I was today years old when I realized actor and martial artist Lewis Tan did an amazing shortfilm that’s been making the festival rounds for a while. Ji is the name, and it’s directed by Ben Griffin, and while I normally save these for The Hit List, I have the bug at the moment, so I didn’t wanna let up.
Besides, after successfully earning his place in martial arts action fandom over the last few years with Marvel’s Iron Fist and prominent roles in AMC’s Into The Badlands and Netflix’s Wu Assassins, Tan’s next big move is expected to arrive with the January 15 release of Mortal Kombat, from Warner Bros. Pictures.
Ji, for what it’s worth, serves as a nice little treat before then, doused with dazzling special effects to manifest Griffin’s ambitious sci-fi concept. The story introduces a universe in which the Earth is left destitute, wartorn and polluted, a portion of mankind embarks on an exodus to create a man-made planet of their own called Nilo, where decades later, the people are thriving thanks to Earth’s last elemental gift: Gallantum.
However, prosperity on Nilo came at a great pric, with the loss of free will in order to achieve environmental stability, and human embryos instead created and modified with predetermined career paths for the life of the person. For Ji, a promising soldier, rumors of life on Earth have long finally compelled him to see the truth for himself, taking a spacecraft and crashlanding in an open field, and into the care of a beautiful woman.
Of course, what Ji soon learns about life on Earth, and the choice he makes, will eventually determine his own fate and that of the people around him. Cue the big scale action sequence featuring Tan, and a group of talented stunt players led by actor Peter Sudarso (upcoming The Paper Tigers) who plays a vengeful military chief out to seek retribution.
Indeed, it’s only 12 minutes and change, but it’s still great to see Tan staying on radar. Ji ought to whet the appetite some until we get a teaser for Mortal Kombat, which will undoubtedly close at least one chapter in my own film journey for as long as I’m writing. And as for the short, this is just one concept out of many I’ve watched over the years that I’d love to see expanded, if it’s possible. And it really is.
Come on, studios!