The new brutal martial arts action movie The Raid from the Merantau director, Gareth Evans, has already been seen in the festival circuit around the world, the word of mouth is quite positive about this bad-ass action film. I was not able to watch this movie in November 2011 during its Italian premiere and could not go to its New Zealand pre-screening, so hope to watch it very soon in Australia. Plot is about an elite swat team is raiding one of the most impenetrable safe house in the slums of Jakarta to take down a notorious ruthless drug lord. The US remake is currently in the works, do not know who will be directing and acting.
Jackie Chan is back! This long-awaited martial arts movie finally coming true! This is a third installment in the Armour of God series stars one and the only Jackie Chan, playing an explorer who must travel around the world to find 12 special Chinese Zodiac statues. Release date is set to December 12, 2012.
Another long-awaited biopic of Ip Man – The Grandmasters, which is going to be released somewhere in 2012. After many years director Wong Kar-wai is finally creating this long-time personal martial arts movie, which should focus on the master martial arts philosophy. There will be intriguing post-Matrix kung-fu action scenes.
No wires, No CGI, 100% Kung Fu. A very well promoted English made martial arts movie Iron Monk from JNC Productions is full of talented martial artists like Zara Phythian, Yanzi Shi, Jason Ninh Cao, Vincent Wang, Silvio Simac, Mark Strange, Choi Tseveenpurev, Hon Ping Tang & Yan Lei. Plot: A fierce new Triad boss arrives in London’s Chinatown to find his profits have tumbled. The cause? An enigmatic Shaolin Monk has turned people away from drugs and prostitution; his guidance is now their ‘protection’. The Triad try and force the Monk to leave but years of meditation have given him incredible kung fu skills. The Monk soon finds himself fighting to save not only his life but also the values he holds most sacred.
METAL HURLANT CHRONICLES
Metal Hurlant is a science fiction based comic book magazine created in 1974 by creators Dionnet. The episodes are directed by Guillaume Lubrano and shot in French and English. The show stars Scott Adkins, Matt Mullins, Michael Jai White, Darren Shahlavi, David Belle and Rutger Hauer. The first season is said to debut on April 2012 with the second season arriving around November 2012.
SIX BULLETS aka THE BUTCHER
This is the second collaboration of Jean Claude Van Damme and director Ernie Barbarash, who filmed Assassination Games. Van Damme plays an ex-mercenary hired by a martial art fighter to find his kidnapped daughter. Van Damme’s son, Kristopher Van Varenberg, is also expected in the cast. A reported budget is 10 million Euro, the film is due to shoot in September.
In El Gringo Scott Adkins plays an injured American, who crosses the border into Mexico with a couple million dollars in cash and a plan to retire in Acapulco. Needless to say, things do not go as planned, and our nameless hero is forced to use his skills to kill a bunch of people and sleep with some beautiful senoritas. El Gringo is directed by Eduardo Rodriguez, and co-stars Christian Slater, Michael Jai White, Darren Shahlavi, Matt Mullins. Direct-to-DVD release sometimes in 2012.
The new martial arts action movie with undefeated UFC top-level mixed martial artist Cung Le. Dragon Eyes is directed by John Hyams, the son of famed action director Peter Hyams. Alongside Cung Le you can see Jean-Claude Van Damme, Peter Weller (Robocop). The film is set to release in April 2012. The project is reported to be a modern-day retelling of the Akira Kurosawa movie Yojimbo. The screenplay revolves Cung Le as a mysterious man who unites two rival gangs in the heart of New Orleans, convincing both sides to start a war against a corrupt lawman. Bigman Joel Silver is producing.
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: A NEW DIMENSION
From the solid original film from Roland Emmerich to the spotty Made-for-TV sequels. This is another action film from John Hyams, made in 3D now, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, Andrei Arlovski, Roy Jones, Jr. Will be released in Summer of 2012.
A new movie from talented stunt coordinator Jesse V. Johnson (you can read my interview with him). Nice pack of actors-fighters in this movie – Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Jerry Trimble. Plot: a courier for a local crime lord must deliver a mysterious package while being chased by a horde of unusual gangsters.
Well packed action from director Keoni Waxman (Hunt To Kill, True Justice) and fighting choreographer Lauro Chartrand (Born to Raise Hell, Mortal Kombat: Legacy). Another project focused on Steven Seagal, but with a great cast – Steve Austin, Michael Pare, Australian martial artist Bren Foster. I do not expect something special… Plot: When former black ops operative Tom Steele (Seagal) and his partner Manning (Austin) are assigned to decommission an old prison, they must oversee the arrival of two mysterious female prisoners. Before long, an elite force of mercenaries assault the prison in search of the new arrivals. As the true identities of the women are revealed, Steele realizes he’s caught in the middle of something far bigger than he had imagined.
TAI CHI O
An epic martial arts drama Tai Chi O portrays the life of Tai chi master Yang Luchan, who lived in the 19th century, he’s the founded of the most popular & practiced tai chi in the world today. Because he had an eventful life, the film will, in fact, be a trilogy. Jet Li is set to be starring in the 2nd film, which will should be coming out in 2013. It’s just the beginning… Another a-la Ip Man boom?
SAVING GENERAL YANG
Saving General Yang is like Saving Private Ryan, but in old times of China. It’s the new movie adaptation of a famous Chinese story about how 4 generations of the same family sacrificied their life to save their country from foreign invaders. Seems to me this is another patriotic vibe form Ronny Yu, who presented us the Fearless martial arts movie with Jet Li, but this movie produced by Raymond Wong, the man behind the Donnie Yen’s Ip man films. SAVING GENERAL YANG is going to be released somewhere in Fall 2012.
THE MONKEY KING
IMAX 3D martial arts adventures from the young filmmaker Soi Cheang. Now, he’s taking the next step with another adaptation of the classical Chinese fantasy story Journey to the West. Donnie Yen and Chow Yun-fat as the lead characters together in The Monkey King. Should be interesting to see how it works out.
This is the remake of cult Shaw Brothers film The Flying Guillotine. The martial arts movie revolves around an elite squad of Imperial Guards, trained to use the deadly flying guillotines to protect the Emperor, without knowing they’re part of a conspiracy… Film is directed by Andrew Lau (Internal Affairs) and produced by Peter Chan (Bodyguards and Assassins).
The martial arts movie Great Wudang is set in China, early 20th Century, following an American, who brings his well-trained kung-fu daughter to compete at the martial arts tournament in Wudang Mountain. In order to find the treasure of this place. Release date is July 2012.
ICEMAN COMETH 3D
Another 3D remake of a old martial arts time travel movie with Donnie Yen as a lead character, a Ming Dynasty Imperial Guard who is wrongly accused of murder, and chased by his former guardsmen. They all end up buried under an avalanche for 300 years. After being discovered and transported to HK, they manage to escape. And some of them are still planning to complete their old orders, taking advantage of the modern technology.
RZA’s THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS
A tribute to old school kung fu films. It is the debut feature film of RZA from the Wu Tang Clan, known as a great fan of martial arts movies. He co-wrote the script with Eli Roth, and it seems to be about a blacksmith, played by Russell Crowe, forced to defend himself and his fellow villagers. No idea if the film will try to look “grindhouse”, but there’s an interesting cast – Lucy Liu, Pam Grier, Daniel Wu, Cung Le.
An American-Japanese film in 3D, do not ask me why… I still cannot understand what Keanu Reeves is doing in the middle of this classic Japanese revenge story, where a band of samurai wants to avenge the death of their master. But I will be glad to see famous Japanese actors such as Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Cary-Horoyuki Tagawa. Only I think that Keanu was clumsy and dull in the Matrix? Release date is set to November 21, 2012.
Martial Arts Movies 2012.