One Million K(l)icks (2015)

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Despite its awkward title, this is a strong head-kicking German indie which gives diminutive stuntman Mike Möller free-reign to showcase his incredible physical talents. He might not immediately strike you as leading man material – his small, muscular frame and blond crop wouldn’t look out of place in a German version of Westlife – but his strength and skill is extraordinary. His kicks are sometimes too quick and intricate for the camera, and you may need to rewind some sections to really savour the action. This was the debut feature for the Silent Partners production company, run by Hong Kong-based …

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Female Fight Squad (2016)

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A great vehicle for the effervescent martial artist Amy Johnston, who makes the leap from stunt double to star with great confidence. Its just a shame the film struggles to ever fully ignite, and falls flat despite a promising premise. Amy plays a Los Angeles vet with a violent streak. She becomes a YouTube sensation when she takes out two dudes who break into her kennels. It turns out she’s actually a former underground fighting ace, known as ‘Bex the Beast’, who has turned her back on her shady past. But when her struggling and estranged sister asks for help …

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Future Kick (1991)

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Low-budget, high-concept fight film which deals in virtual reality and kickboxing robots. In a dystopian future, rich humans have ruined Earth and live in luxury on the moon. A prominent VR expert is needed back on terra firma and takes the next spaceship to New Los Angeles, which is full of crime, degradation and corruption (nothing new there then). He is killed by a gang involved in organ trafficking for a company known as New Body, which seems to be harvesting body parts for cosmetic reasons and creating elite human beings. His wife shuttles over to investigate, enlisting the help …

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Hard Bastard (1981)

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One of Godfrey Ho’s bright, wacky and diverse South Korean indies for Asso Asia Films, this typically colourful head-kicker provides an impressive acting showcase for Hwang Jang-lee. He cuts a dashing figure as the grinning, impulsive and comedic foil at the centre of a band of traveling street performers, who live in a tent and are hassled by crooks for some reason. Hwang looks great in an immaculately fitted three piece suit despite being a homeless guy. The gags are broad and involve Hwang being hit over the head with a frying pan, but it’s refreshing to see him in …

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The Last Dragon (1985)

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“Kiss my converse!” threatens the always-angry Sho’nuff (Julius Carry), aka The Shogun of Harlem, a hairspray-heavy kung fu brother who has seemingly raided Michael Jackson’s wardrobe, and hangs out with hoodlums transported from the set of a sci-fi film. Sho’nuff is hired by a sadistic record producer whose business tactics leave a lot to be desired. He kidnaps and harasses New York’s hottest pop star (that’s Vanity, by the way) in order to promote his own girlfriend on her TV show. Vanity refuses – because the girl is clearly terrible – and calls in the movie’s naïve hero, ‘Bruce’ Leroy …

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Eastern Condors (1987)

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Hong Kong’s finest turn out for surely Sammo Hung‘s crowning achievement; a savage, intense action film that, despite blatant nods to other popular Vietnam war movies, still plays like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It’s a Dirty Dozen-style adventure in which an all-star cast play Chinese-American convicts sent by US intelligence into Vietnam on a suicide mission to destroy a stash of weapons before it falls into enemy hands. The mission is secretly cancelled at the last minute, so the team find themselves behind enemy lines, fighting for survival against the Vietcong. But assistance soon arrives. They befriend a dedicated trio …

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KFMG Podcast S02 Episode 23: End of Year Show 2017 with Mike Fury

Posted in Podcasts

Welcome to the Kung Fu Movie Guide’s End of Year Show 2017, featuring the action movie expert and author Mike Fury. Listen as we reveal our Top 5 martial arts films of the year – and also share our thoughts on our worst film of the year. We also discuss the top martial arts movie news from 2017, from Jack Ma’s kung fu debut in Gong Shou Dao, to Wolf Warrior II becoming the highest grossing Chinese film of all time. We also discuss what Steven Seagal has been up to, Jackie Chan‘s step back into the Hollywood spotlight with …

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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This continuation in the unfolding Avengers saga suffers from superhero fatigue with too many costumes vying for screen time, but at least it has some crunchy fight scenes courtesy of the John Wick creators and 87Eleven founders, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. The story looks into the consequences of the Avengers’ trail of destruction, which is so often overlooked in their many adventures. A decision is made by the US government to have them sign an accord which will put them under the lawful control of the United Nations, but Captain America sees this as restriction of their liberty. This …

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Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow (1993)

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Like most films based around dystopian male fantasy futures, this deals with the concept of sex robots. A greedy US robotics corporation in 2074 designs a sex robot full of high explosives as a ploy to infiltrate and blow up the offices of their Japanese rivals, only for the cyborg in question to find out the truth and leg it out the building. She is aided by her martial arts instructor, Colt (Elias Koteas), who falls in love with the merchandise and seems happy to risk “solitary confinement until death” for the opportunity to live happily ever after with the …

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The Foreigner (2017)

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Measured British thriller from GoldenEye and Casino Royale director Rob Marshall, based on the book The Chinaman by Stephen Leather. The film is both a study on the political jostling between the British and Irish governments following the Northern Irish peace process and the need to control a new, violent, youth-led republican movement, who start letting off bombs all over London. But it is also a Death Wish-style vigilante action film which sees a haunted Jackie Chan play an ex-special forces restaurant owner who takes matters into his own hands when his daughter is killed by an IRA bomb. Pierce Brosnan …

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