“Martial Arts Kid 2” Confirms Returning Actor as the New Kid

It is official…there is going to be a new Martial Arts Kid, but if you’ve seen the original film, he’s a familiar face.

Brandon Tyler Russell, who is set to reprise his role as Lenny, the best friend of original Martial Arts Kid Robbie, played by Jansen Panettiere, has been confirmed to be the new Martial Arts Kid. In the new film, Lenny’s teachers, Glen and Cindy, are about to find a threat in town bully Frank Whitlaw, whose son lost to Robbie in the original film and seeks retribution.

The film’s IndieGoGo campaign has raised over $38,000 so far. You can help donate by going to the IndieGoGo page for The Martial Arts Kid 2: Payback.

The sequel brings back Russell with Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock as Glen and Cindy, T.J. Storm as Coach Laurent Kaine, Matthew Ziff as Bo Whitlaw, and Chuck Zito as Frank Whitlaw. Sasha Mitchell, Anita Clay, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace are amongst the new cast members. Michael Baumgarten returns as co-writer and director.

Look out for The Martial Arts Kid 2: Payback later this year.

H/T: The Martial Arts Kid Official Facebook Page

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New “Bleach” Teaser Shows Ichigo’s Powers

After a small teaser last year, another new teaser has arrived for the upcoming live-action adaptation of Japanese manga and anime Bleach.

Blade of the Immortal‘s Sota Fukushi takes on the role of Ichigo Kurosaki, a high school student who is given the powers of a Shinigami, a Soul Reaper, from fellow Shinigami Rukia Kuchiki, played by Hana Sugisaki (who co-starred with Fukushi in BOTI) and uses his powers for good.

Shinsuke Sato directed the film based on the hit manga by Tite Kubo. Warner Bros. Japan has set a release date of July 20.

Unleashing a “Burden”: An Interview with Director Jesper Ganslandt

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Jesper Ganslandt is a Swedish director who started his career doing short films until his feature film directorial debut in 2006 with Falkenberg Farewell. While primarily known for his films in his native Sweden, he makes his international debut with the thriller Beast of Burden, starring Daniel Radcliffe. The film comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23 from Momentum Pictures.

World Film Geek had the opportunity to speak with Ganslandt about the film.

Thank you Jesper for talking about Beast of Burden. It was a great thriller that brings a lot of tension on the lead character’s part.
Thank you so much. That was the intention of the film.

So you’re known primarily for your work in your native Sweden. How did you get involved in filmmaking?
Well, I started doing kind of horror stuff when I was fairly young. In the age of home video cameras in filmmaking. I kind of went with that from point. I never went to film school, but I began working in TV and writing and doing music videos, evolving into short films and features. I’ve had some really fortunate experiences with film festivals. That made me travel to the U.S. and begin to explore and establish something in terms of an English language project.

That’s great. Well, this film is your international debut as a director. What attracted you to direct this film?
Well, as you mentioned, it had a lot of pressure and intensity towards the central character. I made a Swedish movie called The Ape which had similar elements. It was about a man who wakes up bloody one morning in his home and goes about his normal day. And you know something isn’t right so the anxiety and pressure starts to build up. I thought this was an interesting way to continue on that path, but more through a Hollywood looking glass if you will.

And I guess the combination of Daniel Radcliffe and this unexpected leading man in that and with that story. That was one of the motivations for me.

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Daniel Radcliffe in Beast of Burden (Momentum Pictures)

It is great to see Daniel Radcliffe continue his post-Harry Potter career and this is by far, one of his best roles as a very conflicted man. What was it like working with him on the set and what did he bring to the table?
Yeah me too! (Laughs). That’s great. He’s really fantastic and I got to discover how committed he is and how hard working he is. And I don’t think we could do this film without that commitment. Even though I thought his performance was great in the last two Harry Potter films, it’s also been really interesting to watch him go into another phase of acting within his craft and his life. And this was a great opportunity to be able to work with him and focus on the performance for this film.

The film also features Grace Gummer and Pablo Schreiber, although it’s clear this film does belong to Radcliffe. What was it like working with Gummer and Schreiber?
I love the both of them. I think they’re really great. We spent a long time casting for those two roles. I’ve also watched Grace and Pablo in other projects and I was glad to have them in the movie. They are great. They added so much. Grace, for example, was very committed and did the off-screen dialogue for the airplane scenes for a number of days without even appearing on camera. We were able to do longer takes and thanks to that, they came out great and gave an enormous presence.

Pablo was only there for a few days with his scenes, but he was very committed to the part as well. He was taking it very seriously and that’s who he is. It was all great to have and it was a very interesting cast to work with.

The film features mostly Radcliffe on the plane juggling all these phone conversations. Was that your idea to focus primarily on the film in that aspect or was that actually how it was written?
There were different approaches with different drafts of the script which focused more on Sean and the plane. There were versions where we cut away more from him that we did in the film. I was coming from the starting point where I wanted it to be subjective and with this one main character and then we can have these incidents and interesting scenes with other characters but it would be based on what he would hear and know in the air. I always thought that would be the way to go. That we would stick with him and see who is calling and not give away too much. Bring something that is compelling.

Finally, what will you be working on next?
I’m releasing a Swedish film in April called Jimmie, and it’s different in many ways but it’s similar to that it focuses on one character. This one is a 4-year old boy who experiences something and we see the events through his eyes and on his level. Him and his dad must leave home to go to a safer place because it’s no longer safe where they are. And we see this from the child’s point of view and it’s different. It’s a different outlook of things but there’s that similarity where he needs to figure out what to do to move forward. I’m gonna release that in April and then I’ll be checking out what will be next.

Beast of Burden comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23. Fans who want to see a good post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe film will enjoy this one especially with your approach to the film. Thank you again Jesper for talking about the film.
Thank you and I am glad you like the film.

A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Jesper Ganslandt for making this interview possible.

The “Rebel” is Back in Trailer for “Baaghi 2”

Tiger Shroff is back and he’s madder than ever in the sequel to Baaghi.

A loose remake of a Telugu film entitled Kshanam, Shroff returns as martial artist Ronny, who helps an ex-girlfriend find her abducted daughter. Ronny soon finds himself under constant attack from the kidnappers and more. Ronny unleashes his skills to take on all comers to save the young girl.

Disha Patani co-stars in the film, directed by renowned choreographer Ahmed Khan.

Fox Star Pictures will unleash Baaghi 2: Rebel for Love on April 27 in India.

Beast of Burden (2018)

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Daniel Radcliffe goes on a literal life changing journey in this thriller from director Jesper Ganslandt.

Sean Haggerty is a pilot who to make sure his wife is safe, works for a drug cartel and must deliver a package. However, he also has in his possession a laptop with vital information pertaining to the cartel that he must deliver to the DEA in exchange for witness protection. Sean soon finds his complicated world become even worse when he learns that his wife has been kidnapped by the cartel to ensure his delivery of the drugs. Sean must ensure everyone involved on this fateful night that everything will work out, but will he be able to convince even himself?

This indie drama from director Jesper Ganslandt revolves around a complicated man in perhaps one of the most complicated situations he ever faced. The film’s idea of a man who finds himself torn between a drug cartel and the DEA is quite appealing but whereas the story usually takes place over the course of days, months, and years, this film takes the ingenious idea of setting the film within an hour. Another idea that proves to be interesting is to set our lead character in the cockpit of a Cessna.

Daniel Radcliffe, continuing his post-Harry Potter career, plays the embittered and embattled Sean, our titular “beast of burden” who finds himself having to make a choice while attempting to keep his marriage intact. Most of the film sees Radcliffe inside the cockpit of the Cessna, juggling phone calls between the drug cartel who hire him to deliver a shipment, the DEA agent who promises him witness protection if he delivers a laptop with vital information on said cartel, and his wife, who feels a bit embittered herself because of her husband’s job.

While Radcliffe is the primary focus of the film, there are beats of cut scenes involving Grace Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter) and Pablo Schreiber as Sean’s wife and the DEA agent. They make the most of what they work with as they are just part of what complications that plague Sean. The film does make use of some good flashbacks in terms of the events that lead up to this fateful night for this young man. The final ten minutes of the film bring everything together and leads to a pretty shocking conclusion that makes the wait worth it.

Beast of Burden is a pretty good vehicle for Daniel Radcliffe. While some may find it boring to see him for most of the movie in the cockpit of a plane, the use of quick flashbacks and Radcliffe’s performance make this worth a watch.

WFG RATING: B

Momentum Pictures presents a Lotus Entertainment/Paul Schiff Productions/Aloe Entertainment/MGMT Entertainment/WYSJ Media Coastal Film Studios production in association with Aperture Media Partners and Peak Distribution Partners. Director: Jesper Ganslandt. Producers: Paul Schiff, Mary Aloe, Michael Diamond, Jake Shapiro, and Dan Reardon. Writer: Adam Hoelzel. Cinematography: Michael Barrett. Editing: Sherwood Jones.

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Grace Fummer, Pablo Schreiber, Robert Wisdom, Cesar Perez, David Joseph Martinez.

Momentum Pictures will release this film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23.

Becoming a “Guardian”: An Interview with Kellan Lutz

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Anyone familiar with The Twilight Saga will know the name Kellan Lutz. The former Emmett Cullen has since had a successful career mainly in the action genre. From 2011’s Arena to nabbing the titular role in 2014’s The Legend of Hercules, Lutz has not slowed down one bit. His latest film, the adventure 7 Guardians of the Tomb, comes to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23 from Arclight Films.

World Film Geek had the chance to speak with Lutz about making the film and what really “bugs” him.

Kellan, first off, I am a huge fan and I have to say your latest, 7 Guardians of the Tomb, was quite a decent adventure film with scary overtones.
That’s great, I really appreciate that! Thank you.

How did you get approached for the film? Kellan, first off, I am a huge fan and I have to say your latest, 7 Guardians of the Tomb, was quite a decent adventure film with scary overtones.
Kimble Rendall is a great director. I was actually doing a press tour with him for his previous film called Bait. And I was actually dating one of the actresses who was in that movie at the time. So I got to know Kimble and he said, “Kellan, I have this idea for a spider movie, and I would like you to read it and be a part of it.” So I said, “Yeah cool, send it my way”.

A couple of years later, I got this script called The Nest and it was from Kimble and I thought, “Oh he actually did it!” So I read it and it was pretty much Indiana Jones meets Arachnophobia and I loved the character that he wrote for me. And here’s the thing about Kimble. He’s so much fun to impress. He’s such a character himself. He truly enjoys what he does. To work with someone who’s fun to impress, they’re gonna love doing the movie as well. I was not wrong with that so it was a wonderful experience.

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Kellan as Jack Ridley in 7 Guardians of the Tomb (Arclight Films)

What I found interesting is that despite your character Jack being somewhat of a tough guy, he does have his flaws and this shows in an emotional scene with Li Bingbing’s Jia. Did you have any input in developing the character of Jack because I felt this was really a great scene?
Yeah thank you. That’s another great thing about Kimble. He allowed us to bring our own ideas and collaborate with him. With that scene, it was “what would be his motive”? What would be his necessity? What would be his kryptonite? And being there, for me, it was like why is Jack there? Why is he a first responder? Why does he have a chip on his shoulder?

When we got to the down and dirty of it, we did figure out that it was an accident. And sometimes, you can’t save the whole world but you can do your best. So, yeah when we did that scene, I felt it was really important to hash out and connect on an emotional level. And then with the fear of spiders, I was like well, Jack seems like this tough guy, but much like Indiana Jones with the snakes, what if Jack’s fear is spiders and it turned out this is a spider movie and Kimble liked that idea.

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(Clockwise from left): Shane Jacobson, Kellan Lutz, director Kimble Rendall, Jason Chong, Kelsey Grammar, and Eva Liu on the set of 7 Guardians of the Tomb

Li Bingbing and Kelsey Grammer are two greats who I thought did quite well and made the most of their roles as their characters’ loved ones are only part of the film in terms of the mission. What was it like working with these two as well as the rest of the cast?
We meshed really well! I think the producers and Kimble wanted to bring in an international cast and that’s what they did. When I met Li Bingbing, I was kind of ignorant. I had no real knowledge that she was this big star in China, so she was on set with her own entourage. But she didn’t act like she had an entourage. She was always available and I didn’t realize that English wasn’t her first language.

So, I was improvising and changing the script to make it flow more and she would remember just the button. Like the last word of each scene or whatever I say. So then it was really great because she was saying, “I want you to make the best out of your character and my character as well”. So I got to sit with her and collaborate. I would be like, “okay instead of saying this, say that and this is what I’m going to end on, so if you want to change something and say this”, and it was just fun! It was one of the first times I was able to do that and find someone I can trust. She’s just amazing with work with and I was impressed that she did this film with English as her second language.

As for Kelsey Grammar, I worked with him on The Expendables 3 and he’s a legend, man. I mean, I always loved Frasier, and he’s great. And he was always on set. I mean, I’ve worked with some superstars and they would do their scene and head back to their trailers and you would have the director pounding on their doors before scenes are to be shot. Kelsey is a family man on and off-set. He was such a great storyteller and mentor to all of us. We would ask him questions about his life and how he got to where he is and he was so open and so caring. So funny too. Having him and Shane Jacobson, when the cameras would stop rolling, he would be like “oh why did you miss that! Just leave the cameras on!” We’ve had so much gold with those (laughs).

And then we had Stef Dawson. She’s such a sweetheart. She was in The Hunger Games and this film. She was very sweet and very talented to work with as well as Jason Chong. I saw them in a couple of other movies, so it was a great cast and we made a great movie together.

Here’s a fun question. Jack is afraid of spiders. Are you afraid of spiders?
I don’t think I’m afraid of them. I do have a funny story as I grew up in Arizona. I was about seven years old and they had these wolf spiders. I saw one in our kitchen and their back was moving. So like all kids, all we think about is destroying everything, and there are five brothers in the house. So, I see the spider and my first reaction was to just stomp of it, so I did. So I stomped on it, and there were thousands of babies on their mother’s back and they just like shot throughout the house. And I was like “oh my God” so I had to tell my mom and yeah, I got in trouble from my mom for doing that (laughs).

I don’t think I’ve come across many to be scared of. But the thing that really bugs me are cockroaches. I mean in Arizona, we have these massive cockroaches. At a young age, I was sleeping and I felt something crawling up my arm and it woke me up. I was scratching my arm and I felt something move so I threw it. I turned on the light and there was this cockroach! Man, that memory will always stick in my head because it was so disgusting!

Did you have to endure any difficulties while shooting the film?
No at all! It was really smooth. I think the only thing was Li Bingbing got sick during the first week. She had to fly back to China to get some sort of I.V.  I remember seeing a photo and was like “Oh, that’s weird”. So I wasn’t sure if she was sick or nervous, but she came back and nailed all of her scenes. I think she was really sick. Again, it was a cross-world experience so she had to fly back because she couldn’t get medication in Australia. Other than that, everything was smooth. Shooting in Gold Coast is beautiful and fun and it always helps when you’re shooting somewhere so beautiful (Laughs).

Finally, are there any new projects you can let everyone in on.
Yeah, I have a few movies in the works. The first is called The Last Story of David Allen. It’s a very unique story and script. We shoot that in Puerto Rico in April. I’m an assassin so that’s going to be fun. And the second is called Arizona, which is a bank robbery movie. I haven’t done one of those yet so I’m very much looking forward to that one!

7 Guardians of the Tomb comes to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23. Anyone who likes seeing Kellan Lutz continue his action film career will enjoy this film. Thank you again for talking about the film.
Thank you. Take care, brother!

A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Kellan Lutz for making this interview possible. For more on Kellan Lutz, check out his official Twitter page.

7 Guardians of the Tomb (2018)

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Take Tomb Raider, mesh it with an element from the 1999 Mummy film, and add some insane-looking arachnids and you have this Chinese-Australian co-production.

Three days ago, Luke and Ethan were hired by Ethan’s father Mason to research an abandoned Chinese tomb with a 200-year old mummified Emperor. They never returned. Desperate to find his son and continue the research, Mason hires Luke’s sister Jia, who like Ethan, is skilled in researching tombs and knows much about the area. Jia only takes the job with the intention to find her brother. Mason comes along for the job and they are joined by Gary, Milly, Chen Xhu, and Jack Ridley.

As the group heads towards the tomb, they soon learn that the search is going to be the least of their problems. The tomb is protected by funnel web spiders. However, these spiders are not the ordinary ones, but rather ones who are more deadly than anyone could imagine. As the team begin to fall prey not only with the spiders, but learning the truth as to why the tomb was to be researched in the first place, Jia and Jack lead the way to not only get away from the spiders, but attempt to find Luke and Ethan and get out of the tomb no matter what it takes.

The adventurer film is an interesting subgenre of the action film to explore, because there are many ideas that can happen. It is like the Choose Your Adventure book series, you can just change ideas here and there. Everyone has had their share of classics like the Indiana Jones films (let’s not talk about the last one) and then there are recent films like The Mummy and the Tomb Raider films. China has had its share of the genre as well with Armour of God and the recent Mojin: The Lost Legend.

This film, a Chinese-Australian co-production, brings in the nature vs. human motif with the use of funnel web spiders as the protectors of the tomb. Interesting enough, as Stef Dawson’s Milly lets the viewer know, are only found in Australia. Why they are in China is a question that is never answered. What we do know is that these spidersare very deadly and even more deadly to the point where when one of our adventurers are bitten, they are given not one, but two doses of anti-venom to cure him. The spider themselves are CGI and they are for the most part hit-and-miss. Sometimes they look good, and other times, they don’t look convincingly scary.

The cast is an ensemble lead by Chinese actress Li Bingbing, who also serves as a producer, as Jia, the young woman who only takes the dangerous job to find her estranged brother Ethan, played by actor Wu Chun. To bring that extra edge in terms of action, Kellan Lutz is brought in to play Jack, a search and rescue expert who takes the lead for the adventure and plays a vital part in the film especially when it comes to having to help the team keep their composure in a time of great danger. As for Kelsey Grammer, his character of Mason is the one who hires the team and even joins them in hopes to not only find his son, but complete the investigation as answers are soon revealed as to why this investigation in that important.

So how is the overall film that is 7 Guardians of the Tomb? It is not a great film, but at the same time, it is not completely horrendous. There have been far worse than this. The spiders themselves are a hit and miss in terms of its CGI. And if you’ve seen one adventurer in a tomb film, you’ve seen them all.

WFG RATING: C

Gravitas Ventures and Arclight Films present a Nest Holdings/Screening Otters Production in association with Rong De Culture. Director: Kimble Rendell. Producers: Deng Shuo, Gary Hamilton, Li Bingbing, and Ye Ying. Writers: Kimble Rendell and Paul Staheli; story by Rendell, Jonathan Scanlon, and Gary Hamilton. Cinematography: Brad Shield. Editing: Mat Evans.

Cast: Li Bingbing, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer, Wu Chun, Shane Jacobson, Stef Dawson, Jason Chong, Eva Liu, Ryan Johnson, Yasmin Kassim, Victoria Liu, Kent Lee.

Gravitas Ventures and Arclight Films will release this film to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23.

Black Panther (2018)

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Marvel’s King of Wakanda returns after his appearance in Captain America: Civil War and this structured storyline and driven performances by the cast make this a definitely must in Marvel’s filmography.

T’Challa is the former Prince of Wakanda who is known as the Black Panther. A week after his father’s death from an explosion at the United Nations, it is time for T’Challa to become the new King of Wakanda. The decision is supported by all by M’Baku of the Jibari Tribe, who have been in exile since the first Black Panther was unleashed. When M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the throne, T’Challa defeats his opponent and shows respect to the exiled warrior.

Meanwhile, arms dealer Ulysses Klaue has stolen Wakanda’s most important resource, vibranium, and plans to use it for weapons. He finds a worthy ally in Erik Killmonger, a former soldier who secretly has ties to Wakanda. When Erik’s true intentions are revealed, T’Challa begins to question everything he has experienced in his life when a dark secret is revealed. To make matters worse, CIA agent Everett Ross has learned first hand that Wakanda is not the third-world country he long thought it to be. When the throne of Wakanda is threatened, T’Challa will make a decision that will not only change his life but perhaps that of Wakanda as well.

When the character of Black Panther, first created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in an issue of The Fantastic Four, appeared in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, fans were excited about the appearance of the King of Wakanda. Nearly two years later, under the direction and co-writing of Creed and Fruitvale Station helmer Ryan Coogler, Black Panther has his solo film and it is more than just a typical superhero film.

The film is a welcome meshing of Marvel superhero, emotional tense drama, and life as seen in perhaps, a film from Nigeria (Nollywood), Ghana (Walakiwood), and the likes. Having experienced seeing some of these African films, the film does bring a bit of that element when it comes seeing village life. The film’s emotional content which forms the basis of the story is amazingly great as this is not just a superhero film, but the story of a young king who comes across a series of challenges and obstacles to make his kingdom run right. Even more so, the story does add a dash of perhaps Shakespeare in terms of a dark revelation that could risk the entire kingdom and cause it to fall on its knees.

Chadwick Boseman returns to the role of T’Challa and he does a great job as both an embittered superhero and a king who is trying to keep his kingdom intact when a mysterious newcomer comes to the hidden nation with the most evil intentions. And surprisingly, Michael B. Jordan proves to be that villain in the form of Erik Killmonger, a former military officer who goes from mercenary to something far more worse than anticipated. Lupita Nyogo’o and Danai Gurira provide great support as Nakia, T’Challa’s ex turned spy for the country and lead general and military mentor Okoye.

Letitia Wright’s Shuri proves to be a great little sister to our hero and she and Boseman play each other off so well and Shuri is definitely a Marvel version of James Bond character “Q”, with her technical experience. Daniel Kaluuya, fresh off his star-making turn in Get Out and Winston Duke make the best of their characters of W’Kabi and M’Baku, the latter of who would be known in the comics world as Man-Ape. Angela Bassett also makes the most most of her time as Ramonda, the mother of our King with John Kani appearing in some Lion King-inspired sequences as T’Chaka, the ill-fated father of our hero (see Captain America: Civil War to see the fate of T’Chaka). Forest Whitaker brings some of the tension and spirituality behind the hero as local shaman

How about the action of the film? In a word, spectacular! Despite a few beats of extreme close-ups, the action is generally great. Not only does Black Panther look great in his action sequences with Boseman undergoing training in martial arts by The Protector 2’s Marrese Crump for his fight scenes, there are some great combat sequences, not only from Boseman, but Danai Gurira. Where in The Walking Dead, she wields a katana against the undead, in this film, she proves to be quite handy with the spear. In what can be considered a noble move, whenever T’Challa is challenged to combat, he is forced to lose his power in order to make the challenges fair and this is to clearly see if T’Challa is worthy of keeping the mantle of Black Panther.

So how does Black Panther fare in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? It holds amazingly well as it proves to be more than just a superhero film. Don’t expect anything involving any Infinity stones but expect this as a cool-down before the impending Infinity War. Definitely one of the best in the MCU.

WFG RATING: A

A Marvel Studios production. Director: Ryan Coogler. Producer: Kevin Feige. Writers: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole; based on the characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Cinematography: Rachel Morrison. Editing: Michael P. Shawver and Debbie Berman.

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyogo’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker, John Kani, Sterling K. Brown, Denzel Whitaker, Florence Kalumba, David S. Lee

I Come in Peace (1990)

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Dolph Lundgren faces off against an intergalactic terror in this sci-fi-action mashup that holds even today.

Houston detective Jack Caine is on an assignment to ensure that his undercover partner Ray Turner, makes a deal with the White Boys criminal organization, led by Victor Manning. However, when Caine stops two thugs from robbing a liquor store, Turner’s cover is blown and he is killed by Manning. However, it is after Manning arrives that a mysterious figure arrives. The mysterious figure is an alien who has arrived and decimates most the White Boys gang and steals their drug shipment. Caine finds his partner dead and decides to wage a one-man war against Manning, much to the chagrin of his superiors.

Caine, however, is forced to work with FBI agent Smith on the assignment involving the murders of the criminal organization as well as a series of murders that have plagued Houston. Innocent people are found with drugs in their systems bearing puncture wounds on their foreheads. Caine discovers that the mysterious alien who has arrived is the one responsible. This comes after a bounty hunter from the same planet is mortally wounded while tracking the bad alien down. Caine and Smith decide to stop the deadly alien before more people are viciously murdered.

After his turn as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and playing He-Man in Masters of the Universe, Dolph Lundgren meshes sci-fi and action with this cult classic of a Houston cop sent to face off against an alien being who is revealed to be a drug dealer on his planet. While the idea is farfetched, one can’t help but appreciate the film because this would become a breakout role for German powerhouse Matthias Hues, fresh off his debut role as Yuri the Russian in No Retreat, No Surrender II in 1987.

The film is just as Lundgren’s as it is Hues, who looks menacing as the alien who forces heroin in his victims before puncturing their heads to take their brain fluid, which is the drug of choice from his home planet. The 6’5” Hues also has a forearm weapon that shoots deadly circular saw blades that can only be attracted by magnets. His opening scene alone in which he just arrives brings a sense of scares with his look and one-liner which reflects the title, and his opening action involves nearly decimating an entire organization with his blades sans the boss himself.

The film also sets up the buddy action film, in which Lundgren’s no-nonsense unorthodox Caine and Brian Benben’s by-the-book FBI agent Smith. Both actors work well together, playing the “good cop, bad cop” motif to a tee. The two even attempt a role switch which only doesn’t work well only because Benben at times, can be quite comic fodder, which would go on to work well on the long-running HBO series Dream On from 1990 to 1996. However, generally, they work well together.

I Come in Peace definitely lives up to its cult classic status, thanks in part to Dolph Lundgren and Brian Benben’s buddy-action chemistry and a breakout performance by Matthias Hues as the villain.

WFG RATING: B+

A Vision PDG film. Director: Craig R. Baxley. Producer: Jeff Young. Writers: Jonathan Tylor and Leonard Maas Jr. Cinematography: Mark Irwin. Editing: Mark Helfrich.

Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley, Matthias Hues, Jay Bilas, Jim Haynie, David Ackroyd, Sherman Howard, Sam Anderson, Mark Lowenthal, Michael J. Pollard, Jesse Vint, Alex Morris.

Butler, Jackson Set to Return to the “Den”

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Gerard Butler in Den of Thieves (STX Films)

Gerard Butler is set to return to the “den”.

In January, Den of Thieves was released and was critically panned and made $57 million worldwide. However, that is not stopping director Christian Gudenast as it has been announced a sequel is in the works.

In the original film, Butler plays “Big Nick” Flanagan, an elite member of the L.A.P.D.’s Sheriff’s Department, taking on a sophisticated group of robbers, which include O’Shea Jackson Jr., the son of rapper turned actor Ice Cube. It is believed that Jackson will also be returning for the second film with original star and producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson serving as a producer on the film.

Gudenast will not only return to the director’s chair, but he will be writing the script for Den of Thieves II. More as this develops.

H/T: The Hollywood Reporter