FILM OF THE WEEK II: DRAGON EYES
Synopsis: Welcome to St. Jude, a town where rival gangs rule the streets, where the chief of police is a cold-blooded killer, and where citizens have learned to keep their heads down. Then comes out-of-towner Ryan Hong. His vintage car attracts attention. His unbelievable martial arts skills cause a sensation. Sensing a human weapon, the rival gangs bid for Hong’s allegiance. But Hong is committed to honoring an old promise to a mentor he met in prison: that he will “do good” wherever possible. With a lethal combination of street smarts and martial arts, Hong vows to lift St. Jude’s citizens out of fear… even if he must turn into a one-man army to do it.
Dragon Eyes is one of five films in a small series of action movies from After Dark Action, a slate started by film production company After Dark Films, which is also known for organizing the annual independent horror film festival known as After Dark Horrorfest.
I have to say that after Tekken, I did not know what to expect of Cung Le’s career. He is known mostly as an award-winning professional MMA athlete, although prior to Tekken, as well as other recent films such as Pandorum , Bodyguards And Assassins and the RZA‘s latest directorial debut, The Man With The Iron Fists, he did a previous and lesser-known film called Blizhny Boy: The Ultimate Fighter, a film featuring some significant action film starpower that includes Aki Aleong and Bolo Yeung. In fact, Le’s screen career actually dates all the way back to 1997 according to his IMDb page. So as much as I should be used to seeing athletes like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Randy Couture on the big screen doing films, Le’s latest occupational moves toward film have left me both surprised, as well as delighted.
Le has since proven himself to be a very noteworthy and formidable actor in the film industry, who also shares talent as a martial artist who can interpret and perform comprehensive fight choreography for the camera. For Dragon Eyes, he is both of these things, as well as the film’s producer and fight choreographer, with veteran stunt performer and action director Larnell Stovall as the film’s stunt coordinator.
In the span of well over 12 years, Cung Le has excelled as a versatile filmmaker in his own right, providing his addition to the cast to make just the right package for Dragon Eyes, along with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Crystal Mantecon, Peter Weller, Luis Da Silva Jr., Danny Mora, Edrick Browne, Sam Medina, Gilbert Melendez and Scott Sheeley among others.
For the same reason that the Universal Soldier franchise is back on the map, director John Hyams has put together a gritty, brutal, raw action crime drama that further harnesses his appeal to audiences as one of the most memorable action filmmakers to date. While “Dragon Eyes” is not a hugely budgeted production, the film is a top quality actioner that also highlights what Cung Le is capable of, and is recommendable to any fan of martial arts action mainstream or independent”.
Keep your eyes peeled for Le’s appearence in The Weinstein Company’s pending theatrical U.S. release of The Grandmasters. You can also find “Dragon Eyes” on DVD, Blu-Ray or Digital Download on Amazon or wherever films are sold.
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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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