I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Boyka: Undisputed

Note: the Blu-Ray cover calls it BOYKA: UNDISPUTED 4, but you know the rules – I go by what it says onscreen in the actual movie, which is simply BOYKA: UNDISPUTED.

 

Fuck prison fighting circuits. Time for some undisputedness on the outside – doing a flying spinning double kick while breathing the fresh air of freedom, or at least freedomishness. International martial arts superstar Scott Adkins returns to his signature role of Yuri Boyka, defeated villain of UNDISPUTED II who won an international prison fighting tournament in part III and got away at the end. Remember? The first time we ever saw him smile or laugh.

Now we find that new Boyka, the one who has experienced smiling before, in the Ukraine, openly fighting in an underground MMA outfit. The filthy prisoners chanting his name have been replaced by gambler bros in leather jackets. I don’t think it matters to him, because in the now noticeably bigger ring he is alive. I don’t know what kind of new camera/lens/rig they’re using, but it shows him better than ever, putting you in the ring, floating around him, under him, gliding over you like a supernatural force.

When he’s not grouchy he’s broody, because he doesn’t consider the slate clean. He’s still very religious, and feels a duty to donate most of his earnings to his church. The father disapproves of his “violence” and questions whether he can seek salvation while still fighting. But Boyka says “I think God gave me this gift. And I think it would be a sin to waste it.”

In the grim opening narration he tells us “I know that a man that’s done what I’ve done does not deserve to dream. But I still do.” That dream is to be given the shot to prove himself in legitimate, legal fights, specifically a regional tournament happening in Budapest in two weeks.

But BOYKA is not about another tournament. In a preliminary match, Boyka’s opponent (Emilien De Falco, Van Damme’s stunt double from Jean-Claude Van Johnson) is as hungry as he is. Boyka keeps hammering him and he keeps getting back up. Boyka even grunts “Stay the fuck down” at him, his grumpy version of Bruce Lee’s head shake warning to Chuck Norris in WAY OF THE DRAGON. But this guy doesn’t deserve to go out like Chuck, so Boyka is devastated when he finds out that the guy died in the hospital.

He has to ask what the guy’s name even was. (It was Viktor.) He looks through his gym bag, left behind in a locker, to get an idea who he was. And then he does something honorable: he risks his freedom crossing into Russia to find this man’s widow and apologize. As the wife of a fighter, Alma (Teodor Duhovnikova, THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL) lives around fighter circles. Boyka follows her to her job at an arena-casino, where he figures out she’s an indentured servant in order to pay off her husband’s debt to the gangster Zourab (Alon Moni Aboutboul, RAMBO III), who treats her as his property.

It takes persistence, some staredowns and fisticuffs just for Boyka to be able to talk to her. When he does, she refuses his apology, and wants him to leave. Instead he makes a deal with Zourab to fight some matches in exchange for clearing her debt. Boyka has to fight three matches, defeat the champ, and not get turned in to the authorities, and he has to do it in time for the bus to the tournament. But none of that is as important as his interactions with Alma, who gradually, reluctantly respects what he’s trying to do for her and lets him use Viktor’s equipment to train. Duhovnikova has strong, intelligent eyes and gives a complex, dramatic performance exceeding expectations of DTV, even for this great series. She has scenes where she has to work as a waitress while Boyka is fighting, and she looks up and sees how good he is, and is thinking both about his potential to help her with those skills and the fact that they killed her husband who she’d loved since the age of 16. And then Boyka is conscious of her gaze – and God’s – when he’s about to finish off his opponent. There’s so much going on here.

Adkins is right there with Duhovnikova, miraculously steering this former cartoonish bad guy into a layered portrayal of grief and guilt and stubbornness. That’s one of my favorite things: heavy shit expressed simply by quiet, inarticulate tough guys. This is one of Adkins’ best performances to date.

Yes, BOYKA brings the series to new emotional territory, but not at the expense of the character’s iconic badassness. We see a nicer side of him – he even allows kids to watch him train – but he still seems like the same grimacing Most Complete Fighter In the World. He’s just further along in his journey. But not far enough along that he doesn’t enter a scene preceded by a security guy flying in from off screen, flipping and smashing a table. My one criticism is that maybe his clothes are a little too in fashion.

The drama doesn’t get in the way of the kicking, either. To date, each UNDISPUTED has a different, but superb fight choreographer. This time it’s Tim Man, who did the previous Florentine/Adkins sequel, NINJA II: SHADOW OF A TEAR and the upcoming ACCIDENT MAN and TRIPLE THREAT. Todor Chapkanov (MONSTERWOLF, MIAMI MAGMA) is credited as director, with Isaac Florentine as producer. Neither are interviewed or mentioned in the behind-the-scenes documentary. Let’s just say that it sure seems like a Florentine-directed film.

These fights continue to build on the acrobatic style and storytelling of II and III. The fight with Viktor stands out because this opponent is not the usual vicious growler, he’s a serious athlete fighting respectably and impressively. I’ve noticed that in these movies if you get hit in the face and your mouthpiece flies out that means you’re KO’d. But Viktor gets back up, puts it back in, loses it again, gets back up. Boyka needs to beat him so he keeps getting angrier, until he fights back too hard.

Most of the action is in the ring, but of course Boyka also gets into it with dudes in the gym and on the street, sometimes with guns.

Primary opponent duties are split this time between local champ Igor Kazmir (Brahim Achabbakhe, THE KICK, MAN OF TAI CHI, NEVER BACK DOWN: NO SURRENDER) and a shipped-in heir-to-Boyka’s-prison-title called “The Nightmare” (6’8″, 325 pound, heavily-inked bodybuilder Martyn Ford), neither likely candidates for redemption in future installments.

Kazmir is kind of a humorous side-issue. Boyka shakes his head dismissively at the arrogant fighter’s post-victory gloating while he’s there looking for Alma, and mostly ignores his yapping while negotiating with Zourab in front of him. But he says “Just make sure you save this skunk for last.”

The Nightmare “comes right out of a comic book” as Jim Kelly would say – a growling, roaring behemoth who they drag in chained up and muzzled like a literal monster. He’s so big he can step over the top rope. Until Boyka his fights are not competitive – his opponents look like dolls as he knocks and throws them around and crushes their heads with his punches. We know Boyka will figure out how to beat him, and that we’ll enjoy it.

But what happens to his soul? That we don’t know. And that’s honestly the bigger concern in this one.

The UNDISPUTED series is an unlikely phenomenon, a great fringe action franchise unpredictably grown by up-and-comers out of an obscure work by the great Walter Hill. Because Hill had had a terrible studio experience on SUPERNOVA, and because he insisted that both of the boxers in his movie had to be black, he had to find funding from various overseas production companies. And it just so happened that one of those companies was Millennium Films, and that they saw the value of the UNDISPUTED title in the DTV sequel market, and that they hired Isaac Florentine to do such a sequel. And then it happened that Ving Rhames backed out and that Florentine decided to shift from boxing to MMA and that Adkins was becoming a full blown martial arts star. So somehow we ended up with three spectacular sequels.

Don’t take this as a lecture, but I implore those who share my gratitude for this lightning strike of a series to be sure to support BOYKA by seeing it legitimately. Piracy and lack of video stores have severely cut into the profits of these types of movies, and by extension their budgets and shooting schedules. I was happy to buy this Blu-Ray as a vote for more UNDISPUTEDs, or movies like it. Keep in mind that Boyka is Adkins’ signature character, and he wanted to make more, and it still took them eight years to get it made. That wouldn’t happen if we all paid them for their work. Or at least told the Netflix Skynet brain that people like Scott Adkins movies.

In conclusion, BOY-KA! BOY-KA! BOY-KA!

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 at 9:23 am and is filed under Action, Martial Arts, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

99 Responses to “Boyka: Undisputed”

  1. I’ll just say this: Isaac is very, very proud of his work on this film. The fact that his name isn’t in the director’s slot is complicated. Just know that he’s proud of it. Rest assured, blood brothers in the action world.

  2. I somehow like Adkins in everything. He’s a good actor, and an impressive fighter. And now he’s ready for big roles in big movies.

  3. I will order this on demand this weekend. Won’t read the review until after I see it but I’m glad to hear that Florentine looks at it with lots of pride.

  4. pegsman he’s been ready. These asshole mainstream producers just don’t want to cut him a break. Maybe somebody should try to pitch a TV series to him or something? I’d certainly like to see Scott Adkins whooping ass every week on FX or whatever. If GDT could get his dream horror sci-fi project on there as a TV series they certainly have room for a more legit action tv show I’m sure.

  5. If anybody ever wants to pitch a Richard Dragon TV series to DC Comics please remember to mention Scott Adkins.

  6. What an incredible movie this is, and, if this is the final UNDISPUTED, then we have all been privileged to witness the most complete DTV action trilogy made thus far, and we are lucky.

    Adkins is always good in whatever he does but there is something special about when he plays Boyka. It makes him go deeper (the opening monologue is pure poetry), he really gives it his all. It’s his Hamlet. With kicks and punches.

    And the fights…holy shit, the fights are shot so crisply, so cleanly – they will make you cry tears of pure appreciative testosterone. They are that good.

    As Vern says, go buy this. It really does need our support. Let’s make it a huge hit.

  7. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 1st, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Rightfully so, its a great film and to me feels a little more complete than the other UNDISPUTEDs because all of it works, its not just the fights. Previous Florentine joints are usually clunky when it comes to the emotional stuff but BOYKA nails it. Great fights too obviously – honestly the only weakness of the whole thing is that there is no great martial artist as main villain. Nightmare is cool and something different, but for me theres nothing like a proper climactic duel with a guy like White or Zaror. Even without that though, this is my fav of the series.

  8. Along the lines of Vern’s non-lecture, the bootleg guy across the street has had copies of Boyka for like a month.

    It’s really, really tough to go the legitimate route when illegitimate avenues are open a month beforehand. But alas, I stayed strong and will be hitting the redbox after work tonight.

  9. Crushinator Jones

    August 1st, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Fuckin’ really bogus that Isaac hasn’t hit the big time in the mainstream.

    Thanks for the review as always, Vern! Looking forward to watching this with the wife tonight.

  10. Damn straight Vern. Just ordered the bluray through your link. Can’t wait to see the film in a few weeks. Down with Skynetflix and other greedy motherfuckers. Be the resistance.

  11. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 1st, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I’m gonna write a goddamn movie script for Adkins. Something in the 20-30 mil range, then he’s gotta go find some animator to make a showreel out of it, like Michael Davis did with SHOOT EM UP, maybe woo Gareth Evans to direct it, get Iko Uwais as the villain, then we’re in business. Then show the 15 minute all action / all martial arts climactic orgy of perfectly choreographed destruction to some Hollywood producer, convince them to do a 50 mil sequel – the world loves it, action is back as a mainstream, R-rated genre, Adkins spends the next 15 years making dozens of our favorite films ever, the world rejoices.

    Seems like an attainable dream, yes?

  12. Adkins and Florentine are the best!

    Anyone seen “Lady Bloodfight”? Amy Johnston could be the next Action Star if someone gives her the right vehicle. Can’t wait to see her and Adkins in “Accident Man”.

  13. How much is a guy like Isaac Florentine or John Hyams doing to get themselves a wider platform? I would say maybe television would be a good start but a SyFy Walking Dead ripoff is probably not the way to do it. I think they need to attach themselves to a bigger star that can get a movie off the ground like Keanu Reeves did with his two friends.

    Though John Hyams working potentially working in the Maniac Cop movie is a huge step in the right direction.

  14. The fact that John Wick and Atomic Blonde (anyone here seen it?) are doing well gives me hope that Florentine and Hyams will get their big screen chance someday.

  15. Loved it. That (SPOILER) almost-last shot, where it cranes up and he’s standing there behind bars, ready to fight, really hit me. He’s redeemed but still stuck. Great stuff

  16. It’s on Netflix which, I think, Vern is against.

  17. No, please stream it on Netflix if that’s your thing. It can only be a good thing if their algorithms figure out that people like Scott Adkins movies. I would’ve mentioned it but I didn’t realize it was on there until after posting the review.

  18. I saw your Twitter comment and remembered your Netflix thoughts. Also, there are a ton of Scott Adkins movies on Netflix.

  19. Yeah I did it on Redbox but will definitely buy it this week.

    I think the point is, as Vern said, seeing it through legitimate means that show people are watching and give the artists more chances to entertain us. All for that.

  20. Great review, as ever. Saw this last night on Netflix in the UK. Awesome movie. Ordered the blu-ray from Germany as it doesn’t have a proper release here yet. Fingers crossed others pay out for this too so we can get a fifth movie soon

  21. Great movie — the fights were some of the best I’ve seen. And Adkins is always at his best as Boyka. The Nightmare was legit, too; it was so great seeing Boyka bounce off him after beating ass nonstop for the whole movie beforehand. I liked the way they were able to show him taking small bites out of The Nightmare, strategic hits to joints, etc… instead of having to rely on narration or commentary like ROCKY IV did in a similar situation.

    Totally worth the wait. I bought it off Amazon Video, but I’m gonna let it play on Netflix a couple times too (as if the algorithm doesn’t already know I’m a sucker for DTV action) and give it the ol’ thumbs up.

    Solid review, Vern!

  22. Issac florentine is the father of one of my HS chums. Small world.

  23. I walked into a big electronic store this morning and the new releases rack was full of BOYKA! And I mean really full. Not just one row. SKULL ISLAND, which came out over here Monday, was on a much smaller shelf. That was a nice sight. I told you a few times on here that certain DTV (and foreign) action movies still get special edition releases and stuff like that, but if the BOYKA shelf isn’t proof that this is still a lucrative business in Germany, I don’t know what it is.

    (Dammit, should’ve taken a picture and sent it to Adkins…)

  24. i’m so sorry for posting this if literally everyone but me knew about it already but i just went to add BOYKA! to my Netflix list and noticed that SAVAGE DOG is currently streaming on there as well. i have absolutely no idea how that one snuck by without me noticing it.

  25. oh shit. from the looks of things SAVAGE DOG is only available on Netflix Australia right now. sorry to all of y’all who don’t have access to what is undoubtably the lesser Netflix 99.9% of the time.

    my fellow Australians, please join me in streaming BOYKA and SAVAGE DOG on repeat until Netflix’s servers are impounded and also ordering them on whatever physical media format you fuck with if you can afford to, preferably through Vern’s sight (for those of us with multi-region players) or otherwise through amazon.de or ebay.de etc.

    thank you.

  26. SAVAGE DOG is on Caribbean Netflix too!

    I’m not gonna lie – I watched BOYKA a few months ago. BUT – I pre-ordered the DVD and I will rewatch it on Netflix this week. I don’t normally buy new releases on DVD because they’re so damn expensive but I am quite happy to help boost the sales on this.

  27. I need to see it again, but SAVAGE DOG is sometimes sloppy, rough around the edges, a little wonky and cliche ridden – but when those cliches are the most motherfucking awesome ones we all know and love in our action movies, the end result is a meaty treat that some cats will find just *too* savage.

    But I loved it.

  28. Kingnewbs, that’s a really good point that I hadn’t thought of. I enjoyed seeing Ed Lover in UNDISPUTED, but you’re right that commentary like that is a crutch to explain the drama of the fight to the audience. A crutch that isn’t needed in any of the sequels.

  29. Welp, you guys weren’t lying. This one was absolutely fantastic and may be favorite of the lot (need to do a new re-watch of the series to fully determine). Loved every minute of it and feel this is yet another one to hold up to people to show how involving and good mere-action movies can be. Goes without saying that this one also shows why it’s best to get an actor who knows martial-arts, how good Adkins is, why showing us the action is much more involving it is than having the camera up-close and jiggling around. Hope we get more action movies of this caliber soon!

  30. Just found out that SAVAGE DOG is on Netflix here in Norway too. I’ve only seen half of it, but I’ve already given it a thumbs up in the hope that it will help Adkins get the boost he needs.

  31. flyingguillotine

    August 2nd, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Watched it last night. Fantastic.

    I have one small quibble… When he slugs the gangster who’s guarding the community center, Boyka should have then gone to his chess board and given him a checkmate, thus proving he truly is the world’s most well rounded fighter.

  32. I also like how this movie has a legit emotional thread and fine acting that we can take completely seriously in a ‘real’/’serious’/’dramatic’ movie but it’s in one that almost literally has the hero fight a cartoon monster character that seem more in place in a video game adaptation/post-apocalyptic fight movie at the end and it still works because it is awesome.

    BOYKA also reminds me of how Shoot got to see this one months due to his country of origin. I hope everything is fine with Shoot since he has not been posting here lately but he seems to still be active on Twitter. I liked Shoot and hope he’s doing good.

  33. I just started. If only MMA was this rediculous in real life. Also, the ref should have stopped this after the first knock down. I don’t think this first legit fight is all that legit.

  34. I really want to see Scott Adkins choreographed by Donnie Yen.

  35. Only if said movie has a training montage set to music by Stan Bush.

  36. If I was a writer/director guy I’d find whoever owns the rights to GUNMEN, purchase them and then pitch a remake with Adkins and Michael Jai White so this time there is martial arts. James McAvoy would once again replace Patrick Stewart this time as the new drug kingpin.

  37. Compatriot MIXALOT, you best believe I will be streaming the shit out of BOYKA and SAVAGE DOG. Not till the weekend though. I don’t have a Netflix subscription, but when staying at my lady friends house, take full advantage of it. I will consider it a patriotic privilege and calling to infiltrate and fuck with the Skynetflix bug-brain.

  38. I hate to be a buzz kill but I don’t think it was that good. I thought the acting from Adkins and the main bad guy to be good. I don’t agree with Vern because the girl was very wooden and not that good of an actor. I don’t think she quite gives the bravura performance Vern mentions. I’m glad I saw it because it was easy to sit through.

    Oh and I didn’t like the fights that much because it was all overly dramatic spin kicks that would never fly in MMA. This is why I wish they wouldn’t have mentioned MMA.

    I don’t like most of his films but Scott Adkins is at his best when playing Boyka.

  39. You know what annoys me about Netflix? I would never have thought to check for BOYKA and SAVAGE DOG on there if it wasn’t for you guys. Which is fine, but when I actually go on NF and look at “Recently Added”, “Trending Now”, “Recommended for you”, etc. there is no sign of these flicks. I have to manually search for them. And Netflix knows goddamned well that I love this type of movie.

    Like, the other day I logged in and they had a category called “Because You Watched Universal Soldier Day of Reckoning.” I shit you not here is what Netflix recommended for me: 1) A Haunted House 2; 2) The Benchwarmers; 3) 10 Things I Hate About You; and 4) The OC.

    WTF Netflix? And their new rating system is fucking garbage – they keep telling me I have a 98% match for bullshit like GARAGE SALE WARS but 55% for like every Jason Statham movie ever made. And Jason Statham has obviously never made a movie that Hallsy *won’t* watch.

  40. You were right karlos, SAVAGE DOG was a little bit bloodier than your usual Adkins flick. But I liked it a lot. I’m always a sucker for that time period, right before John Wayne decided he was gonna rid the world of commies.

  41. *High fives Pegsman through the internet*

  42. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 3rd, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Looks like I might be out of sync when it comes to SAVAGE DOG. I thought it was terrible, especially when you watch it right after BOYKA, but the first reactions of other people that have seen it are actually pretty positive.

  43. I know lots of people that hate SAVAGE DOG. I honestly thought I was in the minority liking it.

  44. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 3rd, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Interesting. Wonder what Vern’s verdict will be then!

  45. What’s not to like? The fight’s might not be as good as in BOYKA, but they’re good. But as I said, I like that time period. And it’s filmed in Dien Bien Puh in Vietnam, and that’s not something you see every day.

    High five back, karlos.

  46. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 3rd, 2017 at 5:02 am

    I like the time period as well, but the whole thing came across as so ineptly made, the whole thing screams “amateur hour” in a way that Florentine’s films never do. That would be acceptable if the fights did anything at all for me, but there’s so little energy to them. I can’t really place my finger on what the cause of that is, maybe the editing? They’re just flat and leave me cold in every way, even when it’s against a dude like Zaror (who does look great in this, making it worse that there’s no spark whatsoever to their Boyka/Dolor rematch). Even the added gore only seems to add to that vibe of immaturity that comes off the film. What Adkins does to Zaror in the end should have made me jump off the couch and chest bump someone, but it just made shake my head instead.

  47. Should I be worried about Jesse Johnson as a director re:Triple Threat?

  48. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 3rd, 2017 at 5:18 am

    I sure am, at least a little. That recent trailer of TRIPLE THREAT did make it look a lot better than anything in SAVAGE DOG though so fingers crossed. I especially want ACCIDENT MAN to be good, for myself as much as for Adkins.

  49. This is a strange question, who do you think is a better director? Jesse Johnson or Steven C Miller?

  50. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 3rd, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Sorry, can’t say – I’ve seen none of Miller’s films.

  51. Jesse Johnson’s THE BEAUTIFUL ONES remains his best film. Check that one out.

  52. World EaterEater

    August 3rd, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Criticizing the fights because they aren’t legit MMA…pfft. As if that’s the fucking point.

  53. i know this is BOYKA HQ and sorry for going off topic but i just got done with SAVAGE DOG and i gotta say i thought it was absolutely fucking ridiculous and completely fucking awesome. can’t even count how many times it made me laugh out loud. it’s an absurd movie that either doesn’t know how absurd it is or simply doesn’t care. the choreography, staging, editing and especially (i would argue) foley effects in some of the fight sequences can leave a bit to be desired but jesus christ man, some of the bizarre shit and weird performance choices and outrageous use of voiceover and over the top (mostly non-cartoon) gore in this movie is making me chuckle and shake my head in disbelief just thinking about it. the final 35-40 minutes in particular are just astonishing.

    i think i actually kind of loved SAVAGE DOG.

  54. Saw BOYKA on UK Netflix, and it’s tremendous. One thing I wonder watching it is if it originally went the other way with it’s ending, giving what happens in the climax to Boyka, only to just be ignored at the end of the scene and a timejump to 6 months later happens.
    Also, is this the BOYKA series now, or should I still hold out hope for a “THE Undisputed” movie starring him, White AND Snipes?

  55. Speaking of Steven C Miller, I just saw SOUTHERN FURY aka ARSENAL and while it’s far from being a good film, I was stoked to see the inspired and unexpected return of Cage as crazy Eddie from DEADFALL. Miller also sealed it by getting DEADFALL director and Cages brother Chris Coppola to appear in a couple of scenes with his bro. We now have a DCU (Deadfall Cinematic Universe) to call our own! Good job Steve Miller.

    Mastor Troy - Google+

    Mastor Troy - Google+

  56. Anybody recommend a good site the reviews DTV and VOD movies? Hopefully somebody half as good as Vern.

  57. Just watched SAVAGE DOG…that was such a fucking weird action movie. Both in terms of blatant weirdness like the end of the final fight and the voiceover stuff as talked about above, but also structurally compared to the “rules” of how these things usually go. The Climax feels like it’s in reverse, the end of the Cung Le fight rubs me the wrong way and there’s a postponing in the final confrontation I see no need for. Also in general it’s a fairly simple story that seems to have been told in the most convoluted way possible without resorting to non-linearity. I have to ask though if this is supposed to be inspired by true events in some way? The historical references and the references to this being the start of “a legend” have me wondering…
    I do approve of Adkins adding an Irish accent to his repertoire though. It works for him.

  58. When is there a US release date?

  59. Great Article.

    A Toast, To Scott Adkins And BOYKA: UNDISPUTED

    The English martial artist is a great action star, and his Most Complete Fighter in the World is his best character.

  60. I had some worries about Part IV’s story, but I was a fool to worry! I was dreading the possibility of a guilt-ridden Boyka QUITTING after killing some guy in the ring, but that never happened. Turns out Boyka’s religious beliefs are rooted in God wanting him to be ZE MOST COMPLETE fighter. Also, for a while I thought things would get weird and Boyka would start banging the angelic wife of the man he killed, but then I remembered that Boyka has always been too busy fighteeng and traineeng to have sex.

    Anyway, the fights are well shot and the kicks are pretty. Boyka’s opponents aren’t as memorable as his opponents in previous movies, but Part IV probably has the strongest ‘Scumbag old man who runs shit’ character of the series.

    And what’s the story with Isaac Florentine? I was disappointed when I saw his named listed as producer, but not director. Did he have to step in and ghost-direct this?

  61. I guess the story is it’s complicated and nobody wants to be specific. I can only assume it’s because it’s a legal matter.

  62. Random thought: Since Netflix is known to produce their stuff based on whatever is most watched on their site (“Our users love Adam Sandler movies, so let’s give him a 6 movie contract!”), do you think they might join the DTV action market at some point? And if they do, would this be a good thing? (As in: Slightly higher budgets and a bigger audience?)

  63. US NETFLIX ALERT: Lady Bloodfight is now streaming on Netflix.

  64. This is my first UNDISPUTED film. It was very satisfying, a lot of fun. Something about this role or the accent in particular that really brings some gravitas to the Adkinator’s performance. In most roles where he’s cleancut, un-tattooed and speaking in a British or American accent, he presents as a prototypically generic quiet handsome tough guy with a restricted range of affect and facial expressions. I kind of like that, because it makes him a good object to project whatever onto. In this role, the range of affect and expression is still restricted, but something about the look and the accent that gives him an earthiness and substance. He’s less of a cypher. I like that, too.

    Tons of fighting very well-executed, and Boyka’s a very winning character that’s fun to root for. Unlike CLOSE RANGE, this film keeps the action to dialogue ratio much more heavily tilted toward engaging hand-to-hand action, and the dialogue and character development actually works this time.

    Pleasant surprises: it was no RECKONING, but was pleased to see Mr. Adkins’s return to the field of competitive baseball bat fighting.

  65. Crushinator Jones

    August 6th, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Skani you GOTTA see Undisputed 2 and 3. I believe you can rent them on Amazon. They make this one all the sweeter.

  66. Sternshein: I occasionally write reviews for The Action Elite and The Movie Elite. Obviously, my reviews are very different (and shorter) than Vern’s, but if you’re looking for more action / DTV coverage, check those out.

  67. I got paid on Friday morning. I made a special trip to Walmart to buy Boyka on Friday afternoon.

  68. CJ, I think that no matter what we think about the concept, that’s the direction the movie market is going. Especially for the b-movies. It’s nice to see a really big movie on the big screen once in a while, but I can see everything on Netflix and HBO for the price of one ticket to the cinema. And I can talk as much as I want, drink beer, smoke and have sex during the movie if I want (correction, if my wife want). A long time ago I laughed at my father’s 78 records. In a few years the kids are gonna laugh at us for paying a fortune at the cinema to see a movie that’s been online for a couple of months.

  69. Thanks David. What I really want to know is if the movie Security with Antonio Banderas is as much fun as it looks.

  70. Will make it happen, Crush!

  71. I can admit this here amongst friends that when Boyka said “I’m doing this to save myself” I got a legitimate lump in my throat. The way Adkins and the character of Boyka has matured over the past decade+ is really something. The ending is note-perfect too. I don’t think they’ll be able to top it. If they do decide to make more, I hope they go the Rocky route and wait until they have a story worth telling. V was a nice capper until Balboa came around and gave everything more weight and depth. We thought that was the final word until Creed showed there was still life in the character. If the Boyka series can find a way to do that I think we’ll be okay. (Either that or maybe a Logan inspired send-off.)

  72. A Must Read.

    An Ideal Partnership - The films of Director Isaac Florentine and Actor Scott Adkins

    Throughout the history of Hollywood there have been filmmakers who have always relied on the talents of a regular group of performers or in some cases one particular actor. In a number of cases this has resulted in some of...

  73. Wow I had no idea how huge Wolf Warriors 2 is. The first made 80 million while the sequel is at like 680 million. That’s amazing.

  74. Felix: Thanks for the link, that was a really great read!

    Stern: I only though part 1 was okay so I wasn’t putting great effort to make it out to see part 2 plus some of the blind-viewings of Chinese movies at my local theater haven’t gone well (the movies not the experience of being in the theater mind-you where I was usually the only one there) so I was put it off that weekend as I was busy anyways. My theater only ran it one week and shrugged and said no big loss and figured I’d catch it on video. Of coarse right after my theater dumped it I’m bombarded with reviews and articles telling me how amazing it is and it is exactly the type of movie I’d like and I’ve GOT to see it in theaters. So yeah… thanks for the heads-up Internet!

  75. I understand within the first five minutes of WOLF WARRIOR II, Wu Jing puts an asshole through a car windshield, thereby showing respect to the back catalogue of the greatest martial artist the West ever produced.

  76. karlos: Don’t make me regret passing on it in theaters even more…

  77. I’m sorry to be the one to break it you, GJ.

  78. I’ve seen WOLF WARRIOR II. The first 5 mins has Wu Jing taking out a bunch of Pirates underwater. It’s like a Bond Pre-Credits scene.

  79. Looks like i am going to go tomorrow night because Wu Jing versus Pirates sounds amazing.

  80. This might be a red flag to some but the Russo Brothers consulted on this film and helped set Wu Jing up with the stunt team from Winter Soldier. I think that’s cool because I love Winter Soldier.

  81. I just read that Saban Films has picked up the distribution to Isaac Florentine’s next movie. They did that stupid thing where they change a completely fine title “Stoic” and replaced it with the generic “Acts of Vegeance” but the plot sounds pretty good. it’s about a lawyer who learns martial arts and takes a vow of silence until he can catch those that killed his wife. What gets me extra excited as I think that is being played by Antonio Banderas. He’s got like a DTV action renaissance going on. I thought Security was very good and he was so believable in that one. I’m going to watch the Simon West directed film Gun Shy that has Banderas playing a washed up rock star in a performance that sounds completely the 180 to Security and what it sounds like Stoic is like.

    The other Banderas movie the picked up is a movie that was called De Niro that is going to be a total Reservoir Dogs style rip off but I’m in just because Banderas has been so interesting lately.

    BTW, we all need to start paying attention to Saban Films because they seem to be the new genre powerhouse on the horizon.

  82. Whoa Florentine went full circle. Didn’t he get his start with Saban?

  83. Guys, Act of Vengeance trailer. New Isaac Florentine movie starting Antonio Banderas and a jacked up Karl Urban doing MMA. Looks so good plus Banderas has been great in these DTV films.

    https://youtu.be/6ieAE04Ayfs

  84. That looks pretty dope. I smiled at the DESPERADO call back. Also it has Robert Forster in it and he automatically makes anything better. Saban Films is really starting to make a name for itself in these badass streets. Who would’ve thought?

  85. I just finished Acts of Vengeance. I’m happy to report that it’s an excellent movie. I think it’s one Florentine’s best movies by far. The thing that really makes it great is Antonio Banderas. His performance is very good and he continues to go 100% in on the last few action movies he did and I appreciate it. I will say that this one doesn’t have a lot of fighting and the fights are short. However, they are very good and clear as day. Plus they are mostly MMA based, which I love. Banderas is clearly doing the fighting too which is so cool. The final fight is a great one. I think you all are going to like it.

    Oh and I read some reviews from the trades and they’re good but, man, Dennis Harvey wrote a typical thumb to the nose review. He writes “Over the last quarter century, Israel native Florentine has directed a lot of “Power Rangers” TV episodes, and B action pics prized by chopsocky fans if largely unknown to larger audiences.” There is nothing more douchey than using the term “chopsocky.” What a dick.

  86. So I had been talking to geoffreyjar that I’ve always tried to make November, Woo-Vember, where I watch as many action movies as I can but I never had the time so I never did it. Looks like we’re going to be doing that this year so I guess you all should follow our letterboxd accounts and like, watch as many action movies as you can this month, because, you know, action movies.

  87. I quit my letterboxd account since it just stressed me out. I don´t need to fully catalogue my cinematic experiences and at the same time see how many more movies everyone else watches. I know a lot of people make a virtue in cramming in as many movies a day as possible, but I just can´t see how anyone can enjoy films that way. But at the same time it makes me feel bad for not watching enough of them. So I quit. It is a good place to have discussions outside outlawvern.com and I appreciated some of the minor discussions with some of you guys there. But that shit is not built for me.

  88. Woo-vember sounds like a great idea however. We need something to fill the gap of Horrortober. Especially in a month that is pretty dreary, dark and just bleak weatherwise ( especially over here).

    I also would like to thank you, Sterny for recommending SECURITY. I really dug it.

  89. That’s too bad you dropped your account. I’m only following 4 people so it never bothered me how many people watch movies. I hope you will take a look at what I’ve watched every now and then.

    If you like Security then you’ll also like Acts of Vengeance.

  90. I think my first screening in Woo-vember will be an action-horror as a way to smooth into the month. MANIAC COP 2.

  91. Shoot: I was sad to see you go as well. Yeah there’s the ability to spy on the cool and embarrassing shit we’re watching but like you I think I might actually appreciate the outside Vern’s sites discussions since we don’t really have other ways of contacting each other.

    Stern: ACTS OF VENGEANCE is added to my watch-list and will probably watch tomorrow. Also, don’t expect the crazy output for action-movie-a-day Woovember festivities that I had for horror-movie-a-day Hooptober festivities.

  92. I like the idea of Woo-Vember. November is fine month for action cinema because it almost starts with “Dolph Bronson Day”, which is November 3, the birthday of two of badass cinema’s great icons: Dolph Lundgren and Charles Bronson.

  93. It’s ok, I didn’t even watch an action movie last night lol

    Check this trailer out. It’s looks like Ethan Hawke doing his version of John Wick and looks totally bad ass. Another stunt man turned director too.

    https://youtu.be/da9xhQOcoHk

  94. It’s ok, I didn’t even watch an action movie last night lol

    Check this trailer out. It’s looks like Ethan Hawke doing his version of John Wick and looks totally bad ass. Another stunt man turned director too.

  95. The Undefeated Gaul

    November 13th, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Jesus, I just read an interview with Isaac Florentine about the making of Acts Of Vengeance and he goes a little bit into not directing Boyka but still being there hands on, and it’s super sad. It finally makes sense now, so for anyone interested here’s the link (guess it’s all there in the name of it):

    http://filmmakermagazine.com/103811-isaac-florentine-on-acts-of-vengeance-antonio-banderass-mastery-of-fight-choreography-and-making-a-movie-in-the-wake-of-his-wifes-cancer-diagnosis/#.Wgoa-IiDPIU

  96. That is sad to hear about his wife. Also, Acts of Vengeance is just wonderful.

  97. The Undefeated Gaul

    November 13th, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I liked it too, although I really think it’s Banderas that makes it. Urban has a pretty thankless role, and having anyone else in the lead would’ve made it a lot less gripping. As it is though, it was a very decent watch. Should’ve kept the initial title Stoic, fits much better.

  98. Good to see Boyka dominating this poll as the best action movie of 2017

    Best Action Movie 2017

    Action mates, it's time to vote up the action films you think are the greatest of 2017. 2017 was surprisingly heavy on action, 87Eleven guys presented us two movies - assassin's sequel John Wick 2

    Has anyone seen Paradox yet?

    And has everyone pre-ordered Accident Man? Hallsy has…

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