bounty hunter

2047: Virtual Revolution (2017)

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A bounty hunter finds himself torn between his job and the fate of the world in this sci-fi film that blends elements from Blade Runner and The Matrix.

It is the year 2047. Ninety percent of the world has been known as the Connected. The Connected are the citizens who find their daily live in a virtual reality. Nash is a local bounty hunter who also is one of the Connected. His virtual world comes in the form of medieval times. On top of that, Nash is still reeling for the death of his girlfriend Helena. When Nash learns that there have been deaths in the virtual world, he has been assigned to find out who is responsible.

The ones responsible are a band known as the Necromancers. It is unclear why the Necromancers are killing in the virtual world but Synternis Corporation wants answers. As Nash begins his investigation, he finds himself beaten on some occasions but after successfully getting rid of some of the Necromancers. However, when a chance encounter with the leader of the Necromancers reveals something he never imagined, Nash finds himself conflicted between what truth is real and what truth is fiction. His decision may change the fate of the world as we know it.

From the mind of Guy Roger-Duvert comes this film that is highly influenced by sci-fi classics with a dash of French-flavored sci-fi epics that in its 92 minute running time starts out rather confusing but soon finds its meshing in the second half of the film. The film starts out like Blade Runner with the character of Nash, played by Mike Dopud, narrating the tale about a revolution but begins with how 90% of the world is now living through virtual reality and it has caused the non-connected to live virtually like thugs.

Jane Badler, star of the hit 80’s mini-series V, stars as Dina, Nash’s handler and leader of the Synternis Company, who just wants one thing and that’s to ensure Nash does his job. It may seem at first that Nash’s only ally in the investigation is hacker Morel, played by French actor Maximillien Poullein while Kaya Blocksage plays the leader of the Necromancers, whose confrontation with Nash leads to our hero having to make a choice.

The virtual reality sequences are nicely handled and provide a lot of action.  Nash’s world of virtual reality is that of medieval hero Swal, played by martial artist and stuntman Emilien De Falco but in one pivotal scene, he does take the avatar of a female futuristic warrior named Kate, played by Petra Silander. The lines between the real world and virtual reality do bring a sense of confusion at times but the second half helps smooth things over and brings quite an interesting ending.

2047: Virtual Revolution is not a bad indie sci-fi, but is clearly a middle of the road film. If you can get past the confusion of the real world and virtual reality, then stick around for the second half to get a full understanding of the film.

WFG RATING: C+

Wild Eye Releasing presents a Lidderdalei production. Director: Guy-Roger Duvert. Producer: Guy-Roger Duvert. Writer: Guy-Roger Duvert. Cinematography: Cyril Bron. Editing: Sylvain Franchet.

Cast: Mike Dopud, Jane Badler, Jochen Hägele, Maximillien Poullein, Kaya Blacksage, Petra Silander, Emilien De Falco, Nicolas Van Beveren.

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Carano is Unleashed in “Scorched Earth” Trailer

Mixed martial arts legend Gina Carano is back on the screens and brings the pain in a post-apocalyptic setting in the trailer for Scorched Earth.

In the film, Carano plays bounty hunter Attica Gage, who in a world that has now become a rudimentary society after a devastating attack from Mother Nature, leaving most of the population gone. Gage is set to get a major bounty against an outlaw named Tom Jackson, played by Ryan Robbins. Things become complicated when she comes across a young slave who reminds Gage of her late sister.

A meshing of MMA action, spaghetti western, and post-apocalyptic film, the movie co-stars John Hannah, Stephanie Bennett, and Alisha Newton. Directed by Peter Howitt from a script by Kevin Leeson and Bobby Mort, Scorched Earth will be coming to a limited theater and VOD release on February 2, 2018.

Boone the Bounty Hunter (2017)

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Prepared to get “Boone’d” in this fun action wild ride written by and starring professional wrestler John Hennigan, aka Lucha Underground’s Johnny Mundo.

Reality TV star Boone the Bounty Hunter is known for hunting down celebrities. However, the ratings have gone down and his producer Olivia breaks the sad news to the star that his show has been cancelled. To boost the show’s prospects, Boone decides to take on a real case. Contacting an old friend who works for the Drug Enforcement Agency, Boone gets a case that he may think will relatively easy, but he soon learns that it will not be as easy.

Spoiled brat Ryan Davenport is the son of notorious drug dealer Cole Davenport. After he is wanted for the drug overdose murder of a young woman, he is forced by his father to flee to Mexico. Boone and two members of his team, Denny and Kat, head off to the small city of Vallecitos. When Boone successfully captures Ryan, Kat and Denny find themselves arrested by dirty cops working for Davenport. Boone soon realizes that it is no longer about the show, but caring about the people of the small city, who have been terrorized by the drug lord for years.

Professional wrestler John Hennigan created the titular character and co-produced in addition to starring in the film. When it comes to technical moves, Hennigan is perhaps one of the greatest with his skill set, which meshes martial arts, gymnastics, and parkour. Hennigan has had his share of action roles such as Hercules Reborn and Sinbad and the War of the Furies, which were given not too great ratings amongst film fans. Yet, with his roles as Winter Soldier and Casey Jones in two episodes of the web series Super Hero Beat Down, Hennigan truly had potential and with this film, he truly proves that he can hold his own as his own character, a redemption seeking reality TV star with one-liners who learns the true meaning of justice when he tackles a real case.

Boone’s team consists of Spencer Grammer as Kat, who can hold her own when necessary in the action department; Osric Chau as Denny, the technical expert of the team, and in an extended cameo, MMA legend Quentin “Rampage” Jackson as Jackson. While Jackson takes a back seat, being only used in a true emergency as seen in the third act, Chau and Grammer truly prove themselves to be worthy despite Boone’s original objective to make sure his show gets renewed.

Richard Tyson, known for playing villain characters, continues the trend quite well as drug lord Cole Davenport. He is mostly a mastermind until the final act while former child star Jonathan Lipnicki plays his spoiled rich son, who is forced to go fugitive. Skilled in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, his attempt to stop Boone in a comic relief scene forces the bounty hunter to make fun of him and pull off a wrestling move before the kid is forced into a port-a-potty, where he spends most of the film. Lorenzo Lamas makes for a worthy appearance as a bartender whose scar causes him to not want to fight until he realizes that there could be a chance when Boone decides to go into action to save a young boy he met upon entering Davenport’s town.

The action portion is quite a fun watch, but could do with some better editing in certain pieces. Aside from Hennigan showcasing his pretty awesome parkour skills, he finds himself on the receiving end of not one, but two two-on-one encounters with a pair of brothers working for Davenport. The brothers are played by martial artists and actors Lateef Crowder and T.J. Storm. There is also a nice bar fight in the film where Hennigan gets to mesh some grappling moves with some pretty decent kicks, including a nice taekwondo style kick off the wall. Most of the action is good but could use a little better editing in certain pieces.

Boone the Bounty Hunter is a fun wild action ride highlighted by the performance by John Hennigan as the titular character and the ensemble supporting cast. This is one reviewer who would gladly be “Boone’d” again.

WFG RATING: B

A Hoplite Entertainment/Killion Street Production. Director: Richard Kirbyson. Producers: Brady Romberg and Jonathan Lee Smith. Writers: John Hennigan, Josh Burnell, Franco Movsesian, and Jonathan Perkins. Cinematography: Jeffrey R. Clark. Editing: Ashlee Brookens and Mark David Spencer.

Cast: John Hennigan, Osric Chau, Spencer Grammer, Jonathan Lipnicki, Richard Tyson, Jane Park Smith, Lesley Fera, Quentin “Rampage” Jackson, Lorenzo Lamas, Juan Gabriel Pareja, Dominique Swain, Max Weideman, Lateef Crowder, T.J. Storm.

Combat Mortal (2004)

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2004, Z Productions/Reel Asian Films/The Supreme Ultimate Fist

Director:
Dr. Zee Lo
Producer:
Dr. Zee Lo
Writer:
Dr. Zee Lo
Cinematography:
David Austin
Editing:
Kate Johnson

Cast:
Dr. Zee Lo (Billy Lee/Master Qi/Inspector Couseau)
Nikita Ager (Nicole King)
Joe Ho (Wu Feng)
John Milios (Zoh)
John Truong (Hwang)
Sid Campbell (Capt. O’Rourke)
Samuel Lima (Det. Lopez)
Steve Heinze (Capt. Goldman)
Karina Karrington (Kay King/Anna)
Bryan Handy (Troy)
Sky Nicholas (Jeannie)

Bruce Lee’s Grand-student, Dr. Zee Lo, creates perhaps the ultimate Americanized-Bruceploitation film in his directorial debut, in which he opens with “imitation is the highest form of flattery”.

Billy Lee is a martial artist who aspires to be an actor, but to make ends meet, uses his skills as a bounty hunter. When his latest assignment is to capture martial arts master Hwang, Lee tracks him down and after a fight, is able to get a name of his boss, Wu. Billy makes the arrest while attempting to go to auditions to live his real dream of being a martial arts film star. Nicole King is an international supermodel who only under the advice of older sister Kay, has done it all on her own with no outside interference. However, crime boss Wu Feng has threatened Nicole that if she does not work for him, she will face certain danger.

Kay, concerned about the situation, decides to hire someone low-key to serve as Nicole’s bodyguard. Enter Billy, who at first is reluctant to take the job, but ultimately accepts the offer. When Billy soon learns who has been threatening her, he learns that Wu Feng is the one who was raised practically as his brother when they were kids. Now, Billy, loyal to the job at hand, must do what it takes to protect Nicole, even if it means having to face his own “brother”.

When you see the words “imitation is the highest form of flattery” superimposed on the screen, one may think is this going to be a spoof. Instead, Dr. Zee Lo has basically made his own version of the popular cult subgenre that is “Bruceploitation”. Interesting enough, he took the character names from his film debut, The Deadly Cure, and once again made them hero and villain and yet added a dash of secrecy in the fact that these two were once blood brothers who have now become sworn enemies.

Lo lifts elements from films such as Fist of Fury and more notably Game of Death. The GOD reference involves our hero Billy aspiring to be an actor where in GOD, Bruce Lee’s Billy Lo is a martial arts film star who gets himself caught in a situation with a syndicate. Plus, in a scene being shot by a “Mr. Weintraub” (an obvious reference to Enter the Dragon producer Fred Weintraub), Billy and good friend Troy, played by Bryan Handy, are re-enacting the GOD nunchaku fight between Lee and Dan Inosanto. Billy even reads a line from Enter the Dragon in his office before receiving a call from his boss. Dr. Z also plays two supporting characters, Master Qi and a play on The Pink Panther’s bumbling Inspector Clouseau, here a filler character who works for villain Wu Feng.

Nikita Ager plays a strong woman in supermodel Nicole, who has done it all on her own, but only needs protection in order to prevent the worst. She only pulls the damsel in distress in the final act, because let’s face it, that’s what one would normally expect in this brand of film. Joe Ho doesn’t look intimidating as lead villain Wu Feng. His look and demeanor look more as if he should be playing a henchman or a right-hand man, but not so much a lead villain. John Truong and John Milios provide mainly action support and fit their roles of Hwang and Zoh, two martial arts professionals working for Wu Feng while Sid Campbell makes a cameo as Capt. O’Rourke in a filler scene where Billy helps him teach police cadets self-defense.

Dr. Z’s fight scenes allow him once again to emulate Bruce Lee, but this time, that is his intention to make his own version of emulating Bruce and does it to a tee. He does the movements, the screaming, and even does the backflip kick done in Enter the Dragon. However, once again, Lo feels it is necessary to use a constant use of double, triple, and even quadruple taking of action and while it may be a good idea to do it, there are certain scenes where it is completely unnecessary and even goes as far as using slow motion in very unnecessary moments of the film.

Combat Mortal is without a doubt Dr. Z’s answer to Bruceploitation and it is not completely bad, but the unnecessary slow motion and multiple shots in some of the action can be more seen as annoying. However, Dr. Z gets an A for effort for trying.

WFG RATING: C+

This film is available to buy on Reel Asian Films, Dr. Z’s film distribution company.

“The Condemned 2” comes in November starring Randy Orton

WWE superstar Randy Orton is about to play the most dangerous game in a sequel to the 2007 film that launched the film career of former wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

The Condemned 2 stars Orton as Will Tanner, an ex-bounty hunter who unwittingly finds himself trapped when The Condemned, a game where convicts are forced to fight each other to the death, is back on via an unscrupulous businessman, played by Steven Michael Quezada. Eric Roberts co-stars as Will’s father, who helps him in the game.

Dutchman Roel Reine, who directed Orton’s action film debut, 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded, directed the film, which was shot in New Mexico in late 2014.

Lionsgate will release the film in limited theaters and on VOD platforms on November 6, 2015. In the meantime, check out the trailer below:

H/T: Film Combat Syndicate