Posts Tagged ‘Marko Zaror’
Tuesday, April 11th, 2023
FIST OF THE CONDOR (El Puño del Cóndor), available now on the Hi-YAH! streaming network,* is the long-awaited (by me at least) reunion of Chilean martial arts star Marko Zaror (UNDISPUTED III, SAVAGE DOG, JOHN WICK CHAPTER 4) and writer/director Ernesto Díaz Espinoza. They came up together making KILTRO, MIRAGEMAN and MANDRILL, but this is their first together since REDEEMER in 2014. From the looks of it they spent that time training, meditating, and learning powerful secret techniques.
I loved this movie, and I think it follows the established Zaror/Diaz Espinoza pattern of being even better than the last one, but I have exactly one (1) caveat: I wish I’d remembered that the first trailer called it FIST OF THE CONDOR: PART ONE. It felt kinda like if I’d watched KILL BILL VOLUME 1 thinking it was the whole thing and expecting her to cross all the names off her list. When it ended I had to do a double take, rewind and watch the last scene again to get my bearings. But I understand it now. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Gina Aguad, Jose Manuel, Man Soo Yoon, Marko Zaror, twins
Posted in Reviews, Action, Martial Arts | 3 Comments »
Monday, March 27th, 2023
JOHN WICK CHAPTER 4 is the culmination of one of the great movie series of our time, and a masterwork of its genre, one of the few American action movies to arguably outdo overseas epics like THE RAID 2, THE NIGHT COMES FOR US and THE VILLAINESS. Like its predecessors it expands on JOHN WICK’s distinct style of martial-arts-and-guns ultraviolence, introduces colorful new allies and enemies, and invents even more astounding ideas for types of action spectacle you haven’t seen before. But this one adds an extra layer of emotion through heroic bloodshed style bonding and a deeper realization that everything John Wick does in these movies only digs his hole deeper.
I’ll warn you before I get into the biggest spoilers, but as usual this review will be better for reading after you’ve seen it. If you’re just wondering how good it is compared to other chapters, I believe the first film stands on its own and then the sequels get better the more spectacular they become. So CHAPTER 3 was the best but has now been usurped by CHAPTER 4. (But I love the Halle Berry and Mark Dacascos stuff in 3 so much it’s not an easy choice.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bill Skarsgard, Chad Stahelski, Donnie Yen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Marko Zaror, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, Shamier Anderson
Posted in Reviews, Action, Martial Arts | 55 Comments »
Wednesday, March 16th, 2022
I was excited to watch INVINCIBLE as soon as it came out, because it’s the first major Marko Zaror role I’ve been able to see since SAVAGE DOG in 2017. Since then he’s been in something called THE GREEN GHOST that I don’t think has come out, he had a tiny appearance in ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, he doubled young Will Smith in GEMINI MAN, and it looks like he was in one episode of a Marvel TV show that I haven’t watched because it’s a crossover of several other Marvel shows I haven’t watched. I’ve missed him, so it was exciting to finally have another movie with his name on the cover.
Unfortunately, this is not what I consider to be a good movie, and not bad in an interesting enough way to recommend it to most people. It does however once again demonstrate Zaror’s extreme talent and professionalism – not just anyone could be in a production this shoddy and still be good in it, so for that reason I don’t regret watching it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Daniel Zirilli, Jason Archilla, Johnny Strong, Marko Zaror, May Myat Noe, Michael Pare, Sally Kirkland, Vladimir Kulich, Wych Kaosayananda
Posted in Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 2 Comments »
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
GEMINI MAN is your traditional “the greatest assassin anybody ever saw decides to retire and then god damn it I thought they loved me but they’re sending a guy to kill me what the fuck” type scenario. The gimmick is that the guy they send after him is a younger version of himself created through the miracle of cloning. He figures this out a good third or more into the movie, but we know from frame one because of the studio’s decision to advertise the film.
Will Smith (“Nightmare On My Street”) plays both extreme retiree Henry Brogan and the facial expressions of the very advanced digital animation character playing his clone. Junior, as he’s called, gets dispatched after Henry’s Old Buddy From the Marines Jack (Douglas Hodge, THE DESCENT PART 2) and Russian operative Yuri (Ilia Volok, AIR FORCE ONE) tell him that that last guy they had him kill, the terrorist, was actually an innocent scientist being eliminated as part of a cover-up. When Henry hears this information he looks up to the clouds just as the lite on a satellite blinks, but it’s only to tell us someone heard this. He doesn’t seem to figure it out himself.
He does catch on that the new manager at the docks where he keeps his boat is really a D.I.A. agent sent to keep tabs on him. He asks Dani (Mary Elizabeth Lucy McClane Winstead, BOBBY) on a date, maybe just to get her to admit she’s spying on him and convince her he’s not a threat. But when some dudes try to kill both of them they end up on the run together. They head to Colombia to meet up with his Old Agency Friend turned small plane pilot Baron (Benedict Wong, LARGO WINCH). (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Andrew Niccol, Ang Lee, Benedict Wong, Billy Ray, Brian Helgeland, Christopher Wilkinson, Clive Owen, Darren Lemke, David Benioff, Douglas Hodge, high frame rate, Ilia Volok, Jeremy Marinas, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Hensleigh, Marko Zaror, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Stephen J. Rivele, Will Smith
Posted in Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 58 Comments »
Tuesday, February 19th, 2019
Man, we’ve been hearing about James Cameron doing this manga/anime adaptation since 2005, well before AVATAR. We’re talking Obama’s first year as a United States Senator, Christian Bale’s first year as a Batman, three live action Spider-man actors ago, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe even started, when Chris Evans was still The Human Torch, George Lucas was still making Star Wars movies, Saddam Hussein was still alive, the word “sexting” was just invented, Youtube was just starting, and Twitter didn’t exist yet. A long time ago.
So I can’t say I was thrilled when, after that decade plus of hopes, Cameron announced “Just kidding, Robert Rodriguez is gonna direct it.” Fresh off of SIN CITY 2. But also I wasn’t stupid enough to scoff at it. Cameron co-wrote and produced the thing. The only other time he did that was STRANGE DAYS, and that turned out pretty good. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Casper Van Dien, Christoph Waltz, cyborg, Diana Lee Inosanto, Ed Skrein, Edward Norton, Jackie Earle Haley, James Cameron, Jeff Fahey, Jennifer Connelly, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Keean Johnson, Laeta Kalogridis, live action anime, live action manga, Mahershala Ali, Marko Zaror, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez, Rosa Salazar
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 50 Comments »
Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
SAVAGE DOG is an impressively weird new Scott Adkins joint written and directed by Jesse V. Johnson, the veteran stuntman and director of PIT FIGHTER, GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS 2, THE BUTCHER, THE PACKAGE and the upcoming TRIPLE THREAT and ACCIDENT MAN. This one is a period piece, taking place in Indochina circa 1959, portrayed as sort of a CASABLANCA-esque scoundrel zone, or “a melting pot of post-war villainy,” as the titles put it. And some of this villainy will piss off Adkins, setting off a straight up bloodbath.
Adkins plays Martin Tillman, who enters the film in mythical fashion, climbing out of a muddy grave during a lightning storm as narration from the great Keith David (THEY LIVE) promises us a story about the time he “faced down an army and spilled a river of blood.” David will show up on camera later as a bar owner named Valentine, but since the man has more narrating credits to his name than Morgan Freeman they must’ve followed the Morgan Freeman rule with him: if he’s in your movie, get him to narrate. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Cung Le, Indochina, Jesse V. Johnson, Juju Chan, Keith David, Marko Zaror, Scott Adkins, Vladimir Kulich
Posted in Action, Reviews | 26 Comments »
Monday, July 31st, 2017
Well, unlike my first reviews of UNDISPUTED and UNDISPUTED II: LAST MAN STANDING, I’m perfectly happy with what I wrote when UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION was first released. So you can follow that link for what the movie’s about and why it’s great, plus my attempt to sell circa 2010 Ain’t It Cool News readers on the works of Scott Adkins and Isaac Florentine, and the concept of DTV action in general. Still, on the occasion of part 4 coming to American video tomorrow I wanted to revisit part III for further analysis and appreciation.
I’d never watched it back-to-back with part II before. That really emphasizes the differences. Though I praised the J.J. Perry fight choreography in II, Larnell Stovall’s work here is something to behold. More fights, longer takes with more consecutive moves, different styles (more throws and groundwork, and capoeira courtesy of Lateef Crowder). As much as I love and don’t want to take away from the classics like KICKBOXER and BLOODSPORT that inspired movies like the UNDISPUTEDs, I think it’s fair to say that the choreography and filming of martial arts sequences has gotten far more sophisticated since those days. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: best DTV movies, David N. White, Esteban Cueto, fighting tournaments, Hristo Shopov, Isaac Florentine, Larnell Stovall, Lateef Crowder, Mark Ivanir, Marko Zaror, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, prison, Robert Costanzo, Scott Adkins
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews | 15 Comments »
Tuesday, March 8th, 2016
In REDEEMER, Marko Zaror plays The Redeemer, a mysterious, drifting avenger with a thing for Catholicism. He used to be a cartel hitman, now he’s fulfilling a big time penance. He’s got a full back tattoo of the crucifixion, carries a portable altar and various idols and penants of the saints, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wears socks sewn out of a corner of the Shroud of Turin. For 95% of the movie he keeps the hood of either his sweatshirt or his jacket up. It’s not raining, so I think it’s to make him look like a monk. And every day he kneels and does a prayer ritual. The weird part of it is when he rubs a bullet with a scorpion painted on it against his forehead, then plays Russian roulette. Kind of a quirky thing to do every single day, right? I guess maybe that’s a thing though. I wouldn’t know, I was raised Presbyterian.
Anyway this individual The Redeemer is wandering through Chile on foot when he comes across some jerks beating up a fisherman. He watches for a while before he saves the guy. He’s real good with guns, but he’s Marko Zaror, so he’s also got some incredible kicks and punches. By rescuing the guy and taking shelter in the nearby home of a single mother they all end up involved in the man’s troubles: he found a bunch of money in his fishing net, he took it, it turned out to belong to gangsters, they are not real understanding about it. So The Redeemer and friends hide in a cave while he broods and prays and doesn’t talk and makes plans to clear all this up.
Plan A: Get the gangsters to promise no harm in exchange for their money back.
Plan B: Kill them all and use the money for the mom’s kid’s operation. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Chile, Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Marko Zaror, Noah Segan
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews | 14 Comments »
Monday, October 14th, 2013
There are lots of funny things in MACHETE KILLS. For a while it coasts on enjoyably stupid jokes, like the ridiculous trailer for part 3 of the series that it opens with. Early on it has a little faux-serious melodrama, playing it almost straight when a clash with rogue soldiers, a Mexican drug cartel and an army in lucha libre masks leads to the death of Machete (Danny Trejo, DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN, MARKED FOR DEATH)’s partner. I like the setup, with a redneck Arizona sheriff (William Sadler, DIE HARD 2) failing to hang Machete before he gets called in by the president (Charlie Sheen, NAVY SEALS, credited as Carlos Estevez) who offers him citizenship in exchange for doing a dangerous mission. I thought the joke of casting him was to have a guy as crazy as Sheen as the president, like wasn’t Mickey Rourke the president in MASKED AND ANONYMOUS? It honestly didn’t occur to me until seeing him on a White House set that his dad played the president in The West Wing (not to mention playing Kennedy). Anyway, the best part is the idea that this unsavory slasher/wife-and-daughter-fucker/assassin gets to sit in the White House and hear his offer.
Trejo’s face is even more rugged than ever, if possible, and he doesn’t have to joke around. He’s fun to watch just being that same character, but now equipped with various high-tech variations on machetes to chop people up with. Robert Rodriguez (credited as sole director this time, and also with his name above the title, but only a co-story credit) once again fills the movie with a huge, unlikely cast, mostly playing colorful gimmicky characters: Mel Gibson (PAPARAZZI) as a weapon inventor/space cultist planning to blow up the world, Demian Bichir (2012 best actor nominee for A BETTER LIFE) as a revolutionary/terrorist/something, Amber Heard (DRIVE ANGRY) as a government agent undercover as a beauty queen, Walton Goggins/Cuba Gooding Jr./Lady Gaga/Antonio Banderas all playing the same assassin called El Camaleon, Vanessa Hudgens (SPRING BREAKERS) as a girl that’s in one part, Sofia Vergara allowing Salma Hayek some dignity by stepping in to play the deadly Madam character with army of killer prostitutes (see also Lucy Liu in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, Zoe Bell in BAYTOWN OUTLAWS, etc.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alexa Vega, Amber Heard, Antonio Banderas, Charlie Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr., Danny Trejo, Demian Bichir, Jessica Alba, Lady Gaga, Marko Zaror, Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Tom Savini, Vanessa Hudgens, Walton Goggins, William Sadler
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 45 Comments »
Saturday, May 19th, 2012
The Mad Dog and the Latin Dragon:
The news comes in an Indiewire article about 2 new Indonesian action films in the works from the producers of THE RAID:
“ONE GOOD THING will star [Yayan] Ruhian and Marko Zaror as a mob enforcer and a policeman who reluctantly try to protect a young girl caught between rival gangs warring with a clutch of dirty cops. MACABRE filmmaker Kimo Stamboel… is set to direct.”
Tags: Marko Zaror, Yayan Ruhian
Posted in Blog Post (short for weblog) | 175 Comments »