What better way to introduce this new column on The Action Elite than by introducing you to the man who inspired me, many years ago, to get up off of the couch and make my own action films, and another man who currently inspires me to push myself to further and greater heights.
I first became aware of Tony Chu back in the pre-Youtube and pre-social media days of 2002 when (exactly how, I fail to remember) I discovered a video on the internet called “Title Pending 2” produced by a group of young martial artists who collectively called themselves “Zero Gravity”.
What stood out about “Title Pending 2” was the undeniable skill, both in front and behind the camera, that these aspiring filmmakers and stuntmen possessed. Many of the men who cut their teeth in these Zero Gravity short films are now successful stunt men and actors in Hollywood. The most notable of the bunch would have to be Lateef Crowder, a Capoeira fighter who first appeared on screen opposite Tony Jaa in “The Protector” in what was, in my opinion, the best fight of the film. If you don’t know the fight, or haven’t seen the film, what are you doing on this website?
Interesting tidbit: Lateef suffered an unfortunate injury before the fight could be completed and Aaron Toney, another Zero Gravity alumni in an uncredited role, had to step in and finish the scene. That’s teamwork!
I could write at great length about my love for the works of Zero Gravity but I must move on to the man who is the modern-day embodiment of what Zero Gravity stood for in the early 2000’s. This man is Vlad Rimburg; a Los Angeles based filmmaker who, without the help of a film crew, choreographs, directs, films and edits mind-blowing fight scenes that rival anything coming out of Hollywood or Asia.
I became friends with Vlad a few years ago on a visit to Los Angeles for the Action On Film Festival, where he and I were nominated against each other for “Best Fight Choreography” in a short film. Having been a fan of Vlad’s work for some time, and hoping to learn at the feet of a respected peer, I notified him of my visit well in advance and offered my services to him. To my amazement, he had been planning a film collaboration with none other than Tony Chu and he asked me to play a small part in the opening fight scene. My life had come full circle. You can check out the result of that team up here in the short film entitled “Right Handed”.
Vlad’s most recent work is another collaboration with Tony that, in Vlad’s own words is: “my thanks to a great artist and a friend… for inspiring me and giving me my path in life.”
Without further ado, I give you “Tony’s Wrath”.
Please subscribe to Vlad’s youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/vjvlad and check out his past works. You will not be disappointed.
If you would like to see “Title Pending 2”, the film that started the indie martial arts movement, you can still find it here on Zero Gravity’s website: http://zgmain.com/tp2.html