The Martial Arts Kid

The Martial Arts Kid is a Karate Kid themed tale following rebellious teen Robbie (Jansen Panettiere) who has various run-ins with the law. He soon moves to Cocoa Beach, Florida to live with his Aunt Cindy (Cynthia Rothrock) and Uncle Glen (Don “The Dragon” Wilson) who also teach martial arts. Struggling to settle in, Robbie takes a liking to local girl Rina, but her bully boyfriend makes it his mission to punish and humiliate the new kid. In his attempts to stand tall and win …

Discovering Jino Kang

I recently discovered the work of martial artist, actor and filmmaker Jino Kang and wanted to share some thoughts. If you’re an old time fan of 1970’s and 80’s Kung Fu flicks, his work is a fun throwback, particularly for nostalgic nuts like me. Kang was born in South Korea and immigrated to San Francisco with his parents during the 1970’s. As I’ve discovered SF now plays a major backdrop in his films, evidently close to his heart. Today he runs a …

Blood Orange drops on DVD

Indie neo-noir Blood Orange is a taut and quietly tense thriller with a scene-stealing turn from music legend and Godfather of Punk Iggy Pop in (remarkably) his first ever lead. Heading up a strong cast of only four, the movie is delivered in style by debut writer/director Toby Tobias. Bill (Pop) is an ageing, half-blind, shotgun-wielding rock star who lives in a secluded Spanish villa with his promiscuous wife Isabelle (Kacey Clarke, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Green Street 3). Out of the blue, her bitter ex-flame Lucas (Ben …

Three Days of the Condor on Blu-ray

Hollywood legends Robert Redford and director Sydney Pollack teamed up for their third collaboration, Three Days of the Condor, which incredibly gets its first ever home video release in the UK, presented as part of the Masters of Cinema series. First released in 1975, it’s a tense conspiracy tale of deceit and corruption and a great example of classic 70’s American cinema. Adapted from a novel by James Grady, Redford stars as Joe Turner, a junior analyst in the CIA who spends his days scrutinising published …

Daylight’s End is Here

Daylight’s End has been on the radar of action genre fans for some time, particular those familiar with the key players. The movie is helmed by director William Kaufman (Sinners and Saints, One in the Chamber), writer Chad Law (Six Bullets, Close Range) and leading man Johnny Strong (Sinners and Saints, Black Hawk Down). They are an exceptionally talented team with a great body of work between them. What’s crucial to note is that they really come across as old school renegade filmmakers, operating …

Close Range takes aim on DVD

British action star Scott Adkins and renowned genre director Isaac Florentine have teamed up again. This follows their well known collaborations on Special Forces (their first outing together), Ninja, Ninja: Shadow of a Tear and the popular Undisputed series, with the much-awaited Undisputed IV coming later this year. Before Boyka’s return, however, they reunited on Close Range, a lean and mean actioner set in the spaghetti western mould that first inspired Florentine. As seems to be the case with a lot of these releases, the film has belatedly made …

A Touch of Zen on Blu-ray

The Taiwanese wuxia classic, A Touch of Zen, finally arrives on Dual Format boasting an impressive 4K restoration, marking the perfect opportunity to revisit this milestone of action filmmaking and one of the forefathers to the modern swordplay movie. To put it in context, this is usually cited as one of the biggest inspirations behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, House of Flying Daggers and more. It was also the first Chinese-language film to break out and gain recognition at the Cannes Film Festival. Great accolades, but it would be a …

The Story of the Rubble Kings

Between 1968 to 1975, gangs ruled New York City. Beyond the hopes of the Civil Rights movement lay an unfocused rage. Neither law enforcement nor social intervention could stop the escalating violence. Peace came only through the most unlikely and courageous of events that would impact the world for generations to come through peace, positive influence and, eventually, music. New documentary Rubble Kings chronicles life during this era of gang rule and tells the story of how a few extraordinary, overlooked people would achieve the impossible and …

The Friends of Eddie Coyle gets new release

The highly underrated, low-key crime thriller The Friends of Eddie Coyle gets a much awaited home release in the UK for the very first time and looks better than ever, courtesy of Eureka Entertainment‘s Masters of Cinema series. Directed by Oscar-nominated Peter Yates, best known for Bullitt, this film was one of my Dad’s personal favourites, making it all the more meaningful since he switched me on to so many genuinely great movies, many of which remain my own favourites to this day. This film was also …

The Cannon Ninja Trilogy

The crazy output from Cannon Films has been of keen interest to both fans and critics since the company’s formative years, peaking in the 1980’s, while of course being the subject of recent documentaries Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films and The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films. Notorious for their wild concepts, boundary-pushing taboos and often humourously cheap production values, the company became notorious; sometimes loved, sometimes hated, but immensely influential in the action genre and the moviemaking business as a …

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