REVIEW: Die Fighting (2014)

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2014, Z Team Films/Falconer Pictures

Director:
Fabien Garcia
Producer:
Laurent “Lohan” Buson
Writer:
Fabien Garcia
Cinematography:
Tarina Reed
Editing:
Fabien Garcia

Cast:
Fabien Garcia (Fabien)
Laurent “Lohan” Buson (Lohan)
Didier Buson (Didier)
Jess Allen (Jess)
Dave Vescio (The Filmmaker)
Adelyne Liu (Meilu)
Xin Sarith Wuku (Chan)
Jose Rosete (Hitman Leader)
Gray Michael Sallies (Church Gang Leader)
Davis Chong (Dojo Master)

This action packed thriller from Z Team Films is definitely one of the best independent action films to be released this year, thanks to its frenetic fight scenes, storyline, and some great performances from the cast.

For a while now, a group of actors have been attempting to make the ultimate dream come true. For Fabien, Lohan, Didier, and Jess, life has not been easy in their dream to become bonafide action stars. On the day after Fabien’s birthday celebration, the four actors get a mysterious phone call. Fabien’s wife Meilu has been kidnapped and the four friends must follow all directions from the mystery man.

The four actors soon learn that they are part of a new “film” and they must use their martial arts skills to take on all comers. This includes a group of thugs in a church, a band of hitmen, and even at one point, an entire dojo of fighters. However, as the four take on those who get in their way, they soon learn how real this little “film” can get. Will they be able to overcome the odds and rescue Meilu? Or will they end up dying for their efforts, ending their road to their ultimate dream?

Originally titled The Price of Success, this film can appropriately go under this or its current title, Die Fighting.  The film revolves around a band of actors who wish to become major action stars and the deadly road that forces them into battle in an attempt to live their dream. The Z-Team, consisting of Fabien Garcia, Laurent “Lohan” Buson, and Didier Buson join forces with actor Jess Allen as the lead actors in the deadly game where they run a deadly gauntlet of fistfights and gun battles in Los Angeles.

Fabien Garcia is definitely a jack-of-all trades. He wrote the screenplay, edited the film, directed the film and served as the film’s main fight choreographer. The storyline is quite interesting with the actors virtually playing themselves. Fabien is most interested in living the dream of making it big in Hollywood, while brothers Lohan and Didier are happy where they are. Meanwhile, Jess has other ambitions and has an opportunity to go in a different direction.

However, the film really picks up once they find themselves in the deadly game. In charge of the game is a mysterious man who is only seen from the back, sporting a hooded sweater and using a voice changer. He is later referred to as “The Filmmaker”, and kudos goes out to Dave Vescio for playing this role quite well. He is definitely a puppetmaster who has all the tools needed to pull the actors’ “strings”, forcing them into various situations for one sole purpose: making a film. The film does have a subliminal element of the horror genre as the film progresses.

For those who have seen the trailer, the action sequences look to be pulse-pounding and there is only one thing that can be said about the final product. The fight scenes are without a doubt some of the best seen in independent action films these days, thanks to the combination of fight choreography, editing, ad Tarina Reed’s cinematography. While Fabien Garcia served as the film’s main choreographer, the Buson brothers assisted with some amazing fight sequences. Garcia and the Buson brothers definitely made great use of Gray Michael Sallies, Davis Chong, and Xin Wuku. The Shaolin-trained lead actors truly showcase some of their best stuff here and even seeing Garcia pull off a nice homage to Fist of Fury and using his skills against an entire dojo of black belt karatekas just has to be seen.

There is a nice sequence in which the brothers and Jess, forced to wait for Fabien, find themselves evading a SWAT team by either hiding or having to fight. It is not short, but not too long either. A gun battle sequence in an old paper factory is perhaps homage to John Woo and the bullet ballet known as the”heroic bloodshed” genre.  This is the sequence where Jess Allen gets to shine as he pulls off some nice double-gun blazing in part of the battle, resembling that of the legendary Chow Yun-Fat.

Die Fighting is definitely a winner for all fans of not only martial arts films, but action films as a whole. The story is done really well with the performances from the actors done excitedly well and the action scenes are truly top-notch and it must be noted the finale of this film will literally make your mouth drop.

WFG RATING: A

DVD/BLU-RAY

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