Tuesday, January 31, 2017
This past weekend proved lucrative for the Stephen Chow-produced Tsui Hark sequel, Journey To The West 2: The Demons Strike Back topping Chow's 2015 fantasy, The Mermaid for its first day opening. The film was released in China on up to 390 IMAX screens upon its release and with more territories pending following Sony Pictures's acquisition of the film in December, we now have another international trailer floating online hailing the hit sequel.
An announcement like this is just the thing folks like myself have been waiting for. Indeed, anime has its grip on the fandom abroad and now otakus will have the chance to experience it all on a quarterly basis thanks to KAOS Connect and hit anime streaming service, Crunchyroll, through Anime Movie Night.
Read enough fake news online and you might find yourself going insane over actor Leonardo DiCaprio's
involvement in a new Scarface remake. Here's a tip: Stop reading fake news and read this instead.
Last May it was reported that actor Liam Neeson would stake his claim in a role for a revenge thriller remaking director Hans Petter Molland's 2014 film, In Order Of Disappearence (Kraftidioten). This week, word coming out of Berlinale confirms the film with Molland returning to the helm and cameras rolling in Banff, Alberta and other areas in Canada beginning in March.
Disney and Lucasfilm's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story just made Forbes's list as second highest grosser of 2016 earning $1.033 billion dollars globally. It's good news for Diego Luna who first landed on our radar many years ago as a flourishing Mexican TV and film actor, notably landing on a bigger stage in Alfonso Cuarón's critically acclaimed coming of age drama, Y Tu Mamá También.
Ben Affleck is still set to make an explosive solo debut in the upcoming solo The Batman. That's the good news. The bad news, for some who may have been hoping otherwise, is that he won't be directing anymore according to news over at Variety concluding the matter.
Expect something of a thrillride as being promised in acclaimed South African novelist-turned-filmmaker Deon Meyer's new movie, aptly titled Jagveld. Taking to the helm with his own script, the film is slated for a March 17 release date and after three earlier teasers, the official trailer is out and giving us all the reasons in the world to be excited.
Monday, January 30, 2017
I don't know about you guys but my weekend was a real snoozer. I did catch xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage finally and... well...
May 25, 2018 is when Star Wars fans will brace themselves for another inspired spin-off of the hit sci-fi fantasy space opera, now with the untitled Han Solo origin film following the big screen success of Gareth Edwards's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As such, production has officially commenced by way of co-director Chris Miller's Twitter announcement a la clapperboard illustrating the film's working title, Red Cup.
Jawbone, is heading for the big screen on March 17 with actor Johnny Harris who you may remember as the soldiering villain menacing the streets in Eran Creevy's 2013 thriller, Welcome To The Punch.
Director Ryoo Seung-Wan's Battleship Island is coming this summer following the success of his 2015 action comedy, Veteran. That one is already poised for a sequel while here, we are swept into a much darker period in history as the film delves into the lives of three men and their stories among the hundreds of others forcefully taken on Hashima Island during Japanese occupation at the top of the 1900s.
Oscar nominated director Gary Ross of The Hunger Games and Free State Of Jones fame is turning to an all-female line-up for his heist revival, Ocean's Eight. Production is already underway as of November and with none other than Sandra Bullock as the estranged sister to George Clooney's role in Steve Soderbergh's Ocean's Trilogy (2001-2007) which revamped Lewis Milestone's 1960 Rat Pack-headlining classic.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Two more character posters arrived on Sunday for director Fukuda Yuichi's live-action adventure adaptation, Gintama. The new posters now available in the album below host actress Nagasawa Masami in the role of Shimura Tae and Muro Tsuyoshi as Gengai Hiraga in the upcoming film dated for July 14, 2017.
Going into xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, I honestly thought this was going to be another douchebag action movie just like both its predecessors from Rob Cohen and Lee Tamahori. Sure, the fandom of having Tony Jaa and Donnie Yen notwithstanding, I've reached a pinnacle in my life where I've begun seeing past the veil of spectacle in most Hollywood action thrillers to be a little more speculative and critical than I've usually been. That said, I look at what D.J. Caruso brings to the table for this third installation and on its face, it's still as full of the usual mindless fun as the first two films, though gladly it's not as frustrating an experience - likely due in part to the fact that after fifteen years we already have a general idea about what we're in for, so that helps.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Watching an anime series like Gintama will leave you breatheless most days - either from vociferous laughter or outright awe from the chaos and explosive twists and turns that occur as it explores the arcs. Coming into director Fukuda Yuichi's own live-action adaptation, the current cast listing sums up what appears to be the Benizakara end of things and hopefully a full trailer will arrive soon to take a deeper visual dive to whet the appetite.
Fresh out of Sundance and emerging out on the world stage is the new dystopian action thriller, Bushwick. The usual spate of reviews are now making the rounds while word has it from The Wrap that RLJ Entertainment is staking its claim for the film's U.S. release in a seven-figure deal brokerered with XYZ Films's own Nate Bolotin alongside WME Global.
Friday, January 27, 2017
Deadline reports of Bulgarian news coverage over actor Nicolas Cage's next film, 211, for Millenium/Nu Image. The film marks the fifth feature film apart from a spate of documentaries for director York Alex Shackleton who shared a nomination credit for Best Screenplay on William Phelps's 2001 comedy short, Stealing Roy.
No matter what happens, I want there to be a third John Wick film. That's not to waiver the importance of any criticisms forthcoming, for certain, but I personally favor an original franchise that builds itself a world that immerses you as much as director Chad Stahelski and the innerworks of 87 Eleven now aspire to in the upcoming sequel, John Wick: Chapter Two from Lionsgate.
EFM 2017: Heist Thriller, STOCKHOLM, Officially Casts Ethan Hawke And Noomi Rapace To Film This Spring
The European Film Market is just a few weeks away while sales reps prepare their packages for buyers, so expect the usual swarms of headlines of acquisitions news to come. Sierra/Affinity will certainly be on hand with its own line-up of titles, one of which will be the forthcoming production of Stockholm, officially casting actor Ethan Hawke and actress Noomi Rapace.
|CJ Entertainment USA|
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Creed helmer Ryan Coogler's Black Panther began filming in recent days ahead of its February 16, 2018 release, but Marvel only decided on Thursday to officially announce it. The news comes just several days after the Russo Brothers revealed production start a la set pic for Avengers: Infinity War and with actor Chadwick Boseman front and center as the famed Wakandan superhero now on par for some screentime, following this year's Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok, plot details and cast names are all available below.
There's not much I can add to how awesome this new poster for Logan looks. Next to the trailers, it's probably the best one I've ever seen and speaks to the very core of actor Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the battle-worn and weary Marvel superhero formerly known here as Wolverine, depending on who you ask.
a year after the release of the first trailer following an extensive effort from Cheng to expand his creative endeavors following the success of his 2011 G.I. Joe fan film short, Operation: Red Retrieval.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Concussion and newly-wrapped Felt helmer Peter Landesman is on deck to rewrite and direct World War II drama, The Last Battle. As Deadline reports, the film is inspired by Stephen Harding's 2013 Da Capo Press bestseller, The Last Battle: When U.S. And German Soldiers Joined Forces In The Waning Hours Of World War II In Europe, wherein the film will focus on the latter end of World War II as American and Russian forces battled it out with Hitler's NAZI army.
All has been quiet on the front for actor and martial artist Philip Ng who I suspect can't wait to start making some more appealing headlines after last year. Take a gander at what's what with the new film now titled Undercover Vs. Undercover which reportedly completed in 2015 as Undercover Punch And Gun, and with festival and market season looming, hopefully some news will arise from here on.
I'm new to writer/director Marcelo Mayen mostly. That said, recently spotting the trailer for his latest debut at the helm, Bullock The Bruiser, encouraged me to give it a place on The Hit List earlier this month, and rightly so. Instantly you get the impression of a Guy Ritchie-style British Hoodlum drama transplanted in New York City's urban millieu and it works in some of the best ways possible for a skeletal piece of indie film fare such as this.
When it was announced last year in a series of reports that martial arts stars Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror would be returning to the screen, Savage Dog had no more than names and a logline attached to some tentative artwork. It's something of a mystery to me as to why that was but thankfully the film has earned its way to completion and now we have an official trailer of sorts to start things off with.
This past weekend, we saw history being made. We watched in awe as Vin Diesel achieved the action-star equivalent of an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). With the box office success of xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, Diesel is the first Hollywood action star to be the face of three action movie franchises simultaneously!
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Former stuntman and Hong Kong cinema vet Bruce Fonataine is finally stepping into the arena with a film that I've been dying to catch. The talent on hand is incredible in the new film, Beyond Redemption which, on its face, promises riveting action and drama that delivers a compelling underdog story about a cop fighting for his future from behind enemy lines. This, it does, and as for its incredibility, I talk specifically with regard to the action.
Monday, January 23, 2017
My weekend was loaded with work - I hope I can hold up this week! Goodness... Friday evening was fantastic though and I ended up using all of Saturday to write about it which you can read more on here.
Last summer saw actor Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung take the reigns in the hit sequel, Cold War 2. You can read our review for comparison and feel free to share your thoughts, but these films rocked in my view and they're finally hitting DVD and Blu-Ray in North America.
Sniper: Special Ops is the the action roller-coaster that teams up Van Damme and Seagal for the first and only time! But it's not Jean Claude Van Damme, it's actually Rob Van Dam from the WWE. And it's not the Seagal who snaps necks and throws guys through walls, it's actually the Seagal who sits in chairs and mumbles his lines. And the roller-coaster is actually one of those baby coasters for kids too short to ride real roller-coasters. Sniper: Special Ops isn't so much a bad movie as it's an insult to action movie fans.
Hey UK Residents! Free Admissions To The Apex For BRUCE LEE EXHIBITION + Tickets For ENTER THE DRAGON Screening In February Now On Sale!
For many in the martial arts world, the celebration of the life and legend of film star, Jeet Kune Do founder and author Bruce Lee is far from waining... I suppose one way to explain this can be summed up by the response to a trailer when it went live back in September in the wake of a feature screening at TIFF in Canada, perpetuating a singluar, vociferous backlash that would stretch as far as the legend's daughter herself.
Lest you endure any more poster profusion as in recent days, Reliance Entertainment finally unveiled the official trailer for Commando 2: The Black Money Trail. Garnering this sequel wasn't too difficult following the first in 2013 and it really gave its main star, Vidyut Jammwal, something of a larger audience in my opinion; I honestly don't think a lot of people in the action fanbase including myself would even know about him were it not for this one, and suffice it to say, I've noticed a calling from fans apart from India who think it's time Jammwal stretch his muscles and go toe-to-toe with the likes of Tony Jaa and so on. Me? I'd welcome it. No question.
Really, it's almost as if Jackie Chan is sort of just checking off his bucket list for this one. That's the feeling that I got while watching through to the end the celebrated action star's latest, Kung Fu Yoga from director Stanley Tong, and in parallel, I can't really complain as much. I got a little tired of some of the more goofier stuff Chan was doing lately, particularly with CZ12 which Tong produced and so it's pretty rewarding four years later to see these two back together.
|Photo: Dan Donovan|
The project has been a major highlight of Chung's work for a few years now as he has also mingled with the prospects of turning this project into a feature film. It would he his debut if that were to be the case, and not exactly being a stranger to martial arts cinema is certainly a helpful factor here with talents like Into The Badlands series co-star Alan Wai taking center stage.
I credit Soho Jimbo co-star, actor and martial artist David Cheung who shared the initial trailer tease from last week ahead of this week's official trailer. To say the least, it caught my eye and with the project picking up speed in the news as well as its release this week, I consider it an opportune moment to help cast a light on a director with a golden opportunity for something amazing.
Here's my chat with Chris Chung, and enjoy Soho Jimbo at the end of our interview!
Film Combat Syndicate: Hey Chris! Thank you for chatting with us this month. It's been a just few weeks going into 2017 but how have you been thusfar?
Chris Chung: Hi Lee, very well thanks, busy start to the year, which is always good!
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Saturday, January 21, 2017
A good sequel is one that builds upon the established narrative of the original, taking it to surprising new places while developing its characters in new and interesting ways. This is a tall order, even when the first film practically lines up all the pieces FOR you. The original xXx (2002) couldn't be bothered to create any narrative foundation to build on. It was purely bombast and fury, and so when it came time to resurrect the franchise, the filmmakers did the only logical thing: Develop the bombast in new and interesting ways and populate it with more cool characters than before. The result is probably the best sequel to a xXx movie we could ever ask for.
BLACK AND BLUE IN WILLIAMSBURG: An Evening With Aaron, Cheryl, And The Spirited Presence Of A Legendary Few
|Somewhere in the wintery wonderland of Brooklyn...|
|On set of Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) |
from Carolco Pictures
Don't ask me about Terminator: Genysis. I haven't had the chance to see that film as with a lot of films in recent memory, although I have seen clips and read and heard many reactions from moviegoers, many of whom have pretty much said that the film was bust.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Early 2015 saw the news of a reboot of the hit 1971 blackploitation classic, Shaft, in development from Davis Entertainment's John Davis. Now, the film has reportedly solidified its creative end with the attachment of Kevin Hart: Now What? co-director Tim Story to helm the film for which its application still remains a mystery.
Just a little over a day after the first teaser poster for director Deven Bhojani's Commando 2: The Black Money Trail released, the new poster and three character posters arrived promptly this week featuring action star Vidyut Jammwal on the official one-sheet. The film is hitting screens on March 3 with Jammwal joined by actresses Adah Sharma, Esha Gupta and actor Freddy Daruwala for a story that returns our hero from the 2013 film to the forefront of a mission to infiltrate a global dark money ring.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Long since the confirmation of actor Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam in New Line and DC Entertainment's upcoming adaptation, Shazam, it appears that the film has undergone an evolution of sorts. A report from THR has otherwise confirmed that there will be two movies instead of one, thus granting Johnson his own spin-off following his recent upworthy meeting with DC Films head Geoff Johns. Shazam was originally confirmed for its installation in the DC Cinematic Universe in 2014 as DC announced its then-official line-up.
Directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott are about to realize one of America's biggest nightmares in the upcoming midnight Sundance premiere of Bushwick. Front and center is actress Brittany Snow who emerges from a subway only to find the titular Brooklyn neighborhood swept into a deadly insurrection by a private military aimed at seceding Texas and other participants from the union.
Dilip Ghosh's 2013 actioner, Commando: A One Man Army, was a rousing affair, notably for its nostalgic title which all but further helped solidify Hindi actor and martial artist Vidyut Jammwal in the eyes of moviegoers. Interestingly it wasn't long before a sequel was greenlit and it was anyone's guess who would join in apart from actress Adah Sharma, and the current crop now wrangled together debut helmer Deven Bhojani for the upcoming release of Commando 2 on March 3.
The growth and notoriety of action star Sakaguchi Tak is an absolute hallmark for me as an action having followed him for more than a decade. He's survived quite a few stumbles in his time, caused no less by a few people who have threatened his career in the years leading up to talk of retirement and initially masking his latest action-packed return to the screen, Re:Born, as a celebratory departure from film.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Chances are you may have read a thing or two on Greg McClean's rousing new suspense thriller, The Belko Experiment since its TIFF premiere last year. Indeed this week you may even see plenty of familiar quotes in the latest trailer ahead of its March 17 release from BH Tilt and Orion and rest assured, this will be an inviting piece of work for its target crowd.
|Open Road Films|
Sony Pictures Animation unveiled its animation slate between now and 2018, insisting on its "commitment to increase overall output while continuing to offer its distinctive mix of family films". One such endeavor is the upcoming Unititled Animated Spider-Man Movie which was announced back in 2015 long before we would learn more on the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, which already has a trailer hitting high notes among fans.
The name Alexander Nevsky first pinged my radar in the mid 2000’s. I came across a DVD of Moscow Heat in a Hollywood Video (remember those?) and decided to take a chance on its unsubtle box art and eclectic cast (Michael York in a modern action movie, sign me up!). What I got was an 80s throwback actioner in the vein of early Schwarzenegger starring writer/producer/Russian Schwarzenegger, Alexander Nevsky. The film was a good pre-Isaac Florentine DTV actioner that wore its 80s influences on its sleeve. What really struck me about it was the infectious enthusiasm that Nevsky brought to the film; he was an action movie fanatic making movies for other action movie fanatics. A few years later I stumbled across Nevsky’s next opus, Treasure Raiders; a wild (if uneven) mix of National Treasure, the Fast and The Furious, the DaVinci Code with a heavy dose of 80s action.
[UPDATED] LUC VAN TIEN: TUYET DINH KUNGFU: Andy Long Nguyen Debuts Martial Arts Action And Thrills In The Official Trailer!
From the start, martial artist and career stuntman Andy Long Nguyen's two-and-a-half decade long journey has seen him round up a neat morsel of memories both off-set and on. He documented plenty of them in a tribute reel made for friends and fans of the work he performs in general, and humbly in the graces of his biggest collaborator, action cinema legend and film icon Jackie Chan.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Some trade news over at Legendary has been made available via press release from Wanda Cultural and Legendary where Thomas Tull has been Chairman and CEO just a year before the release of the studio's first film, Batman Begins. The following announcement below details Tull's departure wherein he'll still have other business apart from the staple where he's since been the voice of many a blockbuster title, including the 2020-bound Godzilla VS King Kong, and Pacific Rim 2 when Guillermo Del Toro was still up to direct.
|Buy your copy at Amazon.com|
Promising a lush package with quality footage, commentary, interviews and more, Arrow Video's DVD reinstallation of Miike Takashi's classic Yakuza property, Black Society Trilogy, is now available purchase. UK pre-orders have been up since the film's announcement back in October while you can now snag your copy at Amazon.com, and as such, Arrow Video presents their latest story trailer introducing the action-packed saga.