August 16, 2013

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Well, here we are, eight months into 2013, and some of the movies that I’m most eagerly anticipating haven’t been released yet! Specifically, there are a few martial arts movies from Hong Kong as well as stateside that look seriously awesome. And not only that, they’ve somehow managed to be made without Donnie Yen! In all seriousness, 90% of Hong Kong action movies these days have Donnie in them, so I imagine he must be glad to have a little weight taken off of his shoulders.
Sadly, as amazing as these films look, the ones I’m referring to don’t have a confirmed release date, just a very specific “sometime in 2013”. Even worse, one or two don’t even have trailers yet (although that’s arguably a good thing, since the trailers that we do have are so sick that I feel like I’m being teased every time I watch them!)
Well, as long as I have to suffer waiting for these hot potatoes, I’m taking you with me! Here are some of my most anticipated martial arts movies of 2013 that don’t yet have a release date and/or a trailer!

“Once Upon A Time In Shanghai”

If you aren’t thinking “I wanna see that yesterday” by the time you’ve finished that trailer, I, frankly, do not believe you have a pulse. It’s not even a trailer so much as a short film, and Holy Mackerel, does it set the bar high for the actual film! Unfortunately, we still have nothing beyond a “sometime in 2013” for “Once Upon A Time In Shanghai”, but I can tell it’s gonna be well worth the wait. The LEGENDARY Yuen Woo-ping serves as action director – that alone is enough to set my anticipation dial to 50. The film also marks the first lead of rising Hong Kong action star Philip Ng, with Andy On, Luxia Jiang, and Sammo Hung lending their services, as well. It has been (and continues to be) a long, trying wait for “Once Upon A Time In Shanghai”, but they’ve clearly designed the trailer as a glorified way of saying, “Here’s our movie in 2 minutes”, and I absolutely love it! Bring on the  feature-length experience!

“The Wrath of Vajra”

I’ve been watching out for Shi Yan Neng aka Xing Yu for some time, now. I mean, how many rising Hong Kong action stars spent ten years training at the Shaolin Temple?! He first came to everyone’s attention as Coolie in “Kung Fu Hustle” back in 2004, and he’s been ascending the food chain ever since, mostly as villains or sidekicks – “Fatal Contact”, “Dragon Tiger Gate”, “Flash Point”, “Ip Man”, and “Shaolin” are just a few of the credits to his name, though he unfortunately tends to bite the bullet pretty regularly. But now, he’s FINALLY got his chance to be the leading man in “The Wrath of Vajra”, and even without the trailer, I could tell you that he is more than up to the challenge. His supporting players include Steve Yoo and veteran martial artists such as Matt Mullins, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, and Yasuaki Kurata. I’ve read in different places that the action direction of the film is the work of either Sammo Hung or Peng Zhang  of “Ninja Assassin” fame, but they’ve outdone themselves in either case. The film is said to be going for more realism in its action than we’ve seen lately from Hong Kong, as well as getting back to the old-school style of Hong Kong action where fights lasted for twenty minutes at once. Two words – Me likey!

“Ninja: Shadow of a Tear”

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), we have no trailer for “Ninja: Shadow of a Tear” at the moment, but when you’ve got Scott Adkins leading the pack, is there ever any doubt that the film is going to deliver the goods? The film is, of course, a sequel to “Ninja”, which marked Scott’s first lead, and it also marks his sixth collaboration to date with Isaac Florentine, who honed his craft directing some seventy episodes of “Power Rangers” in the 90’s before becoming one of the greatest action directors in American movies today. If you’ve followed Scott and Isaac’s collaborations over the past few years, you know that they are consistently able to deliver champagne on a beer budget. It’s seriously time that Isaac was given “Fast and Furious” money to work with. Tim Man of “Kill ‘Em All” and “Ong Bak 2” is handling action direction, and the combination of him, Scott, and Isaac (not to mention Kane Kosugi as the villain, I understand) is virtually guaranteed to hit a home run!
So, there you have, three clearly awesome, utterly sick martial arts films set to debut “sometime in 2013”, and unfortunately nothing more specific than that, at the moment. I must say though, for as hard as the wait has been, I get the feeling that it will seriously be worth it, and not just because of how much faith I have that these films will deliver. Put it this way – we’re heading into the fall and winter seasons, and if these films are released when I suspect they will be, coupled with the martial arts films of the year whose release dates ARE known (i.e. “Special ID”, “Tom Yum Goong 2”, “Man of Tai Chi”, etc.) – well, this could be a very Merry Christmas!

About the Author

In ancient Greece, they told legends of Odysseus, Theseus, and Hercules. Our heroes on the silver screen today serve the same purpose. I grew up devouring martial arts movies from Hong Kong, action flicks from Hollywood, and superhero movies from DC and Marvel. You can bet your bottom dollar that if it's got any one of those, I wanna see it! I also write for, a site dedicated to all things martial arts; check out my stuff there, as well!



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