THOSE WHO GO TO HELL…AND BACK: An Interview With Emmanuel Manzanares
Back in 2012, I had been about four or five years away from the online action community since its burgeoning began over at The Stunt People forum – the unfortunate perks of not having a working computer, sadly.
THE HIT LIST: September 10, 2018
So…how about that second season of Iron Fist?
UNLUCKY STARS: Dennis Ruel’s Indie Action Comedy Feature Debut Is Online To Watch For FREE
When you look at the cadre of independent creatives in martial arts cinema who’ve impacted the internet, there’s no way you can miss the name Dennis Ruel. He’s germinated amply from his roots at The Stunt People with the exhilarating indie action classic, Contour, to starring and even directing feature films of his own, namely the 2016 crowdfunded action comedy, Unlucky Stars, and with that, ultimately becoming no stranger to the hurdles and woes of independent cinema.
FIVE A DAY: A Look Into Some Indie Actioners For 2016
2015 is winding down by the hour as we inch closer to a new year full of new beginnings, and even moreso, new films and even some of those tend to fall into obscurity. Well, I’m here to help try and fix that just a smidget with another list of five titles adding to the ten I’ve already covered; believe you me, if I could cover them all, I certainly would.
There’s at least one other production purely worth mentioning as we approach the new year, and it’s a title I certainly hope sees a 2016 release. The film in question is the upcoming Germany-set martial arts adventure comedy, Plan B, which pits a group of struggling stuntmen and their manager against Berlin’s notorious criminal inner-workings in search of clues to a secret safe when one of their own is held hostage.
The film is a premiere effort for directors Michael Popescu and Ufuk Genc with Can Aydin, Cha-Lee Yoon and Phong Giang headlining the action as per their brand, Reel Deal Action, and to date, the only piece of it that is available to us at the moment are a slew of exclusive HD stills courtesy of the production, and you can check those out and more by CLICKING HERE, as well as a few more details in my interview with Aydin back in April.
That same exact sentiment can be said for director Dennis Ruel in lieu of the long-awaited release of his feature film debut, Unlucky Stars. Having worked his way up for well over a decade from aspiring stuntman to a bonafide acting and action talent, his latest film serves as a milestone achievement with a collection of rising young stars chizzled from years of performing some of the sharpest independent action shorts you’ll find online via YouTube or other – a sentiment that speaks to an even greater tone with respect to Vlad Rimburg who directs the action.
You can read more about this in my review from February, but do keep an eye on this as a hopeful 2016 release approaches.
Rising Tiger Films is definitely another group I’m proud to keep a close eye on as the new year approaches, though their latest feature film efforts may fall into the category of prospects for 2017 moreso than not. But, one can hope! Currently in production is Black Scar Blues which already has some film festival accolades attached with a story that centers on the consequences of greed and lust, and the ultimate test that ensues on the waning bond between two best friends who serve as drug couriers.
Leroy Nguyen and Edmond Shum star along with Queen Suyat and Daniel Sim and the shortfilm itself works absolutely well in its current state. Alas, this project and the journey its taken is much closer to the folks at Rising Tiger as they advance to give it a little something extra in the process in order to show it to the world after carrying it for four years.
Distributorship is pending as of October, and so this is definitely another score for the online independent creatives like Nguyen and Shum who’ve helped spawn the niche we have now.
Continuing our foray here is the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Die Fighting. An official announcement is pending while the film is currently available on various Digital HD and streaming platforms courtesy of Gravitas Ventures as of late 2014, and even though that’s quite a period of time, the film still deserves as much mentioning as possible.
The film, a product of Z-Team Films, the feature film production banner of LA based stunt and film group, Z-Team, centers on an award-winning stunt team caught in a nightmarsh web of death and brutality at the hands of a manipulative “filmmaker”. The movie took several years to complete before finally earning its film festival stripes in the summer of 2014 with co-stars Lohan Buson and director Fabien Garcia pushing the film as much as possible while focusing on other endeavors, and thus far, the film has attained cult hit status among fans. So for all intents and purposes, keep this one on your radar for the new year as well.
And last and far from least, Hong Kong stunt veteran, coordinator and filmmaker Robert Samuels made a name for himself in the 1990’s cutting his teeth as a Hong Kong stuntman under action legend Sammo Hung. Nowadays, you’ll likely find the Don’t Give A Damn and Red Wolf co-star behind the lens with several projects to his roster as producer and director, including his newest production, Beast which finally premiered trailer footage back in November during the Urban Action Showcase and Expo.
Marco “Da Answer” Johnson makes his screen debut as a former soldier home from serving in Afghanistan, now suffering from PTSD and living as a rare survivor of a government-funded experimental serum that gives him special abilities to fight the city’s criminal underbelly. Featuring fight choreography by Manny Ayala, the cast is jam-packed with a number of martial artists and Hong Kong cinema stalwarts including Vincent Lyn and Martial Club’s own Andy Le to name a few among those you will spot when the official trailer releases later this week.
Stay tuned for the next five!
(Click HERE for the first list)
(Click HERE for the second list)
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: PART THREE – An Interview With Ken Quitugua
Film Combat Syndicate: Greetings Ken! How has your year been thusfar?
The 'Best Of The Best' Is Unveiled In The New Story Trailer For UNLUCKY STARS!
I don’t always get quoted in trailers, but when I do, I consider it somewhat of a milestone achievement and it’s always humbling. So as much as I ramble about movies, it’s great to see the recognition, especially from debut director Dennis Ruel whose newly releasing film, Unlucky Stars, is taking off with plenty of high marks and praise from fans and critics alike. And surely enough with this film lending itself as an homage to the immortal legacy of the Hong Kong action comedy, a film like this undoubtely deserves a following, as well as all the support it can get from anyone who has ever loved kung fu cinema.
Alas, the film is currently set for an exclusive screening event on Thursday with a Q and A segment to be included with the cast and crew, so more information will definitely follow after this week as it readies a limited theatrical release. On that note, feel free to take a gander at the stylish new poster below along with a batch of new promotional character graphics from the film, and a brand new story trailer…and yes, that’s Best Of The Best 1 and 2 co-star, legendary actor, martial artist and stunt coordinator Simon Rhee in case you were wondering.
As for all else that came before and after my quote, you may read my review here.
Dennis Ruel's UNLUCKY STARS Bows This Month! Watch The First Official Trailer!
When Peru’s Biggest Action Film Star and Jordan’s newest rising talent find themselves pursued by a notorious Bookie, a pair of private investigators are forced to choose between their job and their conscience.
FILMS, FAMILY AND SUCCESS: A Word With Actor And Stuntman, SHAWN BERNAL
Shawn Bernal: To make it plain and simple, I have always loved martial arts. To perform martial arts stunts on screen was an unrealistic dream of mine to my family in a conservative Filipino household. So it was all about education, career, and money. After finishing school and working in an office as a career, I made my family happy by achieving that. Now that that’s done, I felt it was time to make myself happy by doing what I loved doing.
REEL TIME: LBP Stunts Chicago (2014)
LBP Stunts Chicago has unveiled their latest reel for the new year. The group, which launched back in 2006, has progressively become one of the foremost leading action cinema purveyors of the independent industry, further credited by its often-occuring collaborations with other elite stunt professionals and newcomers over the years, in addition to its further venture into mainstream television, video games and Hollywood movies.
With the team’s upcoming premiere united alongside a vast, prominent cast of performers for the upcoming release of The Stunt People member Dennis Ruel’s directorial debut, Unlucky Stars, rest assured, to simply say of LBP Stunts Chicago that the hits will keep coming would be a severe understatement. Check out their new video in the embed below and stay tuned for more information. You may also visit their official website by clicking HERE.
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