer no less with Ritchie's signature craft clear as day and as energetic as ever.

SDCC 2016: Comic-Con Loads Up With Teaser Trailers For WONDER WOMAN And JUSTICE LEAGUE

It's been 75 years since William Moulton Marston brought DC Comics character Wonder Woman to life in ink. Between then and now, it's also been an insufferable matter of time until the Amazonian warrior would finally get her day in a feature film of her own after decades of Batman and Superman televsion shows and movies, save for a three-season program that would make actress Lynda Carter a televsion icon.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Rock Teases 'The Prison Scene Of All Prison Scenes' On The Set Of FAST 8!

2017 may well feel like a return to normalcy for fans ardent and loyal to Universal Pictures's The Fast And The Furious saga. We've come a long way since the first film and the franchise has, indeed, evolved into something almost entirely different from what it once was, which is either a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about the previous four, bigger-scale thrillers.

Gal Gadot Stands Firm In The New WONDER WOMAN Poster

It's a matter of time before an official teaser for director Patty Jenkins's latest, Wonder Woman from Warner Bros. Pictures. Until then, we can still mull over the hype some with an all-star panel for the film this weekend (H/T: Nerdspan)at Comic-Con International: San Diego where actress Gal Gadot is expected to make an appearance.

GODZILLA: RESURGENCE Is Invading North America Later This Year!

Thursday night saw some terrific announcements at Comic-Con International: San Diego from the good folks at Funimation. Their official website has a bit more information but if you live in North America and cult monster movie fare is your thing, look no further than the latest press release announcing Funimation Films's acquisitions of Godzilla: Resurgence which opens in Japan from Toho later this year.

Watch The New U.S. Trailer For OPERATION CHROMITE!

CJ Entertainment USA is proudly announcing the August 12 select theatrical release of the new Korean War movie, Operation Chromite, from director John H. Lee, and with a level of sheer production quality and depth to accomodate a cast befitting of a movie of this caliber with Lee Jung-Jae (The New World), Lee Bum-Soo (The Divine Move) and of course, tough-as-nails Liam f**king Neeson as the grisled General Douglas MacArthur.

The New Trailer For CUTIE HONEY: TEARS Hits All The Feels

Director Takeshi Asai's newest live-action manga effort, Cutie Honey: Tears, stands quite far in its bubbly tone as displayed in the 1973 manga from which it's based, and that of Anno Hideaki's own attempt back in 2004. Nonetheless, the trailers are nothing short of impressive in visuals and the overall slick design of its futuristic metropolitan setting to accomodate its slightly darker millieu, and with an actress like Nishiuchi Mariya definitely looking the part in this somewhat ambitious new take on Nagai Go's sexy android heroine.


The work of building Marvel's film and television universe continues for Netflix with the goal of inching further toward its much more grander ensemble series, The Defenders. For this, attendees at Comic Con International: San Diego got some fantastic news as did the rest of the internet with the announcement of a third season of the Charlie Cox-led Daredevil, as well as the first teaser poster and footage of Iron Fist starring Finn Jones.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Action Horror DAYLIGHT'S END Gets U.S. And U.K. Release Dates

Right now, any cursory glance over at the official Facebook fan page for the stellar new independent survival action horror, Daylight's End, will hint you quite a bit about how well this movie has fared in the past year. Written by Chad Law (6 Bullets, Close Range) and directed by William Kaufman (The Prodigy, Jarhead: The Siege), the film has already become a hit at festivals in Texas and Oregon with more screenings pending, but folks in the U.S. won't be too far off with an August 26 release in select U.S. theaters and on VoD, followed by an October 10 release for theatergoers in the U.K..

JASON BOURNE Gets Some Action Insight In A New Featurette

In case you've forgotten, Jason Bourne still has plenty of fights left to finish for his latest go-around starting next Friday. Paul Greengrass directs in what Universal Pictures, and probably a good number of fans as of the last fifteen years, hopes will inspire more more films with the actor based on the work of author Robert Ludlum.

Olive Films Announces DVD/Blu-Ray Specs For AMERICAN NINJA 1-4

As the years pass, film classics continue to reign supreme for cinephiles fond of a bygone era of film. Olive Films is one company among many that are living up to the task and keeping these gems refurbished and available for those interested, and their latest press release includes a multitude of titles for Blu-Ray and DVD, including Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970), the first four classic American Ninja films with Michael Dudikoff, Steve Harris and David Bradley, and The Pride and the Passion (1957).

Amazon Lists JEAN-CLAUDE VAN JOHNSON Among Its August Pilot Debuts

Amazon is making it a priority this week with several announcements for its upcoming dated comedy pilots. Of course, the biggest priority for our readership would be the inclusion of action star Jean-Claude Van Damme's newest series, Jean-Claude Van Johnson which premieres with the rest - I Love Dick starring Emily Gould and The Tick with actor Peter Serafinowicz on August 19 in the U.S., UK, Germany, Austria and Japan.

Donnie Yen, Pegasus Move Forward With THE WESLEY

Going back to around 2013, you may recall action star Donnie Yen launching a new venture into producer territory with his then newly-launched banner, Super Hero Films. That report came prior to news in the following year of at least one film among numerous others that Yen was adding to his syllabus while rumors rumbled about with whether or not he would have retired in the last few years.

STEEL RISING: An Interview With Larnell Stovall

*The following is an interview I did back in 2014. I made some HTML fixes but for some reason, Blogger took it upon itself to update as a new post for 2016. At any rate, it was purely accidental, I hope it serves up a nice little read for fans. Enjoy!

The past few weeks have seen a slight shift in gears for me. I hadn't done any formal interviews with anyone for a long time until about a few weeks ago, and I posted a batch of them just last week. I admit, I may need a break this weekend, although I like the momentum I have seen and maybe I've found a pattern I could work around as I would love to continue to share even more stories on my site from extraordinary people working in the film today.

Don't get me wrong though. I don't use the word "extraordinary" loosely here, just the opposite in order to address a general idea about the progress so far being made by one of the most prominently known stunt professionals in his field, actor, fight choreographer, stuntman and stunt coordinator Larnell Stovall. Having uprooted himself from his home in New Orleans, Louisana to working among the industry's numerous and talented screenfighting atheltes and artists on films like Bunraku, The Hunger Games, The Other Guys, Snitch and the hit webseries, Mortal Kombat Legacy to name a few, Stovall has become a major topic of cinematic lore for martial arts cinema fans edging between American and international markets in constant search of good movies to see. He's a man who wants to bring change to an industry he knows can do better when it comes to presenting quality action cinema to the masses, and with the uptick in veteran stuntmen becoming directors, he's got other goals in mind beyond just being a fight choreographer. However, he's not one to ever turn down a chance to apply his strengths needed, and as you can see in the reel above, his work speaks for itself...that is, unless his colleagues do. Then you're outnumbered anyway. 

Your argument is invalid. Sorry not sorry.

From independent to mainstream cinema, Stovall has become bankable. Several of his credits have become number ones this year at some point or another, including the latest home invasion thriller, No Good Deed with Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson. But, make no mistake. He has no allusions about his achievements while making every move he makes count for something, from the projects he gets involved in to the people he networks with.

For Stovall, the journey is ever growing, and I got to chat briefly with him this week. I didn't get to ask him all of the questions I had in mind - some were omitted for legal reasons and others due to lack of time, but I suppose we'll just have to save that for another hopeful interview not too far down the line.

For now, here is my conversation with the one and only Larnell Stovall.

Larnell Stovall and director Isaac Florentine on the set of Undisputed: Redemption (2010)
Film Combat Syndicate: Thanks for taking the time to chat Larnell! How has 2014 been for you so far?
Larnell Stovall: Thanks for asking! So far this has been an amazing year. Between Ride Along, Think Like A Man Too and No Good Deed being #1 at the box office, I'm not sure it can get much better. I have never had a wide release movie at the box office as a stunt coordinator, so I'm grateful for the opportunity to have some of my work seen on the big screen finally.
FCSyndicate: Indeed! You've had a few big successes this year, especially with the films you just mentioned. And you're also very popular in the martial arts cinema niche as a fight choreographer as well. What initially inspired you to take up martial arts?

Screener Review: TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)

Director: Yeon Sang Ho
Lead cast: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong Seok, Jung Yu Mi, Kim Soo An

Seok Woo and his daughter take a high speed train to Busan. Just as the doors are about to close, a passenger infected with a mysterious virus dashes aboard and soon feeds on one of the attendants, causing a chain reaction, and quickly transforming the potential father-daughter journey time into a zombie fest on wheels. You can run to the nearby car, but how far can you really run on a moving bullet train?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Go Ringside With These Brutal New KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE Stills!

Promotion is in full-swing for director John Stockwell's Kickboxer: Vengeance which opens on September 2 from RLJ Entertainment. Martial artist Alain Moussi tops the billboard making his feature length debut from stuntman to full-fledged actor, taking the reigns from its original 1989 predecessor's star, as well as the new film's legendary co-star, action star Jean-Claude Van Damme!

Legendary's Live-Action POKÈMON Movie Is A Go!

It was a little over a week ago that Legendary Pictures stirred talk over a possible live-action feature film based on the fan favorite Pokèmon game and media franchise which launched in 1995. The hit mobile app, Pokèmon GO launched within a span of 2 weeks this month worldwide and propelled Nintendo's 25% stock value by about $9 billion dollars, and not without its fair share of varying matters of controversy from its intrusiveness by players on various private and public properties as they journeyed to collect the iconic virtual monsters, to several reports of accidents, and even the angering, teething glitches it would befall from time to time.

Watch The Latest Official Trailer For THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Director Tate Taylor's latest endeavor, The Girl On The Train, looks to be one very chilling and taut thriller. The film opens this October in the UK with further releases pending and we now have an official trailer to help get the pace going as led by its terrific cast.

Check it out!

Lionsgate To Divert THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ASCENDANT To The Small Screen

Signs that YA fandom for the big screen may have capitulated might depend on which examples you're looking at. That said, if Summit/Lionsgate's The Divergent Series is your litmus test, then it certainly serves as an interesting conversation starter.

HIgh Seas Thriller, TITANIC CODE Sets Sail Next Year

Well, we won't have Jack and Rose to fawn over, but for those of you still looking for a steady high seas thriller to spy on the big screen will find something interesring from producers Bruno Wu and Arthur Sarkissian. Upon first glance, the new film, Titanic Code instantly points to the titular passenger liner that sunk in the North Atlantic in the early 1900s, only now we have screenwriter David Marconi bringing a few revisions that ultimately aim at a tale of conspiracy that fuses intrigue, action and suspense into the mix.

ASH VS. EVIL DEAD: SEASON 2 - Two Times The Blood. Groovy.

From the creative mind of Sam Raimi, based off the hit cult films of the same name, we are given the new adventures of eponymous lothario Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) with a whole slew (yes, I went there!) of Evil Dead, or Deadites as Ash calls them, to fight. Granted, Ash is older, slightly fatter, with his razor sharp wit and charm still intact, plus his handy chainsaw hand at play to slay to a new audience on the Starz network. Along with Ivan Raimi and Tom Spezialy, this "slice and dice" comedy/horror is remarkably entertaining. And bloody. Did I mention the copious amounts of blood in this yet? Be prepared for it! And the cursing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The New Trailer For xXx: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE Kicks Ass And Looks Dope Doing It

...And because 2017 wouldn't be a normal year with just one Vin Diesel movie, director D.J. Caruso is poised to release the long-awaited trilogical installment to the daredevil action franchise, xXx: The Return Of Zander Cage. Bearing in mind, of course, the utter flop that came with the 2005 sequel that followed Rob Cohen's 2002 original, the film does carry some weight in having to pick up the slack. 

POWER RANGERS Sees Our Heroes In Costume In A New Movie Still!

GODZILLA: RESURGENCE Doles Out Purple Terror In The New Trailer

Gareth Edwards's 2014 epic reboot of Godzilla may have fared well with some fans, but the mothership to which it belongs, Toho, his aiming for something that aspires greatly to pay homage to many the tropes that made it so memorable as of 1954. Thus, we get the stunning new Godzilla: Resurgence which roars next Friday in Japan cinemas, and with all the authenticity you could ask for in reviving such a property as grand as this one.

80's Sci-Fi Spinoff PHOENIX RISING Flies High With New Artwork And A Trailer

It was last October when news broke of the new series, Phoenix Rising, aimed at spinning off the classic televsion show, Captain Power And The Soldiers Of The Future. Gary Goddard, who co-created the original show which lasted one season before abruptly cancelling after one season despite its popularity and marketing, had been after this process since 2012 and now it appears the show is, in fact, in full, active development.