Scott Adkins

Jarhead 3: The Siege (2016)

jarhead3 usa-icon

The U.S. Embassy is under attack and the Marines must come to the rescue in this in-name third installment of the military action films.

Marine Cpl. Evan Albright has been stationed to a U.S. embassy in the Middle East. Every day, the embassy is met with protestors. Albright, known to be a loose cannon, does his best to get along with his fellow Marines and stay in the gunnery sergeant’s good graces. However, one day, he notices a mysterious figure watching them from below. When Albright may think he knows the identity, he goes straight to Ambassador Cahill, thus face the wrath of both Gunny Raines and RSO Kraus.

However, Albright’s suspicions prove to be correct when the embassy is suddenly attacked by a band of insurgents led by renowned terrorist Khaled Al-Asiri, who was thought to have been killed in a drone strike just two weeks prior. The Marines set out to protect both the Ambassador and a local, Jamal, who is revealed to be Khaled’s brother, having turned over a new leaf. With the body count rising, Albright, Raines, and the rest of the squad must do whatever it takes to protect the embassy and take down the insurgent group.

The Jarhead series is quite interesting as the original film was based on a true story. Capitalizing on their “straight to DVD” sequels, Universal’s 1440 brand brought us Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, an unrelated sequel and then comes this third film, which only has a small relation to the original with Dennis Haysbert making an extended cameo as Major Lincoln. However, Lincoln is just on the back burner for the most part.

Charlie Weber makes for a good lead as Albright, the troubled hero who joined the Marines due to his affected childhood. Albright feels the world is against him but he has something to prove to himself, he tends to be at times reckless, causing the ire of both superiors and fellow Marines, with Scott Adkins in a non-martial arts role as Gunnery Sgt. Raines. Adkins pulls off a Midwestern or Southern American accent as Raines, who takes nothing from no one and proves to be a worthy leader when it comes to action. British actress Sasha Jackson is quite well as Olivia, the assistant of the Ambassador whose life is in jeopardy when the insurgents attack. She also plays a vital part of the mission in two key scenes. As for Hadrian Howard, he pulls it off nicely as the lead terrorist with Charlie de Melo playing a vital role in Jamal, the reformed brother of lead terrorist.

While the action mainly consists of bullets flying and explosions, there is a major scene involving fisticuffs. The scene involves Albright and fellow Marine Lopez, played by Erik Valdez, going hand-to-hand with two insurgents in the ambassador’s residence. It is a nicely shot close quarters action sequence with stunts and beats of comic relief despite Dante Basco’s government worker and blogger Blake being the real comic relief of the film.

Jarhead 3: The Siege is what you would expect from a straight-to-DVD military action film. Some great sequences, some one-liners, and a pretty good cast including Charlie Weber and Scott Adkins leading the way. If you can get past the fact Adkins doesn’t showcase his fight skills and brings more of a straight edge acting role with some gunfire, then you will enjoy this film.

WFG RATING: B

A Universal 1440 Entertainment production. Director: William Kaufman. Producers: Jeffrey Bach and Phillip J. Roth. Writers: Chad Law and Michael D. Weiss. Cinematography: Mark Rutledge. Editing: John Gilbert.

Cast: Charlie Weber, Scott Adkins, Tom Ainsley, Sasha Jackson, Dennis Haysbert, Stephen Hogan, Erik Valdez, Dante Basco, Hadrian Howard, Charlie de Melo, Joe Corigall, Romeo Miller.

Advertisements

Accident Man (2018)

accidentman uk-icon

Scott Adkins brings his dream project to life in this exciting adaptation of a British comic book from the director of Savage Dog.

Mike Fallon is an assassin. He specializes in making his hits look like fatal accidents. After performing a job, he goes to a local pub to let the tension out by beating up locals then goes to the Oasis, a pub where he meets with fellow assassins. Together, they work for Big Ray, who works with Milton, a shady handler from New York. When Mike is given a new job to take out an accountant, he learns of a possible set up after he is sent to pick up the money.

However, Mike has learned that his ex-girlfriend Beth has died. At the funeral, he is confronted by Charlie, Beth’s girlfriend who reveals that at the time of her death, she was pregnant with Mike’s baby. Mike soon learns that the job may have been committed by one of his fellow assassins. As Mike wages war while looking for answers, he learns that Beth’s death has resulted from something major and while he has broken protocol amongst his fellow assassins, he is ready to avenge Beth’s death at all costs.

If you don’t know by now, Scott Adkins loves keeping busy by doing what he loves most: making movies and kicking serious tail. The first of an astonishing six films set for release this year alone, Adkins has made it clear that this film is a dream project. Based on Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, Adkins co-wrote the film with Stu Small and it seems like the central role of Mike Fallon is truly a natural role for the British martial arts ace.

As Fallon, Adkins provides both the narration and gets to showcase both his action and acting skills as the titular character. Many may see this as perhaps a martial arts John Wick, but that’s far from the case as the original comic was created in the 1990’s. Adkins is great here as someone who loves his job and goes as far as after performing a hit, goes to a pub just for kicks to start a fight. However, he can’t stop thinking about the woman he loved, the only one he ever loved, and how they were great until he let his ego get the best of him, forcing her into the arms of another woman, played by Twilight Saga’s Ashley Greene, who doesn’t bring much to the table and has limited screen time but serves as a catalyst for Mike’s mission of revenge.

The introduction of the other assassins in the film comes right off of a comic book. Oh right, this film is based on one. While some of the supporting characters are lesser known, they still tend to make an impact. For example, Carnage Cliff, played by Ross O’Hennessy, is an axe murderer who’s not the brightest star in the galaxy with Stephen Donald’s Poison Pete, living up to his name, doesn’t really talk much but growls a lot. Perry Benson’s Finicky Fred provides the much needed comic relief of the film as he comes up with inventive ways to do the deed and with that comes a reference to our hero in terms of the latest “invention”.

However, the big threats come in the form of Ray Park, Michael Jai White, and Amy Johnston. Park, best known to Star Wars fans as Darth Maul, and White play ex-military mercenaries who when they are not kicking butt or killing, bicker about which Special Forces unit reigns supreme. In other words, they are the “married” couple of the assassins with Johnston’s Jane the Ripper being a true femme fatale, even seen in her flashback when she began training in kenjutsu under a cameo-appearing Roger Yuan.

What is very interesting about the film is that the entire second act is actually a flashback sequence of how Mike becomes an assassin. While it may seem unorthodox to have this set in the middle of the film and running a good 15-20 minutes of the film nonetheless, it serves as a cool down, an intermission if you will before things go full speed ahead and that’s when the fun really begins. Ray Stevenson, as Big Ray, turns it up as Mike’s mentor and boss, who finds himself in a situation he never imagined with David Paymer as the foil who for one reason or another, tends to rile Mike up knowing he can’t do much about it because there are three rules at the Oasis: no spitting, no killing, and no beating up Milton, Paymer’s character.

Tim Man, Adkins’ go to guy as of late for fight choreography, once again delivers some intense martial arts action sequences. Adkins gets to throw down first against some throwaway goons at a local pub and then takes on Man himself, who makes a cameo appearance as a biker for the Triads. However, it is when Adkins takes on Park, White, and Johnston that stand out. The two-on-one fight between Adkins and the blue gi-sporting Park and White is quite fun to watch. And it is safe to say despite taking the lead in both Lady Bloodfight and Female Fight Club, Johnston gets to really show what she is capable of in a feature film as this showcases some of her best work in the action department yet.

Accident Man is definitely a wild ride and great action film that may make one wonder why there would be a lengthy flashback sequence in the middle of the film. Just think of that as an intermission to the really fun stuff! One of Scott Adkins’ best films yet.

WFG RATING: A-

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents a LINK Entertainment production in association with Six Demon Films. Director: Jesse V. Johnson. Producers: Craig Baumgarten, Scott Adkins, Ben Jacques, and Erik Kritzer. Writers: Stu Small and Scott Adkins; based on the Toxic! Comic by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner. Cinematography: Duane McClunie. Editing: Matthew Lorentz.

Cast: Scott Adkins, Ray Stevenson, David Paymer, Ashley Greene, Ray Park, Michael Jai White, Amy Johnston, Perry Benson, Nick Moran, Ross O’Hennessey, Stephen Donald, Tim Man, Brooke Johnston.

Black Mask 2: City of Masks (2002)

blackmask2 Hong-kong-icon

Six years after Jet Li played a superpowered hero, a new star’s attempt to breakout is marred by a ridiculous story and a very mixed bag of action courtesy of the duo behind the original film.

Kan Fung, involved in the same experiment that once created the 701 Squad, has decided to escape and look for a cure. However, as he searches for a clue, he fights crime donning a black mask and is known simply as Black Mask. The higher ups sends someone of its equal, Lang, to find Black Mask and bring him back. However, for the new Black Mask, that’s just a tip of the iceberg as he may have found a cure and finds the scientist responsible, Dr. Marco Leung.

Meanwhile, King, a major wrestling promoter in Bangkok, decides to make a spectacular show with some of his top performers. However, he has been working in cahoots with Moloch, a scientist who has been using animal DNA to fuse with human DNA. When one of the performers, Iguana, slowly transforms into the half-human/half-iguana monster, Black Mask shows up in time and even goes as far as attempt to help Iguana, who rather sacrifices himself to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Chameleon, who blames Black Mask for the whole ordeal. Soon Black Mask learns that before he can cure himself, he must stop not only Moloch and the wrestlers, but his old arch enemy Lang as well.

When Jet Li’s 1996 original Black Mask was a hit in Hong Kong and performed decently in its 1999 U.S. run, Tsui Hark decided to make a sequel. While the likes of Louis Koo and Raymond Wong (not to be confused with the star/producer of the All’s Well Ends Well films) were in the running for the role of the new Black Mask, Tsui found his new lead in American-born Taiwanese actor Andy On, who had virtually zero martial arts experience when he was cast but as you can see by his films today, On is one of this generation’s top names in Hong Kong’s action cinema.

The problem with this sequel is that On seems to have been cast at the time only for his looks and athleticism, and yet with having to train for the film, he is still given a limited performance in the action department. It seems like On is relegated more to just bouncing off walls with the occasional kick. It is truly a far cry not just from Jet Li in the original, but even compared to his action performances today, it is clear that On suffered from “rookie syndrome”. Thankfully, after this film, On underwent great martial arts training and soon broke out with roles in Star Runner and New Police Story and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Why screenwriters Jeff Black and Charles Cain decide to use professional wrestling as an output for our hero will definitely never be answered, but the film’s use of international stars does help a little. Rob Van Dam already has had experience in Hong Kong films, with his roles in two 1990’s Seasonal Film productions, Superfights and Bloodmoon. For his third and final Hong Kong production, Van Dam perhaps has the most experience in that department but like On, is relegated to more CGI effects and not enough groundwork. Traci Lords, Oris Erhuero, and Robert Mukes try to make the most of their roles as the other infected wrestlers with future Leatherface actor Andrew Bryniarski, with doubling by co-star Silvio Simac, makes the most of his limited appearance as the first infected star, Iguana.

Yuen Woo-Ping’s action on this film is a far disappointment from the original. However, it is fair to say that the climactic action sequence, in which Black Mask has his final confrontation with the wrestlers and his old nemesis Lang, played by another action hero today, Scott Adkins, is truly the best action of the entire film. While the CGI may tend to mar some of it, On does find himself more grounded facing the likes of the aforementioned Silvio Simac, who unleashes his nice kicking skills against On before On takes on Adkins, who gives the viewers a taste of what he will unleash just two years later in his breakout role in 2003’s Special Forces.

If you like both Andy On and Scott Adkins, two great action stars in today’s films, then check out Black Mask 2: City of Masks to see where these two started and get ready for a long-awaited reunion as these two will be together in the upcoming film Twilight Zodiac. However, don’t expect anything grand as this is truly an inferior sequel. But don’t discredit On and Adkins as they made the most of it.

WFG RATING: D

China Star Entertainment presents a One Hundred Years of Film Ltd. Production in association with Film Workshop. Director: Tsui Hark. Producer: Tsui Hark. Writers: Jeff Black and Charles Cain; story by Tsui Hark, Laurent Courtiaud, and Julien Carbon. Cinematography: Horace Wong and William Yim. Editing Marco Mak and Angie Lam.

Cast: Andy On, Scott Adkins, Tobin Bell, Jon Polito, Rob Van Dam, Traci Lords, Oris Erhuero, Robert Mukes, Sean Marquette, Teresa Herrera, Michael Bailey Smith, Silvio Simac, Blacky Ko, Terence Yin, Andrew Bryniarski.

Adkins Seeks Revenge in “Accident Man” Trailer

Scott Adkins is back and this time, he’s looking for revenge!

In Accident Man, a live-action adaptation of the now-defunct Toxic! comic by Pat Mills, Adkins is the titular character, Mike Fallon, an assassin who makes his hits look like accidents. When the love of his life is killed, he pinpoints that his colleagues may be responsible and goes on a mission of revenge.

Ashley Greene, Amy Johnston, Ray Park, Michael Jai White, and Ray Stevenson co-star in the film, directed by Jesse V. Johnson. Tim Man, a frequent collaborator with Adkins, serves as fight choreographer.

Accident Man is due for release in 2018.

 

Boyka: Undisputed (2016)

boykaundisputed4 usa-icon

“The most complete fighter in the world” is back in this long awaited fourth installment and it is clear that Scott Adkins drives the film once again in his iconic role.

Since his escape from prison, mixed martial arts fighter Yuri Boyka has been competing in the underground circuit. However, he has a chance to qualify for a major pro tournament in Hungary. His first professional fight is against Viktor Gregov. The fight ends with Boyka beating Viktor to the point where he is sent to the hospital. When Boyka learns that he has accidentally killed Viktor, he learns that he has a widow, Alma, in a small town in Russia.

Despite the death of her husband, Alma owes a debt to local crime boss Zourab and to pay off the debt, Alma must work nights as a waitress at his local nightclub, where he holds underground fights for the patrons. When Boyka meets Alma, he is met with resistance from Zourab and his men. However, despite Alma wanting nothing to do with Boyka after his confession of accidentally killing Viktor, Boyka decides to find redemption. He makes Zourab a proposition too good to refuse. Boyka offers to fight in a series of battles in exchange for the debt. Zourab agrees but how far will Boyka go and will it affect his lifelong dream of becoming a professional fighter?

Well, it is clear that this long awaited installment took over five years due to a long withstanding issue in the movie industry: pirating. When Undisputed III was released in 2010, the pirating of that film practically put the fourth installment on hold. Flash forward five years later when Scott Adkins first announced that Boyka was finally going to make his return in a new film. However, thanks to the aforementioned issue, the budget was cut down and focused more on a straightforward story featuring local actors in supporting roles yet thankfully, the film still has a taste of stellar casting in terms of fighting. However, Isaac Florentine takes a step back this time, serving as producer and leaving Todor Chapkanov to direct the film.

Yet, the one thing that must be said about the character of Yuri Boyka is that while he was that very strong prisoner, he had a thing for religion. His introductory scene in 2006’s Undisputed II: Last Man Standing showed him saying a prayer. To Boyka, he feels God has given him the gift of becoming the fighter he is today and religion does in fact play a very important piece in this installment. While he first competes in underground matches, he spends his days helping out at a local church when not in training.

The rest of the film is another road to redemption as he sees to redeem himself and find forgiveness from the widow of the man he accidentally killed. This brings a pretty good performance from Bulgarian actress Teodora Duhovnikova, who plays the constantly grieving and troubled widow Alma. Don’t expect a romance between the two, but clearly someone who needs all the help she can get even if it is someone who she eventually warms up to and sees in some manner, needs help himself. As for Alon Moni Aboutboul, who also played the main villain in London Has Fallen, he once again oozes villainy in the role of mob boss Zourab.

As for the fight scenes themselves, it is clear they are the highlight of the film. Under Adkins’ main choice of choreographer today, Tim Man, Adkins once again shows why Boyka is the most complete fighter in the world. Adkins’ introductory fight here is short for the taking, but it follows with a fight against stunt performer Emilien De Falco, who nearly matches Adkins kick for kick in the role of the fallen Viktor. Adkins gets to take on the likes of Man and Jackie Chan Stunt Team member Andy Long as the Ozerov Brothers in a blistering two-on-one fight.

The first of two main events pits Adkins against the very talented Brahim Achabbakhe, who had doubled for Adkins himself on Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear. The final fight pits Adkins against his most hulking adversary yet, British-born bodybuilding champion Martyn Ford as Koshmar, who is revealed to be Boyka’s replacement as the champion of the prison where Boyka was hailed as their champion. The ending itself may be either predictable or even unpredictable depending on your guessing.

In the end, Boyka: Undisputed 4 is a worthy installment of the film thanks to Scott Adkins driving the film in his signature role with a great fight support cast and a pretty good performance from Teodora Duhovnikova. If you enjoyed the previous films, you will clearly enjoy this latest installment.

WFG RATING: A-

Millennium Films and Nu Image presents a NuBoyana Films/UN4 Productions Inc. production. Director: Todor Chapkanov. Producer: Isaac Florentine. Writer: David N. White. Cinematography: Ivan Vatsov. Editing: Irit Raz.

Cast: Scott Adkins, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Teodora Duhovnikova, Julian Vergov, Brahim Achabbakhe, Paul Chahidi, Valentin Ganev, Martyn Ford, Emilien De Falco, Tim Man, Andy Long.

Savage Dog (2017)

savagedog usa-icon

Scott Adkins stars in this grounded action thriller from director Jesse V. Johnson that unleashes something unexpected in the third act.

Indochina, 1959. Martin Tilman is an ex-boxing champion who is imprisoned in Den-Dhin-Chan Labor Camp, where he is forced to fight in matches to the pleasure of the camp’s runners. The fearsome foursome who run the camp are Steiner, Boon, Amarillo, and Rastignac. When he is not fighting, Martin finds himself occasionally hanging out at a local bar run by ex-patriot Valentine as well as seeing the woman he loves, local girl Isabelle.

As Martin soon learns his time will be up soon, he just wants to return home. However, knowing that should he leave they will lose money, the four camp runners decide to hatch a plan and keep Martin locked up in order to continue their winning streak. However, when Martin begins to resist, the group hatches a plan that will affect his friends. When Martin learns the plan, he decides to do something about it and put an end to the corrupt runners once and for all.

British martial artist and one of the busiest action stars today Scott Adkins returns in this thriller from director Jesse V. Johnson, the first of what will be three collaborations between star and director. The other two are the recently completed Accident Man and Triple Threat. Johnson, a former stuntman turned filmmaker can be quite a storyteller and proves that with this film, has shades of Unleashed in terms of the character of Martin, Adkins’ character, being the major player in a game by some corrupt goons only and is forced to seek his own brand of vengeance when he wants out and they will not let him.

The supporting cast is quite interesting here with the great Marko Zaror, whose English has seriously improved here, in the role of camp runner Rastignac and Sanshou legend Cung Le as Boon, a Vietnamese head guard at the labor camp who will unleash his skills when confronted. Vladimir Kulich’s Steiner seems to be the head warden of the camp who has a bit of a dark secret himself despite his loyalty to the Third Reich while Charles Fathy’s Amarillo rounds out the core group of ultimate villains in this piece.

While it’s great to see Juju Chan in the film, she only delivers a rather lack of action in her role of Isabelle, who is looking out for Martin while having a connection to the camp. Keith David is always a hoot to watch and delivers it here as Valentine, the bar owner who can be seen as Martin’s true ally and friend amidst all the chaos.

Those expecting Adkins to pull off maneuvers a la Boyka in the Undisputed films will be sorely disappointed. Instead of Adkins displaying the tricking style of his usual arsenal, considering the film’s setting of 1959 Indochina, the action is a more grounded take that works quite well here. Fight choreographer Luke LaFontaine does a pretty good job in terms of Adkins using straight up boxing flurries with some use of his kicking agility. With a combination of choreography, Gabriel Gely’s cinematography, and Matthew Lorentz’s editing, these are some pretty good fisticuffs that make good use of Adkins and the other fighters in the cast. They include some pretty good prison fights as well as a short and sweet fight against Le and a finale that becomes a rematch of Undisputed III between Adkins and Zaror.

When Adkins is not using his martial arts skills, he resorts to using both a machete and firepower against adversaries. Now here is where things get extremely brutal and appropriately gives the title justice. It must be said that the title Savage Dog does refer to Adkins’ character Martin, who is seen as a savage dog in the fights but then when he goes on his mission of revenge brings savagery to a whole new level. Perhaps influenced by the likes of a Takashi Miike or even someone like Karate Kill’s Kurando Mitsukake, filmmaker Johnson and choreographer LaFontaine has Adkins either shooting the bejesus out of everyone with squibs galore or chopping off limbs and slicing and dicing leaving geysers full of blood that are usually seen in horror films or even the insane Japanese-style action films of today.

Savage Dog brings a more grounded execution in terms of its fight scenes, but ups the ante in terms of brutality and savagery with Scott Adkins leading the way, just continuing his reign as one of today’s major action talents with ample support from the likes of Marko Zaror, Juju Chan, and Vladimir Kulich to name a few. Don’t expect a Boyka-like performance here, but one that does help Adkins as an actor as well as an action star.

WFG RATING: B+

XLrator Media presents a Compound B/Bleiberg Productions film. Director: Jesse V. Johnson. Producer: Ehud Bleiberg. Writer: Jesse V. Johnson. Cinematography: Gabriel Gely. Editing: Matthew Lorentz.

Cast: Scott Adkins, Juju Chan, Marko Zaror, Cung Le, Vladimir Kulich, Charles Fathy, Keith David, Matthew Marsden.

XLrator Media will be releasing this film in select theaters and on VOD platforms on August 4th.

Undisputed III: Redemption (2010)

undisputed3 usa-icon

Four years after impressing martial arts fans with Undisputed II: Last Man Standing, director Isaac Florentine returns with the long awaited third chapter in the prison fighter films. This time, paying respects to the themes of the first two, British superkicker Scott Adkins returns to form as Russian mixed martial arts fighter Yuri Boyka.

After a crushing defeat by George “Iceman” Chambers, Boyka is now a toilet cleaner in the basement of the prison with a bum knee. He has learned his one-time backer, Russian mobster Gaga has backed another fighter. When a tournament involving the world’s top prisoners is coming up in the border of Georgia, Boyka decides to see if he has it in him. He trains and soon proves himself to enter the tournament when he easily defeats the prison’s current champion.

Boyka heads to Georgia, where the first Prison Sports Competition is being held. The prize for winning: a pardon from the prison system and a chance to be a free man. The competition is fierce, including brash American boxer Turbo, capoeira exponent Silva, North Korean taekwondo fighter Lim, and the heavy favorite, Colombian drug runner and killer Raul “Dolor” Quinones. As the tournament commences, a dark secret involving the fighters eliminated from the tournament is known and now, rivals will be forced to team up to not just fight for freedom, but for survival as well.

As a longtime fan of martial arts films, Hollywood had seemed for this reviewer, somewhat troublesome when it comes to the recent wave of fight films. While the elements of mixed martial arts, or MMA, seemed imminent, the films mainly with that element seem choppier if not really bad. That was, until 2006’s Undisputed II: Last Man Standing was released. The sequel to the 2002 prison boxing film made the drastic turn to MMA thanks to the sequel’s helmer, karate expert and action film director Isaac Florentine. It was his frequent collaborator, British martial arts ace Scott Adkins, who drove the film with his unique blend of ground fighting and acrobatic kicking skills, that made it one of the best American martial arts films since the glory days of the 80’s to the mid-90’s.

All of that is about to change as this film may in fact be the best of not just the sequels, but the best of the series as a whole. Scott Adkins, coming fresh off his last collaboration with Florentine, 2009’s Ninja, and his turn as Weapon XI in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is in top form again as MMA fighter Boyka. While he wasn’t seen as a bad guy in the last film, he wanted to prove he was the best fighter. Here, he brings that back and more as well. Boyka realizes he has a purpose in life, but is unsure what it is. As the subtitle indicates, for Boykla, it is truly a chance at “redemption”.

The supporting cast of fighters does a great job as well. What many will find interesting is the bond that gradually forms between Boyka and brash American boxer Turbo, played by Mykel Shannon Jenkins. This is noticeable when Boyka’s sees a tattoo of Turbo’s kids on his chest, but on a subconscious level, it could be because Boyka’s last defeat was by that of a boxer. Perhaps, instead of Boyka’s one-time demand of evolution as a “supreme warrior”, he has a newfound respect for the various styles of martial arts. In their limited on-screen time as fillers, Ilram Choi and Lateef Crowder make the best use of their martial arts skills in respectively, taekwondo and capoeira.

Playing the prison champion favorite this time is Chilean martial arts fighter Marko Zaror. A former stuntman, Zaror wowed martial arts fans with his roles in Kiltro and Mirageman. Here, Zaror plays Raul “Dolor” Quinones, the champion at the prison where the tournament is being held. While he doesn’t have as many fight scenes as Adkins or Jenkins, Zaror is a showcase in his own right when he does fight. While press photos obviously indicate that Zaror and Adkins fight in the finals of the tournament, martial arts fans who have anticipated this match up will surely not be disappointed.

The credit for the martial arts fight scenes goes this time to Larnell Stovall, a member of the 87Eleven Stunt Team responsible for the good recent A-list action films Never Back Down and Ninja Assassin. Stovall has definitely did his homework and combined with Florentine’s direction and Ross Clarkson’s cinematography, used the cast’s martial arts skills to perhaps the highest of expectations. The result? Winning the Best Fight Choreographer Award at the 2010 ActionFest Film Festival.

If you want to see a good, no, make that awesome fight film, Undisputed III: Redemption is truly one of the greatest American martial arts ever made. A stellar cast, developed storyline, and some of the best fight scenes this side of the hemisphere make this an instant action classic!

WFG RATING: A

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment present a Nu Image production. Director: Isaac Florentine. Producers: Israel Ringel and Zvia Dimbort. Writer: David N. White. Cinematography: Ross W. Clarkson. Editing: Irit Raz.

Cast: Scott Adkins, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Marko Zaror, Mark Ivanir, Robert Constanzo, Valentin Ganev, Hristo Shopov, Lateef Crowder, Ilram Choi, Vernon Dobtcheff, Esteban Cueto.

TRAILER: Triple Threat

Get ready for an action treat like no other with the trailer to Jesse V. Johnson‘s latest action film, which features a heck of an ensemble cast.

Tony JaaIko Uwais, and Tiger Chen play three unlikely heroes who join forces to protect a millionaire’s daughter from a deadly mercenary cartel. The cartel members are played by Scott AdkinsMichael Jai WhiteMichael BispingJeeja Yanin, and Ron Smoorenburg.

Tim Man serves as the film’s action choreographer and it has been announced that Well Go USA has scored the North American rights and will release the film in early 2018.

Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2006)

undisputed2 usa-icon

This sequel to a prison boxing film would become an iconic modern martial arts film with what would be a trademark role for British martial artist and actor Scott Adkins.

Former heavyweight champion George “Iceman” Chambers has been released from prison. Having left his in-ring career behind, he is now relegated to using his past fame and is currently in Russia to take part in a vodka commercial. One night, Chambers is attacked by some men and when the police arrive, they discover drugs in Chambers’ Bible. Knowing he has been framed, Chambers is sent to Chorma Cholniy Maximum Security Prison.

Chambers soon learns his suspicions were correct. Russian mob boss Gaga has put Chambers in prison in order to take on the current prison champion, Yuri Boyka. At first, Chambers refuses to fight but soon learns that if he takes the fight, he can be released. However, when Boyka’s men drugs Chambers via water provided by Chambers’ cellmate, Chambers is upset and demands a rematch. However, knowing Boyka’s use of martial arts, Chambers finds an unexpected ally to help him adapt to a new fighting style in order to match Boyka in the rematch.

In 2002, Walter Hill’s original Undisputed, showcased the sport of boxing in prison, in which Ving Rhames took on prison champion Wesley Snipes in the ring. Four years later, Isaac Florentine was given the chance to direct this sequel and to amp up the excitement, he has decided to change from boxing to mixed martial arts, which began its soaring popularity by this time. Rhames was originally offered to return to the role of George Chambers, but schedule conflicts with his ill-fated Kojak series prevented him to return. Rhames would be replaced by actor and martial artist Michael Jai White, who displays both his action talent and his acting talent. He truly is a suitable replacement for Rhames.

However, the film truly belongs to British martial artist Scott Adkins, who after a short career in Hong Kong, broke through with teaming up with Florentine in Special Forces. In this film, Adkins plays Russian prison champion Yuri Boyka, a phenom of a martial arts fighter who strives and follows the Ric Flair philosophy of being the best: To be the man, you have to beat the man, the man being Chambers in this case. In a very shocking scene in the film, Boyka is revealed not to be a completely bad guy showing that just because you play an enemy of sorts, doesn’t mean you are completely bad.

Ben Cross gives great support as the ill-fated cellmate of Chambers, drug addict Steven, who attempts to change his life by helping Chambers only to be forced in a situation that becomes pivotal. Special Forces lead villain Eli Danker plays the wheelchair-ridden Crot, whose dark past becomes an asset for Chambers in terms of focusing and combat. He even brings a bit of comic panache during some of his training scenes with Chambers. Mark Ivanir is great as Russian mobster Gaga, Boyka’s handler who tends to have a penchant for fast food.

The film has a good story that has an intentional invocation of religion. In his introductory scene, Boyka is seen praying before his first fight of the film. Chambers has a Bible that he carries, which becomes the catalyst when his attackers plant drugs in it. In a very emotional scene, Chambers is tied up outside on a prison tower in the cold winter. Three men walk up to him and one gives him a hat, one a scarf, and the third, a jacket and a warm drink. This signifies the Three Wise Men of the story.

J.J. Perry takes charge of the film’s fight sequences with an uncredited assistance from none other than Florentine himself. The director, who is also an ace martial artist himself, had a hand in helping with some of the fight scenes on set. While White resorts to using more of a boxing style due to his character, the film’s action truly belongs to Adkins, who displays some fantastic techniques in his martial arts arsenal. Adkins’ kicking display is nothing short of phenomenal, using a variety of jump kicks, spin kicks, and his signature “Guyver” kick, a jump spin kick followed in mid-air by an angle kick to opponent.

Undisputed II: Last Man Standing is a fantastic action sequel that would become Scott Adkins’ ticket to action star status amongst fans. Michael Jai White makes a suitable replacement in a story that has touches of religion and some fantastic in-ring action that surpasses the original.

WFG RATING: A

A Nu Image Production. Director: Isaac Florentine. Producers: Danny Dimbort and David Varod. Writer: David N. White. Cinematography: Ross W. Clarkson. Editing: Irit Raz.

Cast: Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Ben Cross, Eli Danker, Mark Ivanir, Ken Lerner, Valentin Ganev, Daisy Lang, Silvio Simac, Iyalyo Geraskov, Atanas Srebrev, Michail Elenov, Velizar Binev.

DVD

Adkins Starrer “Savage Dog” Set to be Unleashed in August

savagedog

The first week of August is set to be a week destined for British martial arts ace Scott Adkins. With the announcement of Boyka: Undisputed set for an August 1 release on DVD and Blu-Ray, another of his starrers will be hitting select theaters that Friday.

On August 4, XLrator Media will release Savage Dog, directed by Jesse V. Johnson. The film co-stars Cung Le, Juju Chan, and Marko Zaror.

Indochina, 1959. A Wild West town controlled by the criminal class: Vietnamese warlords and European war criminals. Den-Dhin-Chan Labor Camp is run by four such dangerous men. The worst prison in the land, it is here that a European, former-champion boxer Martin Tilman has made a name for himself fighting tournaments, on which wealthy criminals gamble in high stakes events. When Tilman is due for release, he just wants to return home, but the corrupt forces running the jail will do everything in their power to keep him locked down. When all that Tilman holds dear is taken away in a vicious act of violence, he is forced to confront the five men responsible and take his revenge.

Johnson also wrote the film with Luke LaFontaine serving as the film’s action choreographer.

Look out for Savage Dog in select theaters on August 4, then a VOD and iTunes release on August 8. Check out the trailer below: