Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Coming soon - 'Sons of the Wind: Bangkok Ninjas'

Is parkour passe yet? It's on the cards, I'm sure. Scenes of people running and jumping over rooftops and so forth - soon enough people will see those and say "God, that's so 2000's."

But hey, those days aren't here yet - and this looks like it might be fun.

"When a group of French free-runners decide to move from Europe to Bangkok to set up a training school and gym in the Thai capital, they get more than they bargained for when they encounter a gang of Thai athletes and martial artists who have chosen to betray their heritage by pledging allegiance to a powerful Japanese Triad leader intent on gaining control of the city’s underworld. Unfamiliar with the local culture and the traditions and customs that have led the Thai gang to side with the Japanese gangsters, the Frenchmen become unwittingly entangled in a deadly, escalating turf war they don’t understand. In the midst of this violent turmoil, each one is forced to face his past and his fears, as questions of loyalty, love and integrity are raised while the threat of an inevitable mortal combat looms before them."

Sons of the Wind: Bangkok Ninjas comes to R2 DVD on 26th July, from Manga Entertainment. Look out for a review here soon.

Coming to UK cinemas - 'Goemon'

I'll be straight with you. I'm no expert on Asian action cinema. That which I've seen I've often very much enjoyed, but I don't know the subgenres and key figures inside out and back to front like any true enthusiast should. As such, I feel pretty disengenuous sharing all these news reports on new Asian releases finding their way back west. But hey, I'm just doing my bit to pass on news that happens to come my way.

This particular bit of Asian action cinema is Goemon, a historical epic/fantasy martial arts extravaganza from Japanese director Kazuaki Kiriya:

"The year is 1582 and the ruler of Japan, Oda Nobunaga, has been brutally murdered leaving the country in a state of political chaos. Meanwhile, a chivalrous thief known as Goemon, whose loyalties lay with Nobunaga, has risen as a hero figure amongst the populace thanks to his propensity for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Goemon’s latest haul, stolen from one of his arch-enemies, includes a small wooden box of Western origin which he believes to be worthless and accidentally bestows upon a young street urchin. In truth, the box is a priceless artifact - a true Pandora’s box that holds a deep secret coveted and sought by Japan’s most powerful and deadly warlords.

Realising his error, Goemon seeks to regain possession of the box before it falls into the wrong hands. But its existence has also attracted the interests of a legendary swordsman, Matahachi, the legendary ninja Hattori Hanzo, and Goemon’s fearsome former friend and current rival, Saizo. With such a prize at stake, the stage is set for a series of bloody frays between Japan’s most skilled and deadly ninjas and swordsmen in a conflict that will have a profound effect on the country’s future."

That's the official synopsis. All I can say is... this shit looks off the chain.

Already available on Region 1 DVD, Goemon is coming to select UK cinemas from 23rd July courtesy of Momentum Pictures. From the visuals alone, looks like one that would be worth catching on the big screen.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Marvel Musings #1 - the 4-D experience, and the movies so far

This past week I took the Little Dude down to Madame Tussauds to see the Marvel Superheroes 4-D show. While the £28 entrance fee (yes, TWENTY EIGHT POUNDS for ONE ADULT) was a bit of a shocker, it was still a fun experience. As well as being able to get up close and personal with some wax effigies of some of the Marvel greats (in their movie guises, unsurprisingly), there was the '4-D' show itself: a short CG cartoon projected onto a planetarium-like screen above tilted seats, in digital 3-D, the fourth dimension coming through some William Castle-ish extras: a gust of wind in your face as Spidey swoops by or Iron Man lets rip a repulser blast; a fine spray of water when something crashes into a fountain, or when Hulk sneezes!; and perhaps most alarmingly, a sharp three-pronged nudge in the back of the seat when Wolverine goes SNIKT! And at the end of it all, a Marvel dedicated section in the gift shop, just in case you hadn't parted with enough cash already. But am I complaining? Absolutely not. For this will only go further to ensure my son remains a Marvel fanatic. Which, of course, can only be a good thing.

At 3 years old, my boy is already a true believer, it delights me to say. It began, so far as I can tell, from the simple gift of a backpack adorned with the image of the Superhero Squad, the toddler-oriented incarnation of all the Marvel greats. First, he insisted he be allowed to take that bag EVERYWHERE. Now he's a reader of the monthly Marvel Heroes comic, picks out his Marvel-related Tshirts anytime we le him choose his clothes, and breaks out the obligatory beg-and-plead-then-throw-huge-tantrum-when-we-say-no routine anytime he sees Marvel toys in a shop. He can name most of the most significant characters, secret identities and all, and he's always eager to learn more. The sheer size of the pantheon - the amount of knowledge there is to be consumed - is, I'm sure, what keeps him hungry for it. I'm sure that's how it works for anyone who becomes a big-time fan. At the present time his favourites are the Fantastic Fourin large part because theirs are the only Marvel movies we'll let him watch just yet; they're more kid-friendly than their peers, after all. But, although those films are not unjustly derided, I must admit I've warmed to them to a certain extent, thanks largely to the guy who has become the Little Dude's favourite superhero: The Human Torch, as wonderfully brought to life by Chris Evans. As such, the Dude was a little disappointed not to see a wax effigy of Evans - perhaps we'll have to wait until after Captain America for one of those. But in the meantime, he was happy enough to come close to the image of Jessica Alba's Invisible Woman.*

Such an event (and the aforementioned abundance of Marvel merchandise on the market right now) does of course give one pause to consider just how far Marvel has come as a brand this past decade. We've long since become accustomed to regularly getting new superhero movies, and while not all movies have lived up to expectations, most have at least been notable. With this in mind, here in brief are my thoughts on the past, present and future of the major Marvel franchises so far.

Where it all began. It's easy to forget now what an uncertain thing X-Men was back in 2000. Sure, the characters were beloved by comic fans, but they were considerably less familiar to the world at large; nor were there any major players to speak of in the movie, Bryan Singer being untested in blockbuster territory, Hugh Jackman being a complete unknown, even Halle Berry not yet much of a celebrity. But the subsequent movie rocked the world with its inspired casting (McKellen as Magneto - just wonderful), and near-flawless balance of four-colour thrills and sophisticated characterisations and subtext. X2 proceeded to surpass the first film in pretty much every respect, before Singer jumped ship and the series took a nosedive the likes of which we hadn't seen in superhero movies since Superman reached part 3. (No, I don't consider Schumacher's Batman movies so great a travesty, as frankly I don't think Burton's were all that good to begin with.) I understand the contempt that a lot of fans hold for 20th Century Fox due to their mishandling of this series, and their apparent lack of concern over the quality of the Fantastic Four and Daredevil movies (that is, classing Elektra as a semi-sequel). While I'd certainly sooner the rights to all these characters reverted back to Marvel, it's certainly encouraging that Matthew Vaughan is on board for X-Men: First Class. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind after Kick-Ass that he can deliver a great superhero movie; the question is whether he will be granted the artistic freedom to do so. After all, it seems likely that the lack of such freedom was what lead Vaughan to walk away from X3.

Surely the one that audiences worldwide were most anxious to see; indeed, the movie that resulted in the BBFC caving in to public demand and amending the 12 certificate to 12A, therefore allowing parents to take in young children in the line with the MPAA's PG-13. The presence of Sam Raimi gave the geek faithful further cause for optimism, and by and large that optimisim was well rewarded. The movies do suffer a little from relentless CG overload and an overabundance of dreadfully saccharine dialogue courtesy of Aunt May and the romantic scenes between Peter and MJ, and of course Spider-Man 3 has significant, well-noted problems. But Tobey Maguire fit Peter Parker like a glove, and Raimi brought a wonderful air of unreality to proceedings, clearly getting the heightened tone of all the best superhero comics. While I was not in the least shocked when Raimi quit part 4 and thus Maguire and Dunst followed suit, I remain perplexed by the decision to re-boot. I still haven't seen 500 Days of Summer so I have no idea what to expect of new director Marc Webb, but given how slow news has been to come out of this regarding script, casting and so forth, it seems like all concerned are to a certain extent taking their time. And that's a good thing. I'm not against a back to square one approach if it's done right, although I don't see why it couldn't work to continue the existing narrative if they follow the example of...

Ang Lee's Hulk was the first major misfire of the new wave of superhero movies. Well-meaning but sadly misjudged, it was entirely too dour and self-important for a movie about an angry green giant and the absurdity of the final scenes was almost Ed Wood-worthy. That Louis Letterier's The Incredible Hulk chose not to reboot but rather broadly continue from where the earlier film left off was a bold but brilliant move. We don't need all these movies to tell the origin story; these characters are so deep in our collective cultural consciousness, all we need is a quick bringing up to speed - as the first few minutes of Letterier's film does - and we're away. Ed Norton did a fine job, and I truly hope he winds up coming back for The Avengers; I'm given to understand he's the only player over whom there remains a question mark. And though it's nigh-on impossible to believe the director of The Transporter would do a better job than the director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it goes to show you never can tell. Also goes a long way to proving that Marvel's somewhat off-the-wall choices in directors tends to pay off, as was of course ably demonstrated by...

Again, people seem to forget that this movie - Marvel's biggest gamble to date, given that it was the first property produced independently by Marvel Studios - was by no means a sure-fire hit. Not only was it not one of the most well-known or well-loved characters, but also it was the first time Jon Favreau had handled such a sizeable production, and leading man Robert Downey Jr had still yet to escape the shadow of the drug problems that almost ended his career. But the rest is history: thanks to a great script, Farveau paying as much attention to the actors as the action, and RDJ oozing charisma and making it nigh-on impossible to imagine anyone else portraying Tony Stark, Iron Man wound up being quite possibly the finest Marvel movie yet made. And I must say that I'm completely bemused by the mixed reaction Iron Man 2 recieved. Not only does it stand head and shoulders above the mediocre tentpole action movies to come out of Hollywood thus far in 2010 - yes, Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia, I'm looking in your direction - to my mind Iron Man 2 is every bit as good as the original, if not better. Once again, it brilliantly balances out the kind of spectacular action the summer market demands with a level of sophistication in the writing and acting that the blockbuster season is considerably less accustomed too. Look at all the scenes between RDJ and Sam Rockwell; how Stark and Hammer's obvious contempt for one another is masked by an air of joviality. Look at the unsentimental manner in which Stark's descent into self-destructive behaviour is handled. Revel in that final act: Iron Man and War Machine side by side battling the drone army, breaking out the heavy artillery. And that hilarious stick-it-to-the-man epilogue: beautiful. Why anyone was disappointed is beyond me. I dunno - perhaps Mickey Rourke is not given as much to do as we might like, but then neither was Jeff Bridges in the original. And maybe Scarlett Johansson's performance is a little flat, but - let's not be coy - the rest of her isn't. Hubba hubba.

So what of the future of Marvel? With Ken Branagh's Thor and Joe Johnston's Captain America coming in the next year, we're not going to be given much time to catch our breath between superhero movies - and then, at long last, it'll be time for The Avengers. Eyebrows were raised when Joss Whedon was announced as director, presumably from people who forget what a gamble the likes of Singer and Favreau were. And there remains the practical concern over a) whether a movie bringing together so many iconic superhero characters will be able to share the spotlight equally, and b) whether or not the whole thing will wind up a bit cheesy. Sure, these characters have always stepped in and out of one another's stories in the comics, but there are less examples of such crossovers in movies: might Freddy Vs Jason and the Alien Vs Predator movies soured audience taste for such an experiment?

Speaking for myself, I say bring it on. The more the merrier. The Marvel pantheon is timeless, ageless, in its own way transcendental; it may have originated in comic form, but its appeal stretches so much further. As such, pretty much every property is screaming for big screen interpretation. This is something I'll be writing more about in days to come - what has been, what may be, what was done right and what was done wrong - so keep an eye out for more Marvel Musings here at Ka-Boomski! Until then, keep the faith true believers. Excelsior. And so on and so forth.

*And, of course, so was Daddy.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Geriatrics Gone Wild - 'Red' trailer


Okay, so I've basically pinched another story from CHUD - but what can I say, you use the headline "Helen Mirren With A Machine Gun" and you're going to grab my attention.
Must confess I'm utterly unfamiliar with the comic book on which this is based, but this sure does look like fun. Nice to see DC getting in on the action a bit more, too, though they've got a long way to go if they want to become as bankable in movies as Marvel.

Anyway - behold, Helen Mirren blowing motherfuckers away.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Blood. Severed spines. Fishburne saying "fuck." It's the 'Predators' redband trailer.

I must confess my feelings are mixed on the upcoming Predators. The original is clearly one of the best action/horror/SF crossovers ever made; a tense, unrelenting thrill ride that's bursting at the seams with testosterone thanks to one of the most macho ensembles ever thrown together (though if Sly's on form The Expendables might just change that). I have some fondness for Predator 2; though clearly the weaker film, it's still well-made, entertaining and has some good action scenes. Hell, for all its flaws I must admit I even quite like Alien Vs Predator, though after the almost universal panning heaped on AVP: Requiem I haven't been inclined to check that out yet.

But as much as I like the idea of a new Predator movie set exclusively within the universe of that franchise, and as much as I am a fan of most things with the name Robert Rodriguez attached, I dunno... thus far what I'm seeing of Predators isn't quite blowing my skirt up. But then, that whole thing about judging books by covers applies to movies and their trailers too. As a longtime fan of the franchise, I just have to see where it goes from here. I'll be there opening week for sure.

In the meantime, this slightier meatier taste of what's to come might do a little to help work up that hunger. Thanks to CHUD for the scoop.

Predator Triple Feature (Predator/ Predator 2/ AVP: Alien vs. Predator)

Coming soon - Neo-Noir 'The Perfect Sleep'

Perfect Sleep

Reading the synopsis & watching the trailer for this movie, I had to stop and think for a while as to whether or not I should post this here or at Brutal As Hell. It certainly looks more than a little dark and weird, as befits the horror sensibilities of that site. But hey, it may be a bit premature of me to assume that Ka-Boomski has so clearly defined a personality just yet. The Perfect Sleep has all the film noir staples of classic cars, glamourous dames and hard-boiled tough guys, and from the look of things also has its fair share of cans of whoop-ass being opened. I'd say that works for Ka-Boomski.


In a timeless, unidentified city (which may or may not be Los Angeles), a man with no name (Pardoe) returns to the violent, brutal domain of gangsters and assassins he left ten years before, back when they dubbed him The Mad Monk for his disregard for his own life and his intense devotion to one woman, Porphyria (Roselyn Sanchez).

The girl he grew up with and the love of his life, Porphyria is now a beautiful woman - the only thing he has ever wanted and the one thing he can never have. She, alone, is the reason for his return. Her life now in danger, he is the only man who can save her. But waiting for him are several killers who would like nothing more than to see him die a painful death, while standing at their forefront is the formidable Nikolai (Patrick Bauchau), the man who raised him and just might be his father. To protect Porphyria, this unnamed man must revisit his former life of torment and torture and confront the father figure he turned his back on so many years ago.

It's the directorial debut of Jeremy Alter, written by Anton Pardoe who also plays the lead, and co-starring Roslyn Sanchez, Partick Bachau, Peter J Lucas and Michael Pare. No, I'm not familiar with any of them either. But for the many of us who are long since sick of waiting for Sin City 2 to materialise (I for one am coming around to thinking it never will), could The Perfect Sleep be the next best thing? Judging by the cover art, somebody certainly wants us to think so; though the image is a little more reminiscent of The Spirit. I couldn't really pass comment as I've still yet to brave The Sprirt, but I'm given to understand that holding your movie up to it as an indication of quality might not be the best marketing move...

The Perfect Sleep (tbc) is released on DVD (£15.99) by Icon Home Entertainment on 26th July

Review - 'Mulan' (2009)

Mulan / Hua Mu Lan - Chinese Movie - Hong Kong Version with English Subtitle

It seems there's a great deal of appreciation for 90's Disney of late. First Avatar essentially remakes Pocahontas, then Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time borrows liberally from Aladdin, and now that Chinese variation on Victor Victoria is also given the live-action treatment. We should expect James Woods to be reviving his much-lauded turn as Hades in the flesh any time now...

Yes, I'm kidding. I'm well aware the story of Mulan is an age-old and oft retold Chinese tale, and as such is very close to the heart of  a great many in China. It is clear that the people behind this retelling of the tale also recognise the importance of the story, and so have sought to tell the tale as honourably and respectfully as possible. But in so doing, they neglected one little detail... entertainment value.

Dear oh dear, this is one bore of a movie.

It starts out promisingly enough; there's a sombre tone to the eary scenes, a frank outlook on the horrors of war and the lack of space for emotion on the battlefield. Mulan may be fighting for her homeland and her family, but this is not to say her team is an entirely honourable one, with the constant threat of execution hanging over anyone who so much as bends the rules. Naturally the presence of a woman in the barracks ranks high on the list of offences, making her being there that bit riskier. However, we quickly lose any sense of concern for our heroine once it becomes abundantly clear that no one suspects her of being female. Which, frankly, is ridiculous.

I mean, look at her for crying out loud. She's a damn pretty lady. Yes, she's got armour on, and yes the long-haired men tie their hair up similarly, but there's absolutely no mistaking her femininity. Nor does she go to much trouble disguising her voice either. Actress Vicki Zhao and director Jingle Ma really should have put more effort into making her appear manly, because if we can't believe that her fellow soldiers would accept her as a male it rather scuppers the whole endeavour. Audience disbelief will only suspend so far.

Other than that, the movie piles on the old 'war is hell' stuff. Which would be fine, if the battle scenes were up to much. But, again, here the movie falls short. Cut and shot in a most bland and repetitive fashion, the battles rapidly cease to have much emotional impact. We're repeatedly told Mulan is meant to be a great warrior, yet never really see her being such; she's just one among a horde swinging her sword around in a vaguely showy manner. Yawn.

So in the absence of compelling action, we have a deluge of heartfelt conversations about what it means to be a warrior and so forth, all set to what sounds like outtakes from the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon soundtrack. But where Ang Lee's classic managed to balance brains, brawn and heart in an effortless fashion, Mulan smacks of trying too hard. It's constantly striving to be dramatic with seemingly little grasp of what actually makes for effective drama, and it gets grating really quickly. A particular pitfall: the leading lady's tears. Here's a little idea of how to brighten up a viewing of this movie: a Mulan drinking game. Simply drink every time you see a single tear roll down Vicki Zhao's cheek. I guarantee you'll be good and tipsy long before the movie's over. And, alas, it doesn't end nearly soon enough.  

It pains me that my first bona fide review here at KA-BOOMSKI! must be such a negative one, but that's just the way it goes. Wise man say forgiveness is divine, but never give good write-up to boring movie. Or pay full price for late pizza, for that matter.

I say you go for Disney's Mulan (Special Edition)instead, as it's considerably more fun. Wow, my action movie cred is going through the roof here...

Mulan (2009) is available now on Region 2 DVD from Cine-Asia. (Note - contrary to the cover art above, it's rated 15, not 18, and is not subtitled 'Warrior Princess.' No Xena-type goings-on here, I'm sorry to say.)

Friday, 11 June 2010

Coming soon - 'Storm Warriors'

Storm Warriors (Storm Riders 2)

Damn, I've got some catching up to do. I've still yet to see Storm Riders, martial arts fantasy from the Pang Bros. - and there's already a sequel.

Looks like I've missed out on something cool. I'm getting a faintly 300-ish vibe from the trailer, though it's of course unmistakeably eastern.


"Asian superstars Ekin Cheng and Aaron Kwok reprise their roles as Wind and Cloud: two legendary warriors with the power to control the elements.Their courage and skill maintains balance throughout the empire, until a ruthless Japanese warlord defeats Asia's preeminent swordsman and absorbs all his powers to attain invincibility. To prevent this barbaric quest to conquer China, Wind recklessly gives himself over to the dark side of his mystical fighting arts, but, as his power increases, he is completely overcome by evil. Now, Cloud must master an all-powerful sword-style to defeat the warlord and then face his 'brother' in a titanic duel destined for greatness.

Showcasing eye-popping visual effects and epic battle sequences that are "nothing short of spectacular (Beyond Hollywood)", The Storm Warriors presents a stunning vision of a fantasy world that goes beyond your imagination, and will enthral and excite you from start to finish!
STORM WARRIORS (12 tbc) is released on DVD (rrp £17.99) and blu-ray (rrp £24.99) by Cine Asia on 12 July"

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Robert Rodriguez's 'Fire & Ice' - a spot of fan-casting!

So it was recently announced that Robert Rodriguez has a live action remake of Fire and Ice in development. This prompted me to do two things; first, to pray to the movie gods that this means Rodriguez is actually getting behind the camera solo again, rather than giving all the best gigs to his proteges (I'd be way more excited about Predators if he were directing); and second, to actually make a point of seeing Fire and Ice. It's a movie I've long since heard about, but somehow had never gotten around to seeing until now. Having now rectified the situation, I think it rocks. No, it's not the most original or intelligent bit of fantasy adventure ever made, but the characters, the landscapes, the animation style ('rotoscoping,' I believe they call it) is all so very evocative. It's the stuff of every thirteen year old boy's dreams. And damned if we can't see echoes of it in Avatar.

I'm not sure when I first became aware of the late Frank Frazetta; most likely when following the agonising development of the John Carter of Mars movie, which of course Rodriguez was set to direct for Paramount before he quit the DGA. Could helming this movie be his way of making up for missing out on John Carter? After all, he'd gone so far as to seek the services of Frazetta himself as, I believe, production designer. I think we can expect Rodriguez's Fire and Ice (again, assuming he's directing which I don't think he has categorically stated yet) to be every bit as slavish and heartfelt a recreation of Frazetta's vision as Sin City was of Frank Miller's. Hell, if Frazetta was still with us I wouldn't be surprised to see him roped in as co-director too. 

How long it will be before we actually see the damn movie is another matter. Rodriguez seems to perpetually be talking three or four movies in advance, and has a good few others on the go; I'm sure a lot of us are getting a bit restless waiting for Sin City 2. But what the hell, a bit of harmless speculation never hurt anyone, did it? So I've been pondering just who might be right for the live action counterparts of the cartoon characters Bakshi and Frazetta brought to the screen back in 1983. Here, for your entertainment, are my casting choices. (And, lest anyone misinterprets any of the following as actual casting scoops, may I emphasise this is 100% unofficial fanboy daydreaming, based on nothing but my own opinions of who I think would be right for the part.)


The boyish, blonde, muscular hero of the piece; tough, noble and skilled, but still quite young and inexperienced. The part could most likely open to any of the innumerable young blonde men who were in line for Captain America before Chris Evans beat them all to it, but the guy I really picture in the role is:

 Charlie Hunnam

He's the right age and physicality, and most importantly his work on Sons of Anarchy demonstrates he's good at being tough. That he remains largely unknown in movies is no bad thing; this could be a part that makes a star, rather than a part that needs a star. And Rodriguez is no stranger to giving TV stars their big break in movies - remember George Clooney in From Dusk Till Dawn?


The big bad. With his wild hair, slender frame and slightly effeminate manner he's reminiscent of an albino Don Dokken, but he's a powerful and dangerous guy nonetheless. Dunno about you guys, but I'm thinking:

Michael Fassbender

Again, he's ideal physically, and he's at just the right stage in his career to start taking these kind of villain roles. (And before anyone asks, he was my pick for this part before the recent rumours linking him to Magneto in X-Men: First Class and/or the baddie in the Spider-Man reboot.) Not forgetting of course that he's worked with Rodriguez's BFF Tarantino.


Now this guy's a different story. The ultimate bad-ass, shrouded in mystery, he's an old hand at kicking inhuman arse, and he's got a serious score to settle. This part calls for an established movie tough guy, but one who hasn't been in the limelight for a while. My pick?

Dolph Lundgren 

Having played He-Man, he's got a history in these kind of roles. While he's long established in the pantheon of 80's action heroes, he's also never been too big-headed to take supporting roles. And advance photos/footage from The Expendables suggests he's only become more bad-ass with age. I truly think he'd give the part some edge. And look at how Rodriguez casts guys like Mickey Rourke, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, and now Steven Seagal - he's all about giving 80's guys their comebacks.


Mother of Nekron, the woman pushing him to conquer the world; hints of Lady Macbeth, hints of incestuous desire. The power behind the throne, she might be regarded the true villain of the piece. I picture only one woman taking the role:

Adrienne Barbeau

She's got the age, the gravitas and the sex appeal, no two ways about it. Again, she's an 80's star who's never quite had the recognition or the major roles she deserves, and as Rodriguez has cited Escape From New York as the movie that inspired him to become a filmmaker, I have no doubt he'd jump at the chance to hire her.

King Jarol

The Lord of Fire Keep, he exudes the wisdom of age but - naturally - remains a tough motherfucker you wouldn't want to mess around with. My pick for the part:

Powers Boothe

He's the right age, he's got the right look, he's got that awesome gravelly voice, and of course he's worked with Rodriguez before in Sin City. What else need be said? He's your man.


Son of Jarol, brother of Teegra, the would-be hero of the piece; well-meaning, but lacking what it takes to be a true sword-swinging loincloth-filling bad-ass. Somehow I can see this part going to:

Jared Padalecki

To date, I don't particularly care for this guy as an actor. I'm not a fan of Supernatural and I pretty much hated Friday the 13th '09, his performance being a considerable factor in that. But the key problem I've had with him is he tries to play tough and never convinces. But for Taro, that wouldn't be an issue; like I said before, as much as his intentions are good, he's just not the bad motherfucker he would like to be. As such, Padalecki would fit the role just fine. And Rodriguez is not averse to casting the young and beautiful.


Flame-haired lesbian witch. A small role, but a juicy one, with ample opportunity to vamp it up as hammily as possible. Who else could it be except for: 

Rose McGowan

Come on, this is a Rodriguez movie, we all know she's got to be in there somewhere. And hey, if she's not going to be Red Sonja anymore, she can at least get one sword & sorcery redhead role. And she'd do a great job. I've noticed it's become quite popular among fanboys to bash her name ever since Rodriguez's directorial career has been sidetracked by his failed attempts to get star vehicles for her off the ground (both the aforementioned Red Sonja and Barbarella), but I say to hell with that. She's a fine actress, she's classic movie star sexy, and she was great in Planet Terror, so I for one would love to see her in more movies. Even so, she's definitely not right for the one role left to fill on my imaginary casting sheet...

Yes, I saved until last the one character whose casting - from my typical red-blooded heterosexual male perspective - is the most fun to ponder (note that it's the only piece of casting Harry Knowles came out and asked Rodriguez about). The sheltered princess of Fire Keep, longing for adventure but utterly unprepared once she's thrust headfirst into it, she radiates child-like innocence and good-heartedness, yet finds she's not incapable of standing up for herself when pushed. And, of course, she does all this whilst wearing the flimsiest, most transluscent bikini ever designed, serving to cover almost nothing of her luscious, voluptuous physique. I have no doubt this will be the most hotly contended role, with innumerable way-too-skinny pretty girls in line for the job. What can I say, for me only one name springs to mind:

Kelly Brook                         

Hormonally charged, immature fanboy casting? Yes - and what of it?! Let's not be coy, Teegra is a pure wet dream fantasy figure, and as a generation of Brits like myself will attest, so is Kelly Brook. A huge part of why Frazetta is so celebrated an artist is the way he painted women: not the taut, nigh-anorexic figures we sadly see so many of in recent times, but soft, curvaceous, well-endowed, not shying away from a little flab in the belly. But not only is Kelly Brook a perfect fit for the role physically (and not unaccustomed to wearing very little in front of the camera), but she's also a better actress than she's given credit for. She could totally pull off the deer-in-the-headlights quality that Teegra requires, and make future generations of young movie geeks long to come to her rescue. Which is, after all, what Fire and Ice is ultimately all about: fuelling the imaginations of the pubescent, and giving grown-ups a taste of that state of being once again. 

So there you have it. Mr Rodriguez, you better be taking notes. And I'd better get a kick-back.

So thanks for stopping by, San Diego: if you agree/disagree with any of my suggestions, please feel free to let me know, and if you've never seen it buy Fire and Ice (2-Disc Limited Edition) here.

And just because you can't have too many shots of Teegra:

Mmm, lusting after cartoons...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

'Force of Five' - coming soon from Cine-Asia

Just got word from my friends at The Associates of a new piece of Thai action coming our way soon - Force of Five, the latest effort from the team behind Ong Bak, Warrior King, Born To Fight and Chocolate. (i.e. - some of the most ass-kicking movies to come out of Asia this past decade.)

To synopsosize:

Despite their small size and inexperience, having grown up under the roof of a Muay Thai school two young brothers and their friends have become highly skilled, if undisciplined, martial artists. Sadly, the youngest of the gang suffers from an acute heart condition, which following a minor scuffle with some local bullies lands him in hospital and desperately in need of a life-saving transplant. Fortunately, a viable heart soon becomes available at another local hospital, but before it can be transferred the building is overtaken by rebel soldiers-turned-terrorists prepared to kill if their politically-driven demands are not met by the authorities.

With only four hours in which the surgery can be performed successfully, the young friends take it upon themselves to infiltrate the hospital and retrieve the donated organ. Armed with only their martial arts skills and the will to save their friend’s life, this small group of mini Muay Thai marvels embarks on a desperate race against time in which they will be forced to defy danger, confront an army of terrorists and make an heroic bid to overcome insurmountable odds.

Check out the trailer below & get a load of these kids. They give Hit Girl a run for her money, no mistake.

Force Of Five (15) will be released on DVD (£17.99) and Blu-ray (£24.99) by Cine Asia on 5th July 2010. Look out for my review soon.

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Hi. I'm Ben Bussey. You may remember me from such horror-oriented movie sites as and

But, you know, as much as I love scary movies, they're not the be-all and end-all of my cinematic passions. I also have a healthy appreciation for shit getting blown up. Car chases. Gun battles. Superheroes. Kung Fu fighting. Loud, garish entertainment low on subtlety and overflowing with adrenaline and testosterone.

Hence - Ka-boomski. That's what this blog is all about.

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