Jean-Claude Van Damme Weekend – Dragon Eyes (2012)

Director: John Hyams

Writer: Tim Tori (Screenplay)

Starring: Cung Le, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Johnny Holmes, Peter Weller, Sam Medina

 

Plot: In St. Jude, drug dealers and corrupt cops have destroyed an urban neighborhood. But newcomer, Hong, has the fighting skills and moral vision to save this town from itself.


Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Action Film

 

Story: Dragon Eyes starts as Hong (Le) gets taken under the mentorship of Tiano (Van Damme) while in prison, once released he heads to St Jude, a rough neighbourhood with waring drug dealers who are destroying the lives of the innocent residents in the area.

Creating a war between the two sides, Hong finds himself targeted by the main kingpin between the two Mister V (Weller) who uses him to clean up the messes he has, but Hong wants to bring down the whole system which involves corrupt police and everything.

 

Thoughts on Dragon Eyes

 

Characters – Hong is a mysterious stranger that locates himself in the middle of the St Jude drug war, he rises up the ranks to make an impact on gangs becoming the go to man for Mister V, but he refuses to kill people and has been training for his own form of revenge. Tiano trained Hong in prison, he taught him how to handle himself in conflict which lets him go into battle against the gangs. Mister V runs the drug movement in the area, he has the police under his fingers and is willing to go to all ends to make sure his money continues to come in.

PerformancesCung Le handles the combat side of the film well, never looking out of place, but his dialogue delivery sometimes leaves something to the imagination. Van Damme is barely in the film, he is used in the flashbacks to learn the training. Peter Weller enjoys the villainous role which is the highlight of the storytelling of everything.

StoryThe story here plays out like one man sets to bring down the drug culture in a small town but not everything goes to the plan. The way the story is told does feel messy because it jumps between timelines making us unsure which is the current timeline, until we are well into the film. the story is just like you would expect a film based on the action to turn out like though.

Action/Crime The action in the film is good for entertainment because we have the action that never challenges the audience. The crime world we enter works too because we see how hopeless it feels for the people.

SettingsThe main setting in the film is St Jude, a drug filled crime area of town which needs cleaning up, this isn’t the worst, but it could be anything you want it to be in a location.


Scene of the Movie –
Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The way the story is told.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough action movie, it ticks the boxes needed but never ends up looking as polished as it could have been.

 

Overall: Easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

The Man With The Iron Fists (2012)

logoDirector: RZA

Writer: RZA, Eli Roth (Screenplay) RZA (Story)

Starring: RZA, Rick Yune, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Dave Bautista, Jamie Chung, Cung Le, Byron Mann

 

Story: Jungle Village part of a fictional ancient Chinese time has a string of characters who want control. After fierce warrior Gold Lion is betrayed by Silver Lion (Mann) and Bronze Lion (Le), all hell is about to break out in Jungle Village. When news of Gold Lion’s death reaches his son Zen Yi or The X-Blade (Yune) he travels across China for vengeance. After feeling guilty for creating the weapons that killed Gold Lion Blacksmith (RZA) helps a wounded X-Blade build a new suit after Brass Body (Bautista) proves too hard to beat being due to his body unable to take blade damage. Along with Jack Knife (Crowe) can they bring peace back to the village before it is too late?

 

Verdict: Grindhouse meets martial arts to make an effect ride of a film

Story: It follows the paths of many characters all affect by events; it is all told in a way over the top style with plenty of blood splatter. Granted you will have to switch off any part of your mind that will want to see anything real. The fight scenes are brilliantly put together with each character having their strengths and weakness. Each character has strong motives for the actions be it greed, redemption, revenge or vengeance. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: RZA – Plays the Blacksmith with a dark past who the warriors of the village think can walk all over. Doesn’t shine as much as he could, but does end up an unforeseen threat when it comes to what he is capable of. Struggles to be the main lead would look a lot more comfortable in a supporting role. Poor Performance Award (6/10)

 rza

Actor Review: Rick Yune – as the warrior son out for vengeance performs well in the fight scenes. Good performance knowing he has a task to complete without letting emotion conflict him. (8/10)

x blade

Actor Review: Russell Crowe – Fighting for the Emperor to retrieve the missing gold, has a unique weapon that inflicts maximum damage. Has a lot of fun with this role soon becomes the most interesting character due to some air of mystery about him. Star Performance Award (9/10)

 crowe

Actor Review: Dave Bautista – The muscle fighter makes it impossible to beat him with blades. Typical henchman role showing the former wrestler has a chance at a career in the bodyguard role business. (7/10)

 brass body

Actor Review: Byron Mann – After stabbing his leader in the back for power his greed will soon take him lethalness to a new level. Also takes pleasure from killing people. Creates a very creepy psychotic villain, which really pushes the good guys to the limits. Favourite Character Award (9/10)

 

Director Review: RZA – Directorial debut shows how he can put together good ideas for characters, makes the film fun rather than serious which works for the material. He will be one director to watch out for in the future. (9/10)

Action: Great fight scenes which a huge body count, potentially a bit too violent for some. (8/10)

Special Effects: With a Brass body character the special effects to create that work well, but what does the film down is the clear use of ropes/strings in the fight scenes you can almost see the characters stop in mid-air before starting again. (6/10)

Music: All the rap music is trying to mix East with West but I feel it doesn’t work and unnecessary for the back ground music. (4/10)

Settings: The ancient Chinese village is a good setting with authentic looking building to create the fight scenes in. (9/10)

Suggestion: It is clear that inspiration has come from classic Grindhouse films and the new modern take on them. If you like those films you will definitely enjoy this film. If you want just martial arts you may get put off by the over use of blood and if you don’t like violence find something else. If you just want a fun over the top action film check it out. (Give It A Go)

 

Best Part: Final Battle is great, but honourable mention is Jack Knife introduction.

Worst Part: Over violent.

Favourite Quote: Jack Knife ‘I always bring a gun to a knife fight’

Trivia: The first cut was Four hours long but was cut down to 90minutes.

 

Similar Too: Kill Bill, Machete

 

Overall: Rampage of fighting mixing a range of fighting styles.

Rating 71%

Tekken (2010)

Director: Dwight H. Little
Starring: Jon Foo, Kelly Overton, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Ian Anthony Dale, Cung Le, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Luke Goss, Mircea Monroe, Tamlyn Tomita, Candice Hillebrand, Marian Zapico, Gary Daniels, Lateef Crowder, Anton Kasabov

Jin (Jon Foo) a runner with a big fighting skill in the outside city of Anvil get discovered by Tekken the corporation who control the world they come after him and kill his mother Jun (Tamlyn Tomita). Setting out on revenge Jin goes to become the wild card entry in the iron fist competition against the Tekken elite fighters.

To earn the wild card entry Jin meets Steve Fox (Luke Goss) an ex fighter who is hustling crowds to find someone to fight Marshall Law (Cung Le). After becoming victorious Jin is now the people’s choice and Steve becomes his agent/trainer taking him to the iron fist tournament.

Heihachi Mishima (Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa) is the leader of Tekken with his son Kazuya (Ian Anthony Dale) the next in line and head of security. Jin’s goal is to take out the Tekken leader in revenge for his mothers death but first he has to beat the fighters.

  • Christie Monteiro (Kelly Overton)
  • Raven (Darrin Dewitt Henson)
  • Nina Williams (Candice Hillebrand)
  • Anna Williams (Marian Zapico)
  • Bryan Fury (Gary Daniels)
  • Eddy Gordo (Lateef Crowder)
  • Sergel Dragunov (Anton Kasabov)
  • Yoshimistu (Gary Ray Stearns)

 

Can Jin over come the odds and become the first wild card Iron Fist winner ?

This is based on the video game Tekken and from the few i have played i have only heard of a few of the fighters in the movies. I think most Tekken fans will be disappointed with the film as many characters and twist do not follow the games very well. One the other hand having mainly human fighters it will make more sense to an unknown to the series.

As a one of fighting movie this is not actually a bad movie with some well constructed fight scenes. The story is easy to follow seeing who the good and bad guys are but the twists are not as hidden as they could have been. All in all i think i would rate this movie well.

My rating 70%