"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Vern recommends the shit out of UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION!!!

tn_undisputed3Walter Hill’s original UNDISPUTED was an exaggerated look at the classic concept of the prison boxing league. UNDISPUTED II showed that the same thing is going on in Russia, but with full-on mixed martial arts. Naturally UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION takes it to the next level by creating an international tournament for the champions from all different prisons. Part 4 might have to send them into space.

But the true genius of director Isaac Florentine’s two DTV UNDISPUTED sequels is that each one stars the villain of the previous chapter. In UNDISPUTED II: LAST MAN STANDING Michael Jai White took over for Ving Rhames as the asshole accused rapist heavyweight champ George “The Iceman” Chambers. He was the last man standing of the title. Part III, which comes out on DVD Tuesday, is about the next-to-last man standing. Scott Adkins returns as the man whose knee the Iceman crushed, disgraced Russian prison champion and convicted double-murderer Uri Boyka.

Undisputed III: RedemptionTo this day I would love to see Stallone direct a movie called IVAN DRAGO, in the style of ROCKY BALBOA but telling what happened to the communist golden boy. If I never get that at least I have UNDISPUTED III, where I get to root for the menacing (and in the end honorable) villain from part II.

Most DTV action is bad for the same reasons: bland, generic characters in overly convoluted plots setting up poorly shot and staged action scenes. UNDISPUTED III succeeds by being the opposite of those three things.

Boyka is a simple character. He doesn’t talk much, and usually wants everybody else to just shut the fuck up. His life is shit but he doesn’t want anyone’s pity. He rehabilitates and trains himself in his dank cell using buckets and pullies. He’s friendly with the rats that crawl all over him in his cell, and even uses one of them to cross his heart during prayer. He’s so not a people person that when he does the ol’ begrudging-respect-exchange with his loud-mouthed American antagonist Turbo (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) it’s actually kind of sweet. Even at the end, when the kicking and punching was over, I was genuinely interested in what happened to these characters.

Marko Zaror, the Chilean asskicker so good at playing innocent manchildren in his movies like KILTRO and MIRAGEMAN, has even more fun as a hissable villain nicknamed Dolor. He seems crazy and lives a decadent lifestyle by prison standards. As the local champ he gets to sit in a lawnchair and do his summer reading while everybody else does hard labor in the rock quarry. It’s a great lightly sketched character with only one problem: I don’t see how they could make this prick the hero against the space prisoners in part IV.

The story is simple too, with the classic tournament structure but enough stakes added on the sides to create tension (for example the fighters don’t know, but we do, that after you lose a round your next fight is against the firing squad). I think too many modern filmatists miss the importance of an elegant, streamlined story in a bare knuckle, headbutting kind of film. Not Florentine.

And of course the main attraction is the fights. In-the-ring competition is usually the most boring type of cinematic martial arts, but Florentine and choreographer Larnell Stovall make it thrilling. Since the fighters are from different countries they represent different styles, for example Lateef Crowder (you saw him in TOM YUM GOONG/THE PROTECTOR) uses capoeria. You can’t call these fights realistic (Boyka sure is doing alot of jumping and flipping for a dude with a bum knee) but that’s why I’m watching this and not one of those shitty street brawl videos. It’s an exaggerated style that creates its own skull-crushing reality. You get the feeling a muscle is torn or a bone is crunched with every hit. And yes, Adkins does his trademark flying double spin kick where the first pass is a fake-out and the second one connects. In my opinion it’s a better trademark than Van Damme’s doing-the-splits.

So what you have here is a fun, fast-paced, completely badass martial arts movie that when you think about it is also a testament to the concept of second chances and finding good in the worst people. Or at least finding fighting skill.

You definitely don’t need to have seen the other UNDISPUTEDs to understand what’s going on here, but I recommend watching part II first to get the full effect of the villain-turned-hero. I’m actually not a big fan of the original, despite the usual great performance by Wesley Snipes. This is the rare series where the DTV sequels are better than the theatrical original. I’m not yet prepared to declare which of the sequels is better. I miss the dry humor of Michael Jai White, but I think the fights might be even better this time. They might be tied.

Fans of DTV action already know these movies, but they’re good enough to break through into the mainstream. I know at that Actionfest film festival the jury (including our wayward son Moriarty and Chud’s Devin Faraci) were so impressed with this they changed the rule to give it a couple of awards. I recommend watching UNDISPUTED II-III and if you like those you can go back through the other films of Florentine and Adkins.

Florentine is the king of DTV martial arts and Adkins is his kickboxing DeNiro. Adkins stole SPECIAL FORCES in a supporting role as an asskicking SAS officer. He played #2 bad guy in THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL (that was taken away from Florentine in the editing, but it has great fights and Jean-Claude Van Damme carries around a bunny for the whole movie). And he had the lead in the recent NINJA, which I think is underrated. It’s a solid use of classic ninja tropes and weapons, a charismatic villain and great fights (especially the one on the subway). It even has Big Oil executives who are also robe-wearing cultists. But admittedly when he’s not fighting Adkins is a little bland as the ninja Casey (playing American for some reason).

Non-Adkins Florentine joints include BRIDGE OF DRAGONS (a Dolph Lundgren fantasy movie, but not literally about dragons) and US SEALS 2 (which I honestly like better than the studio movie it’s a sequel to a rip-off of). As a martial artist himself Florentine is very passionate about the choreography, and having built up his directing chops doing that tv show “Power Rangers” he has a strong foundation of energetic camerawork that emphasizes the action instead of muddling it like most directors do these days with their wobbly cameras, quick cuts and inept closeups.

Years ago I claimed the DTV beat as my own because I got a laugh out of trashy unwanted sequels and increasingly weird vehicles for action stars of the ’80s and ’90s. But I justified it with an idealist pipe dream about this format, that there was no reason these low budget, under the radar movies couldn’t be like the ones from the Roger Corman days: a training ground for interesting new directors and a place where they were given the freedom to do whatever the fuck they wanted as long as they finished the movie on time. Well, maybe it’s not quite that, but in the last two years the standards for direct-to-video action have raised a hell of alot. I truly like last year’s BLOOD AND BONE (starring Michael Jai White, directed by Ben Ramsey), this year’s UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION (directed by John Hyams) and Florentine’s two UNDISPUTED sequels better than pretty much all American action movies released theatrically in the last few years.

I’m hesitant to say it, because I wouldn’t want these guys to get wasted on mediocre Hollywood movies, but the studios are idiots to keep hiring inept commercial and video directors to do their bidding when proven directors like Florentine, Hyams and Ramsey are right here under their noses. Well, okay, they’re probly all in Bulgaria somewhere, far from their noses. But the movies speak for themselves. These guys are making much more entertaining and better crafted movies for nothing and most likely under more difficult conditions than the Hollywood pansies ever dreamed of. Why is it I keep spending money to watch incomprehensible bullshit action scenes projected onto a giant screen while Florentine’s carefully crafted ones go straight to my cramped living room? That seems backwards to me.

I’m not saying the guy is gonna make 2001. But give Isaac Florentine a Punisher, a GI Joe, a Transporter, or better yet just tell him “here is a modest Hollywood budget, go make a kickass action movie with Michael Jai White and/or Scott Adkins,” I guarantee you he’ll knock your socks off. And you don’t need those socks. You don’t deserve those socks if you don’t notice this shit. I deserve your socks. Hand them over.

Nah, forget I said anything. I hope he does UNDISPUTED IV with Zaror and an Adkins spin-off called BOYKA. You guys can keep your shakycams, I’ll be happy over here.

thanks fellas

–VERN

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/45305

View the archived Ain't-It-Cool-News Talkback
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 12:50 am and is filed under Action, AICN, 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.

90 Responses to “Vern recommends the shit out of UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION!!!”

  1. Sorry Vern, but I need my socks. It’s raining outside. Good review. Though if you want a sequel with the bad guys from this, I guess the firing squad stipulation you talk about doesn’t apply to their characters in it when they lose?

  2. Stupid UK distributors still haven’t got a release date for this, so this will be the first time that I’ll be double dipping – got the US dvd on order and will wait for the UK blu Ray to eventually appear. Can’t wait to see Scott and Marko Zaror go at it.

    Excellent review though mate and some of the troll comments were truly ignorant.

    BTW – finally caught up with Universal Soldier: Regeneration and thought it was fantastic. The moment when Luc Devereaux went on the rampage and we’re treated to that long fluid tracking shot is just sublime, and showed a level of commitment from Van Damme we haven’t seen in a long while.

  3. Why wasn’t Monroe Hutchen the American champ? Did Turbo beat him in the American qualifiers?

  4. Fah-Cue gave me a few laughs personally, but i prolly fall into illiterate nincompoops category (no doubt an insult you picked up in prison).

    This series concept (villian carries on) is a great one and despite feeling certain i seen most everything this series slipped by somehow till you introduced it so ta muchly for that. I got new baby girl just brought home last night (burping her while typing) and between the feeds watched this following Alice in Wonderland, following Undisputed III with Unthinkable and Valhalla Rising. I can report it was a much more solid film than Alice and crushed Burton like a fake-out double kick from the most complete fighter in the world(best line of the movie even if rehashed from II), but Unthinkable trumped it to be fair. Valhalla Rising struck me as having a lot in common with Undisputed III – A European prison fighter who is also the most complete fighter in the world, though similiarly primal men, this one perhaps grappling whether he is God’s gift or Odin’s.

    The character development was notably entertaining, particularly Turbo even if a little sloppy (breaking down in the hole and acting like a punk so quick didn’t fit his character), though both were great and worked to make for a more interesting plot than you normally would expect. Other’s too – Boyka’s prison warden and mob guy was nice touch.

    I didn’t get the matching system. The rounds didn’t make sense to me but I’m unable to find to motivation to think back to figure out the exact problem, but unlike Bloodsport/The Quest/etc etc etc etc it felt stupid somehow.

    Great review, great movie. Ta.

  5. Man I said it in the AICN talkback but I’ll say it here too, great movie.

    Off topic, so sorry Vern… but I just want to ask you if you’re aware of your book doing Avatar numbers or something because Amazon keeps delaying my order! They’re now saying mid-to-late-June, and I pre-ordered it in January. I asked Amazon what’s going on and they sent back some boilerplate:

    “Occasionally, unexpected fluctuations in supply will add time to our original availability estimate. I do understand that such changes can be frustrating for you. Please accept my most sincere apologies for this inconvenience…

    I can assure you that we are working hard to obtain this item for you and we will ship it as soon as we are able to obtain it. This means that we will ship the item as soon as we receive it from our suppliers even if the estimated ship date has still not arrived.”

    I now have a mental image of Yipee Ki-Yay Moviegoer flying off the shelves so fast that the lackey assigned to my order can’t get his hands on a copy. Of course if this means Yipee is selling like the proverbial hot cakes I will gladly wait until next October. I hope it’s that, and not that I ordered it from Canada and they didn’t have room in the warehouse between Michael Buble CDs and Corner Gas on DVD.

  6. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Gwai Lo: It’s not unusual for the chumps at Amazon to put customers who haven’t chosen the more expensive shipping opitions on a low priority list. A guy I know who works for Amazon.ca also told me that they fulfill orders from “frequent customers” on a high priority basis. And they love anyone who orders items after receiving one of those emails that say: “Based on your purchase of ROBOCOP, we think you might also like season one of THE L WORD.”

    It’s also possible that Vern’s publisher only ordered a small first edition of the book and is scrambling to meet the demand.

  7. That makes sense.

  8. I posted the review on my site as well

  9. I now have a mental image of Yipee Ki-Yay Moviegoer flying off the shelves and hitting someone in the nuts.

    Seriously , Vern , I sure hope you’re getting rich .

  10. I still have to see this , but ,man , I’m looking forward to it . I recently re-watched NINJA in anticipation for this one and , as always , afterwards I went on the Internet to find some more ninja movies I didn’t know. It’s a little off-topic , but I was able to find a fantastic website with all kinds of ninja-related materials , from action figures , to books to Godfrey Ho retrospectives ! It’s called vintageninja.net ( Yes , Vintage Ninja!) and if you click on the film and tv tab , you will see a five day article on Five Element Ninja ( AKA Chinese Super Ninja , my favorite ninja movie of all time ) ! But here

    http://vintageninja.net/?cat=1&paged=3

    You’ll find an article called “10 things I like about Florentine’s Ninja” that is just a great read. Plus on the same page there’s the poster for the upcoming Alien vs. Ninja !

  11. Ugh, Amazon. I’ve never had problems with their delivery, but their marketing strategy drives me spare. “WE HAVE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOU.” How about you just send me the fucking stuff?

    If this one ever comes to the UK, I’ll look it up. I agree with your comments on action cinema nowadays though, Vern, but I think it’s a little pessimistic. Some good stuff still makes it into cinemas.

    And talking of good stuff, I bought in a whole batch of second-hand horror DVDs recently including “Open Water”, “Rec”, “The Host”, etc. I’m going to have to start commenting on them, but so far I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything (although I think “Rec” is the first case of a “found footage”-type movie where I’ve shared some of Vern’s irritations. I didn’t think it was done anything close to as well as “Cloverfield” was.) And MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING SERIOUSLY DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU DO NOT WANT “THE HOST” TO BE SPOILED FOR YOU YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED OK THEN HERE WE GO did anybody else feel kinda sad when the “monster” died at the end of “The Host”? That was a great morally-ambiguous little film with interesting echoes of film noir for me, in the sense that everybody and everything in it, down to the water itself (a fascinating metaphor for the society around it) was hopelessly corrupt. OK BREATHE EASY SPOILERS ARE OVER AND SO IS THIS POST I THINK YEAH I’M DONE.

  12. marc – er, dude, you’ve just copied and pasted Vern’s review straight up as a blog post. I think that’s leaning towards being a bit …not right. The way you’ve arranged it it looks like Vern writes for your site, there’s no introduction of “oh hey this is a review from another website I think you’d like to read” and posted it as an extract, you’ve just straight up C&Ped it. And without Vern’s permission.

  13. Goodbadgroovy

    Actually, I emailed Vern last night and asked him for permission to re-post his review on our site and also include a link to his site. He replied to us and gave us permission. I would not post someones review without asking them first.

  14. CallMeKermit: very nice find with the Vintage Ninja site – Cheers!

  15. marc – fair enough apologies for jumping to conclusions.

  16. Kermit – that’s a great one. I added it to my links.

  17. Holy shit guys , I wasted hours yesterday looking at that website ! They have articles on combat posing , light and shadow and geometry composition in action scenes , in fuckin’ ninja movies!They even have a selection of Turkish ninja posters from the 80’s ! That’s 100% dedication ! I’m glad you like it guys !

  18. No problem, Goodbadgroovy

  19. Great review Vern, your final review seemed a bit less impressed than your expectations but it totally met and excided mine. I totally agree with you in the thought that films like Blood and Bone or Undisputed III are just as worthy as anything else being produced. People looked down their nose on direct to video Japanese film until Miike became a sensation. I have never actually seen the original Walter Hill Undisputed, only the sequels, but I thought this version was fantastic. If it had been in Cantonese, it would have been a late 80s, early 90s classic.

  20. good site kermit.

  21. Well, I’ve just finished watching Undisputed III, and I’ll be doing my own review for my site at the weekend. But, just wanted to reinforce the love for this movie here before hitting the sack. It rocks hard.

  22. Well, I’ve just finished watching Undisputed III, and I’ll be doing my own review for my site at the weekend. But, just wanted to reinforce the love for this movie here before hitting the sack. It rocks hard.

  23. Improvise, adapt, and overcome. Good shit.

    Just watched Undisputed 3 online on the 50″ plasma, and I’m all pumped up now. I’m gonna go hit the gym even though it’s bedtime. It’s Vern’s fault for recommending this badass movie if I drag ass tomorrow at work.

  24. I just got done watching the Undisputed trilogy, I’m just gonna copy and paste what I wrote about it elsewhere.

    Loved all three of them to bits, I probably couldn’t really rank them because they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.

    Wesley Snipes is really subtle as Munroe Hutchen, one of his best performances. He isn’t given much to do, but with his mannerisms and his face, particularly his eyes, he makes a 2D character feel like a fully realised one. I’d say Ving Rhames is the better George Chambers than Michael Jai White (He does a great job too though), but I’d chalk that up to Walter Hill being a better actors director than Isaac Florentine, although Florentine wipes the floor with Hill in the action department, despite Hill being no slouch there. I would’ve liked to have seen Rhames play Chambers in part II as well, if only because it would given the Chambers character a fully realised sense of redemption.

    The real stand out is Scott Adkins as Boyka. The only starring role I’d seen him in previously was in Isaac Florentine’s Ninja, which I felt was the kind of bland film that turns people away from DTV. Adkins’ character in that was just as generic as the film. So imagine my surprise when Boyka commands the screen every single moment he’s on. Just an amazing job. I think the litmus test will be how he carries himself against Jason Statham. If rumours are correct and he’s got a role in Stath’s upcoming film Safe. If he plays a boring white guy like Casey in Ninja, Statham’s going to shit him out and send him packing, if he plays someone as badass and as interesting as Boyka, then Statham is going to be some serious trouble if he doesn’t want to be overshadowed.

    There’s a running theme of using the “villain” of the previous film as the hero of the current one. For me that’s perfect. For one thing, it’s genuinely refreshing to see. Outlaw Vern’s comparison of instead of getting Rocky V we got a film about Ivan Drago coping with the shame of his defeat, eschewing all the fancy machinery and steroids and then entering an underground fighting tournament to regain his honour and his sense of self worth (Which is essentially how I’d describe the whole series) is 100% perfect. Secondly, with the exception of the Columbian in part III, none of the villains are particularly any worse human beings than the hero, all of the main characters have vague back stories, but you get enough of a head start on all of them for your imagination to fill in the gaps.

    All in all a really good set of films. Give me some tough guys in a ratty Bulgarian factory or prison over CGI fests any day of the week.

  25. So how many DTV sequels have featured their original star now? There’s Tom Berenger in SNIPER 2&3, Snipes in the ART OF WAR II, VanDamme/Lundgren in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION; any others?

  26. Jim Belushi was in K-911 and K-9: P.I.

  27. Finally sat down and watched this, and have to say it did not live up to expectations. It’s a tournament movies, so I was slightly disappointed there weren’t any more fights. Only 8 fighters (and 1 of them forfeits)? This tournament should be over in a day or two, yet is seems to last for weeks. The action is great though, obviously. I would have loved it if they were free of the annoingly unimaginative slo-mo/fast forward schtick, but maybe that’s just me. My main problem is that there is not enough action, and that all of the non-action scenes are incredibly dull. It seems as though Florentine’s heart is just not in it when he’s not directing action. The scene where Boyka arrives at the prison is a good example. It has a nice build that is ruined every time Florentine crosscuts to the hotel where eastern european gangsters recite embarrasing, unnecessary expository dialogue. Florentine’s stylistic choices are also strange now and then. Why does he use split-screen in this?

    The movie has none of the graceful elegance of Hill’s orignial. That one had career best performances from Snipes and Rhames, and a remarkable supporting cast including character actors such as Peter Falk (RIP), Dayton Callie, Fisher Stevens, Michael Rooker, Wes Studi, and Jon Seda, all of them good. This one has an allright Scott Adkins, a lousy comic sidekick from THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, and a bunch of nobodys filling out the rest of the cast list, the most experienced being Dennis Franz’s brother in DIE HARD 2. He’s pretty bland and forgettable, and so is the Nu Image Eastern European Repertoire. Yawn.

    Such a lame script too. From Boyka’s profound realization that they can turn their mistreatment into lame training sequences to the comic sidekick’s “Improvise, adapt, take control, etc” line. The only line that gave me chuckle was Boyka’s “Champion of the toilet” comeback to the villain. A ballsier script would have pitted Boyka and Turbo against each other after their bonding. That could have been fun.

    Sorry for the rant, and I didn’t think this was nearly as bad as the above may make it sound. This was mean and lean with good action, which is good enough for me. It’s just that I wanted this to be more than “good enough”. When I realized that this was a genuine tournament movie, I actually expected this to be in a league above BLOODSPORT and KICKBOXER (both of which I love). It turned out to be a lesser film than both of ’em.

  28. Are you guys aware of the fact that Florentine has a movie out in theaters? And it’s apparently not even really an action movie. It’s basically a vanity project from some Bulgarian broad who managed to get enough money to nab Christian Slater and Donald Sutherland but not enough to let Florentine do his stuff.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1780983/

    I just don’t understand this world we’re living in. I mean, good for him, I guess, but come on, people. Somebody give Statham this man’s phone number.

  29. That’s not on.

    Florentine should be out there making action classics, not this kind of fluff.

    We should Boyka-t it.

  30. Finally watched UNDISPUTED 3. A friendly inhabitant from planet Earth had uploaded it on YT, but I have ordered both Florentine/Adkins UNDISPUTEDs on dvd, so hopefully some order will be restored. I really don´t condone downloading or leeching of other peoples pet projects.

    The film is really amazing, both in terms of story and action with quite a lot of interesting little quirks around its edges, but Florentine has some annoying habits as a director which he seems to stick with in his films.. The over use of fast zoomins and swooshing sounds I could do without. Other than that I have nothing else to say, but a stunning piece of work. can´t wait for the dvds to arrive so I can with good conscience enjoy these films.

  31. just found out that Tim Man (NINJA II) is doing the fight choreography for UNDISPUTED IV. I love the shit out of NINJA II.

  32. Hey Vern somebody just sent me this link to a piece by your boy Knowles which gives us a look at Boyka in the new UNDISPUTED. That shit got me more excited than the DC movie trailers man.

  33. Hey Vern somebody just sent me this link to a piece by your boy Knowles which gives us a look at Boyka in the new UNDISPUTED. That shit got me more excited than the DC movie trailers man.

  34. I saw this the other day as well, and I expected Vern might comment on it. However, I looked it on IMDB and there is very little info on it. I did notice that CLOSE RANGE another Adkins & Florentine picture is coming out this year as well.

  35. I haven’t visited AICN in years and I have avoided the talkbacks for that amount of time but scrolling through this one article there I noticed that Vern took some geek to task for questioning the integrity of 2 movies that take most of the movies these idiots salivate over to task. So I guess he did see this article before after all. Well done sir in always standing up for those who truly strive for excellence. In this case Scott Adkins and Isaac Florentine.

  36. I’m late to the Boyka party, but I coincidentally just caught up with UNDISPUTED 2 & 3. Boyka! Boyka! Boyka! Boyka! Boyka! Boyka! Boyka! Boyka!

  37. Crushinator Jones

    July 14th, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Holy fuckin’ shit I had no idea Undisputed 4 was in the pipe. What a great day!

  38. The other action film news that came out of comic con I was excited to hear about was the announcement that they are doing another Rambo film and he is going to take on ISIS. I was not crossing my fingers in hopes of a Rambo sequel, but I am all in on the concept of Rambo vs ISIS.

  39. Charles – Unfortunately that wasn’t true and we all got trolled. Stallone’s rep released a statement stating that.

  40. That is to bad.

  41. The Trailer for UNDISPUTED IV: BOYKA is up!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGmae-CNj5w

  42. Well, that looks awesome (“Bring me your fucking champion.”) but do my eyes deceive me or is Florentine not the credited director? IMDB has no director listed so is this trailer the first anyone is hearing of this development? Kind of a bummer but the trailer says he’s a producer so maybe this will be his chance to pass his decades of hard-won wisdom onto the next generation of DTV auteurs. On the other hand, he has one of those separated-from-all-the-other-names producer credits that makes me think his involvement might be nominal, more for show or to buy him out of a contract or something.

    Still, Boyka is a great character (still Adkins’ best) so I’m onboard. I’m already missing the Florentine touch, though.

  43. The Undefeated Gaul

    January 31st, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Majestyk, to me it looks like Florentine had his hands all over it, that trailer is full of great shots that you don’t expect some hack to put in their straight-to-dvd movies. Not that I know this Todor Chapkanov or would accuse him of being a hack without having seen any of his previous stuff, but this is how BirthMoviesDeath describes him:

    “The “directed by” credit at the end of this trailer claims someone named Todor Chapkanov directed it. Chapkanov primarily makes made for TV movies and Asylum-like ripoffs.”

    That doesn’t sound like a dude who would manage to pull off some of those insane camera moves seen in the trailer and makes me wonder what happened. Florentine shared the trailer on his Facebook but has so far not responded to people asking him about why he didn’t direct it.

    Anyways, I do like the trailer, but am a little worried the final battle might lack the thrill that a fight against a proper martial artist like Michael Jai White or Marko Zaror had. Granted, the guy looks like an absolute beast but Adkins has stated he’s pretty much a buddy he knew from the gym, some guy with the right physique but no previous acting credits or martial arts training. I just hope this’ll be able to stand on the same level as part 2 and 3, we’ve waited long enough for it!

  44. Damn, how did that happen? Florentine has been talking about it for years in interviews as if he planned to direct it.

  45. I really didn’t find it all that interesting. Looked pretty generic but I’ll watch it because III was so frggin’ great.

  46. Just watched U3:R, and first up it needs to be said – Zaror is one hilarious, crazy motherfuckin weirdo from god knows what planet. And I could watch him all day long.

    “Cock fight?”

    And (spoiler) I like how Zaror cries like a girl when Boyka breaks HIS knee.

    Great character shift for Boyka from 2 to 3. His de-villainizing, re-humanizing was handled in a surprisingly touching way by Florentine. Like when he leaves prison for the first time and is on the bus, and he gets a glimpse of the mountains, the beauty of the countryside for the first time in decades, and by the look on his face you can see it pierces his heart. His fighting buddy Turbo referring to him as a wounded horse, gaining our sympathy.

    Some great Boyka snarls – “I don’t want your fucking money.”

    And,

    Boyka (to Gaga) – “You betrayed me for money. You are a Judas.”
    Gaga – “Does that make you Jesus?”
    Boyka – “No. That makes me angry.”

    There were times during some of the incredible fights, that Florentines camera was PERFECTLY FUCKING STILL (lesson to shaky-cam offenders)! Simply observing the acrobatic smackdowns taking place. It was glorious.

    Curious to see if BOYKA : BRING ME YOUR FUCKING CHAMPION will be as good without The Flo.

  47. Only two weeks until BOYKA hits dvd!

  48. Preliminary release date in Sweden. Originally it was April 3rd, but it got pushed. I am still hoping for a release in April

  49. Should be good. I can’t wait. Have any of you seen HEADSHOT with Iko Uwais? It is a brutal slice of ultraviolent action cinema, with a number of unique elements and twists that I would recommend to fans of the genre.

  50. Man, I had a shot of watching HEAD SHOT last year at Lunds Fantastisk Film Festival, but as I never went there I never did.

  51. Shoot, it is not a modern classic like THE RAID, but it is very good and has it’s own flavor. Not only is it a very different type of story but the action is different as well. The combat in HEADSHOT also features a lot more gun play and shootouts than the Uwais and Evans collaborations, but still delivers quality hand to hand combat and knife fights.

  52. IMDB is now saying August 1 US DVD release date for Boyka IV. :-(

  53. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 8th, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    So I’m not proud of this at all and strongly considered not posting anything here, but I’ll be honest. The lack of any sort of reliable release date coupled with the long and unbearable waiting… only to find BOYKA suddenly and unexpectedly being available today to watch through… somewhat less than legit means… I fucking caved. I was weak. And I will buy 3 copies of the damn blu when it comes out to make up for it, but for now I just want to say…

    It’s good. It is very, very good. Adkins is right to be proud of this film because I think it might be the best thing he’s done so far. Maybe not quite action wise (although it is still great on that front) but certainly with regards to story, emotion and his performance. Also it’s super obvious Florentine was heavily involved in this because it feels like something he would have made through and through. I want to say much more but I’ll save it all until this thing is officially out there and reviewed. Cant wait to read Verns take on it.

    First JOHN WICK 2, then LOGAN, now this… Not such a bad year so far.

  54. The BD/DVD release dates so far for BOYKA:

    Sweden, April 17
    Denmark, April 20
    France, July 31
    Germany August 1
    No release date yet for UK & US.

    I guess it’s a moot point anyway as the genie’s already out of the bottle, but staggered release dates/no release dates like this are only going to result in piracy.

    I’m sure the distributors have their reasons but still. This will almost certainly kill any prospects of a BOYKA V and I wanted 10 Boyka films, Goddamnit!

  55. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 10th, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Yeah, I just (finally) found the official release date for my country: 4 August. Fucking insane. Well, I pre-ordered it. Wish they’d let me watch it in a normal time frame through official means.

  56. My dvd retailer just informed me that they have shipped BOYKA to me. Take that, you American pigdogs!!

  57. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 11th, 2017 at 4:28 am

    Doesn’t seem like a bad place to live, Sweden. This only confirms it!

  58. UNDISPUTED 3 received no release at all here in the UK, and I have a feeling part 4 will get the same treatment.

    Wonder why we are always getting Boyka-tted?

  59. Got my LEGALLY PURCHASED copy of BOYKA today. I will watch it tonight with a glass of smugness

  60. I don´t have to tell you that BOYKA is pretty great. I don´t want to talk too much about the film until the rest of you assholes have seen it. But I agree with Gaul on one point : you´d never noticed it was a different director. The same amount of sounds of swooshes and fancy unsubtle camera work with fast zoom ins from Florentine is still in place and the fights are really great! No worries there in the delivery departmant.

    I was surprised that Adkins/Florentine/Davidson/White etc. managed to create a story for Boyka outside of prison that worked. For me it felt like a purgatory part one must go through, and that at the end of the third film that was the end to the story. But Boyka is a villain slowly making his ways towards the light , so there is still a lot of stumbling to be done on that road even in life outside prison. That just shows how much of a handle these dudes have on this guy. And I shouldn´t be surprised. Good job.

    Now that I bought the blu ray, I have to watch it five or six more times. Poor me…

  61. Shoot: I’ll respect your dickishness more if live-Tweet it here on the comments section.

    “Oh man I can’t believe they killed Boyka five minutes in and the movie is actually about the villain from UNDISPUTED III avenging his death!”

    etc. etc.

  62. Also Shoot… you talking about legally acquiring a copy of BOYKA and then telling us how awesome it is comes from a place of privilege… That attitude I cannot approve. You may not feel it or even acknowledge it, but your life circumstances fully gave you a head start compared to rest of us DTV action fans. So please #checkyourprivilege next time…

  63. I should have livetweeted my viewing -geoffrey. I am an asshole. That´s for sure. However I am just not that kind of an asshole.

  64. Also, this is the first time I hold some kind of privilege over you American swines*. Of course I am going to be a dick about it. The power is intoxicating! It´s like being poor all you´re life and then all over a sudden is a billionaire

    *obviously this is meant in a lovingly way. Certainly not in the “Lovecraft-names- a -cat-in-a-story- N*****Man” kind of lovingly, but you know what I mean hopefully.

  65. I can’t wait to see BOYKA, it seems rediculous that in this modern digital age of streaming that the film is not at least availible on VOD in more regions.

  66. Yeah, this digital era is frustrating. Like when I wanted to watch Jean Claude Van Johnson even on british Amazon , but was booted out.

  67. It just dumb because the industry is pushing frustrated fans toward piracy when they would gladly purchase it legally if it were availible.

  68. I think it is a lag from old business practices to new ones and they have yet to keep up .

  69. BOYKA is already one of the most pirated films of the year, which is utterly unsurprising.

    As for HEADSHOT, that looks like it’s getting a DVD-only release in June in the US, with the blu-ray seemingly coming out in Europe only (Arrow are putting it out in the UK in June).

  70. It is so depressing. The film is so good, but what the fuck can you do? What can I do? I am thinking that the reason the film got such an early dvd release in Sweden is because of Pirate Bay and they think they can do some kind of damage control of it.

  71. I apologize being a jerk.

  72. I’m sure you’re right, Shoot.

    It’s a shame but distributors really need to co-ordinate the release dates of these films and get them out simultaneously or as close to each other as possible.

    Easier said than done I’m sure, but it’s one way to minimize bootlegging, maybe.

  73. Apparently BOYKA is coming out here in August. The title is:

    UNDISPUTED 4: BOYKA IS BACK

    Not sure what to think of that.

    HEADSHOT goes straight to home video here in June and apparently already tops the pre-order charts on Amazon, so that’s good.

  74. I don’t have any numbers, but our DTV action market seems to be still very lucrative. (At least that what it looks like, judging by the amount of major and medium labels, that still bother to release these films on physical media and even sometimes give them steelbooks and bonus material filled [although those are mostly the foreign actioners, which were made for theatrical release] special editions.)

  75. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 22nd, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Ouch, SAVAGE DOG… terrible, terrible film. Hope to God Jesse V. Johnson just had a bad couple weeks while making that, otherwise ACCIDENT MAN and TRIPLE THREAT are fucked.

  76. ACCIDENT MAN is a pet project of Adkins so hopefully not.

  77. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 23rd, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Yeah I know, and all the set pictures Adkins and Jaa have been posting were really getting me hyped for TRIPLE THREAT as well. Fingers crossed.

  78. The fight scenes for SAVAGE DOG weren’t good?

  79. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 23rd, 2017 at 1:26 am

    They’re very disappointing yeah. They feel a bit stale, the rhythm is off, editing and pacing wise. There’s the occasional (very brief) cool shot but it just doesn’t come alive, not even when he’s fighting Cung Le or Zaror.

  80. Poor Scott Adkins. Everything he makes gets leaked early, and in glorious HD as well.

  81. US BD/DVD release date for BOYKA confirmed for August 1st:

    Boyka: Undisputed DVD Release Date August 1, 2017

    In the fourth installment of the fighting franchise, Boyka is shooting for the big leagues when an accidental death in the ring makes him question everything he stands for. When he finds out the wife of the man he accidentally killed is in trouble, Boyka offers to fight in a series of impossible battles to free her from a life of servitude

  82. 5 days before my 34th birthday. Perfect. I know what I’ll be asking for this year.

  83. From a facebook conversation I had with Adkins he had absolutely no idea it had been released so early when I mentioned it was released in Sweden already and he was taken aback with the inconsistent release window of the film. A shame. real shame that the film has been so poorly handled by the dsitributors

  84. If I were Adkins, I’d be asking some serious questions.

  85. Yeah, how is he able to promote a film when they don´t even give him proper release information. Especially for a film that clearly his heart is in it and worked real hard. If I were him, I´d be pretty mad.

  86. This is partly the issue with working in low budget film making I guess.

  87. Well the distibution deals can be pretty complicated I have heard, which may result in one hand don´t know what the other one does.

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