plan b scheiss auf plan a
PLANNING INTO ACTION: An Interview With Actor And Stuntman, Phong Giang
Click here and you’ll be able to see just how far back I began lending lip service to one of the most anticipated martial arts film titles at the time prior to its ensuing title, Plan B: Scheiss Auf Plan A (click here to read our review). That was in 2015 and it certainly feels like forever looking back as far as then in covering German film and stunt troupe, Reel Deal Action, as much as I have been.
FIVE-A-DAY ROUND-UP XII: Proud Mary, Plan B, Mrs. K, Triple Threat, The Green Ghost
The bold and beautiful Taraji P. Henson leads this one with a look at Proud Mary which stands to gain amply as a milestone effort at the top of the new year, especially since we nary see a black female lead in an action vehicle. London Has Fallen helmer Babak Najafi directs this, the story of a hitwoman who crosses paths with a young boy after a hit job gone awry. January 12 is the date!
We were the first to bring you a North American review of German martial arts action comedy, Plan B: Scheiss Auf Plan A, since its summer release and news of U.S. acquisition still awaits knowing. The film debuts German stunt, film and screenfighting design troupe, Reel Deal Action, center stage for the story of four friends caught in a dangerous game involving the search of an infamous safe hidden somewhere in Berlin. Martial arts action spectacle and feel good comedy and adventure are what lies in store for this, a previous entry in last year’s Five-A-Day editorials so let’s hope 2018 will be it.
For the lot of you, this is a no-brainer, packed with a sick ton of ‘hell yes’s’ and ‘take my money please’s’ as we approach the official release of Well Go USA’s ensemble action extravaganza, Triple Threat. The film centers us on the vengeful story of three mercenaries reluctantly assembled to protect a billionaire’s daughter from a squad of assassins looking to end her anti-crime campaign. Jesse Johnson directs this one with a cast that obviously needs no introduction.
Ho Yuhang’s latest action thriller, Mrs K., has had an immense global run amid the festival scene hailing actress and Shaw Bros. stalwart, Kara Hui’s final bow in the action and screenfighting end of things. The film was released throughout Asia this Fall centered on Hui who fights to save her newfound family life when her violent past comes back causing a ruckus, imploring her to ensue an even bigger, more brutal ruckus. I can’t tell you when this film will get a U.S. release, although it’s a fair deal to conclude North Americans and western audiences alike will get fair platform releases as well, big screen or small.
Michael D. Olmos’s superhero adventure, The Green Ghost, made the rounds at Fantastic Fest in 2015 with two teasers and a poster at the time, as well as a ten-minute look at the project and a new poster that year. The film is the latest stage of evolution for the original brain child of real-life car salesman, actor Charlie Clark who leads the narrative centered on a group of Mexican superheroes reluctantly inclined to assimilate their adopted gringo and help him transform into the hero he is destined to be in order to prevent the Mayan Apocalypse. Marko Zaror, Cain Velasquez and Danny Trejo also star, and with two years in its wake, lets hope that fans keen on seeing Zaror on the screen won’t have to wait much longer.
We’ll pick up on five more tomorrow!
A Case For Better Action Movies: PLAN B: SCHEISS AÜF PLAN A Is A Paragon Of Versatile Genre Film Excellence
My first venture into German martial arts action cinema was a groundbreaking low-budget 2005 feature from Johannes Jaeger titled Kampfansage: Der Letzte Schuler. It was a narrative extension from an earlier shortfilm – one among many which opened my eyes at the time to Europe’s talent pool of online film and stunt creatives in the early two-thousandsies, and it has been a continuing pleasure to see this millieu flourish and evolve from its humble beginnings, eventually sprouting groups like Reel Deal Action as early as 2012.
Picturing firmly in this troupe are members Can Aydin, Cha-Lee Yoon, Phong Giang, Mike Moeller and Tanay Genco Ulgen, all of whom have since seen their careers grow and spawn greatness, and even a little acclaim to boot. It’s much deserved and anyone who has seen their projects online knows this as a matter of irrefutable fact whilst taking into account the progress we’ve seen for a number of similar teams over the last twenty years, like Zero Gravity, The Stunt People, LBP, Z-Team, Eclipse, Rising Tiger Films and Jabronie Pictures to name a few.
Looking at a company such as this one, of course one wonders what the next step is after making a name for itself with its own crop of shortfilm content online. Naturally, stepping into feature-length territory comes to mind – possible, for certain, although that sort of milestone is never easy to reach, and I will definitely have more questions about this particular process apart from my own chatter with Aydin twice in the last two years (throwing this in as a matter of full disclosure for those who’ve missed my earlier blog rumblings about it). Thus, that Aydin and I became in-person friends from living on opposite sides of the planet is something of a miracle to me. I feel some kind of lucky and while you might even guess that I’m a little biased here for of it, I promise you that this is far from the truth. That said, going into the latest debut pairing of film duo, Ufuk Genç and Michael Popescu with Plan B: Scheiss auf Plan A following its German release in June from 20th Century Fox, while there is no question regarding the niche this film is meant for, the film’s most inviting characteristics for moviegoers remain much more adamantly universal and multi-dimensional.
Consider the proliferation and popularizarion of any number of action movies in the last thirty years, and the household names the stars of those films bred. Such idolization comes natural for anyone who has grown up cultured by action films spanning multiple subgenres and markets be it Hollywood, Asia or other, giving way for the kind of fandom we exhibit in ourselves and, in kind, a set of well-rounded and relatable characters we get to meet in Can, Cha-Lee and Phong, along with that of actor/dancer Eugene “U-Gin” Boateng for a sprawling action comedy that makes plenty of use of some of Berlin’s locales and streets essential to writer Rafael Alberto Garciolo’s upbeat, labyrinthe story and screenplay.
Opening the floodgates is the voice of actor Laurent Daniels who we meet later on in the film as Kopp, a grisled, noble, stoic detective withered from two decades of hunting down ever-elusive crime boss, Gabriel, played by Henry Meyer; Kopp’s pursuit renewed procreeding his transfer to a new department, pairing up with new partner, Schulz (Gideon Burkhardt). At the crux of our tale is Gabriel’s safe, notoriously hidden somewhere in the city and found only through a series of four consecutive coordinates each locatable at Gabriel’s heavily guarded business fronts. The contents of the safe grants its owner the most influence and power in Berlin, and there is nothing that the city’s low-level thugs and gangsters won’t do in order to retrieve it, including kidnapping Gabriel’s wife, Victoria (Julia Dietze).
This brings us back to our four lifelong friends, optimistic in their struggle despite their recent fever pitch when U-Gin, the trios’ numerically-flawed manager, gets wind of a major audition taking place in the city. Arriving at their presumed location, an opportune chance at action movie stardom turns dangerously awry having stumbled into a kidnapping situation already in progress as they are rounded up by Victoria’s captor, Eddy (Florian Kleine), and his men. With Eddy eager to acquire the safe for his own ends, he entraps the ill-gotten auditionees by taking Phong hostage before sending the remaining three on a one-day whirlwind adventure to recover all four coordinates leading to the safe, for failure to do so, with or without the involvement of the police, means a bullet in Phong’s head, and possibly theirs. With enemies and twists at almost every turn, the stakes are more high on this than any audition they’ve faced and its up to our overnight heroes to apply their respective skillsets and do whatever they have to in order to reunite with Phong as if their lives depended on it.
Almost immediately of note is the film’s score courtesy of Popescu – a soundtrack comprised of energizing 80’s synthpop, dance funk and contemporary hip-hop to accompany the film’s hour and forty-three minute duration. Daniels brings the kind of gristled, aged gravitas akin to that of Germany’s answer to Liam Neeson in the role of Kopp, joined by the film’s more orthodox acting line-up with Burkhardt supporting, and Meyer mastering equally as the villain, in addition to Dietze who herself gets in a few minutes of action for the role of Victoria.
Not to be outdone is our starring roster led by Aydin, Yoon, Phong and Boateng who equip their on-screen bromance with the kind of colloquial, unabashed humor and blunt honesty you would expect, further underpinned by their own quirks and penchants. Most notable among these is Cha’s slightly more pragmatic nature, Phong’s attentiveness to his girlfriend, and U-Gin’s semi-lacking, albeit enduring managerial skills in addition to an impeccable knack for dance which the actor/dancer gets to flex in-full midway of the film. Can, who lives with his mother, is less obscure with his fandom, often frequenting his own reflection with a visible, shirtless, muscle-flexing fondness for Sylvester Stallone’s fabled action movie persona.
The comedy and hijinks don’t stop there as the numerous tributes and various running gags that continue throughout with notable bookmarks like identical mobile ringtones, being told to shut up, Can reciting his favorite line from Cobra, and Cha feigning broken German in front of the cops. Similar easter eggs and film homages recur throughout, particularly the film’s entitled segments putting their own spin on memorable movies, as well as the actors’ iconic jackets akin to that of film protagonists like McFly and Cobretti, late legends Bruce Lee and musical wonder Michael Jackson.
Simply put, the action is as proficient and top-notch as it gets with Reel Deal Action in charge. From the essential footchase to climatic fights, what we get is a supercharged tour de force with a visionary touch that any film buff and genre fan can appreciate. The Hong Kong-tethered fight splendor that embodies the film’s very raison d’etre for fans ushers in some exciting front-row seat talent, namely K1 fighter Aristo Luis, Hollywood stuntwoman and debut actress Heidi Moneymaker, and fellow rising martial arts and film talent, YoungMasters’s own Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe. Moeller himself makes an appearance past the halfway point for a blazing exhibition of fight furor opposite Yoon, in an exciting rematch since initially duking it out in Moeller’s own 2016 feature outing, One Million K(l)icks. As for Ms. Moneymaker, her performance as the sexy, deadly club boss our hapless heroes Can and Cha face is a pure plus. Their fight is fast, pulsating and explosive, and if you so much as blink, you are bound to miss something wicked.
In further homage fashion, some stunt fight scene moments even play out with reminiscence to certain classic moments, something to which Aydin and Luis adhere to in their final fight scene with gusto. Plating the film’s story scope and bread-and-butter fight scenery by Reel Deal Action is Tomas Erhart’s adept cinematography – further amplified by Ulgen who also mapped some of film’s additional fight action and stuntwork, along with other ancillary shots; In place of substandard camerawork and editing, viewers are rewarded with sheer displays of concrete cinematic fight recital, and comprehensive lensing and editing that absorbs everything in sight. The methodology here is one that chooses simplicity over pedestrian practices, routinely focusing on wide-ranging shots and keeping the viewer stationery long enough to take in the full breadth of flying fists, feet and bodies in the film’s key action scenes.
As we speak, Plan B: Scheiss auf Plan A awaits further commercial screentime beyond its German territory. It’s bound to happen as we speak but as always with the business of all things in film, it’s going to take time and extinuating patience before then. The film attained some attention at home but the jury is still out on whether or not the martial arts genre can sustain given the nature of most action film productions abroad and the politics of filmmaking – politics to which the folks at Reel Deal Action are no strangers.
Similarly, the call has been much more vociferous and resonant overseae from martial arts fans who’ve all but bared witness to the film’s trailer and promotional campaign in addition to its appearance at film festivals. Without a shadow of a doubt, Genç and Popescu have shepherded something pretty special and purposeful: A self-aware comedy adventure that brims with vibrance, youthfulness, danger, suspense, intrigue, and raw, unmitigated martial arts talent and flair aplenty.
The film’s adroit treatment and polish aside, that a major company like Fox validated this small-scale, independently-made labor of action movie love is no small accomplishment. I roared in my seat at work when I started my screener and saw the Real Deal Action logo appear before the opening credits, reminding me of the last four years in which many of us spent only ever seeing the same logo on our computers and mobile phones. Needless to say, I couldn’t have been more pleased to see Reel Deal Action advance to the next phase of its existence in debut with an inaugural effort like Plan B: Scheiss Auf Plan A, essentially joining the pantheon of other feature titles of its kind. For this, I just hope this team’s prospects will only further embolden with more control, bigger budgets and greater influence. It feels and sounds better than having to acquiesce to the disproven norms of business-as-usual “art”.
Audiences around the world will be more than pleased when Plan B: Scheiss Auf Plan A hits Blu-Ray and multiplatform availability. I will say this though: As long and hard these people and those in their field fight to create kickass quality commercial content we enjoy, if you’re not buying at least ten copies of this film when it comes out in your area, plainly and simply, I don’t want to know you.
THE HIT LIST: June 12, 2017
Probably the best way I can sum up the gist of my weekend is that 76 years and current box office gross of more than $450 million dollars later, I would say that Patty Jenkins has earned her place at the helm of a Wonder Woman sequel and Warner Bros. would be wise to oblige.
On to other matters, however, it’s a new week which means it’s time for another installment of the Hit List. Kicking off the first playlist in this week’s stunt reel category is Umar Khan now out with a compilation video in celebration of his recent 35th birthday. Rounding out the playlist are Leon Ngo, Beni Alexander, Aaron Hakala, Joon Poore, Barret Coates, Heather Lynn, Nikki Stanley, Veto Swarn, Troy Butler and Li Qiang, with coordinator and choreography reels by Jennifer Badger and Joseph Roark.
There’s more fight stuff to come. For now though, we’re switching it up a bit with the latest from a talented filmmaker and performing artist I’ve always enjoyed since I began following him in 2014. Jordan Cann, hailing from Virginia and currently based in Atlanta, Georgia, brings creative gumption to the forefront of his latest endeavor, DeTour, shot in a robust, energetic, colorful miniseries of four inspired visuals host collectively to an eight-minute medley of music, martial arts and dance.
Cann is joined by Kia Dawn and Taye Amegboh, and the aesthetic of Atlanta’s varying backdrops and the musical sounds of Mario, Sean Paul, Tory Lanez, Matias Damasio, and Omarion.
Time to close the deal this week and with a raft of fight and shortfilm material beginning with new practice pieces from Eugenia Guryleva, Singapore-based JKHH Films, and the latest from Wildchild Gil Sanabria and Samuel Olmo in Survival Of The Fittest, followed by a trio oTekken-themed promotional videos featuring Cha-Lee Yoon, Phong Giang, Can Aydin and Dee Yoon for 20th Century Fox’s theatrical German release of the new martial arts comedy, Plan B: Scheiss Auf Plan A.
Fledging fight training-for-film company Screen Combat Guys is up on the roster this week with Tony Chong opposite Ricky Barksdale and Stephon Reynolds, an ample bookmark to help promote their current crowdfunding initiative for a bigger, greatly-needed studio in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York City (You can learn more about the group at their GoFundMe campaign page for info on how you can help).
Stunt player Igor Tjumenzev picks up the pace with a stimulating MegaMan fight concept at Impulse Action Design, while Gun Cho and Tin Dang play at the most epic Jenga fight you’ll ever see in your lifetime – courtesy of Art School Dropouts and their appreciation for Kung Fu Tea and Hector Soria brings Hong Kong action cinema and stunt stalwart, actor and martial artist Robert Samuels (Red Wolf, No Problem, Beast) to the frontlines in the action-packed cop shortfilm thriller, The Call.
Culimating the playlist is the first of two long-form shorts, and no less deserving of an obligatory reshare here for the Hit List with Dance Nocturnal’s own Six Carolino currently raising funds to expand the potential serial universe following Garrett Atkinson’s award-winning November 2016 short, Gauntlet Run: Origins. Per the Kickstarter, the money raised will be used to purchase new camera equipment, lights, and other technical necessities as well as fight weapons to be used in the new stunts for the ambitious new action comedy series. Click here to contribute and/or share accordingly.
Last and far from least is a video by an equally-inspired and fine group of people whose love and passion for dynamic stuntwork and Asian action cinema has apparently sent a few of them to the hospital in the wake of their latest shortfilm, Supreme Art Of War. The project debut last week on late Monday and I couldn’t add it then, so I’m adding it here as a matter of utmost certainty for its rightful place in the Hit List.
See that play button? Yep…Move on over and hit it!
The Hit List is an almost neverending stream of action-packed content from around the web and that string goes on from last week and the weeks and strings before it. Click here to take a gander and immerse yourself in the raw talent before you, and share the Hit List with friends and family.
The Hit List will be taking a break before returning on June 26, 2017, but don’t fret! We will still accept entries, and so as always, if you or someone you know has a stunt reel that needs to be seen to believed or deals in a quality and upscaling caliber of action on film deemably worthy of a spot in our weekly Hit List, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org!
PLAN B: SCHEISS AUF PLAN A Lands An Official Title Track With A New Music Video
The new Michael Popescu/Ufuk Genc-directed martial arts action comedy, Plan B: Scheiss Auf Plan A is now out in German theaters from 20th Century Fox. Having written about this film as much as I and others have, I now patiently wait to help present some news on this film’s distribution stateside.
Set in Berlin, the film debuts German action talents, actors Can Aydin, Cha-Lee Yoon and Phong Giang with actor and dancer Eugene Boateng leading the tale of a group of auditioning action star wannabes now forced to fight their way out of the criminal underwold after stumbling into the wrong place at the wrong time. Also starring are Julia Dietze, Henry Meyer, Florian Kleine, Laurent Daniels, Aristote Luis and Heidi Moneymaker.
The film has been on a heavy campaign with the cast putting out a number of skits and videos for its release. Their latest push now comes with an official music music video for the film’s title track with performances by B-Lash, MC Bogy and Die Atzen with actor Boateng on vocals, and gladly, some bits of extra footage to boot..
There’s a link in the YouTube description for German listeners to purchase on iTunes as well. Enjoy!
ALIEN B Is What Happens When The Wrong Dreams Come True
German martial arts action and film production troupe, Reel Deal Action, will make its feature debut in the new action comedy, Plan B: Scheiss Auf Plan A in less than three weeks. For this, stars Can Aydin, Cha-Lee Yoon, Phong Giang and Eugene Boateng have been pounding the pavement since debuting the first trailer back in February, and with a variety of comedy shorts featuring our core cast in character.
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