Martial arts

Akshay Kumar Boss Media Interview

There is always a slight reluctance on my part to post these PR- Media interviews with actors. On the one hand it keeps feeding the PR bullshit machinery which none of us really want, but having done enough interviews I also realize that most of the actors are so coached anyway that it’s hard to get any honest moments from them anyway.

So here is a media interview done with Khiladi Akshay Kumar for his forthcoming Boss, which I am honestly looking forward to.

(also I am loving the Party All Night Track)

     Q: How would you define your character in BOSS? And what made you sign this movie?

           A: ‘BOSS’ is a very colourful Haryanvi character and that’s exactly what appealed to me.

He is a larger-than-life figure from Haryana with his own distinct style and attitude.

That forms the Masti [fun] part in the film. But there are some things he will neither

forgive nor forget, highlighted in reference to a particular situation involving the most

dearest people in his life. You don’t mess with BOSS and that message is very clear.

When Ashwin (Varde) and Tony (D’Souza) came to me with the film’s concept, I loved

it. BOSS is about fun, high octane action sequences and stunts and a good sprinkling

of romance (not for me though!).

 

       Q: How is BOSS different from other action movies?

A: It’s different in many ways. The main reason is that we are offering the audience a different type of action movie that has a unique panache and style. Every action sequence is designed differently. BOSS is an intense film with a strong action backdrop, needed to drive a powerful story forward.

      Q: You shot some major parts for BOSS in Delhi and Bangkok. How was it returning to these places that played such an important role in your life’s journey?

A: I grew up in Delhi and worked as a chef and learnt Martial Arts in Bangkok, so both places mean a lot to me. It was emotional returning to Chandni Chowk in Delhi especially though as we were barely 200 meters away from my old house. Due to the excitement around the film I was unable to go and visit my old house during the day, but managed to drive past in the early morning recollecting my happy childhood memories.

When I was shooting in Thailand, where I studied Martial Arts on the streets of Bangkok, I was also accompanied by my family. I took my son (Aarav) and niece to the kitchen I used to work, eat, sleep and train at in Bangkok when I was 17. Just seeing the small room where I used to rest my head after a tiring day of street fighting for extra money brought back so many memories. I had to fight back the tears in front of my son when I stood in the doorway of the kitchen I once worked so hard in, wondering how different my life is now. One day I was frying noodles, the next I was frying my brains over learning lines for my first film. Never say it isn’t possible. I’m proof that there is nothing more powerful than fate itself, even when the world thinks you’re just a plain boy wiping tables and cleaning dishes.

      Q: It took a little while before the industry and the audiences started taking you seriously as a star. How would you describe your journey?

A: My journey has been both difficult and fantastic at the same time but I guess that’s part of life. It may have taken time for people to accept that I was more than just a struggling actor. I was also very determined to succeed and you can never achieve success without working towards it and adopting a diligent, positive and honest approach to this. I was Akshay Kumar, born with nothing but good parents and God’s hand on my shoulder!

      Q: You worked with Ronit Roy way back in Sainik. How was your experience and how far has he changed now in BOSS? 

A: When Ronit and I worked in Sainik, we were both very young. There was a lot of affection and respect for each other even then. Working with him again in BOSS after so many years was a wonderful experience. He is a fantastic actor and BOSS will showcase him in a different way. He has worked very hard on his role in BOSS and the audience will be nicely surprised by his performance.

      Q: You are perhaps the first actor to ever play a Haryanvi character. What are your thoughts on this, was it a fun role to play?

A: Every character comes with its own identity. I was excited about playing a Haryanvi character in BOSS because that’s something I haven’t done before. And I always like to re-invent myself and present to fans a side of my persona they may not have experienced before. The character fitted so well with the story. It was a great experience.

      Q: How was the experience of doing action scenes at 47° Celsius? Is BOSS your best action film according to you?

A: I would say it was my toughest shooting experience when we shot in 47 degrees. But full marks to the entire unit for bearing it and giving the best results. I would like to believe that in every film, I try to give my best shot. As far as action is concerned, I like to set new records every time. BOSS features a variety of high octane action sequences – the best part is that some of the scenes were very new to me and I haven’t performed these in any other films before.

Q: Which is your favourite song from BOSS?

A: Please don’t ask me to pick out just one favourite track because I simply love them all. I genuinely believe that the BOSS soundtrack is a complete package. Each song has been shot in a unique way. But yes, the Pitaah song is somehow closer to my heart because it’s about a father-son relationship. Har Kisi Ko’ is another classic treat for everyone who grew up in the eighties.

BOSS, releases on 16th October 2013.

 @asimburney

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Dragon (Wu Xia) Upodcast Review

When we come back, we come back kicking ass!

For our return after our hiatus from podcasting, we are taking on Donnie Yen – Takeshi Kaneshiro’ Draong (Wu Xia) just released in the UK! Part Martial Arts western, Part a re-imagining of Cronenberg’s A History Of Violence.

Here is a short Synopsis:

Liu Jin-xi (Yen) is a village craftsman whose quiet life is irrevocably shattered by the arrival of two notorious gangsters in the local general store. When Liu single-handedly saves the shopkeeper’s life, he comes under investigation by detective Xu Bai-jiu (Kaneshiro). Convinced that Liu’s martial arts mastery belies a hidden history of training by one of the region’s vicious clans, Xu doggedly pursues the shy hero—and draws the attention of China’s criminal underworld in the process.

Cast:                                        Donnie YEN, Takeshi KANESHIRO, TANG Wei, Jimmy WANG Yu, Kara HUI
Screenplay by:                         Oi Wah Lam
Directed by:                            Peter Ho-Sun CHAN
Produced by:                           Peter Ho-Sun CHAN, Jojo HUI
Martin was lucky enough to see Dragon back in April and wrote up his review here.

For everyone else, you can download/ stream our UPodcast below!

Dragon is playing in UK theaters now!

@asimburney

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate Review

After the massive success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon back in 2000 and it’s subsequent Oscar win for best Foreign movie, there has been a steady flow of what I like to call poetic/esoteric martial arts movies, none have them have been as successful as Crouching Tiger or resonated with audiences.

 

Although a huge martial arts fan (Check out the podcast we did about nouveau Martial Arts by clicking here) I prefer contemporary settings combined with less wirework heavy action. While I still like Jet Li, his name doesn’t make me run out to ticket counter anymore especially his best work is behind him, on top of that the name “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” was just not sitting well with me as every time there is a mention of flying cutlery in Asian movies, I instantly switch off as I have a feeling the story will be too esoteric or set into cultural allegories too hard for non-Chinese audiences to grasps. And I’m not sure Flying Swords of Dragon’s Gate tackle either of those problems well enough.

 

So it was with slight trepidation that I entered the screening of the Flying Swords of Dragon’s Gate even though I still enjoy when a movie is well shot in 3D. Director Hark Tsui is working with a visual team that has some great credentials in terms of 3D work. And even though I’m not as well versed in Hark Tsui’s work, I have enjoyed Time and Tide (which I saw a life time ago) and some of his work with Jean Claude Van Damme, which wasn’t the worst from JCVD (which isn’t saying a lot, especially during that era)

 

Flying House of Dragon Gate (a reimagined sequel of 1992’s Dragon Inn) is the story of how China during the Ming Dynasty was under complete control of two factions of Eunuch bureaucrats; Eastern and Western bureau both seemingly corrupt. Jet Li plays a folk hero, Xhao Gwai On, who has vowed to take end both bureau’s, the movie starts as he just manages to eliminate the head of the Eastern Bureau (special appearance by Gordon Liu) in a sequence that really shows off the best of the 3D work as we see the camera fly through the shipyard and every possible tool found at a harbor flies at the audience, in some might say the most cheesy use of 3D. (Which in my mind is the fun way to do things in 3D)

So up next on his hit list is Yu Hua Tian (played by Kun Chen) head of the Western bureau who is desperately chasing a hand maiden who has been impregnated by the emperor, just as his men are about to kill her, Ling Lanqiu (Zhou Xun) steps in and escorts the hand maiden to the Dragon Gate inn, a sort of Shangri La den where a whole host of gangs end up finding shelter from a storm that comes every 60 years.

 

Since I hadn’t seen the first movie I was lost quite a few times at why this Inn was so important and who some of the key characters relationships where. Since there are plot itself is pretty much impossible to untangle, you end up just focusing on the action and the visuals.

The 3D is quite good especially in the landscape and aerial shots, it really made me want to visit these places if they do exist and aren’t CGI enhanced. The Action isn’t that great, but then again I loose interest when the martial arts is wire based and the characters are just flying everywhere on screen like Peter Pan.

The finale does have a fight in the eye of a Hurricane which has some great moments but that too fizzles out.

Performance wise, Jet Li appears and disappears randomly throughout the movie and usually looks like he has done this movie many many times already and has lost all vigor and passion for them. The standouts were Kun Chen and Zhou Xun, both actors I was seeing for the firs time but will definitely keep an eye out as they had great screen presence and delivered in the action sequences.

Unfortunately the meager positives aren’t enough to hold this movie together as it’s frankly too long. There is an entire plot of double crossing and treasure hunting that might have had more impact if I had seen the previous movie but as a stand alone Flying House of Dragon Gate doesn’t deliver.

 

Recommended only if you absolutely love Wuxia movies or are a massive Jet Li fan.

 

Some More thoughts:

 

  • Gordon Liu Eunuch character talks a lot about pickles.
  • Kun Chun makes a teacup explode by staring at it.
  • They really didn’t put in much effort into getting a Tartar translator
  • The hidden City of Gold has a real From Dusk Till Dawn shot, I was hoping for Vampires

Here is the trailer (which really does showcase  some of the best parts of the movie)

 

Flying House Of Dragon Gate is now available on DVD and Blu Ray.

 

@asimburney

 

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Ep 37 Vidyut Jamwal Interview Exclusive – playing the villain in Force

Force is this week’s big Hindi release and we had a chance to have a conversation with Vidyut Jamwal, the surprise package and debutant villain pitted against a very buffed up John Abraham, in the remake of South Indian Kaakha Kaakha which originally starred Surya and Jyotikha (find our review here).

 

Force is already getting rave reviews (our review will be up shortly) and this is probably due to a large part to Vidyut’s performance. And I am sure as soon as the ladies (and some gents-apparently 10-12% of the male population) will get a look of Vidyut’s six-pack, they will turn into goo.
Vidyut was raised in an ashram and has been training in various different styles of martial arts since a very young age so he is definitely a good match for John’s bike lifting shenanigans.
Check out some of the stunts he did for the media at a press event.

 

 

Source: Fox Star India
We had a very nice time speaking with Vidyut, he seems like a genuinely nice guy and has that gusto that new comers have, plus he complimented me a few times so that always gets you brownie points.

The interview happened on the phone so there are a few things that gets lost in translation but I am sure you will have a great time listening to our chat.
Let us know what you thought of our interview in the comment section below (or even better leave us a review on iTunes)

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Ep 32: Apocalypse Jaa or not your father’s Martial Arts movie

In this episode our gang of Upodcast Shaolin Monks is joined by the Ronin samourai Danny Bowes from Tor, taking you on a trip through crescent kicks and flying monkey styles through the different stages of the martial arts movie.

We start off speaking about some of the legends that shaped the genre from Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan to  Sonny Chiba. To action stars that took it one step further like Jean Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and we even take a detour through Michael Dudikoff and Steven Seagal (not for long though)

The Gang then focuses its chi on the nouveau vogue of martial artists that have taken over the reins and we stand before the elephant shaped throne of Thai Action Star Tony Jaa.

We discuss his filmography in detail speaking about all of the Ong Bak movies, his difficult times and possible comeback.

Swiftly like the shadow we move to Donny Yen and the Ip- man series and finish off with Indonesian up and comer Iko Owais and his Pentak Silat debut Merentau.

Lots of excitement, and wear a helmet whilst listening to this episode as the verbal kicks might just knock you out!

Listen below or download!

Let us know which martial artists we forgot to mention or deserve more praise in the comment section below!

 

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The Last Airbender: The Legend Of Korra Trailer Debuts!

Forget about the M Night Shyamalan movie, the animated series The Last Airbender was probably one of the best shows on TV. It managed to satisfyingly mix an epic yet heartfelt storyline with some great martial arts on par with any hero’s journey but since it was a Nickelodeon show, not everyone gave it it’s due. Read More

Any takers for Tekken?

“It could all be so simple but you’d rather make it hard…” Lauryn hill sang it in Xfactor and it is clear that all of the makers of video to movie game adaptations didn’t hear her song.

The martial arts tournament movie is a genre every dude has grown up with but a love that started for many of us with Enter the Dragon has unfortunately degenerated into heartbreak caused by movies like D.O.A.

The Japanese website of the forthcoming Tekken movie have released some pictures and it pretty much looks horrible and tacky! The only ray of hope I see is the stunt team attached to it which is headed by Cyrill Rafaelli-who if you don’t know is a very competent martial artist from France. Most notably he took on the role of the cop in both Banlieue 13 movies(Check out my write up on behind the scenes stuntmen on my badly maintained personal blog)

The Tekken anime wasn’t bad (or at least as good as the Street fighter one) so there might be a base for a good half way decent story and I must admit it is kinda cool seeing some of the characters that have made us spend hours button bashing the worrying part is that unfortunately there’s hasn’t been one decent video game to movie adaptations yet in the history of movies (with Silent Hill getting close and Double Dragon being the worst maybe?).
Are waiting what the Gyllenhaal-Bruckheimer will drop on us this summer with Prince of Persia.

But if there is a game genre that might work then it might be the martial arts tournament genre?
Its easy guys, go watch Best of the Best, Bloodsport and Ip man and get it done.
This looks horrible but I will probably end up watching it on a late night with the homies!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9ljRAl_yiI

Any of you excited for a live action Tekken movie?
Let us know by dropping us a mail or below in the comment section!

Via Warner Bros JP ( Lcick here for more stills from the Tekken Movie)

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