Stunt performance, martial arts and film troupe, Martial Club, are affirming followers of their channel and social media on plans to make a martial arts feature film. While stunt performer, martial artist and dynamic Instagram kicker Brian Le was the first to give mention to the project earlier this week, his brother, fellow actor, stunt performer and martial artist Andy Le took to their Martial Club YouTube channel to explain the team’s latest updates.
“Me, Brian and Daniel [Mah] and our guys have been at this for a really long time.” says Le. “And we’ve been hammering it out, we’ve been training a lot, we’ve been shooting a lot, we’ve been editing a lot, we’ve been doing a lot. We literally put our blood, sweat and tears into everything. And at this point, we’re just sick of waiting for opportunities to come to us, and our dream is to inspire a whole new generation of martial artists through martial arts action cinema.Martial arts action cinema was the platform that inspired me to do martial arts. And so we wanna create the same.”
Martial Club initially launched back in 2011 with the Le brothers and Mah front and center. The name of the group takes its inspiration from the 1981 Shaw Brothers classic directed by legendary kung fu cinema star and filmmaker Lau Kar-Leung who sadly passed away on June 25, 2013 at the age of 78.
Aimed toward the posterity of kung fu and the philosophies therein through training, online tutorials, independent martial arts shortfilms and lifestyle vlogs, the team has strived for greatness in partaking in the craft. The effort to remain in entertainment, however, and like with most independent creatives and their respective groups, often comes at a price, often foresaking volume to maintain investment in the brand. Specifically, that’s the current crop of independent action cinema since its conception just shy of the new millenium and subsequent growth in the past eighteen years, particularly with respect to the surge in popularity in tricking.
“In 2008 I discovered martial arts tricking when I saw a video of Jeremy Marinas.”, said Le in an interview back in 2015 in wake of performing opposite Ken Quitugua in The Challenger, Bao Tran’s proof short for the current campaign to fund The Paper Tigers. “I’ve been in love with the craft ever since and it is through tricking that I learned to be open minded, free and creative. I was able to apply this to my own martial arts training and in life.”
I myself discovered Le through tricking videos as well as Brian and Daniel, spotting several of their competion videos online back when Film Combat Syndicate was just a Facebook page. The team saw some truly prophetic moments in the last several years following collaborations with independent creatives like Shaun Charney and Micah Brock on top of their own in-house items.
In feature film territory, they appeared in Dennis Ruel’s feature debut, Unlucky Stars, prior to working with German stuntman and official Jackie Chan team member Andy Long Nguyen on his starring Vietnamese debut, Luc Van Tien: KungFu Hustle in 2017. They also scored a small project working with Jackie Chan, as well as a chance to dole out an impromptu kung fu demo center stage next to Donnie Yen at the Los Angeles premiere of Ip Man 3 in 2016.
“At the end of the day, the dream is to make movies.” he says. “You can be hustling and doing all this stuff but at the end of the day, I figure you just take things into your own hands and you do it yourself. And so no more waiting on opportunities. We’re gonna make a Martial Club movie.”
Martial Club’s current endeavors are also resigned to fundraising by selling merchandise through their channel to make ends meet and keep the brand going. The same goes for as recently as the season two production of AMC series Into The Badlands on which Brian partook in performing stunts.
“We don’t have all the money in the world to do it, but this is why Brian went to [Into The] Badlands – to raise funds to make this movie.” he says. We’re doing hustling–we’re doing all this to make this movie. We’re getting nothing out of this, you know, we get no income out of this. Everything we make, goes straight into Martial Club. As a matter of fact, we lose a lot of money. We are going to be making a movie…”
He adds: “With that being said, it may be a low budget movie, we don’t know. We’re trying our best–We’re just gonna gather whatever resources we have, and we’re gonna make a movie. It could be a low budget–low budget movie or not, you can bet your ass it’s gonna have classic Martial Club action on it, and its gonna kick ass, and you better believe it.”
The film in question is still being developed as there’s no available plot, title or other essentials. Obviously the team needs a budget and the team has surely seen its fair share of wrong turns and long waits at the line. There have definitely been other groups who’ve announced feature film ambitions and MANY fall through the cracks and never see the light of day. With Martial Club and if Andy’s testimony is any indicator, the team is officially digging itself in as 2019 nears.
“In this industry, we’ve gotten screwed over a lot. And we know that at this point, like, a lot of promises are empty, a lot of opportunities can come your way, and it just never happens. So we just learn that the best thing to do is to take matters into your own hands and just fucking do it. Because no one is gonna do it for you, man.”
The video was also purposed to explain that the YouTube channel will rollout the team’s raft of martial arts action shortfilms to further sustain the channel should the feature film begin production at some point. In the meantime, the team is asserting fans and curious onlookers to follow Martial Club on Instagram.
Otherwise, watch the video below and catch Andy’s full vlog.