Cung Le: “In the movie I play the son of a rich businessmen who has ties with the Russian mob. As not to spoil the film, the mob sets up my family and I am forced to flee to America as that is the only place that I am able to make money fighting in the underground. David Carradine becomes my protector/manager and the only way for the mob to get to me is to bet against me in the underground fights. The movie is nonstop action and I am sure that my fans will enjoy it”.
Actually this movie has been made in 2007 and because of legal issues has not been released until now. The cast of this movie is really hot – Cung Le, David Carradine, Eric Roberts, Gary Busey, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Bolo Yeung, Oleg Taktarov, Aki Aleong, Martin Kove, Olivier Gruner. Martial arts fans will be pleased to have this martial arts movie in their shaky hands.
Storyline: Erik is a son of a rich businessmen who has ties with the Russian mob. The mob sets up his family and he is forced to flee to America as that is the only place that he is able to make money fighting in the underground. The old and rich Mikhail becomes his protector/manager and the only way for the mob to get to Erik is to bet against him in the underground fights.
Interesting fact: Bolo Yeung played a good guy role in Blizhniy Boy The Ultimate Fighter and Jalal Merhi directed the first 60 minutes of the film that they shot in Toronto, but he was very busy and could not travel and do the Russian shoot and the producer Erken Ialgashev had finished directing.
When I was watching this movie I had a flash back like I am watching martial arts movies like Tiger Claws or Shootfighter. Not because of Bolo Yeung, but because of cinematography style. If you have watched Jalal Merhi movies once you will understand me, because he has his own style. I can’t say I like it, but it was good for 90s, but not for 2007. It is like watching the latest Jalal’s work named Circus 3 with Olivier Gruner, you have got a feeling that old friend met up and remembering the old times decided to make a movie for their own joy.
Great actors like Eric Roberts, Gary Busey, Martin Kove got small roles here, but they are playing much better than Cung Le and other Kazakhstan crew. This crew is absolutely unprofessional and if not Aki Leong and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa this film could fall apart after 20 minutes. Tagawa as always stanning as a main villain and I really enjoy to see him everytime.
When the main hero comes back to US, he meets David Carradine (RIP) and Oleg Taktarov. I would not be tellling you about David, he is a star, but let’s talk about Oleg.
“I came to the United States in November, 1994, because I had a dream of becoming an actor. The path to becoming an actor was first becoming a U.F.C. champion.” Oleg Taktarov, born in Sarov, Russia, proved uniquely capable of fulfilling Avnet’s demanding expectations. When Oleg first appears on camera as Mugalat, the director states emphatically in the audio commentary that the actor “makes an impression.” Long before “Righteous Kill,” Oleg already left global audiences with memorable impressions as “The Russian Bear,” a UFC champion who took unconventional paths up to the top of the world’s most difficult professions: acting and fighting. Before he came to America in 1994 to pursue his dream of acting in the movies, Oleg Taktarov was an established global hero with records as the World Sambo Champion, the Russian National Judo Champion, and a four-time European and Asian Jujitsu Champion. Just six months after his arrival in the United States, Oleg defeated David “Tank” Abbott in July 1995 and became the reigning UFC Champion. At his classic 1996 “Superbrawl” with Ken Shamrock in Buffalo, New York, Oleg’s fans in the U.S. audience waved signs that declared, “Russian Bear becomes American Hero!” In America, Oleg works with the A List of actors and directors in hit blockbusters. He will play one of the leads with Adrien Brody and Topher Grace in “Predators” (2010), produced and written by action film innovator Robert Rodriguez.
Oleg looks really good here and I can say that with every new movie he is growing as an actor and definetely deserves a special guest star status like a perfect addition to any action movie.
You, of cause, want to hear about Bolo Yeung, I can say he is a man of few words and does not do any fight here, but it has been reported that actor Sylvester Stallone has talked with Yeung about a possible appearance in The Expendables 2, together with Jean-Claude Van Damme and others. Will see.
Anyway, if you want to see good fights – go and buy DVD, but if you want to see a good movie – better buy another one.
And here is some words about the director of this movie: Erken Ialgashev was born in Kazakhstan in 1965, Erken studied martial arts on a professional level and participated in many competitions. In 1994, he moved to the United States and started his career in the movie industry, at first as an actor and martial arts choreographer. Erken decided to pursue his dream further and went on to study filmmaking and production in world-renown New York Film Academy.