It’s been quite a while since an announcement on this, and there’s good reason. Nonetheless, actor and filmmaker Dennis Ruel‘s partly crowdfunded 2015 martial arts comedy, Unlucky Stars, is now available on Blu-Ray from Gold Ninja Video.
Ruel made his directorial debut on the film in 2012, a successful culmination of local stunt performers and up-and-coming actors working in Los Angeles, California who’ve cut their teeth in the online scene dating back to the early 2000s. Starring Ruel and alongside actor Ken Quitugua (upcoming The Paper Tigers), the film centers on two private investigators who find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death case involving a wayward Peruvian action star, and the bookie he’s indebted to.
Also starring are Sam Hargrave (Blood & Bone, Extraction), Jose Montesinos, Giovannie Espiritu, Sari Sabella and Vlad Rimburg, and with cameos by industry stunt multi-hyphenates, Simon Rhee and J.J. Perry.
Originally a member of The Stunt People – an independent Hong Kong action-inspired stunt performance and film group which originated in Redding and ultimately relocated as its members expanded – Ruel would kick his way to wider acclaim as the key villain opposite Eric Jacobus in the 2006 film, Contour (a.k.a. The Agent), prior to starring in 2013’s Barrio Brawler from director Jose Montesinos, to name a few.
In addition to his accumulating film and TV stunt credits over the years, Ruel would again reteam with Jacobus and The Stunt People for shortfilm hits, Rope-A-Dope (2013) and Rope-A-Dope 2: The Return Of The Martial Arts Mafia (2015). A few years later, the pair would be personally sought by Peddlers director Vasan Bala to spearhead the innovative action design for martial arts comedy, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain), which screened for the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival.
Unlucky Stars endured some major upheaval since the film screened in 2015. In the months that followed, the distribution company Ruel and his team were dealing with suddenly disappeared, and through some serious out-of-pocket legal wrangling, Ruel was able to rescue his movie, reacquiring the rights in 2018 and releasing it for free on the film’s website.
That year, Ruel was also forced to contend with a technical mishap that ultimately slowed down the manufacture and distribution of physical copies. Unlucky Stars marks his hard-earned debut move into independent feature directing.