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What We're Watching

Ronin has Class and Clout in Equal Measure

By Eireann Mannino  |  20 March 2021    With a cast like Robert DeNiro (Sam), Stellan Skarsgård (Gregor), Sean Bean (Spence), Jean Reno (Vincent), and Natascha McElhone (Deirdre) to its credit alone, it hurts to know that the Feature Film Ronin somehow got lost in the shuffle. A great cast does not necessarily make a

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Potential Energy: Rapid Fire as a Taste of Brandon Lee’s Greatness

By Eireann Mannino  |  19 February 2021   It is difficult not to feel the perpetual sting of loss when looking back on the shortened life and career of Brandon Lee. Lost to us at the mere age of 28 in 1993, indeed at the cusp of his ascendancy, Brandon fell victim to a fatal gun-prop

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Versus an Enduring Middle Finger to the Film World

By Eireann Mannino  |  5 February 2021    Legend has it that 666 portals to the netherworld are scattered throughout our universe. While human beings remain blissfully unaware of these dimensional gateways, the 444th is nestled deep in Japan’s “forest of resurrection.” Strange things happen in this remote forest that unfortunately serves as a preferred

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Joe, Tomorrow is about the Boxer, not Boxing

By Eireann Mannino  |  27 December 2020   Three time World Boxing Council (WBC) World Bantamweight champion Jôichirô Tatsuyôshi, is the subject of Joe, Tomorrow: 20 years with Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (2015), directed by Junji Sakamoto and produced by King Records. Sakamoto is no stranger to the ring, having delved into the boxing world with three of

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Ultraman, a Head Above the Rest

By Eireann Mannino  |  12 December 2020   For those who came of age in the early 90’s, there is a good chance one of your first encounters with the martial arts world was Saban’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, a westernized reworking of the long-standing Japanese Super Sentai series which pits a group of teens against

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Johnnie To Enters the Octagon

By Éireann Mannino  |  13 November 2020    With unmistakable kinship to his 2004 Judo film Throw Down (Yau doh lung fu bong) and more than a pinch of Fulltime Killer’s (2001) hyperactive swagger, Hong Kong cinema royalty Johnnie To returns from a three year hiatus with Chasing Dream (Chihuo Quan Wang), ending the longest

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Curious Case of Bolo Yeung

By Éireann Mannino  | 10 October 2020   It seems peculiar to say, that with as impressive a frame as Bolo Yeung’s, he is somehow a transient figure. Even in his most iconic roles, Bolo has a tendency to silently appear and disappear, as if spliced into films solely for his alternately stoic, explosive or ominous

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Yasuke: Historical Connection Between Africa and Asia

The first African samurai to serve a Japanese warlord will soon have his life memorialized in the mainstream movie Yasuke. The film already has star power fueling its inception since Highlander creator Gregory Widen is on board to produce the script. The main character of the film found his fortunes changed through war. Originally a soldier from Ethiopia, Yasuke eventually found his way to Japan through service to a Jesuit priest.

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A Martial Arts Master More Relevant than the Dragon

By Chris Davis  |  1 September 2019   Bruce Lee inspired an endless amount of clones. In the years following his death, movie producers seemingly booked nothing but Lee copycats. You had to pose like him, yell like him, and try your best to move like him.However, Lee falls second to another martial arts master when

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Bloodsport Turns 30 Years Old

This past April, one of cinema’s finest achievements marked its 30th anniversary of Bloodsport. In 1988, the world was introduced to the flexible-physique of Jean-Claude Van Damme, the term “Kumite”, slow-motion jumping-spin kicks, and we’ve never been the same since. To honor this immaculate masterpiece, here are 10 reasons why Bloodsport still kicks ass.

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Top 7 Martial Arts Movies You Need To See (but didn’t know it)

By Chris Davis  |  15 April 2019   Hundreds of great martial arts movies exist. Most made money, some didn’t. Some were blockbuster successes in other countries, while they flopped here.Real martial arts, the philosophy, and the elegance? Or beat ‘em up, blood, and violence? Here are the top 7 real martial arts movies that get

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Sonny Chiba and The Street Fighter Trilogy Stand Test of Time

By Jordan Newmark  |  2 January 2019   Let’s say, Bruce Lee was to martial arts what Elvis Presley was to rock n’ roll then the Johnny Cash of throwing fists and feet was, no doubt, Sonny Chiba.Since 1974, he has been known the world over as Shinichi or Sonny Chiba ever since he seized our

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Jackie Chan, a Glimpse of Comedic Kung Fu Success

By Chris Davis  |  31 October 2018   The year was 1978, and a young Jackie Chan was taking the Hong Kong box office by storm. His hit movie Drunken Master, featuring his own fight choreography, opened the doors to a new genre of Kung Fu that featured physicality in a decidedly comedic fashion.Source: imdb.comChan insisted

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Kill Bill – Does it Exaggerate the Wrong Things?

By Chris Davis  |  4 October 2018   Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) was 30 million dollars’ worth of ultraviolence, a star with no previous martial arts training, and a director with a flair for dramatics. Should martial artists be offended or excited that this movie was so successful (and continues to be a pseudo-cult classic)?Tarantino’s

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Bruce Lee Kung Fu TV series ‘Warrior’ Filmed in Cape Town, South Africa

By Adriaan Odendaal  |  23 September 2018   Filmed exclusively in Cape Town, South Africa, the first season of HBO Cinemax’s Warrior comes in April 2019, based on an original long-lost idea by Bruce Lee.Bruce Lee gave much to the martial arts community before his death in 1973. In one of his private notebooks, there was the

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The Politics of “Once Upon a Time in China”

By Chris Davis  |  28 August 2018   Without a doubt, Jet Li is one of the most entertaining martial arts movie personalities of the current generation. In contrast to Jackie Chan, Li usually picks more serious fare for his roles. Before his crossover into the American movie market, he was even more serious than Westerners

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Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy – Watch Cobra Kai

By Chris Davis  |  11 September 2018   How many people were compelled to step into a dojo for the first time after seeing The Karate Kid? Thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions?Martial arts movies make us want to do martial arts. Plain and simple.A decade before anyone knew what the Octagon was or saw a UFC

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Bruce Lee A Life of Temper Tantrums And Affairs

By Chris Davis  |  20 June 2018   The legend of Bruce Lee tells us that the original lion of crossover martial arts cinema was also a lion of the martial arts life. After all, this is the man who wrote Tao of Jeet Kune Do after breaking his own back working too hard on his

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Jet Li’s film The One Gives Answers

By Chris Davis  |  7 July 2018   Jet Li’s film, The One, is one of the most underrated martial arts flicks in recent history. This is for no lack of effort or star power from the cast. Source: wikipedia.comThe film stars martial arts legend Jet Li as Gabe Law, Gabe Yulaw, and other versions of himself

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