DINNER WITH A RAGING DEMON: A Night Out With The Cast Of STREET FIGHTER: ASSASSIN'S FIST!
|Waiting on a table at The Counter Burger on 10/12 around 10-ish; Back row (L to R): Jon Truei, Akira Koieyama, Kimmy Suzuki, Joey Ansah/ Front row (L to R): Me and Gaku Space|
This past Sunday night was probably one of the longest, finest nights I have ever had in a long, long time. Having not been able to attend this year’s New York Comic-Con, I was almost certain this was going to be another missed opportunity to meet some of the very people I write about, and fortunately, that all changed with a simple invite.
Anyone who has read my blog at some point this year may have caught onto my rather vulgar and approving review of Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, the brainchild of co-stars, Christian Howard and director Joey Ansah which began its inception in 2010 with Street Fighter Legacy. The webseries was easily one of the best critiqued and most proven success stories of the year in live-action video game adaptation history. The fanfare is growing steadily behind this project, and with its forthcoming DVD/Blu-Ray release in North America in two weeks, Ansah has been touring the Fall Comic-Con circuit with select co-stars of the series, namely actors Mike Moh who plays Ryu, Akira Koieyama who plays Sensei Gouken and Gaku Space who plays Gouki, the pre-demonic human persona of Akuma, portrayed by Joey himself.
All four actors managed to make their appearance at the Jacob Javits Center over the weekend before Mike had to depart early Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, Joey was still in town with Akira and Gaku, and much to my delight, I was granted an opportunity to meet them for the first time. However, considering that I don’t get to do this sort of thing all the time, I wanted to share the evening with a few people, but just a few seeing as I didn’t know what was going to happen or if the accommodations would be suitable.
Eventually, I invited my friend, screenfighter, actor and independent filmmaker Jon Truei in what would be our third outing together this year. In addition, I asked industry stuntwoman Kimmy Suzuki to join us, as it would also grant me a chance to meet her for the first time since I sent her a friend request online. I also tried to invite a third mutual friend although he couldn’t make it, so it ended up being the six of us, plus a friend of Akira‘s, comedian and actor Kazu, who would eventually join us at a place called The Counter Burger; The food was delicious, light and filling, but you really have to know your culinary terminology, and if it weren’t for the pretty waitress at hand, I might have starved. 😛
After about an hour at our table, we all went back to the Four Points at Sheraton, the hotel where the SFAF cast was staying for the weekend. All in all, we talked movies, fight choreography, the art and business of filmmaking and shared plenty of laughs in the process. Akira shared a small backstory about how he and his wife/soulmate met before they became a couple, it was pretty romantic as well as awe-inspiring.
Joey is probably one of the most vocal proponents of quality martial arts action cinema. He’s hard to please, which is a good thing, because we need more critics like him to help shape the future of the genre. He’s honest about how he feels and immerses himself in his beliefs about film, martial arts training, choreography, philosophy and the craft as a whole. And I also traded some dialogue with Gaku who has been acting for ten years, while working his way through different aspects of filmmaking as he now co-producing another feature movie in the works titled Bond Kizuna with actor David Yeung (son of Bolo Yeung). It has a Facebook page and it is worth looking up and checking out; I have to say, Gaku is one of the most mild-mannered, quiet people I have come to know. Very cool and contemplative, focused, humble and classy. He’s bound for great things and I look forward to what he has in store.
My battery wasn’t entirely full all of Sunday night, but thankfully I was able to plug my charger and have enough power to record the video footage that I got, and I love that I even got it in the first place as a lot of people who read my blog also study film and action. In that respect, it felt productive to capture such unscripted reality with a major film director preaching action cinema gospel to such a degree of interactivity with Jon, Kimmy and myself. Plus, it’s not everyday you get to spar with “Desh” from The Bourne Ultimatum. Just sayin.
I’d hate to put it plainly, so I won’t – While I certainly never thought I would ever get to meet such extraordinary people in my life, it ultimately serves as a moment I will take with me forever. I love Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist and I am proud to even have a platform to talk about it. But, I couldn’t be more happier than I was on Sunday night. This Summer has been pretty disappointing, to say the least, so this was exactly what I needed.
Online friendships are not easy to maintain because everyone is so disparate and busy. That said, I am wholly glad and thankful that this moment worked out in not just my favor, but for those I got to share it with as well. We were all in our element between Sunday and Monday, and even though I’m drowsy as fuck and running on fumes while writing and editing this, I wouldn’t trade last night for anything else.
Ansah and the crew are heading to the UK next week for more comic-con greatness next. In the meantime, the video below about thirty-eight minutes – just above some more pictures from our hangout together, so feel free to enjoy when you have time. And to Jon and my newly discovered friendships with Kimmy, Joey, Gaku, Akira and Kazu… until next time!
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
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