It’s been a rather sobering weekend for some around the globe. I’ve personally kept busy with a few things myself to keep my spirits up though, and that included putting this week’s Hit List together, chock-filled with exciting, wacky and dazzling imagery to share, and I sincerely hope this week’s entries do something for you.
So, as always to start with the first of the Hit List presents a slew of spectacular stunt reels, but I’m starting this bad boy off in the only way I could this week, and that comes from Hong Kong Cinema superfan Tony Coates with an extensive and well knit montage of career highlights centered on action legend Sammo Hung Kam-Bo. He’s called Big Brother for a reason and you need only look at his work of over fifty-four years and still counting to see why with more from him in store, including choreography on The Monkey King 2 and a starring role in The Bodyguard with Andy Lau. The rest is really some of the best in history by far.
Looking at all that Grade-A material, we now venture into a blooming generation of young talents as of late, and as with all the stunt reels I have shared in The Hit List every week on Monday. To start with, actor, stuntman, martial artist and choreographer Jeremy Marinas kicks off the first playlist with his official reel for 2015, laden with gems from the upcoming Scott Adkins action movie, Close Range. Continuing the playlist are actor, choreographer, instructor and filmmaker and creator of The Way webseries, Khalil Barnett, martial artist and stuntwoman Chole Bruce showing off the very skillset that made her a contender to double actress Daisy Ridley in next month’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, actor and stuntman Dmitrious Bistrevsky , stuntwomen Tamiko Brownlee and Krystle Martin and a new tricking sampler by my newest interview subject this weekAndy Le.
The last video in the playlist is one that deserves a SPECIAL bit of attention, and it comes courtesy of actor, stuntman, fight choreographer and filmmaker Eric Jacobus who has been making a killing in the last few weeks with drills and samplers mimicking the moves of respective characters of the popular Namco/Bandai fighting game, Tekken. Keep this in mind while I remind you that it was back in July this year that a Tekken remake was announced and time will tell when that will happen. When it does, however, it’s going to need a good fight choreographer next to a good director, and apparently it’s Jacobus leading the charge for either, perfectly arguing that these moves don’t need to be made up or retweaked to be effective on film. Joey Ansah proved this with Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist and Jacobus is back to prove it again for Tekken, and you’re going to see exactly how at the end of the playlist below. So press play and enjoy the reels!
As for trailers, not so much, but we do have a promising few bits of promo of content. The first comes from the kind folks over at Wong Fu Productions with a slate of shorts rolling out ahead of next month’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yep, Wong Fu Does Star Wars with skits ranging from comedy and romance, to what we here love most: Lightsaber action, and a glimpse of that can be seen at the end with Force Storm Entertainment’s Noah Fleder and Power Rangers: Dino Charge’s Yoshua Sudarso
The second is a trailer I shared last week for a project from a really great team over at Baek Ho Productions titled The Destined King (and you can read more about it here), and the last is a 30-second teaser for Zach Livingston’s five-minute one-take all-action short, Charger with UFC veteran Shonie Carter ahead of its day and date online premiere and at Chicago’s Music Box Theater next week.
And now, onto the fights with another round of short test bits and silly gags. On that note, the EMC Monkeys are up first three years later with a continuation of “Whatever”that was in 2012, so Whatever, Just Watch It (now in both parts!).
The second is something you’ll understand if you watch a lot of fights online and especially freebooted videos on Facebook, including fights from action heavy Bollywood movies made in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Ninja 2 co-star Jawed El-Berni decided to spoof this a bit on his channel, and he doesn’t miss a beat from the opening title to the costumes, gestures and exaggerated stuntwork. It’s brilliant, really.
The third includes an ad for Best Buy Canada with Jonny Caines and Aaron Jones Beck in an epic lightsaber…not too long ago in a Canadian city pretty darn far from me, and the latter three fight videos include Marcus Shakesheff’s Flame Proof, another fantastic ensemble practice experiment from Emmanuel Manzanares of LBP Stunts Chicago with Anthony Pho leading point (more on him later), and a hilariously action packed comedy short by Greg Poljacik titled Little Bastard – quite a bruising homage to 90’s rock with a kick and a headstomp.
And now, onto the longer form pieces, and it’s such a pleasure to share these last two entries for the week. Actor, filmmaker, choreographer and stuntman Aaron Toney is someone who has been on my radar for a while now. Our mutual friend, actor Darren Bailey sat down for an interview last year with him and fellow stuntman James Young in which Toney wholeheartedly expressed his love for folks who create independently, and the content independent filmmakers produce, and he’s getting in on the action as well as of late, now moreso than before with projects like Throne which spawned an electrifying teaser at the time and is still shooting. His latest, however, is just online as of last week in the form of Primal with Toney in the role of a man facing odds that implure him to succumb to a mysterious force that awakens within. It’s a powerful piece all around from choreography and stuntwork to Toney’s own potential range as an actor in his own right, and to note, it’s also the first of many to come, so keep that in mind while you watch this one.
Up next is a stunning new shortfilm out this month with Demetrius Stephens leading writer and director Ivan Kander’s latest, Spider-Man Lives: A Miles Morales Story. I think this shines a light to the fact that famed Marvel Comics character is much more than the longstanding Peter Parker persona and I love the fact that Marvel has been changing things up a bit lately in its vision for certain characters. Sure, it pisses on the racist expectations of bigoted fans, but so what? Give me a Black Heimdall and a female Thor anyday as well.
Stuntman Stephon Reynolds performs the amazing feats doubling Stephens opposite The Misfits Of Mayhem with action and stunts coordinated by Jeff Wilhelm and David Van Tassell.
Here, we now have a brand new sci-fi experiment from the folks at SG Action with actors and stuntmen Lawrence Nicklin and Jim Key. Mantis is the title which centered on a future cop who travels back in time to catch a rugged, elusive kung fu killer. Post production has had well over its share of stumbles with a little over a year or more since it was filmed but its finally out for all to enjoy. It’s got a few flaws here and there but I’ve always enjoyed following SG Action as of 2013, and the footage and work they put out speaks to why.
And last and WAY far from least, Black Smoke Films duo Yohan Faure and Vianney Griffon lit up the internet last week and counting to the tune of nearly five million views for their brand new shortfilm. Yes, it’s Dragon Ball Z: The Fall Of Men, with an emphasis on Trunks’s future story as he contemplates battling the nefarious cell in lieu of Capsule’s new foray in time travel.
Michel Durand and Johnathan Henry perform the face and physical workup of the evil Cell opposite lead actor Benjamin Hubert with fight choreography by the ever brilliant Anthony Pho. And I really do mean it when I say “brilliant” in conjunction with this project, because it just goes to show that independent films are the way to go, especially because the odds are more likely than not that there are aspiring filmmakers who can get it right. And Faure and Griffon sure did.
Tune into these channels for more content, and click here for last week’s entries. Once more, if you or someone you know makes kick-ass action shorts like these, contact us promptly at email@example.com!
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.