The Fighting Spirit Film Festival (FSFF) is gearing up its Fall 2019 induction with a feature screening premiere of Jesse Johnson’s The Mercenary on Saturday, September 7. The line-up also lists Hong Kong action comedy classic, Dragons Forever, and Vietnamese sci-fi action adventure, Loi Bao, as well as a fourth mystery title.
Martial arts star and ex-Legionaire, actor Dominiquie Vandenberg takes the reigns as a former legionnaire-turned-mercenary forced to face down his demons once more when his past comes back, interrupting his path of tranquility and redemption. The film marks a ninth collab for Johnson and Vandenberg who’ve previously shared the set with Vandenberg’s 2006 lead debut, Pit Fighter.
The Mercenary also stars Carmen Argenziano and regroups Johnson with actor Louis Mandylor of The Debt Collector and Avengement fame – both featuring action star, actor and martial artist Scott Adkins. The Mercenary also signals Johnson’s second recoupling with the Fighting Spirit Film Festival – now in its fourth year, since premiering Johnson’s ensemble action thriller, Triple Threat in Birmingham this Spring, starring Adkins opposite headliners Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen.
The closing event feature on Sunday, September 8, will be director Victor Vu’s soaring sci-fi action thriller, Loi Bao, starring Cuong Seven as a man whose terminal illness is thwarted by an off-the-books life saving procedure that does way more than heal him. In lieu of an oncoming threat, old memories begin to surface that make him question the clouded past surrounding the body he’s just inherited, putting him against an enemy who now wants him dead.
The event hails the latest screening since taking the stage at last year’s sixth installation of the East Winds Film Festival. Vu directs from a script he wrote with Doan Nhat Nam, will attend the Fighting Spirit Film Festival screening of Loi Bao alongside co-star Jason Ninh Cao who also serves as action producer; The two collaborated once more last year for the release of timeless period fantasy thriller, The Immortal with Vincent Wang (Dracula Untold, Now You See Me 2), serving as action director and fight choreographer on both titles. Cao and Wang will be on hand for the screening.
Somewhere in between both screenings conjoined with a fourth mystery feature is the addition of the Sammo Hung/Corey Yuen-directed Dragons Forever. An emblematic cult classic among a pantheon of classics starring the venerable “three brothers” themsleves, romantic sparks fly as high as the fists and kicks themselves in Dragons Forever which sees a lawyer, an arms dealer and a career burglar (Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao) find themselves pinned by a chemical factory fronting an underground narcotics operation.
The film did poorly for its 1988 release, although it emerged as an action classic for Western audiences host to the usual iconic dishing-out of high-impact fight scene delivery, and along with one of the most celebrated fight sequences in Hong Kong cinema history, the rematch between Chan and W.K.A. champion Benny Urquidez following their 1985 bout in Wheels On Meals.
Former DVD label, Hong Kong Legends, re-released the film in 2005, as well as in 2011 via Cine Asia, and now stakes its claim once more for a charity screening at the Medicinema in partnership with UK niche banner 88 Films following their acquisition of the title for their own forthcoming release.
The fourth Fighting Spirit Film Festival will be comprised of seminars, merchandising, featured artistry and demos, as well as a wide, global and narratively-diverse array of in-competition shortfilms next to the features. Head over to the official website of the festival and learn more about the event.