Lady Bloodfight (2016)

Posted in Reviews

Exciting starring-role debut from Scarlett Johansson’s stunt double, Amy Johnston, who is served well in an all-female fight tournament premise with thematic links to the 1988 cult Van Damme hit Bloodsport. Amy plays Jane Jones, a “blue eyed bullet from the west”, who gets sacked from her Pittsburgh waiter job after beating up the customers. She leaves her bereft single mother for a flight to Hong Kong to discover the truth about what happened to her dead karate dad who was killed at the Kumite; a fabled, underground, full-contact martial arts competition, here remodelled as an oestrogen-fuelled, women-only fight club, …

Read More

TC 2000 (1993)

Posted in Reviews

First-time director T.J. Scott admirably fashions a high-concept sci-fi yarn on a shoestring budget, with clear allusions to films like Blade Runner and The Terminator. It’s all moody synthesisers, dry ice and blue lasers – some of it almost convincing – filmed predominantly in large basements full of pipework. In addition to its dystopian themes, the film is also a non-stop martial arts flick with a great B-movie cast of bare-chested strongmen like Bolo Yeung, Matthias Hues and Billy Blanks. This is a particular good vehicle for Blanks, who stars as a vengeful future-cop called Jason Storm operating in an …

Read More

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)

Posted in Reviews

Tiresome sequel which lacks the charm of the first film, not to mention its star attraction: Jean-Claude Van Damme. Instead, Dallas actor Sasha Mitchell steps into the lead role, but he never comes close to matching his predecessor during the physical scenes, which is quite important for a film with the word ‘kickboxer’ in the title. He plays a third Sloane brother: the good natured pretty-boy David, who inherits his brother’s LA gym after it is revealed that both Kurt and Eric have been killed by the Muay Thai monster Tong Po (Michel Qissi). David is initially lured back into …

Read More

The Spiritual Boxer (1975)

Posted in Reviews

Lau Kar-leung‘s influential directorial debut is often credited for being a precursor to both the slapstick kung fu comedies of Ng See-yuen at Seasonal Films (Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, Drunken Master), and the supernatural shenanigans of Sammo Hung. There are certainly signs of Jackie Chan in Wong Yu’s comedic central performance, playing a juvenile, opportunistic orphaned street rat whose sifu is a cipher for the alcoholic Beggar So. And Sammo clearly lifted the haunted mansions, Taoist priests and black magic routines for his extraordinary Encounters of the Spooky Kind. The film centres around Lau Kar-leung’s general distrust of the …

Read More

KFMG Podcast S02 Episode 14: Matthias Hoene / James Nunn

Posted in Podcasts

“I like the challenge of trying to entertain an audience, and I read the reviews, good and bad. I don’t let them affect me, but I do try to learn from them, if I can.” James Nunn

Aspiring filmmakers should definitely tune into this episode of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast, as I talk to two up-and-coming, supremely talented, London-based directors Matthias Hoene and James Nunn, who are both making waves internationally with their own action films. Firstly, I talk to the director Matthias Hoene about his new film, Enter the Warrior’s Gate (aka Warrior’s Gate), a Chinese-European co-production written …

Read More

General Stone (1976)

Posted in Reviews

Slightly bonkers chopsocky with a strange supernatural twist and some great fight choreography. Dorian Tan’s mother is kidnapped by marauding despot Lung Fei, but his kung fu is not up to scratch to launch a solo rescue. Luckily he’s the son of General Stone – proud defender of a deceased Tang dynasty ruler, who continues to stand guard in statue form outside the king’s shrine. Tan falls down a well and ends up in a underground house of traps where the general comes to life and his statue mates teach him how to fight. Meanwhile, fellow Tang patriot Polly Shang …

Read More

Hummingbird (2013)

Posted in Reviews

A slightly more serious, character-driven turn for The Transporter and Crank star Jason Statham, who plays a homeless, alcoholic war vet seeking redemption for a previous incident in Helmand province, Afghanistan, for which he escapes a court-martial. He breaks into a luxury Soho flat to rebuild his life, steam-cleaning the owner’s designer suits and driving his Mercedes. The film is full of mixed morals. He escapes a violent past by becoming a hired street thug for a London-based Chinese gang, causing even more carnage by smashing up their enemies and helping their drug trade. He eventually uses their connections to …

Read More

Profile: JuJu Chan Yuk-wan

Posted in Profiles

Date of birth: 2 February, 1988 (Hong Kong)

Style: Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Judo, Karate

Occupation: Actor, martial arts instructor, singer, writer, personal trainer.

Other names: Juliana Chan; Chan Yuk Wan.

Biography: Juliana ‘JuJu’ Chan Yuk-wan is one of twins born in Hong Kong. The Chan family moved to Boston when JuJu was three years old. She lived in various locations as a child, and developed a love of cinema from watching films with her father. She went to high-school in Hong Kong and went on to study at the University of San Francisco, graduating with a bachelor’s degree with honours in Computer Sciences and …

Read More

KFMG Podcast S02 Episode 13: JuJu Chan Yuk-wan

Posted in Podcasts

“I love doing my own action. Usually, I will insist.”

It was a pleasure to talk to the rising Asian-American movie star JuJu Chan Yuk-wan on the latest episode of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. JuJu was born in Hong Kong and raised in America where she has enjoyed prominent roles in movies like the Netflix-produced sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016) – directed by kung fu movie legend Yuen Woo-ping, and starring Donnie Yen and Michelle Yeoh – plus roles in films like Fist of the Dragon (2014) for Roger Corman and Jesse Johnson’s Savage Dog (2017), starring …

Read More

KFMG Podcast S02 Episode 12: Yolanda Lynes, David Cheung / Katrina Durden

Posted in Podcasts

“My dream was always to do what you love with the people you love. To do that, even in a little way, is a dream come true.” Katrina Durden

This is an action-packed show with not one, not two, but three up-and-coming UK martial arts stars. Firstly, I catch up with the directors, writers and stars of the new martial arts action flick The Real Target: David Cheung and Yolanda Lynes. I first met the ‘kung fu couple’ at the inaugural Fighting Spirit Film Festival in July 2016, when the two were screening their Real Target short film. You can listen back …

Read More