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Mike Leeder’s Action Digest #26: The news-stories you’ve missed…

Mike Leeder brings another action digest round-up of the news-stories from the world of eastern action that you may have overlooked in the last few weeks…

Steven Seagal: Contract to Kill

Another week, another round up and yet another movie. The ‘Tall Guy’ returns for yet another action movie Contract Killer, which reunites him with one of his most frequent collaborators, director Keoni Waxman and Russell Wong (brother of actor Michael Wong) from Vanishing Son and Black Sash co-starring. In a ‘surprising departure’ from his normal roles, Seagal plays a special US government operative Harmon, who uncovers a plot by Islamic extremists to take over drug smuggling routes so they can bring deadly weapons and terrorists into the United States. Harmon pits the drug smugglers and terrorists against each other before they can form an alliance against America.

Nick GillardFollowing Orders: Star Wars stunt co-ordinator Nick Gillard directs

Go Go Power Rang….ers…..No. Wait. This isn’t a Power Rangers movie despite the presence of a number of veterans from various incarnations of Saban’s Mighty Morphing series. The Order was originally announced with a crowd funding scheme with veteran Power Rangers stuntman and co-odinator David Wald set to direct,  but now comes the news that when the film starts shooting in early 2017, veteran stunt coordinator Nick Gillard will be at the helm.  Gillard’s credits include being involved with  the likes of Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, Wanted, Sleepy Hollow and the three Star Wars prequels (you know those movies that people have forgotten, all that Midiclorians stuff that we don’t talk about!)

The Order , which is now set to start shooting in early 2017, features a cast that includes twenty years’ worth of veteran Power Rangers actors including Austin St John , David Yost, Walter Emmanuel Jones, Catherine Sutherland, Nakia Burrise, Jason Faunt, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, Erin Cahill, Steve Cardenas, Azim Rizk, Blake Foster, Dan Southworth, Yoshua Sudarso, Alyson Kiperman-Sullivan, Deborah Estelle Phillips, Hilary Shepard and others

The official blurb reads:

The Order is an action packed movie that follows a covert group of vigilantes. This group is often times the shadow to groups like the FBI and CIA. The men and women of The Order, are trained, living weapons. They operate in secret. They have dedicated their lives to eliminating violent threats and imminent disasters. Their one focus is to fight to keep humanity safe from complete societal breakdown and maintain world order. The Order has faced the worst of enemies, but are crippled by the discovery that this world assault they now face, is being lead by some of their very own.

Throw everything you thought you knew out the the window, you won’t know the good guys from the bad.

The film is written by Johnny Yong Bosch and Karan Ashley who executive produces along with David Fielding, and the project looks set to take the concept in a dark and gritty direction along the lines of Avi Shankar’s bootleg universe take on Power Rangers, while the new big budget movie is being described as Mighty Morphing Breakfast Club!

StoicAntonio Banderas, Karl Urban, Paz Vega and Isaac Florentine are all… Stoic

One of our favourite full-blooded action directors Isaac Florentine (the Undisputed and Ninja series with Scott Adkins) is back in action with his latest project STOIC starring Desperado‘s Antonio Banderas and Dredd’s Karl Urban and Paz Vega (Sex and Lucia)  while Ninja: Shadow of a Tear and Boyka: Undisputed 4 ‘s choreographer handles the films action sequences.

Banderas plays a lawyer who is forced to take the law into his own hands to avenge his murdered wife and son and early word from the set suggests that this is Banderas returning to his action heyday, something he carried off so well from Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and more recently Expendables 3. With  Florentine as director and action choreographer Tim Mann involved, it looks promising and Urban has always been able to deliver action whether it be projects such as  Doom, Dredd and of course the Bourne Supremacy.

Antonio recently tweeted the photo above of Banderas on set with Paz Vega…

66From Pirate Brothers to Indonesian hitmen: Asun Mawardi’s 66

While Asun Mawardi’s earlier project Pirate Brothers had a cast that was led by former Hong Kong and American action movie journeyman Robin Shou (Tiger Cage 2 and Mortal Kombat,) this time around Asun steps in front of the camera to be the leading man as well as director for his lastest project 66, playing the title character.

66 is a rarity in the business – a hitman who’s survived long enough to feel regret for everything he’s seen and done. The guilt of the various innocents he’s slaughtered eats away at him day after day and he tries to find distractions and a way to save himself in the gambling halls, but all he’s done is dig a deeper darker hole for himself. When the organisation he works for offers him the job of killing a police informant to protect the organisation from investigation, he takes the job and the money but leaves town hoping to find a better way of life, the chance of a possible new beginning.

But, of course, things aren’t that simple, and he learns the harsh truth that you can never go home. His family resents him for leaving them, his father’s business is being used as a front for a drug ring, and the organisation wants their money back… A growing rift between rival crimelords is brewing, and caught between them is Fara, an idealistic yong woman who wants to do good for her community and has no idea that her father is using her charity as a way to launder money and further his misdeeds. But when 66 crosses pathes with Fara, he thinks there might just be a way to help her, save his family and quite possibly redeem  himself no matter what the cost.

Mawardi wears triple hats as leading man, director and co-script writer, while the cast is rounded out by Donita, Erwin St Bagindo and Ali Syehan. Matthew Ryan Fischer collaborated on the script with Mawardi, while the films fight and action choreography is by Ryan Adrian Tedja and Franki Darmawan. The film will be released in Indonesia first, and then across SE Asia with an international release set to follow, and the film is working its way around the world on the festival circuit.

Calling All The Heroes: Benny Chan & Return

Director Benny Chan (The Big Bullet, A Moment of Romance) helms Call of Heroes, set during the early years of the 20th Century and featuring some great martial arts choreography from Hong Kong Legend Sammo Hung and a very impressive cast which includes Lau Ching-wan (Mad Detective), Eddie Peng (Rise of the Legend), Louis Koo (Flash Point), Wu Jing (Fatal Contact), Sammy Hung (Dragon Blade) and Ken Law (Unbeatable).

The film tells of a village that must stand up to a young warlord at a time when feudal warlords ruled much of China. Koo plays Cao, the son of a powerful General who has grown up to be a vicious and depraved warlord. When Cao is accused of murder, his father threatens to destroy the town if his son is convicted, let alone sentenced to death. But injustice must be punished, and the townsfolk are drawn into battle to ensure a guilty man doesn’t go free!

The film will be released by WellGoUSA in the States and Cine Asia in the UK

VIY2VIY 2: Travel to China with & Arnold Schwarzenegger

The two iconic stars briefly worked together on Chan’s Around the World in 80 Days, and they’ve just teamed up again for the Russian fantasy adventure VIY 2: Travel to China, which stars Jason Fleming reprising his role from VIY/Forbidden Empire (as the 18th century cartographer Jonathan Green who once more sets out to map the lesser known sections of the world…. and, yes, once more finds himself caught up in adventure beyond his wildest dreams). The first film was a huge success at the Russian box office and caught the attention of Chinese producers who agreed to support the sequel, if it took place in the formerly Forbidden Kingdom. Chan was attached since the early days of the project, as were his stunt team which handled the fights and action sequences for the movie. , Steven Seagal and Sylvester Stallone were all potential co-stars before Arnold joined the project, playing the governor of the prison in which both Fleming’s character and Chan find themselves.



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