Call of Heroes (2016)

Posted in Reviews

This chopsocky yarn contains moments of genuine invention courtesy of Sammo Hung‘s clever, if overly traditional, kung fu fight choreography, which seems to revel in an old-fashioned glee. Aside from the more obvious and clunky wirework, Sammo creates a throwback to the Shaw Brothers bloodbaths of old, throwing every weapon he can muster into the mix like Lau Kar-leung on a rampage. Benny Chan is a veteran of mainstream entertainment and keeps the film relevant, despite strong cinematic leanings towards not just kung fu films but also the wuxia tradition, Samurai movies and spaghetti westerns. The latter is the film’s …

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Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)

Posted in Reviews

If you’re in the mood to watch Jason Statham kill a load of people – and pretty much nothing else – then this will do the job. This sequel to the 2011 remake of the Charles Bronson movie, The Mechanic, has nothing to do with the film’s original themes other than the use of the same central character, who now has even less to do with being a mechanic. It starts in Rio where Statham kills his first few people when he refuses to kill some other people for a crook named Crain (Sam Hazeldine). Statham absconds to Michelle Yeoh‘s …

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Ghost in the Shell (2017)

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A perfectly entertaining sci-fi action film which is part The Fifth Element, part The Matrix, and only partially the masterpiece it is actually based on. This sidesteps the animé’s existential questions in favour of a more predictable revenge motive, and never quite reaches the transcendent heights of the original film and its neo-noir aesthetic. Part of the issue stems from the live action which, ironically, seems to be at least 80 per cent digitally animated. By physically embodying such wide concepts as memory theory and artificial intelligence immediately draws on the need to focus on emotion rather than ideas, and …

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Logan (2017)

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A fitting conclusion to the Wolverine story, or at least Hugh Jackman’s part in it. Having played the bad-tempered, steel-clawed, hirsute​ immortal for 17 years, Jackman described this final chapter as the closest he ever got to being truthful to Wolverine’s real character. It is certainly the best of the isolated Wolverine films, and the most tonally separate, with moments of reflection, poignancy and genuine drama, most keenly observed in the familial relationship between Logan and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart, faultless). The film is set in Texas, 2029, in a dusty, isolated outback town where the washed-up, alcohol-dependent Logan works …

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KFMG Podcast S02 Episode 11: J.J. Perry

Posted in Podcasts

“I love this job. I’m so grateful I get to do this work. I never thought I was going to be doing this.”

What better way to launch the second season of podcasts than with a chat to one of Hollywood’s most beloved and prolific stunt co-ordinators, J.J. Perry. Jordan Andrew ‘J.J.’ Perry has been involved in some of the best action movies of the last 30 years, including work on huge Hollywood blockbusters likes Avatar, Iron Man, Star Trek Into Darkness, Transformers: Age of Extinction and the John Wick films. As a fight trainer, he has worked with the likes of …

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Profile: J.J. Perry

Posted in Profiles

Date of birth: 1967 (Stamford, Texas, US)

Full name: Jordan Andrew Perry

Nickname: Loco

Occupation: Second unit director, stuntman, fight choreographer, stunt co-ordinator, fight trainer, actor.

Style: Taekwondo, Hapkido

Biography: J.J. Perry is a prolific stunt co-ordinator, stuntman, second unit director and fight trainer based in Los Angeles, and a former competitive fighter. Perry was raised by his grandparents in Stamford, Texas. He first learned martial arts from the age of seven at a local school run by the former US coach of the national taekwondo team. He started competing from a young age, and received his first black belt at the age of 12. …

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

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A particularly faithful big-screen debut for the TV kids show, which retains the hyperactive, rubber-suit-wearing craziness of its Japanese origins, only now with certain upgrades. The increased budget means the old campy Japanese archive footage has been replaced by big CGI transformer battles and bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers on the soundtrack. But it’s still the same old shtick, and a total sugar rush for young fans. There is a prologue scroll at the start which acts as a brief guide for any parents who might be watching before essentially launching into an extended episode of the show, with …

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Power Rangers (2017)

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Effective if slightly laboured reboot of the popular 90s kids show, which brings the lycra-wearing teenage alien fighters into a modern American high-school setting. As an origin story, the film takes its time in establishing a fully rounded set of characters which look set to take the franchise forward. The film pays lip service to issues involving cyber-bullying, autism and sexuality in a non-patronising, albeit fleeting way. But the fact these issues are even addressed at all feels quite brave for a Power Rangers movie. It starts like The Breakfast Club at a weekend detention class in which disgraced former …

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Duel to the Death (1983)

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Tony Ching Siu-tung’s directorial debut is a shot of pure adrenaline; treading similar ground to the golden age of Shaw Brothers’ finest post-modern wuxia films, only tanked up on amphetamines. The wirework maestro exploits his talents in scenes of overblown wizardry, with cliff-top showdowns and clans of crazy ninja. But it is also a heartfelt film in spite of the flying stars and severed heads; heads which, in one instance, continue to talk even after they have been decapitated. The story focuses on an ancient Ming dynasty duel held every decade between China’s greatest Shaolin fighter and Japan’s best Samurai. …

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xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

Posted in Reviews

Xander Cage is back! (Cue a slightly muted and ambivalent response). And not a moment too soon, it seems, as a touch-screen hacking device called Pandora’s Box has been nabbed by Donnie Yen and his cross-cultural crew of stylish activists. The Box can cause satellites to fall from the sky and crash into people’s faces, including (bizarrely) Samuel L. Jackson and the Brazilian football player Neymar, which is what happens in the very opening scene. So hulking beefcake and freelance spy Xander Cage postpones his skateboarding activities to call up his extreme sports buddies and help the CIA in finding …

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