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.
Unfortunately, that includes finding a credible distributor. Unlucky Stars, a film several years in the making from Prototype Monks, eventually landed itself a seemingly fitting distro outlet with the promise of returns from sales… returns that haven’t seen the light of day. To date, the film now has a new website up-and-running in which Ruel explains the long-story-short odyssey of the arduous and painstaking process that has now resulted in acquiring the rights back to his movie and essentially treating the entire internet to a director’s cut of his feature debut for absolutely free.
Unlucky Stars is a labor of love for all things stemmed from 1980s Hong Kong cinema and martial arts action in movies. Ruel directs from his own script, starring with actor and martial artist Ken Quitugua for the story of two private detectives who find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death case involving a wayward action star and the bookie he’s indebted to. The film also corrals a plethora of zany characters to encompass both the comedy and action featuring a raft of relatively known stunt performers and professionals in today’s stunt industry, and with stellar fight scenery shepherded by action director and co-star Vlad Rimburg.
The cast also lists Sari Sabella, Jose Montesinos, Giovannie Espiritu, Steven Yu and Sam Hargrave, with Emmanuel Manzanares, Roy Chen and Shawn Bernal. Extensive perks are also being granted to the film’s Indiegogo supporters who helped donate and as such, the website is still accepting donations, and asks that you simply share the website and the movie for friends and family to enjoy, as well as the behind-the-scenes featurette included.